Shaughnessy Heights is Vancouver's best example of a planned community. In 1907, the CPR spent more than one million dollars developing the site before it began selling the high-priced lots. The estate-like character of the community is a result of a combination of large lots, winding boulevards, and extensive landscaping.
Many of the homes in First Shaughnessy were designed by the city's leading architects including Maclure & Fox, Parr & Fee, Sharp & Thompson, and Thomas Hooper. The architectural styles used during this period range from English Arts and Crafts and Tudor Revival to Craftsman and Colonial Revival.
Today the area is one of the city's most valuable heritage landscapes. Its premier heritage structures include The Nichol House at 1402 McRae Avenue, the Frederick Kelly House at 1398 Crescent, the MacDonald House at 1388 Crescent, the Fleck House at 1296 Crescent, and the two houses featured below:
Hycroft, 1489 McRae Avenue
Built in 1909 for B.C. industrialist A.D. McRae, Hycroft was the largest and most expensive mansion in the city. In the 1920s, the McRae's New Year's Eve costume ball was the highlight of the busy Shaughnessy social calendar. The grand home had three large gardens, an enormous greenhouse, riding stables, tennis courts, guest house, and a ballroom underlain with seaweed to give dancers more bounce. Inside there was a wine cellar, mirrored bar, a variety of dens, drawing rooms and a solaria. Hidden passageways ran parallel to the family's quarters, making it easy for servants to go about their work. In 1962 it was purchased by the University Women's Club, and every year the public is welcome to view the house during the annual Christmas craft fair.
Glen Brae, 1690 Matthews Street
Sawmill owner William Lamont Tait instructed architects Parr and Fee to design him a Scottish baronial-style home that he named Glen Brae (meaning valley of the mountains). The result is perhaps the most memorable mansion in Shaughnessy. This unusual 1910 home features a pair of twin towers with dome roofs on either side of the grand entrance porch, and an outstanding wrought iron fence imported from Glasgow. In 1992, owner Elizabeth Wlosinski willed the home to the City. It is now the home of Canuck Place, a hospice for children.
See detailed information on the city's heritage and a complete list of heritage buildings.
Additional information is available through the City of Vancouver Archives.