1425 Gordon Avenue (Vinson House)
Proposed Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) for the Vinson House located at 1425 Gordon Avenue in Ambleside.
The Vinson House was built in 1913 for Valient Vinson, who was Reeve (Mayor) of West Vancouver from 1918 - 1920, 1922, and 1927 - 1929. It was the first house in the upper Hollyburn area, and it is well-preserved and an excellent example of the Craftsman Style. The Vinson House is noted as a primary resource on the West Vancouver Survey of Significant Architecture: Pre-1945 and was added to the Community Heritage Register on June 9, 2008. The Statement of Significance (SOS) gives heritage value to the Vinson House for its architecture, its age, the development patterns it illustrates, and the significance of its original owner. Character defining elements in the SOS include:
- Location of the house on the rear of its 1/4 acre lot and its relationship to Gordon Avenue;
- Mature gardens;
- The mixture of post-1940 bungalows and other house-types that surround the house on all sides, and which reveal the later patterns of development;
- The exterior features of the house, typical of Craftsman style, which include a front-gable roof with hipped dormers on the side slopes; the symmetrical massing, with paired and triple square tapered porch pillars; the original entry doors; the flared window surrounds; the triangular eave brackets, and the second-floor porch (now glassed in).
- The wood-frame construction, clad in original cedar shingles;
- Interior features including the original fir floors and fir and plywood doors (reportedly an example of one of the earliest uses of plywood); original staircase and built-in cabinets in the dining room and master bedroom; original corner brick fireplace in the living room; original pocket doors between the hall and dining room; and the beamed ceilings and wooden detailing on the walls of the living room, dining room and master bedroom.
Heritage Revitalization Agreements
Municipal heritage conservation powers are governed by Part 15 of the Local Government Act. These include ongoing protection tools such as Heritage Revitalization Agreements and Heritage Designation. The Vinson House was added to the West Vancouver Community Heritage Register in 2008, by resolution of Council. This provides formal recognition of its heritage value, and makes it eligible for conservation incentives, in accordance with guidelines established by Council in 2009. There is currently no legal protection in place; the Vinson House is at risk for demolition and replacement with a new larger house.
The property owners, a partnership between The Geller Group and Trasolini Chetner, have applied for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA). If approved by Council, the HRA would provide for:
- legal protection of the Vinson House (2,697 sq ft) and add a garden suite (1,954 sq ft) in the basement level of the house;
- add a detached dwelling unit to the northeast corner (Laneway Cottage 1,447 sq ft);
- add a detached dwelling unit to the southeast corner (Garden Cottage 1,574 sq ft);
- add garages to the rear lane;
- a total of four strata units, with one enclosed parking space per unit;
- Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 0.59, as incentive for the conservation and legal protection of the Vinson House. A Heritage Designation Bylaw would be considered in tandem with the HRA bylaw, and would provide for the ongoing legal protection of the heritage resource.
On June 6, 2016 the "Vinson House" became a legally protected heritage resource when Council approved the Heritage Designation Bylaw and the Heritage Revitalization Agreement. In exchange, the property owner will be adding additional units to the site as described above.