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What’s in a Name: the Vancouver Special

So what’s in a name?

Vancouver Special homes, image courtesy of

Though it may seem unassuming and typical to the untrained eye of a tourist passing through, the Vancouver Special is immediately recognizable to those who’ve lived in Vancouver long enough.

With a form made up of right angles, stucco and brick, it’s been criticized for being mass produced — and well, ugly. However, we believe that the most unsuspecting things can be the most beautiful. This website is even dedicated to the Vancouver Special in all its original glory.

Our interpretation.

The Vancouver Special is minimalist and simple, deliberate and purposeful in its design. These are the qualities we chose to embody in our Vancouver Special gift basket. It has treats from all around British Columbia like the VQA Henhouse Ruffled Red Wine from Red Rooster Winery, the Chocolate Strawberry S’more from Butter Baked Goods, Apple Pie and Cinnamon Massage Bar from EverGreen Soaps and twelve more amazing gifts.

Our very special Vancouver Special gift basket, with all fifteen treats.

This gift basket was created with both discerning Vancouverites and real estate agents in mind. We thought, what better way to welcome your client into their new Vancouver home, than to give them a gift that is Vancouver to its core? (We’re sure they’ll love it even if they’re not getting comfortable in a new Vancouver Special home.)

The Special today.

It’s not unusual to find a Vancouver Special selling for $1,700,000.00 today, but the single-unit family home started as an inexpensive solution to immigration to Vancouver in the 1960’s to 80’s. In the 70’s, a typical unit was only $45,000.00.

If you were wondering how much that can get you today, artist Ken Lum created a unique art exhibit in Chinatown named Vancouver Especially, which showcases the simple style of the Vancouver Special in miniature form in a commentary on Vancouver’s affordability.

Ken Lum with his very own Vancouver Special, photo courtesy of Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive.

Whether you love it or hate it, the Vancouver Special makes up an important part of the history and current landscape of Vancouver, much like how our Special gift basket is one of our favourite gifts that we offer, and that make up our company as a whole. And much like us, it is quintessentially Vancouver.

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