Find a registered heritage building, site, tree, or monument on the Vancouver Heritage Register
There are about 2,200 registered heritage buildings in Vancouver, plus 138 parks and trees, and additional monuments and archaeological sites.
You can find all of these heritage sites in the Vancouver Heritage Register (VHR).
The City's long term goal is to protect, through voluntary designation, as many resources on the Vancouver Heritage Register as possible.
How does a site qualify for inclusion?
To be included in the Vancouver Heritage Register:
- Sites must have architectural or historical significance
- The context of the building and its surroundings must still be clear
- Alterations to the exterior of the building must be limited
About recent landmarks
Many buildings with local, regional, and national significance have been produced during Vancouver's post-war era.
To note the innovative design, technological features, and social significance of these buildings, the Heritage Register includes a Recent Landmarks Program.
To be listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register as a Recent Landmark, a building must be at least 20 years old, and meet the same criteria as other heritage sites.
How to read the Register
For each site listed, the Vancouver Heritage Register includes:
- The street address of the site
- The name of the site, if applicable
- The evaluation group the site belongs to (read more about evaluation groups in the table, below)
|Heritage Register evaluation groups||Meaning|
|A (Primary)||The site represents the best examples of a style or type of building. It may be associated with a person or event of significance, or early pattern of development.|
|B (Significant)||The site represents a good example of a particular style or type, either individually or collectively. It may have some documented historical or cultural significance in a neighbourhood.|
|C (Contextual or character)||The site represents a building that contributes to the historic character of an area or streetscape, usually found in groupings of more than one building, but may also be of individual importance.|
|Categories of heritage protection||Meaning|
|H||Buildings or sites are the subject of a Heritage Revitalization Agreement.|
|HC||The building, or some portion of it, is protected by a Heritage Conservation Covenant registered on title at the Land Title Office.|
|I||A portion of the interior is protected by heritage designation.|
|L||Specific landscape features are also protected by heritage designation.|
|CA||The building or site is listed as protected on a schedule that is part of a heritage conservation area.|
|M||Buildings or sites that are protected by a municipal heritage designation bylaw (City of Vancouver).|
|P||Buildings or sites that are protected by provincial heritage designation (Province of British Columbia).|
Learn more about the sites listed on the Register
Sites on the Vancouver Heritage Register are not protected unless they also have heritage designation, an HRA or covenant, or are scheduled as protected in a heritage conservation area.
Heritage designation is a legal way to protect heritage buildings. When a building has heritage designation, the City can regulate its demolition, relocation, and alteration. We can also protect the building's interior features if they are specifically noted on the bylaw.
Changes to a site that has a heritage designation require a Heritage Alteration Permit, while changes to the exterior of a building on the Heritage Register do not.
Heritage designations are noted on the property's title, while a Heritage Register listing is not.
Can buildings on the Register be altered?
The exterior of a building listed on the VHR can be altered. However, the heritage value of each building on the VHR is formally recognized, and the elements that define the building's character should be respected.
If you require a permit to alter a building on the VHR, heritage staff will be consulted as part of the permit process.
Can buildings on the Register be demolished?
Before we issue a permit to demolish a building on the VHR, we require development and building permits.
During the permit application process, staff will discuss potential incentives for retaining the building. These incentives can include floor area bonuses and relaxations in height, setbacks, parking, and so on.
In certain areas, there are also "disincentives" written into the zoning which may discourage someone from demolishing a building on the VHR. These disincentives include making the property less eligible for density.
In addition, if you apply to demolish an "A" category building, we require an independent consultant's report on the condition of the building, and the viability of keeping it. This report will be done at your expense, and will be reviewed by the Director of Planning.
Planning gets advice from Council for all requests to demolish "A" listed buildings. For all other buildings on the VHR, if the owner (or prospective owner) has no interest in saving the building, the heritage hold is removed, and the demolition application process proceeds.
The Vancouver Charter also allows Council to delay approving the demolition of a building either on the Heritage Register or a building that may be heritage property, through temporary protection for a period of 120 days.
During this time, a heritage inspection may be ordered to assess the value of the site.