Find out about your Burnaby home

Find Out About Your Burnaby Home

Burnaby’s historic estates, homes and buildings provide us with fascinating reminders of its past. If you live in an older Burnaby home or are interested in the history of a public building you may want to find information on its age, style or former owners. Looking for documented sources of information on a house or building may prove to be a challenge. In some cases there is a surprising amount of information on a particular Burnaby house and in other cases almost none. The following guides are meant to give you an idea of what is available. The librarians at the Burnaby Public Library would be happy to assist you further in your search.


971.133 Lux Luxton, Donald and Wolf, Jim. Burnaby's Heritage:An Inventory of Buildings and Structures.
2007(revised 2011)

This book provides photographs and information on historic homes, buildings and landmarks in Burnaby. It identifies historical sites in Burnaby that are protected by the Burnaby Community Heritage Register and those that are eligible for protection based on their historical value.

971.133 Wol  Wolf, Jim. Deer Lake Park Heritage Resource Inventory. City of Burnaby Community Heritage Commission, 1997.

This is a comprehensive inventory of Burnaby heritage estates (Deerholme Estate, Fairacres Estate, Deerlake Crescent Subdivision, Avalon Estate and Woodward Estate) as well as more modest private residences of historical significance. Buildings now located in the Burnaby Village Museum are also included. Themes touched upon are: pioneer settlement, agricultural development, and urban and suburban developments. Illustrations include photographs of exterior of each home. A map of Burnaby historic sites is provided. 

724.9 Eri Erickson, Arthur.The Architecture of Arthur Erickson. . Tundra, 1975.

Renown for his design of Simon Fraser University, Vancouver-native Arthur Erickson also designed many landmark buildings and squares in Vancouver. Richly illustrated with detailed plans and color photographs, this work devotes a sizeable chapter on the landscape and architecture of Burnaby's Simon Fraser University. It also includes a chronology of projects.

971.133 Sca The Scambler House. [Burnaby, 1978].

The Scambler House, once located at 4551 Price St., bore an interesting history, both in its ownership and its structural evolution over the years. Detailed account of remodeling, interior finishing and structural modification are included in this slim volume. The volume was compiled in 1978 as part of the proposal to move the Scambler House to Burnaby Village Museum. The move did not take place. The house was demolished in 1978-79 but has continued to maintain its stature in the history of Burnaby architecture.

971.133 Wat Watson, Ann. Windows to Burnaby's past: a preliminary survey of Burnaby's pre-1930 buildings. Burnaby Historical Society, 1985.

This is a systematic and comprehensive listing of pre-1930 buildings in Burnaby. Buildings are grouped according to geographical location. Each entry is headed by a photograph of the building exterior, followed by information on the date and style of construction, construction material, brief history, current owner and current zoning. A practical tool for historians of architecture. (Available at Metrotown & McGill)

917.1133 Den Denny, Winifred . The Story of a House. Burnaby Art Gallery, 197?

This small volume narrates the evolution of a family home. Built in 1909 by the Ceperley family and named "Fairacres", it went through many changes and owners until it became the present day Burnaby Art Gallery. Included are photographs and drawings displaying the details of the interior. 

971.133 Bur Burnaby Heritage Resource Inventory: Metrotown. Burnaby Historical Society, 1986.

This is an inventory of historic communities of Central Park, Patterson, McKay, West Burnaby, Jubilee and Royal Oak. Although the emphasis is on the community and urban planning, the work contains photographs of historic buildings. Homes are classified by style. Year of construction, address, a short history of owners/occupants and current condition of the building are noted. Original photographs from this inventory are available at Burnaby Public Library.

971.133 Hic Hicks, Julie . Hart Mansion: a landscape analysis for the BC Heritage Trust. UBC Landscape Architecture, 1983. 

The Hart Mansion stands on seven acres of land at Deer Lake in Burnaby. Designed by Frank W. Macey and constructed in 1910-12, it was named "Avalon" by its original owner Frederick John Hart. In 1975, the mansion was purchased by the municipality of Burnaby. The landscape analysis by Julie Hicks includes a brief history of the property, architectural details and style of the mansion. (Available at Metrotown).

971.133 Hou  House Re-numbering:1958-59 and 1960-61

Where previously many Burnaby address numbers were a continuation of numbering used in New Westminster, between 1958 and 1961 these addresses were changed to harmonize the numbers with the system used in Vancouver. The work is copied from City of Burnaby records listing the affected buildings by street name, and giving their old and new address numbers.

City Directories

Vancouver city directories will list names of previous owners of homes. City directories and criss-cross indexes for Greater Vancouver are no longer published.Metrotown branch library holdings are as follows:

  • Vancouver City directories, 1968 - 1995 (they include Burnaby)
  • selected historical directories (printed), 1882/83; 1919; 1923; 1930
  • selected historical directories (CIHM microfiche), 1877-1910
  • Criss-cross directories, 1979 - 2001


  • The Metrotown branch has copies of various historic maps of Burnaby in its Local History file. Included are:
  • Map of part of New Westminster District showing proposed new municipality of Burnaby 1891
  • Map of Municipality of Burnaby 1909, [1916-1922]
  • Map showing location of Burnaby reverted lands now offered for sale circa 1926
  • Municipality of Burnaby 1936 (R912.71133 Mun in Metrotown Special Collections)
  • Burnaby population distribution map preliminary work map 1958
  • Burnaby maps published by Burnaby Planning Department 1961,1966,1968 -
  • Electoral maps 1960s -
  • Burnaby Zoning maps 1978 -
  • Aerial photo maps of Burnaby
  • Waterways of Burnaby 1999  
  • Composite maps. Metric scale 1:2000
  • Charting Change is an historical map of Burnaby illustrating land use and heritage resources with five maps dated 1825, 1905, 1925, 1955 and 2001. The reverse side features photos and a brief history of each of Burnaby’s 37 designated heritage sites.
  • MAP 912.71133 Bur Burnaby fire insurance plans  includes:
                 Burnaby fire insurance plans : May 1927 unrevised set.
                 Burnaby fire insurance plans : key to plans May 1927 revised to 1950.
                 Burnaby fire insurance plans : May 1927, October 1940, revised to 1950.
    The originals are from vols. XV, XVI, XVII and XVIII of the Greater Vancouver, B.C. (Municipality of Burnaby) survey of May 1927 by the Plan Dept. of the Fire Branch of the B.C. Insurance Underwriters Assn. They cover lots and industrial, commercial and residential buildings in the more settled areas of the municipality, produced for fire insurance purposes as part of the Fire Insurance Plan of Greater Vancouver.


  • Various Burnaby community newspapers on microfilm from 1926 to the present.
  • Vancouver Province 1894 to date.
  • Vancouver Sun 1912 to date.
  • Victoria Daily Colonist December 1858 to1899, 1900 to1914. 
  • The Pacific Press newspaper clipping file on microfiche for the period 1930 to 1980.
  • The library has a microfilm subject index to older B.C. papers called the British Columbia Legislative Library Newspaper Index which covers the Province, Sun, Colonist, News Herald, Times, Times-Colonist: 1900 to 1970, 1971 to Jun 1979  and 1981 to 1990. (available at Metrotown branch) Useful subjects to try looking under are: "Historic Houses" in older indexes, and "Historic Buildings" in more recent indexes. A selective  index of the Province, Vancouver Sun, and Times Colonist is available online from 1991 to 2007 at the
    Legislative Library of B.C.

Burnaby Municipal Documents

  • There are paper copies of the following City of Burnaby documents at the Metrotown branch:
  • Burnaby City Council Agendas and Minutes microfim: 1973-1979, paper:1973-1997 and current 2 years.
  • Regular Burnaby Council Minutes from 1997-  to date are available online.
  •  Minutes and Agendas of selected council committees and annual reports of Burnaby City Departments, Commissions and Boards are available at the Metrotown library.
  • Burnaby Matters Database  is an index to Burnaby newspapers and city reports from 1935 to 2005. It provides citations to articles.If you think there was an article written about your home or a change recorded at City Hall you may want to check the following subject headings: 
           Historic Buildings - [street names]
            Zoning - [street name]
            Historic Sites 
    You may also search for articles under street names and peoples’ names. The index gives the name of the article and the name, date and page of the Burnaby newspaper or city report. You can then request to see the item at the Metrotown branch. Newspapers like the Burnaby Now and the Burnaby News are available on microfilm. Municipal Manager’s Report to Council are available on film from 1964-1969 and on paper from 1984 to present.

Telephone Directories

Metrotown branch library has older telephone books for Vancouver and suburbs since 1961.

Resource Links

Burnaby Building Services has a link to "How Old is My Building" ( on right side of page).which lists buildings by address with year of construction. 

Heritage Burnaby is an online collaboration that represents all of the community assets, heritage services and historic collections. Many online historical photos, including historical neighbourhoods.

New Westminster Public Library Heritage and Local History provides information on "How to Research Your New Westminister Home" and"Conserving and Restoring Your Historic House." "Heritage Home Tours Database" is searchable by address.

Vancouver Public Library's How to Find Information on Your Vancouver House is a guide to information sources on Vancouver houses. VPL Special Collections also has a searchable database of some of their historical photographs.

City of Vancouver Archives  collection includes historical photographs, building permit registers, fire insurance maps,city directories, and papers of private individuals.

BC Assessment Authority offices have assessment rolls back to 1976.

Heritage Society of British Columbia includes a link to Resources which includes publications , guides and tips on heritage buildings.