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City to show off Branscombe House at Doors Open

Historic Branscombe House has been renovated and will be open to the public during Doors Open.  - City of Richmond file photo
Historic Branscombe House has been renovated and will be open to the public during Doors Open.
— image credit: City of Richmond file photo

It's one of the earliest homes built in Steveston—crafted a century ago by Richmond dairy farmers before falling into disrepair.

But following a major overhaul, the Branscombe House is now largely restored, and city officials will open its doors to the public for the first time during Doors Open June 7 and 8.

Constructed as early as 1905 by Solomon and Eleanor Branscombe, the first floor of the two-level house will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's one of 42 arts, culture and heritage sites opening their doors to the public at no charge for the weekend.

"Doors Open invites people to become explorers and learners, as each site has a special offering to its visitors, and often opens doors to areas the public can’t normally go," said Mayor Malcolm Brodie in a city news release.

No plans have been announced for the future of Branscombe House. The city appealed to potential users earlier this spring for ideas.

Other new sites this year include Vancouver International Airport, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the artist studio of Bernd Stanke, Neon Salon. Visitors can also explore places such as Minoru Chapel, B.C. Ambulance Service, the farmhouse of Kathy and Coun. Harold Steves and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery.

Each year thousands of people are drawn to the sites, which include heritage landmarks, places of worship, civic facilities and historical buildings. Many of are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The seventh annual event kicks off with an opening celebration at London Heritage Farm, 6511 Dyke Rd., on Friday, June 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. The event will feature live jazz and bagpipe music, Morris dancing demonstrations, children's crafts and tours of the farmhouse. A shuttle is available at the old Steveston High, 10440 No. 2 Rd. Boarding is free, but limited to guests weighing at least 40 pounds (for safety reasons).

Doors Open 2014

42 sites participating June 7 to 8, most open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•Opening celebration is 7 p.m. Friday, June 6 at London Heritage Farm

•Bus tours, on themes of nature, faith, family and history, are also available for $5 per person; buses leave at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. from Richmond Cultural Centre, 7700 Minoru Gate; register by calling 604-276-4300

•Maps available at civic facilities and richmond.ca/doorsopen

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