Vancouver often features high on the list of top world cities for its progressive vision. In this three-hour Vancouver architecture tour, we'll look at how the city has positioned itself as an inclusive, green city. Led by an architect, urbanist, or historian, we'll take a focused, in-depth look at the economics, politics, and architecture of the city, including stops in Robson Square, Chinatown, Japantown, and Downtown Eastside. This is a great tour for first-time visitors, architecture enthusiasts, or those who want to understand Vancouver's role on the Pacific Rim.
Vancouver Architecture Tour
Our walk starts in the heart of the city at Robson Square, where we explore the Square’s emblematic West Coast architecture. Nearby we’ll see some of the West End towers which emerged in the late 1960’s, a time when Vancouver created environmental organizations with a worldwide reach, including Greenpeace. The tour will connect Vancouver’s green aspirations with the city's hosting of world events, including Expo '86 and the 2010 Winter Olympics. We will explore the legacies of these events and see how they feed into creating Vancouver’s livable feel.
First Nations People of Canada
Vancouver is a city of many cultures, which is reflected in the architecture and development of the city. Vancouver’s green aspirations are particularly tied to the city’s First Nations heritage; as such, we'll take a look at their socio-economic aspirations and ties to the land. Then, as we stroll through Chinatown and Japantown, we’ll talk about Vancouver’s links to Asia and how these play an increasing role in its development. We will discuss the ways in which Vancouver has addressed its position as a city that bridges North America and the Asia-Pacific region. We will discuss historic injustices and more recent efforts to create communities that celebrate diversity.
Progressivism on the Pacific Rim
As we walk through historic Vancouver neighborhoods, we will discuss preservation and the re-purposing of buildings before arriving at the dynamic urban renewal taking place on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In this neighborhood, dramatic new urban development sits next to housing and services of Canada’s poorest populations, including Vancouver’s famous safe injection site for heroin users. Finally, while viewing Vancouver’s large, deep water harbor, we will discuss the resource sectors that form the base of the Canadian economy, while considering the tension between industry and sustainability that Vancouver embodies, including discussions of the forestry sector, mining, and recent oil spills.
Our walk will provide valuable, first hand insight into Vancouver as a model 21st century city and its growing pains towards substantiality. To learn more about Vancouver's early history, see our Introductory Vancouver Walking Tour
. Alternatively, for those who have worked up an appetite, check out our Vancouver Food Tour