Designed by Sir Francis Rattenbury, Vancouver’s Roedde House Museum is a historic attraction that’s open to the public for guided tours and special events.
Special events at the Roedde House Museum include free Summer Jazz on the Porch performances and ticketed Classical Concert Series events. The Roedde House Speaker Series also takes place on the last Wednesday of the month.
See below or check out the official Roedde House website for more details.
Historic Roedde House
Built in 1893, Roedde House was the home of a middle-class immigrant family from Germany. Gustav Roedde moved to the Lower Mainland in 1888, shortly after Vancouver’s great fire, and he became the city’s first bookbinder. Today the home is a beautifully-restored heritage building full of artifacts and history.
Topics included in this article are listed below. Click any of the following links to jump to a particular subject, or either continue reading or visit the Museum’s Official Website to learn all about Roedde House.
What is Roedde House? | Where is it? | Admission Rates | Hours of Operation | What to Expect | Events | Sunday Tea | Jazz Concerts | Classical Concerts | Speaker Series Events | Tips & Advice | Other Information
What is Roedde House?
Built in 1893, just seven years after Vancouver was officially founded, Roedde House is an exceptional example of a late Victorian-era middle-class home built in the Queen Anne revival style.
Beautifully restored in 1990, today the building is a heritage site run by the Roedde House Preservation Society and its over 50 volunteers.
Of considerable significance, the house was designed by Sir Francis Rattenbury who was the architect behind some of British Columbia’s most famous late 19th and early 20th century buildings. Vancouver’s former court house, for example, which today is the Vancouver Art Gallery, was one of his projects between 1905 and 1913.
Other structures by Rattenbury include the BC Legislature and Empress Hotel in Victoria. Roedde House was one of the famous architect’s earlier Canadian projects – done just a couple of years after he immigrated to BC – and one of the few residential homes he designed before his career took off.
Where is Roedde House?
Roedde House is located at 1415 Barclay Street which is between Broughton Street and Nicola about four blocks south of Robson Street in Vancouver’s West End. Beside the museum is a small park called Barclay Heritage Square.
Parking and Transportation
Parking in the immediate area is limited, although there are four marked parking spots for visitors directly behind the house.
Most of the nearby street parking is for residents only, although there are a few spots, including on Nicola Street. If you can’t find a place for your car close by, head to Robson Street where there is plenty of metered pay parking.
The closest SkyTrain is at Burrard Station which is about a 20-minute walk away. From the station, walk southwest along Burrard Street, turn right onto Robson, then left on Broughton and then right onto Barclay. It’s a nice walk and you’ll pass lots of fashionable retailers and restaurants along the way.
If you prefer a quiet residential street to stroll along, instead of turning onto Robson, keep going another three or so blocks and then turn right directly onto Barclay.
If bussing, it’s Bus #5 that runs along Robson Street.
General admission to Roedde House costs about $10 which includes a guided tour of the home. Children ages five and under are free.
In addition to the tours, the museum hosts monthly concerts in the parlour. As of the summer of 2019, they cost $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors.
In June, July and August, Roedde House also offers a once-a-month “Summer Jazz on the Porch” event which takes place outside in Barclay Heritage Square. Admission for that is by donation.
See further below for additional information about the events.
Hours of Operation
The museum is open to the public for guided tours five or six days a week throughout the year.
From the beginning of June until the end of August, the place is open from Tuesday to Sunday (and closed on Mondays). During the summer season it is also open on statutory holidays (e.g., Canada Day and BC Day).
In the slower season, from September until May, Roedde House is open five days a week. During the fall, winter and spring, it’s closed on Mondays, Saturdays and most national holidays.
Hours of operation are usually 11:00 am until 4:00 pm on weekdays and Saturdays (in the summer), and from 1:00 until 4:00 pm on Sundays.
What to Expect on a Tour
When you visit Roedde House for a tour you can expect to be welcomed by a guide who will show you around the home.
The building itself is charming on the outside and beautiful on the inside. The home has fine wood floors, the parlour has a late 19th century Steinway piano, and upstairs there is a revolving exhibition that changes two or three times a year. On your tour you’ll see the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms and pretty much every part of the house.
In the various rooms you’ll see fine China, clothing, turn-of-the-century furniture, photos of the Roedde family and other interesting antiques and artifacts.
Gustav and Matilda Roedde lived in the home with their family from 1893 until 1925. Years later the building became a rooming house, and then over time it fell into disrepair.
The City of Vancouver purchased the property in 1970, along with other neighbouring homes, with the intention of tearing it down and building a park. Fortunately, the building was saved, it has been a museum since 1990 and there is a small park next door.
During your tour of the museum you’ll learn all about the Roedde family, the history of the home and the building’s architectural features.
Things You Can Touch
Unlike most historical sites of its type, visitors to Roedde House are welcome to touch items on display and sit on the furniture. It’s a wonderfully hands-on museum.
You are asked not to touch clothing that’s on display, as it is especially delicate. There is also the occasional sign asking you not to touch specific things or, in one of the bedrooms, not to sit on a particular bed. In most cases, however, you are welcome to pick things up, look at them and enjoy the experience with more than just your eyes. If in doubt, ask your tour guide.
The hands-on element at the Roedde House Museum really makes the place special. Just be sure to handle items carefully (and keep a close eye on your children)!
Learning about the House
The guided tours at Roedde House are exceptional and highly recommended. In addition to the live commentary by your informative guide, there is also written material posted in some of the rooms, plus both written and mobile-device materials for folk wanting to do a self-guided tour in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean or Spanish.
Roedde House Events
Special events at Roedde House include the museum’s Sunday Tea and Tours, Jazz Concert Series performances, Classical Concert Series events and the occasional play.
Sunday Tea and Tours
A great time to visit the museum is on Sundays between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. Reservations are not required, but you do need to arrive by at least 3:15.
On Sundays you not only get a tour of the house, but you also get a cup of tea. The regular admission rate applies, but the cup of tea is free.
Jazz Concert Series
Roedde House hosts a series of once-a-month live Jazz performances. During the non-summer months they take place indoors in the home’s parlour and cost $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Up to between 35 and 40 people can attend each night.
In June, July and August, instead of indoor ticketed Jazz events, Roedde House hosts its annual Summer Jazz on the Porch performances. They are “pay what you can” (i.e., by donation) and take place in Barclay Heritage Square just outside the museum.
The Jazz Concert Series events take place from 7:00 until 9:00 pm on the second Thursday of the month (although very occasionally on a different date instead).
2019 Summer Jazz on the Porch performances are the following:
- Thursday, June 20th, 2019 – with Steve Kaldestad on sax, Oliver Gannon on guitar and Paul Rushka on bass.
- Thursday, July 11th, 2019 – with Jodi Proznick on bass guitar, Ben Henriques on sax and Omar Amlani on the drums.
- Thursday, August 8th, 2019 – Nicholas Bracewell on drums, Daniel Howard on bass guitar and Winston Matsushita on keyboard.
Click Jazz Concert Series for more information.
Classical Concert Series
In addition to monthly Jazz concerts, Roedde House also hosts classical music performances. Classical Concert Series events are held once a month on a Sunday and cost between $12 and $15 per person.
- Sunday, June 9th, 2019 – Romanza Y Comedia featuring Argentinian mezzo-soprano vocalist Fabiana Katz accompanied by Anna Vavilova on the piano.
- Sunday, July 14th, 2019 – Chromaticity featuring the trio of Jane Hayes on piano, Joan Blackman on violin and Julia Nolan on saxophone.
For further details click Classical Concert Series.
Roedde House Speaker Series
The Speaker Series involves a guest speaker on the last Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm.
At these 1-hour events an expert in the field of heritage preservation, Victorian literature, Vancouver history or some other interesting topic gives a lecture. Often the speaker is a university professor or PhD candidate. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors.
Examples of Speaker Series events include the following:
- Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 – a talk by Andrea Sandeen about geometry and algebraic symbolism in the book Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
- Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 – a lecture by Josef Méthot about the life of Sir Francis Rattenbury and early British Columbia.
- Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 – a literary presentation by Richard Bergen about the psychology and allegorical meanings behind the book Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
For more information click Roedde House Speaker Series.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions and bits of useful information to help you make the most out of your visit to Roedde House.
TIP #1: Expect to stay for at least 45 minutes on a regular day. The guided tour itself lasts for approximately half an hour depending on the guide and inquisitiveness of the visitors.
TIP #2: If attending a concert, arrive early to get a good spot as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
TIP #3: Tea and Tour events on Sundays include a tour of the museum (as the name of the event suggests). During other indoor events, however, including the indoor live Jazz and speaker series events, only a small number of rooms on the lower floor are open for viewing. During the Summer Jazz on the Porch event, the building itself is closed.
TIP #4: Sundays when they have a concert can be really good days to go. Provided that you go an hour or so early, you can get a tour, plus tea, plus the concert.
TIP #5: The Roedde House Museum is owned by the City of Vancouver and run by the Roedde House Preservation Society which is a charitable organization. Donations are greatly appreciated and tax receipts are issued for amounts of $25 and above.
TIP #6: Consider combining your visit to the museum with dinner at a restaurant or shopping on Robson Street (which is one of Vancouver’s trendiest and most fashionable shopping districts).
TIP #7: If you’re on a tight budget, it’s good to know that admission to the museum is by donation on the last Friday of the month.
TIP #8: In case you were interested, the museum is available to rent for weddings and other private events for groups of up to around 50 people.
TIP #9: The ground floor of the museum is accessible by wheelchair, but not the upstairs.
TIP #10: Roedde is pronounced “Road-y”.
For more information about the museum visit the Roedde House website.
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