The Current

Vancouver's hot real estate market puts character homes at risk

People are paying millions of dollars for character homes in Vancouver, only to tear them down, and build bigger. We hear about the fight to save the city's distinctive neighbourhoods.
One of many character homes that appears in the book Vancouver Vanishes. This 2857 West 32nd Ave. was built in 1936, and its first owners were salesman John R. Dudley and wife Florence. (Caroline Adderson)

Read story transcript

In the past year alone, the city of Vancouver has issued 974 demolition permits for family homes and duplexes. 

As the local real estate market and housing crisis intensifies, Vancouver character homes are increasingly being demolished to make room for new, more spacious, housing.

While the promise of progress is alluring, many local residents would rather preserve the city's distinctive architectural heritage.

Michael Kluckner, a Vancouver-based author and illustrator, has received numerous book and heritage awards for his books, Vanishing Vancouver and Vancouver Remembered,

Kluckner says he understands there's a business opportunity in tearing down a smaller character home to build a much larger contemporary house. But he doesn't like how the trend is changing the face of Vancouver communities.

"People who might want to keep those houses are being outbid by people who want to tear them down. So there's kind of a clash of values of new versus old," says Kluckner. 

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post. 

This segment was produced by network producers Anne Penman and Mary Lynk.