Sutton Group’s Vancouver Special gingerbread house
Sutton Group’s Vancouver Special gingerbread house

In sweet support of the Make-A-Wish foundation, Sutton Group Realty Services in Vancouver created a unique gingerbread house for the Hyatt Regency’s Gingerbread Lane. All proceeds of the gingerbread house display help children with critical illnesses to enjoy life-changing wishes. Since 1980, the charity has made wishes come true for more than 480,000 children across Canada.

“I thought that creating a ‘Vancouver Special’-themed gingerbread house would best represent a Christmas in Vancouver,” says Jon Chung, marketing director for Sutton. “This is an iconic house design that anyone living in the Lower Mainland would be familiar with.”

Chung, along with his marketing team colleagues Sandra Malesevic and Brooke Matthews, turned the challenges of the new project into a fun, team-building event.

“None of us are bakers or have ever built a gingerbread house, so it was an interesting process,” says Matthews. “We had a full-on workshop happening in the office complete with power tools. When we delivered the gingerbread house, the first person to see it said, ‘Hey, I live in one of those!’, which is exactly what we were going for. We chose to do a Vancouver Special because we felt like it would really resonate with everyone in the area – almost every Vancouverite has either owned or rented one of these at some point.”

The Vancouver Special is a home design that has been both loathed and loved. Exploring the history of the style, Montecristo Magazine notes that the Vancouver Special was controversial in the 1980s for its bulk and uniformity. “But despite the name-calling, this two-storey stucco ‘box’ design has played a heroic role in housing our city. Easy to build and cheap to own, the utilitarian Special helped absorb the city’s population growth for decades, providing affordable housing for many.”


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