Barclay Heritage Square

This entire city block of Edwardian-era houses in the middle of Vancouver’s West End was scheduled for demolition for a city park. Over the course of the 1960s and 70s, the City of Vancouver Parks Board acquired Parksite 19 with the intention of demolishing the buildings. There were seventeen buildings on the site, all built between 1890 and 1927. Fifteen of these were originally single-family residences and two were early apartment buildings. The collection of buildings eloquently represented the character of the West End that had all but disappeared amidst apartment towers. One of the houses (Roedde House) was subsequently discovered to be the first F.M. Rattenbury building in Canada.

In 1979, the National Trust for Canada prepared a feasibility study for preserving the entire block. The study established the possibility that buildings on the entire block could be redeveloped while also recognizing the densely populated area’s need for a neighbourhood park. In order to accommodate park space, some of the buildings were demolished, including the two apartment buildings. Today, Barclay Heritage Square consists of 12 heritage buildings, including the 1893 Roedde House. It serves as an oasis of green amidst surrounding concrete high-rises.