The Bill Reid Gallery in downtown Vancouver features art by world-famous Haida artist Bill Reid, as well as works by other West Coast First Nations artists.
This article contains the following information about the Bill Reid Gallery:
Vancouver’s Bill Reid Indigenous Art Gallery
Located at 639 Hornby Street, the Bill Reid Gallery is behind Christ Church Anglican Cathedral. It’s also across the street from the Burrard Street SkyTrain Station.
The Bill Reid Gallery
The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is a gallery with a small but exceptional collection of West Coast art. Its collection includes wood carvings, bronze works, paintings, Indigenous masks, gold jewellery and sculptures in other mediums.
It’s not a large gallery and can take between 15 minutes and an hour or more to go through, depending on your interest in Bill Reid and Canadian First Nations art. There are a couple of short films to see and the main exhibit changes every six months.
Art featured at the gallery includes major works by Bill Reid, as well as a variety of contemporary works by other Northwest Coast artists.
Admission to the Gallery
From May to September the gallery is open daily. During the rest of the year it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Opening hours during the summer months are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and in the winter months from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
As of January 2024, admission to the gallery is $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for students, and $6 for youth ages 13 to 17. Children 12 and under are free and the family rate is $30. Admission is free for gallery members and for Indigenous Peoples. Groups of 10 or more people save about $2 per person.
TIP: Admission is free on the first Friday of each month from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Admission for students studying at Simon Fraser University is free every day. A valid piece of ID is required as proof of eligibility.
For more information, including current exhibitions, check out the official Bill Reid Gallery website.
Who Was Bill Reid?
Bill Reid (1920-1998) was one of Canada’s most famous First Nation artists. Born in Victoria, BC, to a Haida mother and American father of German-Scottish decent, Bill Reid was a celebrated Haida artist, sculptor, author and journalist.
Bill Reid’s major works include Chief of the Undersea World (the fountain sculpture outside the Vancouver Aquarium) and Raven and the First Men (on display at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC). There is also the Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Black Canoe (which is the boat sculpture on display at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC and featured on some Canadian $20 bills).
Tips & Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most of your visit to the Bill Reid Gallery.
TIP #1: There isn’t a lot of written explanation on the exhibits (or at least there wasn’t when we last went). There are, however, laminated information sheets in a few places on the walls that you can take down and read. They are easy to miss, so we recommend you keep a lookout for them. The short films also provide useful background information.
TIP #2: If you plan to attend in a group of 10 or more people, guided tours can be booked in advance for between $10 and $15 per person (with the exact price depending on your age). The extra explanation is valuable and enhances the experience.
TIP #3: If you aren’t sure what to expect and want to see a sample of what you’ll see before paying, check out the small gift shop. Art featured there reflects what’s on display in the gallery.
TIP #4: A good time to visit the Bill Reid Gallery is on National Indigenous Peoples Day. It’s on June 21st each year. There is a good chance that admission will be free or at least discounted on this day.
TIP #5: If you’re looking to buy some authentic art and can’t find what you’re looking for in the gallery gift shop, one of our favourite local Indigenous artists is Alano Edzerza. Not only does he do amazing wood carvings, jewelry, paintings and prints right here in Metro Vancouver, but he also has his own line of clothing featuring his art. Check out www.edzerzagallery.com for details. He sells online and ships worldwide.
Other Places for First Nations Art and Culture
Other great venues to find First Nations art and cultural artifacts in the Lower Mainland include the following:
- Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler.
The Museum of Anthropology is another place to find works by Bill Reid. You’ll find impressive First Nation artifacts there too. Vancouver International Airport also has a surprisingly impressive collection of Bill Reid art, including the Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe, which can be found at the Departures section in the International Terminal on Level 3.
For more information about the Bill Reid Gallery, visit www.billreidgallery.ca.
For other interesting places to visit, check out Vancouver’s Best Places for History, Art and Culture.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Lower Mainland First Nations
- UBC’s Museum of Anthropology
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
- Vancouver Powwows
- Vancouver Art Gallery