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.



Interested in London: The third week of September is when we go to London for a week of walks. 2015 is full, and 2016 is filling up quickly.
This year's itinerary is here.


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


Heritage Foundation Walks

Zoning Walks: Rt-5 & 6
Saturday November 14, 2015  2:00pm

Yes, zoning can be fun. In this continuing series of walks for the Heritage Foundation, we'll explore a couple of zoning districts in Mount Pleasant and see some of the first heritage oriented zoning in action, where it worked and where it missed the mark.

Meet at the corner of 15th and Columbia $15.00


Wednesday Night Heritage Walks

Thanks to all who came out this summer. Look for some Fall and Winter walks later on.


Exploring The Other Waterfront: The River District

The North Arm of the Fraser River is the city’s other, and unappreciated, waterfront. Industry still occupies much of the shoreline and log booms, barges and tugs make for a fascinating and changing parade of activity.

At the foot of Kerr Street, the view was once dominated by the operations of the Dominion and White Pine Sawmills. But since their closure, and after years of planning, a new community is emerging. On this series of walks we’ll be exploring the River District and surrounding area looking at the planning and history of the edge of the river.

This set of walks was a lot of fun. Look for some new dates in the fall and winter.


UBC Continuing Studies

The Fall course starts October 24th. A Field Guide to the Vancouver Specials will explore this Vancouver house style and look at the neighbourhoods where it is the dominate house form.

Check the Continuing Education site for more information and to register


Vaudeville’s Great White Way

Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 7:30 at the Museum of Vancouver
Speakers: John Atkin and Tom Carter

Join Tom Carter and me for our fabulous Vaudeville talk in October for the Vancouver Historical Society.

From shortly after its incorporation, Vancouver became part of the vaudeville circuit which found a home in the blocks around East Hastings and Main Street. This area, a place for the everyman with its theatres, cinemas, pool halls and restaurants, became the base for vaudeville in Vancouver. Its mixed variety entertainment included singers, dancers, comedians, musicians, minstrel shows, etc. who travelled throughout North America. These performance theatres often changed ownership and names during the brisk years of the early 1900s; however, when vaudeville died elsewhere because of the Great Depression and “the talkies”, they persisted in Vancouver for some time attesting to the unique character of the city.

Free for non-members, but a donation to the Vancouver Historical Society is appreciated.


BC: Lumberyard of the World! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 7:30pm – 9:30pm
University Women’s Club at Hycroft, 1489 McRae Ave

Lumberyard to the World. This talk will explore the headline that described BC as the “Lumberyard of the World”. Vancouver and its sawmill’s products enjoyed a worldwide reputation. Local mill’s products could be found in places as diverse as Great Britain, Egypt, South Africa and in China where there was a special order in 1881 for roof beams for the rebuilding of Beijing’s Forbidden City.

The forest that once blanketed Vancouver drew non-native settlement to this area and gave birth to the modern city. From a single mill on Burrard Inlet to over 15 mills producing an astounding volume of cut lumber, it’s hard to imagine the immensity of the industry here. In this talk we’ll explore the history of the lumber industry in the region and its impact on the city.

Presented by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation


How to Research Your House: November 17th.

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.

Check with the Vancouver Heritage Foundation for upcoming dates


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