Located at Georgia and Howe and backing onto Robson Square, the Vancouver Art Gallery is a beautiful building full of paintings, sculptures and other art.
Vancouver’s Art Gallery
Next door to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, the Vancouver Art Gallery is one of Canada’s largest and most significant art galleries. It has a permanent collection of over 10,000 pieces of art, although usually only a tiny percentage is on display at any given time.
The collection comprises numerous works by BC and Vancouver artists and one of North America’s best photographic collections. It’s also home to the most significant collection of Emily Carr’s paintings in Canada, as well as many of the famous BC artist’s drawings and ceramic works.
Many other Canadian and internationally-renowned artists are also represented at the gallery. As many as 600,000 people visit the attraction each year.
Hours and Admission Rates
As of early 2021, the gallery is open to the general public at the following times:
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Tuesday – 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm (with 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm by donation)
- Friday – 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
General admission is about $24 for adults, $20 for seniors, $18 for students, $6.50 for children (6-12) and free for children up to 5 years old. Gallery members and attendants for people with disabilities also get free admission. Sometimes, at certain non-peak times of the year, the gallery also offers special discounted rates for folk of all ages.
Due to COVID-19, for at least the beginning of 2021, guests are required to wear face masks, maintain appropriate physical distancing, and purchase their tickets online if possible. Admission tickets are sold for set times at 1-hour intervals, which means only a certain number of people are allowed in at each hour.
Art Gallery Plaza and Events
Outside the Vancouver Art Gallery is an open area that hosts a wide range of events during the year including concerts, festivals and protests of all kinds. It used to be a lawn, but with all the events and demonstrations taking place the city was smart and got rid of the grass to cut down on maintenance.
In addition to protest gatherings of various sorts, the plaza in front of the gallery is also where you’ll find events like the following:
- The starting line and performance stage during the Vancouver Sun Run in April.
- Free Downtown Bhangra concerts with the 5X Festival (formerly known as the City of Bhangra Festival) in June.
- Bands playing during the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in mid to late June.
- The Vancouver Thai Festival takes places in the North Plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in July each year.
- Summer Movie Nights take place on Wednesday evenings in the north plaza (šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square) outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in July and August. For an idea of what to expect, here are the films that were shown in 2019:
- July 3, 2019: Clueless (1995)
- July 10, 2019: Pitch Perfect (2012)
- July 17, 2019: Zoolander (2001)
- July 24, 2019: Paddington Bear (2014)
- July 29, 2019 (Monday): Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
- August 7, 2019: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
- August 14, 2019: Inside Out (2015)
- August 21, 2019: Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Vancouver Art Gallery Building
The Vancouver Art Gallery is housed in the beautiful former provincial courthouse building that was built in 1906 and designed by Sir Francis Rattenbury, the same architect responsible for BC’s legislative buildings and the Empress Hotel in Victoria. The exterior of the building is one of Vancouver’s most significant, impressive and attractive pieces of architecture.
The North Plaza
Various events take place outdoors in the open spaces on the north and south sides of the Vancouver Art Gallery over the course of the year.
In 2018, the north plaza was officially renamed šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square. šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ is a term used in the local Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nation languages to refer to places where important cultural gatherings take place. The word is pronounced, very approximately, “Hootlacken”.
Vancouver Art Gallery Location
Right at the heart of downtown Vancouver just a short walk from the Vancouver City Centre SkyTrain Station, the art gallery is in a block bordered by Georgia, Howe, Robson and Hornby Streets. The building’s physical address is 750 Hornby Street.
Georgia is a street lined with some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers, Robson is Vancouver’s most famous street for shopping, and Hornby is a favourite for cyclists with its dedicated bike lane.
At the back of the Vancouver Art Gallery and across the street is vibrant Robson Square at 800 Robson Street.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you save money and make the most out of your visit to the gallery.
TIP #1: If you are a parent or grandparent of elementary-school-aged children, an especially affordable way to visit the gallery is through the Kidsworld Program where membership gets children and an accompanying adult into participating attractions for no additional charge on set dates. The Vancouver Art Gallery is a participant in the program most years.
TIP #2: Admission to the Vancouver Art Gallery is by donation on Tuesday evenings from 5 to 9 pm.
TIP #3: Try to time your visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery with a visiting exhibition that meets your interests and tastes. There are a lot of very interesting ones that come to town. Click Current Exhibitions to find out what’s showing now, and Upcoming Exhibitions for what will be on display in the future.
TIP #4: If you like art then you might also want to check out the Contemporary Art Gallery at 555 Nelson Street. It’s a small independent public art gallery and admission is free.
For more information about the attraction see the Vancouver Art Gallery website.
If you like art, especially photographic art, another place to check out is the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver. It’s not as large or as extensive as the Vancouver Art Gallery, but it’s interesting and admission is by donation.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following: