Visitors flying into Vancouver are often surprised to discover a virtual museum of native art at the airport: totem poles, elaborate wooden masks and intricate wood and metal carvings, all tucked amid the check-in counters, customs booths and departure lounges. This is no accident: Vancouver is serious about its art.
The postcard perfect city on the Pacific's edge has a thriving and surprisingly diverse visual culture. First Nations artwork, both traditional and contemporary, is just the start. A succession of pioneering artists has enriched the cultural scene over the years, from legendary Emily Carr and her expressionist canvases of British Columbia wilderness to architect Arthur Erickson, who defined an entire style of modernist building.
Today, visitors can take in Vancouver's art at Western Canada's largest public art gallery, at edgy contemporary institutions or even inside the studios of working artists. And museum lovers will find spaces dedicated to First Nations history and world cultures, Vancouver's rough-and-ready frontier days and modern life - not to mention plenty of kid-favourites, including hands-on Science World and the Vancouver Aquarium.
Outside, Vancouver's unique architecture - a mélange of styles from Victorian to modernist, from towers of steel and glass to lush urban greenscapes - offers a provocative visual backdrop, and one that's quickly evolving as new high-rises spike the skyline. Meanwhile, an ever-rotating ensemble of public art - both locally made and internationally renowned pieces - rewards travelers who take to the streets.
August 15 - August 15
- Vancouver Art Gallery
- 750 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7
- Admission: $25
- Venue: Vancouver Art Gallery
June 19 - September 20
- Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival - Vanier Park
- 1695 Whyte Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6J 5C3
- Admission: Various Prices
- Phone: 604-739-0559
- Venue: Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
July 10 - August 30
- Contemporary Art Gallery
- 555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 6R5
- Admission: Free
- Venue: Contemporary Art Gallery
July 01 - August 29
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
- 578 Carrall St
Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2
- Admission: Included with Garden admission, Opening Reception July 4th FREE
- Phone: 604-662-3207ext205
- Venue: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
October 18 - October 18
- Downtown Vancouver - Howe Street/Smithe Street/Granville Street
- Admission: Free