History in the West End: Places to Visit and Stay

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Featured image credit: The West End Guest House

From a forested wilderness in the 1800s, industrialization hit The West End in the 1900s, creating a vibrant town filled with beautiful family homes. Today, some of these century-old homes have been preserved and converted into inns, museums and apartments. Here are some of the most notable heritage structures you can visit in the West End.


The West End Guest House 

Located between the City Centre and Stanley Park, the West End Guest House can easily be spotted by the pop of pink peeking out from below the second storey roof. In fact, it was initially named the Pink Victorian, Vancouver’s first large bed and breakfast in the 80s. Adorned with a wide variety of art pieces, including old photographs from Vancouver’s first photography shop, Edwards Brothers Photography studio (the first owner’s sons), West End Guest House is not short on visual charm. Each guestroom has a different look and feel, but they all exude the warmth and cheer its exteriors provide. 


Roedde House Museum

Image of the Roedde House Museam in the West End

Image credit: The Roedde House Museam

Roedde House, initially owned by Gustav and Matilda Roedde in 1893, is a City of Vancouver-designated Class A Heritage House. It is maintained by the Roedde House Preservation Society, a group that aims to show visitors a peek into Victorian family life in the late 19th century. Aside from preservation of the house itself, the Society offers exhibits and programs that reflect Vancouver’s early history. Want to explore but can’t come for a visit? The museum website provides online access to their collections here.

Image of a blue Heritage house in the West End

One of Soriah Kanji’s favourite West End heritage homes.

Gabriola House

For over a century, the sprawling Gabriola mansion on Davie Street has been subject to much fanfare, speculation and a lot of gossips. You’ll get why once you see it. Named after Gabriola Island, where the structure’s greenish-grey stones came from, this massive property spanned an entire city block, and in its heyday, was home to the 17,000 sq.ft. mansion, horse stables, greenhouses and work sheds. Once owned by sugar magnate BT Rogers and his family, the allegedly haunted Gabriola House evolved through the years as a set of apartments and at least two restaurants before it was boarded up in 2008. Today, construction has begun to convert the mansion into an apartment and townhouse development with 20 units. The developers promise to preserve the heritage elements, including the landscaping and all the stained glass windows.


Hirschfeld House

This lovely home, initially owned by Vancouver World newspaper’s advertising manager Alfred Cyril Hirschfeld in 1910, is a Swiss chalet-style Craftsman bungalow with beautiful gardens, leaded-glass windows, half-timbered gables, big brackets and eaves. It is an Arts and Crafts home, a mix of styles that embraced handcrafted design and approachable materials. Current owner Charles Dyer got crafty indeed, taking care to maintain the early 20th-century aesthetic while also injecting his style through his extensive collection of antiques. The result is a beautiful, well-decorated space with an exquisite yet approachable personality. A neighbourhood attraction, it’s been included in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s annual Heritage House Tour from time to time. It’s so eye-catching, West Enders have been known to drop by and check out the gardens – for free!


Buying and Selling Heritage Properties

The West End is full of history and heritage properties are some of Soriah Kanji’s favourites to work with. If you dream of living in a unique home, or you need an expert Real Estate Agent to market your home to its fullest potential, get in touch with Soriah today. The sellers of this beautiful apartment in a designated heritage building at 1386 Nicola Street definitely valued the experience and expertise of the West End’s top REALTOR®. Image credit: Patrick Lui Axion Creative

A historical interior of a heritage home in the West End


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