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North Vancouver’s MONOVA Museum

MONOVA Museum of North Vancouver

The Museum of North Vancouver, or MONOVA, is near Lonsdale Quay. It showcases the history of the Shipyards District and municipalities of North Vancouver.

 


This article contains the following information about the museum:

Hours and Admission | What to Expect | Streetcar 153 | MONOVA’s Permanent Collection | Accessibility and Parking | Other Things in the Area | Other Information


 

MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver

Located at 115 West Esplanade in the Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood on Vancouver’s North Shore, MONOVA is the Lower Mainland’s newest museum. Stories told here include ones about life during the world wars, how the Shipyards worked, the early lumber industry and local Indigenous peoples.

The place showcases permanent collections of North Vancouver artifacts including an original streetcar (or tram) from 1908. It also features exhibits that change from time to time.

MONOVA is in a modern 16,000 square-foot facility that was built and designed specifically for the museum. At a cost of $8.5 million, it’s an impressive attraction!

 

Hours and Admission

As of early 2022, MONOVA is open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm. In warmer months it will be open additional days each week.

Single ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adults (ages 18 to 64) – $14
  • Seniors (ages 65+) – $12
  • Youth (ages 6 to 17) and Students – $10
  • Little Kids (ages 5 and under) – Free
  • Families (2 adults or seniors and 3 children) – $38

Museum passes are also available and include unlimited admission for one year and access to exclusive events. Members can also bring guests at discounted rates and enjoy 10% off at the store. MONOVA passes cost the following:

  • Adults (ages 18 to 64) – $35
  • Seniors (ages 65+) – $30
  • Families (2 adults or seniors and 3 children) – $75

Note: Prices above are subject to change.

 

Inside the Museum of North Vancouver
Exhibits at MONOVA

 

What to Expect

The museum is a place for multimedia exhibits, innovative programs and events. It showcases North Vancouver’s history as well as stories about the region’s present and future.

At the museum expect to find interactive displays. It’s not a place that you can only look at things. Instead, it offers tactile and interactive ways to experience the region’s history, neighbourhoods, culture and people. (Note: Because of COVID, the exhibits are less hands-on than originally planned, and less tactile than they will likely be in the post-pandemic future.)

Inside the museum, near the entrance, there is the restored Streetcar 153 which used to run up and down Lonsdale Avenue (much like how streetcars still operate on the hilly roads of San Francisco today). Also near the entrance to the museum is the gift shop.

Other than the streetcar, most of the museum’s exhibits are in one of two rooms. There is a large gallery where you’ll find MONOVA’s permanent displays. There is also a smaller gallery with temporary exhibits that change over time (although it likely won’t be open until sometime later in 2022).

 

Monova's Streetcar #153
Streetcar #153

 

Streetcar 153

MONOVA’s largest and, arguably, it’s most valuable and interesting exhibit is Streetcar 153. It has been lovingly restored to its original look. Visitors can climb on board and imagine themselves back in time.

Interestingly, years ago North Vancouver had streetcars running all over the place. They went up Grand Boulevard, to the End of the Line Store (near the entrance to Lynn Headwaters), past the Capilano Suspension Bridge and through multiple other parts of the North Shore. Streetcar 153 operated between 1912 and 1946.

 

Museum Streetcar #153
Inside Streetcar #153

 

MONOVA’s Permanent Collection

The main gallery at the museum is a good size. It’s not huge, but it’s not small either. It’s a similar size to the Museum of Surrey, but smaller than the Museum of Vancouver and Vancouver Maritime Museum.

The space at MONOVA is nicely-designed and features a mix of artifacts, pictures, photos, stories, video displays and written information.

In the main gallery you’ll learn about the local Indigenous communities (on whose unceded ancestral lands the museum and all of North Vancouver now stand). You’ll also learn about North Vancouver’s rich maritime and shipbuilding history, its movie industry, its economy, its sports heroes, and all kinds of interesting information about the region.

 

Museum Displays at MONOVA
MONOVA’s Main Gallery

 

Museum Accessibility and Parking

Being in a new and modern building, the museum is wheelchair accessible. Located close to Lonsdale Quay, it’s also convenient to get to. The SeaBus and main bus terminal are just a 5-minute walk away.

If you drive to the museum you’ll find free parking on the surrounding streets (if you’re lucky and there’s a spot available). There is also pay parking at the Lonsdale Quay Public Market, at the nearby Pinnacle Hotel, in the ICBC parkade across the street, and underground at the Shipyards (which is about a 5-minute walk away).

 

Vancouver Maritime Museum

 


Another great museum that looks at local history and shipping is the Vancouver Maritime Museum at Vanier Park in Vancouver. It’s a great place! See our article about the Vancouver Maritime Museum for details (and possibly a promo code for discounted admission).


 

Other Things to See and Do In the Area

Other places of interest near the Museum of North Vancouver include the following (all of which are within a 5-minute walk away):

Many events take place nearby at different times of the year. Some happen at Lonsdale Quay, some at the Shipyards and others at nearby Waterfront Park. The Shipyards Night Market, for example, occurs on Friday evenings from May until September most years (although not in 2020 or 2021 because of COVID). Live music also often takes place at Shipbuilder’s Square on Saturday evenings in the summer.

For a list of other events and things to do in the area see our article about the City and District of North Vancouver.

 

Other Information

Visit the MONOVA website for more information about what to expect at the Museum of North Vancouver.

The new Museum joins the Archives of North Vancouver under the MONOVA brand. The Archives are located at 3203 Institute Road in Lynn Valley (about a 15-minute drive away).

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: