Home Top Vancouver Attractions Vancouver Maritime Museum

Vancouver Maritime Museum

Vancouver Maritime Museum

The Vancouver Maritime Museum in Vanier Park showcases the maritime and boating history of the Pacific Northwest and Arctic.

It’s a great place to be on a Rainy Day, and Vancouver’s top attraction for learning about boats and maritime history.

For tickets and full details about the venue, see the Vancouver Maritime Museum‘s website.

The museum has a temporary exhibition called A Wild & Wet Coast: Rum-Running During Prohibition.

 


This article includes information about the following topics:

General Info | Admission Rates | What to Expect | Galleries Video | St. Roch Video | Summer Camps | Light Up the Harbour | Facility Rentals | Tips & Advice | Other Information


 

Vancouver Maritime Museum 25% Discount Offer

 


SAVE 25% ON ADMISSION

Want to save money on the price of admission to the museum? Then use the promo code BESTVANCOUVER when purchasing your tickets online! If you do that, you’ll save 25%! The discount is even valid on family day passes, which is an especially good deal!

To learn more about the attraction and to buy tickets, visit the Vancouver Maritime Museum website.


 

The Maritime Museum in Vancouver

Located in Vanier Park between Kitsilano Beach and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and Museum of Vancouver, the Maritime Museum is a terrific place to explore. It’s home to a historic arctic exploration vessel, the St. Roch, as well as displays of model ships and more.

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is a medium-sized museum. It has a nice collection of model ships. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes to go through. If you are a model-ship enthusiast who wants to study every little detail on each display, however, you’ll want to stay much longer.

The highlight of the Maritime Museum is definitely the St. Roch. It’s a retired RCMP police boat and the first vessel to circumnavigate North America. The St. Roch is indoors and you can board the ship and walk all around it, including inside in the galley.

(Note: Interestingly, the St. Roch was built in North Vancouver in the Shipyards District which today still has buildings and a historic crane from the region’s rich shipbuilding past.)

 


For the museum’s official website visit vanmaritime.com.


 

Light Up the Harbour

 

General Information

As of January 2024, the museum’s hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. This includes all statutory holidays except for Christmas Day.

Visitors are encouraged to book their tickets online. Guests can also pay on-site, but with credit and debit payments only.

The museum’s address is 1905 Ogden Avenue. It’s located in Vanier Park not far from the Museum of Vancouver and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.

 

Vancouver Maritime Museum Gallery
A Gallery Room at the Museum

 

Museum Admission Rates

Regular admission to the museum is $15 for adults as of early 2024. It’s also $12.50 for students and youth, and $11 for seniors. A family pass for up to two adults and four children costs $45. Children 5 and under are free, as are people who identify as Indigenous. Taxes are extra.

TIP: Use the promo code BESTVANCOUVER when making your purchase and you’ll save 25%! (NOTE: This offer was valid as of the last time we checked in 2024, but it might change at any time.)

 


For tickets and full details about the attraction, see the Vancouver Maritime Museum‘s website.


 

Model Ship at Vancouver Maritime Museum
Model Ships at the Maritime Museum

 

What to Expect

At the Vancouver Maritime Museum expect to see a good number of model ships, some hands-on displays for children, and the large St. Roch sailing vessel which you can climb aboard and explore. It’s a very family-friendly place that’s great for all ages.

Below is information about the St. Roch ship, the museum’s galleries and what you’ll find outside the venue.

 

The St. Roch

As you enter the Maritime Museum, if you turn left you’ll find the St. Roch. It’s a large boat, built in British Columbia. In the early 1940s, it was the first vessel to sail from west to east along the Northwest Passage through the Arctic. It was also the first to circumnavigate North America. Today the ship itself is a National Historic Site.

You can climb aboard the St. Roch and go right inside and explore its decks. You can also go downstairs in dry dock and see it from below, or pretend to steer the St. Roch in front of an interactive video screen on the main floor.

 

St. Roch at Maritime Museum
The St. Roch at the Maritime Museum

 

Guided Tours of the St. Roch

As of 2023, after not taking place for a couple of years due to COVID-19, tours of the St. Roch’s engine room have resumed. They take place on the third Sunday of the month. Tour dates last year were May 21st, June 18th, July 16th, August 20th, September 17th, October 15th, November 19th and December 17th. This year’s tour dates are still to be confirmed.

The tours happen on the above Sundays at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. There is a maximum of 15 guests per tour, so you’ll want to book your spot in advance. You’ll need to select the tour option when purchasing your ticket online. You ticket for the tour is the same cost as that of regular general admission and it gives you access the rest of the museum’s rooms and displays too. You just need to buy the one ticket to see and do everything.

(Note: If you buy a regular admission ticket you can use the promo code BESTVANCOUVER and save 25% on the cost of admission. Unless there are fewer people booked to join the tour when you arrive at the museum, however, you won’t be able to join the tour (because there won’t be space and you didn’t book your spot in advance). If you book the tour in advance, however, you won’t be able to save 25% because the promo code only works with general admission tickets, not for the tour tickets option.)

For information about the tours and to book your spot, visit the vanmaritime.com.

 

Climbing up the St. Roch in Vancouver
Exploring the St. Roch

 

Museum Galleries

On the other side of the museum, if you turn right as you go inside the main entrance, you’ll find the museum’s galleries and displays. It’s not a huge museum, but it does have a fair number of rooms with artifacts in cases and written information on the walls. There are model ship displays, old photos and even a model galley that children can play in.

The model ships at the museum are exceptional. They aren’t just any old model ships. Many of them are replicas of actual boats that sailed and motored around the waters of British Columbia. The details are remarkable!

 


For tickets and full details about the attraction, see the Vancouver Maritime Museum‘s website.


 

Gallery Room at the Maritime Museum
Exhibits in a Gallery Room

 

Heritage Harbour and Outside Exhibits

There is more to the museum than what is inside. You’ll definitely want to see the indoor exhibits. Don’t miss those! Be sure to check out what’s outside though too.

Outside the entrance to the museum, at the front of the building (on the waterfront side), there is a large anchor and a real submarine – the Submersible Ben Franklin. You can’t climb on these structures, but you can see what they look like (and doing so is free).

Another highlight of the museum is Heritage Harbour. If you walk down to the water, you’ll find a marina with a collection of boats. There is a large RCMP patrol vessel and a number of vintage sailboats. When the gate is open you can wander around the docks and have a look around. You can’t go on board any of the boats, but you can admire them from up close.

Below you’ll find a video with scenes of Heritage Harbour, as well as videos featuring the St. Roch and the museum’s galleries.

 

Heritage Harbour at the Vancouver Maritime Museum
Exploring the Docks at Heritage Harbour

 

Temporary Exhibits

The Maritime Museum isn’t a static one. Various temporary exhibitions are put on display at the museum over the course of the year.

A current temporary exhibition is A Wild & Wet Coast: Rum-Running During Prohibition. It opened on September 9th, 2022, and is scheduled to remain up until the end of March, 2024. The exhibition is about liquor transportation to America during the prohibition era.

For more information about the above featured exhibitions, visit the Vancouver Maritime Museum website or see our article about Vancouver Maritime Museum Special Exhibitions.

 


For tickets and full details about the attraction, see the Vancouver Maritime Museum‘s website.


 

Maritime Museum Videos

To show you what to expect at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, check out the following videos. The first shows what the museum’s main galleries look like. The second video is of the St. Roch ship.

 

Museum Galleries Video

The video below shows what the main galleries at the museum look like. The video begins outside the museum, at Vanier Park, not far from the waterfront.

As you’ll see in the video, there are a number of rooms filled with different things. There are display cases, photos, maps and artifacts. There is also a lot of written information. At the museum you’ll see model ships, maritime clothing and even a couple of pistols.

 

 

St. Roch Video

The following video showcases the St. Roch. It’s an impressive ship. And it’s housed 100% indoors!

The video begins in the museum’s dry dock area near the stern of the ship. As you’ll see, the ship’s propeller and rudder are massive! Next you’ll see some informational displays before actually going aboard the vessel.

Inside the ship you’ll see some of the cabins, set up like they would have been years ago. Outside you’ll see the main outer deck and the sails. You can also go down into the galley, and climb up a ladder to the upper deck. You’ll get a really good idea of what life would have been like living on the St. Roch. Kids will love it, and so will adults.

 

 

Maritime Museum Summer Camps

The Maritime Museum offers a series of children’s day camps in the summer. Called VMM STEAM (for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), there are four different themed camps running from July until August. Each camp is a week long, running from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the museum from Monday to Friday.

The target age for the attendees is 6 to 11. While each of the four themes runs for back-to-back weeks, you can buy tickets for one of the two weeks. The cost is $250 per child for a full week. For those with multiple kids, the cost is $450 for two children and $650 for three.

All of the STEAM camps are very interactive and hands-on. They also include both indoor and outdoor activities. For more information, visit the Maritime Museum website.

 

Types of Camps

The different camps on offer in 2024 are as follows:

  • By the Sea Shore (week of July 2nd to 5th and week of August 6th to 9th) – kids learnt about the Burrard Inlet and how local First Nations live harmoniously with nature and the waterways around them.
  • Deep Sea Discovery (week of July 8th to 12th and week of August 12th to 16th) – in this camp, little ones could explore the deepest depths of our planet’s oceans and discover the hundreds of thousands of marine life that live in the deep, dark waters.
  • Sailor Skills (week of July 15th to 19th and week of August 19th to 23rd ) – little ones who dreamed of being sailors or steering a ship loved this camp as it taught how to hoist the rigging, fix leaks, and tie fancy rope knots.
  • Coastal Creatures (week of July 22nd to 26th and week of August 26th to 30th) – in this camp, kids can explore the Pacific Northwest Coast’s rich marine and plant life and how each play a vital role in the fragile ecosystem.

 

Interactive Museum Display
Navigating a Ship in the Arctic

 

Light Up the Harbour

The Vancouver Maritime Museum also hosts an event to kick off the holiday season. Light Up the Harbour is a Christmas celebration at Heritage Harbour. In 2023 the event took place at 6:30 pm on Thursday, December 14th. Admission is free and people of all ages are welcome.

At Light Up the Harbour, the wooden vessels on the docks are decorated with festive illuminations that are switched on during the event. There’s also a boat ballet display by False Creek Ferries, as well as hot chocolate to help stay warm. Choirs from several local schools also perform Christmas carols throughout the event.

For more information about the holiday event, see our Light Up the Harbour article.

 

Light Up the Harbour
Choir Concert Audience at Light Up the Harbour

 

Facility Rentals

The museum offers different rental options for its facilities. Different sections of the site can be rented on their own, or you can reserve the entire museum for an evening or during the day. The least expensive options cost around $500 to $1,000 while the whole museum can be rented for $3,500 a night or for $5,000 during the day (which closes it to the rest of the public).

If you want a wedding on the water, then the Maritime Museum is a great spot! The terrace is a lovely spot to gather with friends and family, and Heritage Harbour provides views of the mountains, Burrard Inlet and much of the surrounding city. It costs just $500 to have your ceremony at the harbour (for a maximum of two hours).

For more information about rental opportunities, and to make your own reservation, visit the Maritime Museum website.

 

Vancouver View from Maritime Museum
View of Vancouver from the Museum

 

Tips & Advice

Below is some advice to help you make the most of your visit to the Maritime Museum.

TIP #1: If you want to visit a number of attractions in the same area, consider getting the Vanier Park Explore Pass. Assuming it’s still offered when you read this article, the pass gets you into the Maritime Museum plus the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and Museum of Vancouver. It used to cost around $43 per adult or $37 for youth and seniors.

TIP #2: Another great and highly affordable time to visit the Maritime Museum is on Winter Wander day in early February. On a Saturday in early February the Maritime Museum, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and Museum of Vancouver combine forces with the annual Winter Wander. During that event admission to all three venues is just $5 total, which is a fabulous deal!

TIP #3: Consider exploring the St. Roch at the end of your visit. It’s arguably the highlight of the museum, so a nice attraction to finish your visit with.

TIP #4: After your visit to the museum, don’t forget to check out the boats at the waterfront. Heritage Harbour is part of the museum. There you’ll find a variety of beautiful older boats. You can’t climb aboard any of them, but you can usually walk around the docks and admire the vessels.

TIP #5: While in the area, and if it’s not raining, go for a walk along the waterfront at Vanier Park. The views of Vancouver are beautiful.

 

Heritage Harbour in Vancouver
Heritage Harbour at the Waterfront

 

Other Information

Click Vancouver Maritime Museum for more information.

See our article about Special Museum Exhibitions for temporary exhibitions to watch out for.

For details about other attractions, check out the following: