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 and Mastercard payments for my walking tours. Card payments can be made at the start of each tour.
2013: September 19th. - 26th. are this year's dates.
We're working on the itinerary now. For a sense of what we get up too here's last year's itinerary.
Changing City is out in bookstores. Keep up to date with the
blog. While there check out our other blogs on the site.
From humble structures hugging the shoreline on the edge of a forest,
to the grandeur and elegance of the iconic railroad hotel along with today's
luxury offerings, this tour takes a look at the fascinating history of spending the
night in Vancouver.
Tours will depart the Hornby Street entrance to the
Vancouver Art Gallery Sunday mornings at 10:30 am from May to the end of August 2013.
Please note there are no tours on
May 12, 26, June 23, 30, July 14, 28
Tickets can be purchased half an hour before the tour at the Gallery’s admission
desk in the main lobby. Private tours for families or groups can also be arranged.
$35 includes walking tour & express entry ticket to the exhibition.
Tickets can be purchased just for the walking tour at $15
Tour of Places That Matter
May 25 1pm – 3pm
Meet at Canada Place by the Info Booth (999 Canada Place)
See and hear about plaques that have
been installed around the city. We’ll be making a special stop
midway to take in the Nellie Yip Quong plaque presentation live! The
tour starts at Canada Place and will include stops in Strathcona,
False Creek, and Fairview Slopes, heading over the Burrard Street
Bridge, before concluding at Robson Square.
Please note we will be riding through downtown streets in the bike lanes, and there will be inclines. The ride will be comfortable for intermediate level cyclists familiar with city cycling and is not recommended for children.
Get your tickets at through the Vancouver Heritage Foundation
Where did those responsible for the early city’s skyline live and just what were their chosen neighbourhoods like when they took up residence there?
Join us for an exploration of some familiar and not so familiar neighbourhoods and along the way a couple of detours on some old roads.
All walks are 10-12noon, $12 inclusive per person. Book
through the Vancouver Heritage Foundation
April 27th - The West End was home to many prominent Vancouverites and many successful architects including W.T. Whiteway the designer of the Sun Tower, J.S. Helyer the architect of the Dominion Building, the partnership of Dalton and Eveleigh and Mr Fee of Parr and Fee made the area their home.
Meet at the south west corner of Denman and Haro.
May 18th - Mt Pleasant - In the 1890s when N.S. Hoffar the architect of many prominent structures in the early years of the city including the impressive Dunn Miller Block on Cordova Street, chose the then out of the way Mt Pleasant to make his home, many of his neighbours were still farming the slopes above the future Broadway.
Meet at the south west corner of Ontario and Broadway
June 1st - Kitsilano developed with the expansion of the street car network and became a popular area filled with Craftsman-style homes. Arthur Julius Bird, for many years the City’s architect designed many of the homes here and lived in at least two. One of the Twizells and the architect of Holy Rosary Cathedral T. E. Julian were some of his neighbours.
Meet at the south east corner of Waterloo and 4th Avenue at McBride Park.
June 15th - Old Roads #1 - Alexander Street is one of the earliest roads in the city. Originally the trail alone the shore line from the emerging townsite of Gastown and the Hastings Sawmill, it became a popular street for early residents and later a street of brothels before becoming part of the Japanese neighbourhood surrounding Powell Street.
Meet in front of the Hotel Europe on the Alexander Street side of the hotel.
July 6th - Kerrisdale was home to C.B.K. van Norman, a modernist architect who made much of his living from designing revival style homes for clients on the west side of the city, and the other Twizell brother from the firm of Twizell and Twizell, noted church architects.
Meet at East Boulevard and 37th Avenue
July 13th - Triangle West - now known for its condominium towers squeezed in between Georgia and Pender Streets, this area was one of the 'best' neighbourhoods in the early city. H.H. Simmonds, best known for the Stanley Theatre and C.O. Wickenden, responsible for so many robust designs at the turn of the 19th century, and the little known Philip Julian made their homes here, overlooking Coal Harbour.
Meet at the north west corner of Georgia and Thurlow.
August 3rd - Arthur Erickson's neighbourhood is an unassuming place with tree lined streets and comfortable houses developed in the 1920s. And its here he chose to create the secret garden oasis that served as his home.
Meet at the corner of north west corner of 16th and Courtenay
August 17th - Old Roads #2 Market Alley was once a busy shopping street and an important part of Chinatown. Today there's not much left to remind us of the activity and businesses that were here except for a few street numbers over a few doors.
Meet in the courtyard of the Chinese Cultural Centre, 50 East Pender Street
Sept. 7th - Fraser and 14th. As the street car network grew, various small land developers carved residential streets out of the scrub and bush far away from downtown. Here the family of noted West End apartment builders, the Lighthearts, made their home. Its a quirky neighbourhood of interesting streets and homes.
Meet at the north east corner of Fraser and 14th Avenue
October 5th - Old Roads #3 - The False Creek Trail is marked on maps from the 1870s and is shown meandering southward away from the bridge across the creek at today's Main Street. We'll follow its approximate route and look at how the area below Broadway has evolved.
Meet at the south west corner of Main at 6th
sponsored by Mountain View Cemetery
Check the Continuing Education site for more information on upcoming courses.
Vancouver Heritage Foundation's Places That Matter project is installing 125 commemorative plaques for the 125th birthday of the city. And the public was invited to vote for their favorites here.
[ top of the page
occasional blog about things that "float to the top of my desk"
Did you know Blood Alley Square in Gastown is named for nothing? There were no butcher shops in the alley, or fights and murder contributing to "rivers of blood"; it was a name plucked out of the air by planners in the 1970s during the alley's renovation. more...
Our recent travels took us to Istanbul.
We've been to Oman and Dubai. Here
are some photos.
In April 1935 Ray Woods, a stunt man from St Louis, jumped from the centre of the Burrard Bridge in front of an estimated crowd of 20,000 people.
This was Mr. Woods 161st bridge dive, afterwards he went back to
his room at the Hotel Devonshire.
Vancouver was incorporated as a city in April 1886, in June it was burned to the ground in a spectacular fire.
A common error is to assume the new city boundary of 1886 was Heatley Ave since it was once called Boundary Road, but it only meant it was the boundary between two district lots. Nanaimo was the city limits until 1911.
Vancouver Mayor Fred Cope (the City's third mayor) drowned in a river while looking for gold in the Klondike.
The largest recorded earthquake to impact the west coast of
BC was in 1946 - a 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
The boundaries of the City of Vancouver are not simple, check out
their complicated description from the