Houses for All: The Struggle for Social Housing in Vancouver, 1919-50


248 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7748-0495-5
DDC 363.5'09711'33






Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is the financial and budget manager of the University of
British Columbia Library.


This carefully researched study documents a neglected aspect of
Vancouver’s social history. Admittedly, there is little civic pride to
be found in recurring shortages of decent affordable housing for the
poor. But the activists who struggled to draw attention to the need, and
the governments that responded, can take pride in the programs that were
carried out to remedy the situation. Many of the houses survive today,
still sheltering citizens of limited means. Unfortunately, the problem
has also survived. It calls out to 1990s activists to raise awareness
and lobby for solutions, just as their predecessors did in the 1920s,
the 1930s, and the war years; history can show the way. The narrative
and analysis are supported by extensive references to contemporary
sources, statistical tables, black-and-white photos of houses and plans,
and a thorough index. In addition to filling in a missing piece of
Vancouver’s history, this monograph makes a valuable contribution to
the study of urban and social planning in Canada and abroad.


Wade, Jill., “Houses for All: The Struggle for Social Housing in Vancouver, 1919-50,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,