Vancouver History and Culture

Vancouver History and Culture

Museum of Anthropology

Vancouver’s best places to experience history and culture include its museums, art galleries, historic sites, theatres and other performing arts venues.

Places for History and Culture

Vancouver is a cosmopolitan and ethnically-diverse city full not only of West Coast Canadian culture and history, including that of the local First Nations, but also the culture of its many ethnically diverse populations.

As you will see from the list of best places for history and culture below, Vancouver is much more than just a beautiful city surrounded by spectacular nature.

Best Places for Culture

Looking for culture in Vancouver? Then check out the following places of significance:




Best Places for History

Looking for history in Vancouver?  Then check out the following:

Three Museum Masks
Masks on display at the UBC Museum of Anthropology



Places to Learn about First Nations Culture and History

  • Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art – an exceptional place for First Nation art.
  • Coastal First Nations Dance Festival – at the Museum of Anthropology one weekend each spring.
  • Museum of Anthropology at UBC – a museum featuring First Nations art, totems and other anthropology artifacts and information.
  • Sasquatch Days – a festival in Harrison Hot Springs with war canoe races, a salmon BBQ and local aboriginal cultural performances in June.
  • Spirit of the People Powwow – a First Nations powwow in Chilliwack each summer.
  • Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – located at 4584 Blackcomb Way in the Upper Village, close to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and the Four Seasons. Admission is under $20 for adults and the centre includes a Lil’wat Istken and Squamish Longhouse, theatre, archival museum and contemporary gallery.
  • Talking Stick Festival – a First Nations festival featuring indigenous art and performances throughout the region (February).
  • Hoobiyee 2017 – a two-day festival celebrating the Nisga’a New Year with traditional storytelling, singing and dancing (February).

For more information on local indigenous culture, see Lower Mainland First Nations.

Men at Chilliwack Powwow
Spirit of the People Powwow

Cultural Events Calendar

Being the incredibly multicultural city that it is, Vancouver hosts many cultural events each year, including the following:

January Cultural Events

  • Robbie Burns Day – a day celebrating Scotland’s national poet, with small events around town.

February Cultural Events

March Cultural Events

Dakhka Khwaan First Nation Dancer
Dance Festival at Museum of Anthropology



April Cultural Events

  • Easter – a Christian holiday with both religious and secular celebrations at churches and other venues throughout the Lower Mainland.
  • Vancouver and Surrey Vaisakhi Parades – Punjabi festival events celebrating the New Year.
Vaisakhi Crowds Outside Sikh Temple
Vaisakhi Celebrations in Surrey

May Cultural Events

  • European Festival – a festival at Swangard Stadium highlighting the best of European culture (late May).
  • Cinco de Mayo – various celebrations around town, especially at Mexican restaurants.

June Cultural Events

July Cultural Events

August Cultural Events

September Cultural Events

October Cultural Events

  • Halloween – a major North American event where kids dress up and people give out candy.
  • Oktoberfest – festive German beer celebrations take place at various places during the month.
  • Thanksgiving – an important cultural event throughout North America, celebrated a month earlier than south of the US border.

November Cultural Events

  • Remembrance Day – also an important cultural event in North America, when people remember past war and lives lost.
  • Diwali Fest – an East Indian festival with events throughout the Lower Mainland (November 3-15, 2015).

December Cultural Events

  • Christmas – celebrated in many different ways throughout the region.
  • Check out the Best Places for Christmas to see amazing holiday lights, carolers and festive Christmas cheer.
VanDusen Christmas Lights
Christmas at VanDusen Garden

As a cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse city, Vancouver offers a wide variety of museums, galleries, performing arts venues and places of historical significance for the region, which help make it one of the world’s best places to live and visit.

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