While Vancouver is considered a young city by any account, the downtown core has many beautiful historical buildings worth exploring. As the weather warms up, look up and enjoy the city’s architectural beauty through a self-guided stroll or by joining a tour.
The Vancouver Art Gallery draws crowds for its multitude of exhibitions throughout the year, but the actual building where the gallery is currently housed, constructed in 1906, is a neo-classical building with iconic columns, a central dome and ornate stonework, and is worth a closer look. Named a National Historic Site of Canada, the building at the centre of the city is surrounded by public spaces used by the community as a hub for self-organized activities and events.
Taste Vancouver Food Tours’ popular Gastown Food Tour explores Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. And while it’s focused on the area’s culinary scene, the guided walk through cobbled stone streets is peppered with storytelling that highlights fascinating and little-known stories about Gastown, its architecture and history. The tour starts at Waterfront Station, a neo-classical style building that boasts murals depicting Western Canadian landscapes along with large columns and archways. Another gem in Gastown is the Hotel Europe building that was designed in the Flatiron style so it would fit the triangular lot. Built in 1909, this building still has its original Italian tile floors and lead glass windows and has been featured in various films including Legends of the Fall.
Not to be missed, the Marine Building is considered to have the best Art Deco architecture in the city. Inspired by the Chrysler building in New York, it has a wide range of marine life and transportation themes depicted throughout its terra cotta exterior. Its detailed design has caught the attention of many Hollywood North film sets and the building appears in movies and series such as Smallville, The Flash and Fantastic Four.