The Polygon Gallery is an art museum in the Lower Lonsdale District of North Vancouver. It specializes in photography and admission is by donation.
Note: Another free activity to do in the same neighbourhood in the summer of 2022 (up until September 25th) is the Shipyard Pals Walking Tours which are hosted by MONOVA: The Museum of North Vancouver (which is also a great place to visit). The tours take place on Thursdays and Sundays. They are free, entertaining, highly recommended and great to combine with a visit to the Polygon Gallery.
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The Polygon Art Gallery by Lonsdale Quay
Built in 2017, the Polygon is a contemporary art gallery which emphasizes new Canadian art and photography. Its unique design allows it to stand out and catch the eye from anywhere along the harbourfront.
The Gallery is a good place to explore in combination with visits to other places of interest in the area including Lonsdale Quay and the North Vancouver Shipyards.
Where is the Polygon Gallery?
At 101 Carrie Cates Court, the Polygon Gallery is located right at the waterfront in North Vancouver. Within walking distance is the SeaBus, Shipyards, Lonsdale Quay and the vibrant community of Lower Lonsdale. Via the SeaBus, the attraction is also just a 15-minute boat ride from downtown Vancouver.
In front of the gallery, right on the waterfront, is Cates Deck (which is one of North Vancouver’s outdoor public spaces where you can drink alcohol).
Hours and Admission
The Polygon is usually open from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm every day except Mondays.
Admission to the Gallery is by donation.
What to Expect
The Polygon Gallery is a large, modern, shiny and somewhat box-shaped modern building right on the waterfront in Lower Lonsdale. From it you can see the Vancouver skyline on the other side of Burrard Inlet.
Inside the Gallery you can expect to see a couple of very large rooms with art displayed on the walls. There is also often an exhibit or two in the middle of each room, plus art in a couple of smaller rooms and hallways.
Art displayed at the Polygon Gallery is typically photographic in nature. It is also usually in no way cluttered or crowded. There is lots of open space. Each room might only have a small number of pieces, with some exhibits filling an entire wall.
Most of the Gallery’s displays are of photos and works of art using photographic materials by Canadian artists. The art is typically very modern. Sometimes, though, the photos are old and in black and white. The displays also often have a historical theme. In some cases the exhibits can be quite large.
As you enter the building you’ll see the front desk and a small gift shop area with art, books and souvenirs for sale. The main displays are upstairs.
The Polygon Gallery is a fairly large building, and some of its rooms are big and wide open. It’s not a huge facility though. Expect to spend somewhere between 10 minutes and over an hour inside depending on the exhibits and your level of interest in contemporary art and photography.
What Else to do in the Area
There are a fair number of other things to see and do near the Gallery. It’s a wonderful neighbourhood to explore.
Almost right next door to the Polygon is Lonsdale Quay which is home to a fabulous year-round indoor public market. At the market there is a food court area with a variety of non-major brand restaurants (which is awesome), plus a wide selection of boutiques and specialty shops. There is also a Hotel, Tourist Info Centre and craft brewery.
MONOVA is the new Museum of North Vancouver which opens sometime in 2021. When it does open admission is free.
Also right next door to the Polygon, on the other side, is the Tap and Barrel pub-style restaurant. And on the other side of that is the Shipyards which includes Shipbuilders’ Square, the Pipe Shop, a large covered plaza and Shipbuilders’ Pier. Also in Lower Lonsdale are a number of other very good restaurants.
The Shipyards is where festivals and other community events often take place including the Shipyards Night Market on Friday evenings between May and September. Another major event is the Shipyards Festival in early fall.
North Vancouver’s waterfront is connected by the Spirit Trail which is a paved walking and cycling path that runs from North Vancouver’s Park & Tilford Mall, through Lower Lonsdale, through local First Nations lands and all the way to West Vancouver. The Polygon and Lower Lonsdale are pretty much right in the middle.
Waterfront Park is a 5-minute walk from the Gallery and Lonsdale Quay, and also connected with the Spirit Trail. It has a large open grassy space and a children’s play area. The park is also home to a number of North Vancouver events including Caribbean Days, Philippine Days, Canada Day celebrations and a couple of car rallies.
Tips and Suggestions
Below are some suggestions on how to make the most out of your visit.
TIP #1: Relax, take your time and enjoy the art. If you spend just 5 seconds on each piece you’ll be in and out of the Gallery in no time. Have a seat, slow down and admire both the art and the space.
TIP #2: If you are coming from Vancouver, take the SeaBus if you can. The Polygon Gallery is only a short walk from the SeaBus entrance which connects you directly with downtown Vancouver.
TIP #3: Parking in Lower Lonsdale can occasionally be a challenge (like on Friday nights in the summer or when a festival is going on). At those times taking public transit is an especially good option. The ICBC parkade just up the street from the Gallery used to be free on evenings (after 6 pm) and weekends, but not anymore. There is still free parking though all day every day on Lonsdale Avenue, Esplanade and surrounding side streets, although spots fill up fast.
TIP #4: Visit the Polygon on a Friday evening in the summer when you can also take in the Shipyards Night Market. The Gallery closes at 5:00 pm which is when the market opens, so enjoy your time enjoying the art first and check out the vendors after. On the same outing, and at other times, combine your visit to the Polygon with some shopping at the Lonsdale Quay Public Market which is open every day of the week.
TIP #5: Go for a walk along the waterfront and explore the Shipyards and the Pier. It’s a beautiful walk along the water and there are great restaurants and interesting shops in the area.
See the Polygon website for more information about the Gallery.
To learn about the surrounding area click any of the following:
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver History and Culture
- Vancouver Art Gallery
- Photography in Vancouver
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Vancouver Rainy Day Activities