The Old Hastings Mill Store Museum is an interesting Vancouver museum. Overlooking English Bay, it’s located at 1575 Alma Street not far from Jericho Beach.
It’s a small place, but packed full of artifacts and history. Admission is by donation.
The Old Hastings Mill Store Museum
Old Hastings Mill Store is a nice, small, very quiet, but interesting museum. It’s located on the border between the Point Grey and Kitsilano neighbourhoods of Vancouver just off Point Grey Road. From outside the museum you can see the waters of English Bay and Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains in the distance.
Located in the oldest building in the City of Vancouver, the museum is operated by a small non-profit society, the Friends of Old Hastings Mill Store Museum, which was formerly called the Native Daughters of BC.
Where is the Museum?
The museum’s address is 1575 Alma Street. It’s at the corner of Point Grey Road and Alma Street which is less than 10 minutes east of Jericho Beach on foot. Outside the museum is Hastings Mill Park which is a green space with a children’s play area at one end.
When is it Open?
The museum is usually open from mid-June until mid-September every day except Mondays from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm. It’s open just on weekends the rest of the year (except in December and January when it’s closed).
(Note: Hours of operation are subject to change.)
What’s at the Museum?
The Old Hastings Mill Store Museum hosts an eclectic collection of artifacts from the region. There are old pictures, pieces of antique furniture and all kinds of household items from bygone years. The collection includes pioneer artifacts as well as Indigenous belongings.
There isn’t a lot of written explanation at the museum, but enough. There are lots of interesting things to look at. Volunteer hosts are friendly and can provide additional information. If you like local history and antiques, the museum is a very interesting place to visit!
Expect to spend between 15 and 30 minutes at the museum, all depending on your interest in antiques and artifacts. If you’re fascinated by Vancouver history, or visit during one of their special events, you’ll want to stay longer.
Admission is by donation, so the price is right (and whatever your level of interest and generosity permits). If you like historical artifacts and don’t like crowds, then you’ll no doubt appreciate this tiny and normally very quiet museum. Often you’ll be the only person inside, other than a volunteer host. That being said, the place does sometimes get busy, like on the odd day when they have a school group.
The History of the Museum
The store was built around 1868 on pilings in Burrard Inlet at the north foot of Dunlevy Street (just east of Gastown). It originally served as a general store for the local community.
The building miraculously avoided the Great Vancouver Fire in 1886 (likely because it was built over the water). Many people took refuge inside at the time. Coffee was served to survivors using a metal urn that is currently still in the museum.
The store was going to be demolished in 1930 for development, but the Native Daughters of BC thankfully rescued it. Volunteers went door to door to collect money and eventually moved the building to its current location.
Old Hastings Mill Store Museum’s significance can’t be understated. The store was instrumental in the development of Vancouver. It served as the city’s first post office, artifacts of which visitors can still see in the museum.
The following video shows what the museum looks like today, both outside and inside. The video starts outdoors in Hastings Mill Park. Inside you’ll see a volunteer who can answer questions and tell you about the museum and Vancouver’s early days. You’ll also see all kinds of antiques and other items from the city’s history.
As you’ll see in the video, the place is full of interesting items, from period clothing to furniture, old electronics, tools and decorations.
The footage was taken in the spring of 2021, which explains why people in the video are wearing masks. The Old Hastings Mill Store and its occupants have lived through a number of pandemics over the years, including the most recent, COVID-19.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most of your visit.
TIP #1: A good time to visit can be when they have special events, at which time there is typically a speaker and “tea service.”
TIP #3: They often have special exhibits upstairs. Sometimes they have displays of authentic period clothing. When we last went they had clothing from the 1930s. The following month was going to be clothing from the 1940s. There is sometimes an extra fee for the special exhibits (unless you give an extra generous donation).
TIP #4: The museum relies on the generosity of its visitors. Donations large and small are always appreciated.
TIP #5: Private tours can be arranged outside of open hours. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
TIP #6: Hastings Mill Park is a small park, but a nice one. It has a large open lawn and a children’s play area at one end. If you have young children, they’ll enjoy the play structures. Children and older folks will also enjoy Jericho Beach which is close by.
TIP #7: If you like history then other places you might enjoy include Roedde House (in Vancouver’s West End) and Kilby Historic Site (in Harrison Mills near Harrison Hot Springs). For details about these and other similar historical sites, see below.
See the Museum’s Website for further information.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Jericho Beach
- University of British Columbia
- Pacific Spirit Regional Park
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Vancouver on a Rainy Day
- History and Culture in the Lower Mainland
Places that are similar to this museum in other parts of the Lower Mainland include the following attractions:
- Haney House (in Maple Ridge)
- Kilby Historic Site (in Harrison Mills)
- London Heritage Farm (in Richmond)
- Mackin House Museum (in Coquitlam)
- Maple Ridge Museum (in Maple Ridge)
- Roedde House Museum (in Vancouver)
- Stewart Farm (in South Surrey)