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The Homer

337 Smithe Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/11/21

Exterior view of The Homer; City of Vancouver, 2007
Corner view looking east
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Situated on the northeast corner of the intersection of Smithe and Homer Streets, The Homer is a three-storey apartment building composed of two symmetrical blocks flanking the main entry facing Smithe Street.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of The Homer lies in its architectural and contextual significance.

The Homer is an outstanding resource from its era principally because much of its fine original form and details are intact and in repairable condition. Built in 1913, it is also historically important as a record of the transition of the area, from one composed largely of single-family residences to a more densely-populated mix of uses, before the Great War. It is of value as an early multi-unit apartment conveniently located in an intensely developed area of downtown.

The architectural significance of The Homer lies in its prominent corner location and its construction at the end of the city’s Edwardian development boom. The building’s exterior is representative of good speculative development: the classically-derived exterior composition of base, body and capital regions; the substantial brick base to the wall assemblies and between bays on the floors above; the dominant window bays on the second and third floors overhanging the public space; and the substantial cornice-work with classically-inspired details in relief.

The contextual significance of The Homer lies in the internal circulation space and the modest apartment sizes, which attest to the sudden growing demand for respectable accommodation for singles (men and women) and couples in this increasingly commercial area of the residential downtown. Commercial space on the ground floor reflects the development of Homer in the early twentieth century as an increasingly commercial street.

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of The Homer include its:

- location tight to the corner of the intersection of Homer and Smithe Streets, with bays overhanging the street
- commercial corner space on the ground floor
- apartment building form, expressed by its three-storey massing
- original exterior wood detailing in the bay window areas on three sides of the second and third storeys, and original wood windows
- original brickwork of ground floor exterior walls, and upper floor walls between bays
- facades, which include original frieze and cornice work, and the words "THE HOMER" prominently displayed on the Smithe Street facade
- small self-contained residential units with main rooms ensuite
- grand entry lobby staircases, lit both by windows with original coloured art glass and by a skylight
- original stair construction and detailing, and original wood doors to suites
- interior windows, which light bathrooms and kitchens via a central stair hall



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.582

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Multiple Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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