A hipster vibe, a sense of heritage and some unexpected locales are all part of this year’s Heritage Homes Tour.
The New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society is holding its 37th annual tour on Sunday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. About 1,000 people attend the annual tour.
“It’s a little bit of a different tour,” said Catherine Hutson, a director with the society. “We still have eight great houses, but we are showcasing a lot of art and history as well.”
This year’s lineup includes an 80-year-old Hollywood Regency home that was extensively renovated during a role on Love It or List It, a Brow of the Hill Victorian home, a renovated Victory Heights bungalow with a garden kitchen, an Arts and Crafts beauty in transition, a 1940 Dutch Colonial style home in Queen’s Park and two Glenbrook homes that live on because of their homeowners’ dedication.
100 Braid Street Gallery is on the Heritage Homes Tour. Artist sketch by Susan L. Greig
The Heritage Preservation Society has partnered with the Arts Council of New Westminster to put an artsy spin on this year’s tour. Along with having pieces of art displayed in homes and venues on the tour, the tour will include stops at Centennial Lodge – a 1960s building in Queen’s Park that will have a full-day art show from New West Artists, the Gallery at Queen’s Park and the Vagabond Players’ Bernie Legge Theatre.
“We are infusing Queen’s Park with art. A lot of people don’t know about Queen’s Park or if they live in the city they don’t go there,” Hutson said. “In addition, we are going to have 100 Braid Street Studios. It has a cool history. Gardiner and Mercer, well-known local architects from the early 1900s, designed it. Then we have the whole issue that it’s facing demolition as part of the Wesgroup/Urban Academy. Who knows what’s going to happen. It’s timely that they are on the tour.”
It may not be old, but the New Westminster museum in Anvil Centre is also on this year’s tour.
“It is not heritage – yet,” Hutson said. “There are so many people who live locally and have never been to the museum. That museum is fantastic. We are putting them on the tour as a venue. What’s more heritage than that museum? We are trying to bring heritage up to the 2016 standard.”
Along the way, folks will visit homes that could have faced the wrecking ball but were renovated to fit today’s needs.
“Right now we are under a lot of pressure facing demolitions across the city,” Hutson said. “I really like how you can keep the essence of a house and build up and out and make it a family home.”
With a “now meets then” theme, the Heritage Preservation Society thinks they’ve put together a stellar lineup that will appeal to many interests. Some of the changes to this year’s tour are the result of feedback organizers get from tour goers who complete surveys each year.
“We are trying to mix it up and give people what they want. We actually already have four houses lined up for next year.”
The New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society welcomes new (and younger) members. Info can be found at www.newwest
“Heritage is not just dark-stained wood and wallpapered walls. It’s much more than that,” Hutson said. “This year we are trying to say that in a different way.”
Three things you need to know about this year’s tour:
* Along with showcasing New Westminster’s heritage, this year’s tour also aims to celebrate the city’s rich artistic talent by including art components on the tour.
There is no tea on this year’s tour – and the New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society has passed savings onto tour goers by dropping the ticket price from $40 to $35.
* The owners of the Dutch Colonial house at 317 Fourth Ave. agreed to be on tour for one reason – to raise funds for the Group of Five in memory of one of its founding members, Shirley Piper. Piper passed away in April 2014, leaving behind a legacy of community fundraising work that included raising money for much-needed items at Royal Columbian Hospital with the Group of Five. The owner’s young son will be piping in the morning to herald the tour and celebrate Piper, whose home was on the tour in 1983. During the tour, the owners of 317 Fourth Ave. will be raffling off unique fresh flower arrangements, a few seasonal dried wreaths and a fairy garden. Tickets are $2 each or seven for $10, with all proceeds to the Group of Five.
* Tickets are available online at www.newwestheritage.org. You’ll be able to purchase them at various locations around town starting May 7: Royal City Colours (700 12th St.); Cadeaux Boutique and Day Spa (467 East Columbia St.); Champagne Taste Home Consignment (1101 Royal Ave.); the Museum at Anvil Centre (777 Columbia St.); and Gardenworks – Mandeville (4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby).
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