John Atkin is a civic historian and author who organizes and conduct tours for groups and individuals. John has explored Vancouver like few others have and offers an interesting and offbeat insight to the city's architecture, history and neighbourhoods. He has created, and conducts, a number of unique and popular walking tours throughout the City of Vancouver.

John brings an insight of urban planning and development, a love of architecture, and the fascination of the curious to all his tours.

John's walking tours take approximately 2 hours - depending on the group size and route - and are organized year round. Tours cost 10 dollars per person

Custom tours can also be organized for groups or individuals, contact John for information. Please note for groups smaller than ten, there's a 100 dollar minimum charge.



I'm very pleased to announce that I can now accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express payments for my walking tours. Card payments can be made at the start of each tour.


Interested in London: The third week of September is when we go to London for a week of walks.
The previous year's itinerary is here.

The Changing City keep up to date with the blog. While there check out our other blogs.


On the Streets and Up the Stairs in Chinatown

A walking tour with the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC

Sunday October 19th 10am  Meet in the courtyard of the Chinese Cultural Centre on Pender Street.

Robert Sung and I are presenting a walking tour of Chinatown which looks at the area's history and society buildings. Be prepared to climb some stairs as we've lined up a selection of society buildings for the tour.

It's a chance to see the interiors of some of the most iconic buildings in Vancouver.

CCHSBC members: $20  Non-members: $25

There will be a no host lunch after the walk at the Daisy Garden


Vancouver Heritage Foundation Walks

Off Broadway: a series exploring the neighbourhoods along Vancouver's longest street. All walks are 10-12noon, $12 inclusive per person.

The End of the Road - Saturday October 18th


Baseball, the Olympics and an Arboretum:
Friday, October 10th 10am - noon  $15

Come take a look at the Riley Park neighbourhood. From the former rock quarry that is now Queen Elizabeth Park to 62 years of baseball at Nat Bailey, it’s an eclectic look at this neighbourhood. Plus, we get a peak inside Nat Bailey.

Book your tickets


Zoning Walks: more interesting than you think.

How Zoning & Local History Shaped Kerrisdale
Saturday October 11th 9:30am - noon  $30

Kerrisdale's leafy streets, boulevards and lovely gardens are a product of North America’s first residential zoning and development bylaw passed in 1922. In 1927 further amendments created the apartment district north of 41st Avenue. Further tweaks helped create the neighbourhood we have today. This walk will explore the local history and regulations that shaped one of Vancouver's most desirable neighbourhoods.

The walk will start promptly at 9:30 am at Vine Street and W 41st Avenue.

Book your tickets


Early Immigrant History: a walking tour of Strathcona

Strathcona, Vancouver’s historic east end, has been home to generations of immigrants from around the world. In the 1930s the local elementary school was called “the Little League of Nations” acknowledging the 33 nationalities that attended classes there. In the surrounding neighbourhood, local churches reflected the diversity and the evolving nature of immigration; a Lutheran church established by the Swedes had in a few short years a Norwegian and then German congregation before becoming the American Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel, home to the city’s growing black population.The streets and grocery stores were alive with Croatian, Russian, Jewish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese neighbours. A legacy that survives today includes grocery stores such as the Union Food Market and Benny’s Market, the pioneer Italian market. The Ukrainian and Russian community halls and a former synagogue, which was the city’s first, are also important sites in the development of Strathcona.

Join John Atkin or Maurice Guibord as we walk the streets of Strathcona. The tour ends at Union Food Market which has been a traditional Portuguese grocery and bakery since 1962. Please note the October 16th tour will be given in French.

With John Atkin
Tuesday October 14th 2-4pm
Friday October 17th 4-6pm

With Maurice Guibord
Wednesday October 15th 2-4pm
Thursday October 16th 4-6pm (offered in French)

These tours are free of charge, however registration is required

Thank you to Citizenship and Immigration Canada


There will be Chicken Feet: Chinatown Walk & Dim Sum
Sunday, November 2nd 9:30AM

Our popular Chinatown Walk and Dim Sum is back! Learn about this diverse and popular neighbourhood. We will discuss stories, myths and what makes some of the buildings so special. We will end the walk by grabbing some Dim Sum at a local restaurant!

Currently at capacity. Call 604-264-9642 to be waitlisted.


The Ever-changing City: The Friends of the Archives Fall Fundraiser

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 7:00 pm-9:00 pm | Doors open 6:00 pm
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre 1100 Chestnut Street

Join Andy Coupland and John Atkin as they explore the changing nature of Vancouver through before-and-after images selected from the blog Changing Vancouver and the Vancouver Archives. Set against the background of selected historic panoramas John and Andy will take you through a hundred or so years of an ever-changing city, displayed on the dome of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s Star Theatre.

Tickets: $20.00 in person at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s Guest Services desk or by calling the Space Centre at 604-738-7827 x240

Net proceeds will be transferred to the Friends of the Archives

Donations to support the work of the Friends (cash or cheque only) are appreciated and will be accepted at the Friend’s reception table near the Star Theatre entrance during the 60 minutes prior to the show.

Receipts will be issued for donations over $25.00. Light refreshments will be served between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm

We appreciate your support!


How to Research Your House October 8, 2014

It's a chance to learn some secrets about how to find information on the previous life of your house. Presented by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and the Vancouver Archives.

Register with the Vancouver Heritage Foundation


UBC Continuing Studies: New course for the Fall

From East to West: Neighbourhoods along the edge of the inlet
November 1 - 29

In this course we'll be looking at the development at the edge of the city along Burrard Inlet. We'll look at and explore the history and development of the neighbourhoods that sit between the city's eastern boundary and downtown.
One classroom lecture and 4 walking tours.


A Lecture Series at Tapestry
Trails, Rails, and a Few Roads: an uncommon history of Vancouver
Nov 5- Dec 10

Vancouver has been shaped throughout its short history by the transportation routes that have criss-crossed the city. And it is a product of roads not built. This six part course takes a look at the city's history and development and the role trails, rails and a few roads have played.


Check the Continuing Education site for more information on upcoming courses in the fall and spring.

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