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Take me to my Time Out city

The best Vancouver museums, galleries and cinemas

Take shelter from the elements while soaking up some art at one of Vancouver’s many standout cultural institutions

Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, Canada

A real eye-opener: Museum of Anthropology © Shannon Mendes

Vancouver museums, galleries and cinemas

Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Art Gallery © Justin Bengry

Surrounded as it is by lush temperate rain forests, it’s no surprise that Vancouver gets over 161 days of rain each year. Fortunately, culture vultures can stay dry while enjoying all manner of cultural activities, thanks to the abundance of top Vancouver museums, galleries and cinemas. The Vancouver Art Gallery’s collection includes premier Canadian artists like Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. On Tuesday nights its steep $20 adult admission drops to a pay-what-you-can donation. The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia has a world-class collection of West Coast Aboriginal artefacts, totem poles, Haida longhouses and sculptures by Canadian artist Bill Reid, whose work has appeared on Canada’s $20 bill. Designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, the building is worth a visit in its own right.

A more macabre attraction, the Vancouver Police Museum claims to be North America’s oldest museum of its kind. Housed in the former Coroner’s Court, city morgue and autopsy facilities, the museum makes the most of its unique location. In addition to straightforward exhibits on local law enforcement, displays of original crime scene artefacts bring to life the city’s most famous crimes. Through the summer, the Movies in the Morgue programme ($8) screens classic films and audience favourites amid the mortuary slabs (off which morgue employees reportedly once served hors d’oeuvres).

Known as ‘Hollywood North’ on account of the broad range of US films and television shows shot in the city, Vancouver boasts a thriving film culture. Downtown, the The Cinematheque offers year-round curated screenings and festivals. In late September and early October the Vancouver International Film Festival, one of the largest in North America, brings film and media celebrities to Vancouver while remaining accessible to us mere mortals.


Venue details

The Cinematheque 1131 Howe Street. 604 688-3456. Tickets $11.
Museum of Anthropology 6393 Northwest Marine Drive. 604 822-5087. Admission $16.75.
Vancouver Art Gallery 750 Hornby Street. 604 662-4700. Admission $20.
Vancouver Police Museum 240 East Cordova Street. 604 665-3346. Admission $12.


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