A RENOVATION OF THE HEART: CHILLIWACK’S HIDDEN GEM


Hidden between sprawling cornfields and suburban architecture, a century-old house sits collecting secrets in its walls. A single step into the Waring Heritage Home with its cerulean exterior, gambrel roof, and wide wood porch leaves visitors holding their breath, knowing a story is just waiting to be told.


History and home reno buffs alike will rejoice at the careful restoration of the Chilliwack property. From 1908 to now, it’s survived wars, flooding, and renovation. The house has been battered and bruised, stripped to a skeleton of fir planks beneath stucco, and rebuilt by a caring touch.


It maintains the narrow staircase and adjacent bedrooms used for room-and-board during WWII. However, charming additions characterize the current age like the outdoor sitting area beyond a wall of crystalline windows.


In the last hundred, an eclectic amalgamation of residents has called this place home. Their intertwining paths began through the painted front door. Yet, their memories connected to the house and each other in features such as the front-yard Rhodo tree blossoming in a sweet cloud of fragrant, floral pink; the layers upon layers of wallpaper; and the buried secrets.


Unearthed horseshoes and fluid gas containers on the property mark time the house outlasted. Meanwhile, love letters stowed away in the bathroom walls reveal a former resident’s heart, capturing the woman’s affair with a man across the Fraser River - two lonely souls saved in an accumulation of written words that were stored inside the Waring House’s bones.


A house for the lonely, the in-need-of-shelter, families in singles and pairs, Waring’s face has shifted throughout the years to accommodate those seeking refuge within it. Its inhabitants have survived environmental struggles and a pandemic, somewhat mirroring our lives just over a hundred years after them.


While tourist attractions in Chilliwack largely consist of lake days, waterslides, and mini-golf, if you want to see an unknown local gem, I suggest you look deeper at the town’s historic structures such as this one. Although you can’t walk in without occasion, take a stroll down the street and examine that fresh exterior and its contained past with knowledge of what took place within those walls.


In my own journey here, beneath the crisp autumn breeze, I was able to pace across that same front porch, hang my coat in the remodeled hall closet, and race upstairs to a plush and spacious armchair in the corner with a perfect view of each room. The very air held its breath with me, history spoken and unspoken in the cadence of each moment.


Even as I stepped out the door, leaving it behind, the past, present, and future seemed to unite for a moment just beyond those storytelling walls. Now looking back at the garden, the porch, the gables painted a crisp white, I hope more travelers, wanderers, and tourists will see it as it is.


In rapidly expanding Chilliwack, a house withstands centuries and secrets, an underrated fixture of Reece Avenue today.



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