Vancouver Special is a term used to refer to houses built in a particular architectural style, in mass quantities, in the period from roughly 1965 to 1985 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and its suburbs.
Vancouver Specials are characterized by their extremely typical “box-like” structure, low-pitched roofs, balconies across the front of the house. Brick or stone finishes on the ground-floor are characteristic of the ground level facades, with stucco on the 2nd or 3rd floors. Vancouver Specials have similar floor plans with the main living quarters on the upper floor and secondary bedrooms on the bottom, making them ideal for secondary suites (“mortgage helpers”).
From a builder’s point of view, this is a very sturdy — yet cheap in material and time — design to build, with lots of possibilities for renovations and customization. Depending on the zoning of the property, you might be eligible to build a laneway house.
Take a look at this video about Vancouver Specials from REW.ca; I’m featured in the last half of the video thanks to my knowledge of the renovation process and Vancouver Real Estate.
The Vancouver Heritage Foundation has a great description of Vancouver Specials(and other styles of Vancouver houses).
Check out all the currently listed Vancouver Specials in East Van, and please contact us if you have any questions about the listings or possible renovations costs and issues.