Vancouver Maritime Museum | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Vancouver Maritime Museum

Vancouver, Canada

Luke Tomes

05 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Vancouver Maritime Museum

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is a museum devoted to presenting the maritime history of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the Canadian Arctic.

Vancouver Maritime Museum history

Vancouver has long been associated with its maritime history. Before George Vancouver’s Expedition in 1792 and the subsequent arrival of European settlers to the peninsual, the area was a popular fishing ground for indigenous communities.

Once the first European colonists had arrived and settled, Vancouver quickly became a hub of trade, establishing itself as a vital Pacific port, especially after the opening on the Panama Canal in 1914.

The museum opened in 1959 as a provincial centennial project, and since the 1970s has been managed by the Vancouver Maritime Museum Society, a non-profit organisation dedicated to researching and showcasing Vancouver’s proud maritime history.

Vancouver Maritime Museum today

Today, the museum’s main exhibit is the St. Roch, a historic arctic exploration vessel used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which became the first ship to completely circumnavigate North America, and the second vessel to transit the Northwest Passage. She was the first ship to complete the Northwest Passage in the direction west to east (Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean), going the same route that Amundsen on the sailing vessel Gjøa went east to west, 38 years earlier.

The museum also has extensive galleries of model ships built entirely from cardboard or paper as well as a particularly fine bone model of the French warship Vengeur du Peuple which was built around 1800 by French prisoners of war.

The museum also has a Children’s Maritime Discovery Centre, a recreation of the forecastle of Vancouver’s ship HMS Discovery, interactive displays, and the NASA undersea research vessel Ben Franklin.

These exciting permamnent exhibitions are supplemented by an extensive collection of maritime art, and a large library and archives. The museum also hosts a variety of featured and temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Getting to the Vancouver Maritime Museum

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is located in Vanier Park in Kitsilano and is easy to get to by car, bus or boat.

If travelling by car, from Burrard St., turn onto Cornwall (right if coming from the bridge; otherwise left). Take the first right onto Chestnut. Stay on Chestnut until the street curves to the left. Instead of taking the turn, drive straight into the museum’s parking lot located off of Ogden Avenue.

If travelling via public transport, the number 2 bus from downtown stops on Cornwall near Cypress. When you exit the bus, take Cypress St. toward the water. At the end of the street you can take the path through the park to get into the museum from the rear entrance.

The False Creek Ferries stops at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

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