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Vancouver History and Culture


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


This article contains information about the following topics:

Best Places for Culture | Best Places for History | First Nations Culture and History | Cultural Events Calendar | Other Information


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.


Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours



Want to learn about Vancouver culture and history in a fun and informative way? Then join Forbidden Vancouver on one of their walking tours through Gastown, the West End, Stanley Park or elsewhere in downtown Vancouver. The tours are highly recommended!

For details, click the above banner icon or see our article about Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours.


Best Places for Culture

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


Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver Art Gallery


Best Places for History

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

  • Atchelitz Pioneer Village – a museum and historic site with heritage buildings in Chilliwack.
  • Britannia Mine – a museum located between Vancouver and Squamish that used to be the biggest copper mine in the British Empire.
  • Burnaby Village – an outdoor museum featuring buildings and displays showcasing Metro Vancouver’s history.
  • Gulf of Georgia Cannery – a historic cannery in Richmond.
  • Fort Langley – site of an HBC trading fort.
  • Haney House – a former pioneer’s home that today is a museum in Maple Ridge.


Haney House in Maple Ridge
Haney House



Roedde House on Barclay Street
Roedde House Museum


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 or other venue 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 Indigenous cultural performances in June.
  • Spirit of the People Powwow – a First Nations powwow in Chilliwack each summer.
  • Squamish Youth Nation Powwow – a major powwow event on Vancouver’s North Shore in July.
  • 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.
  • Stanley Park’s Totem Poles – a collection of outdoor Indigenous art near Brockton Point in Stanley Park.
  • Talking Stick Festival – a First Nations festival featuring indigenous art and performances throughout the region (February).
  • Hoobiyee – 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

  • Chinese New Year –  celebrated each year in January or February with a parade in Chinatown and various other activities.
  • Hoobiyee – a two-day festival celebrating the Nisga’a New Year with traditional storytelling, singing and dancing.
  • Talking Stick Festival – a First Nations festival featuring indigenous art and performances throughout the region.


Fire Jumping at Persian Festival
The Persian Fire Festival in West Vancouver


March Cultural Events


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.


Surrey 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


City of Bhangra Dance Performance
5X Festival / City of Bhangra Festival


July Cultural Events


August Cultural Events


Vancouver Maritime Museum


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.
  • Diwali Fest – an East Indian festival with events throughout the Lower Mainland.


November Cultural Events

  • Remembrance Day – also an important cultural event in North America, when people remember past war and lives lost.


December Cultural Events


VanDusen Christmas Lights
Christmas at VanDusen Garden


Other Information

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.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:




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