Traditional aboriginal dance performance at the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver

(Kevin Arnold photo)

Trip Ideas

Vancouver's Aboriginal Culture

Artistic expression and the art of storytelling has always been at the heart of Aboriginal culture in British Columbia. Discover its unique cultural footprint in Vancouver at places like the Museum of Anthropology or at Klahowya Village in Stanley Park. 

Things to Do

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Aboriginal Culture in Stanley Park

For even more Bill Reid, look for the artist’s Orca sculpture, Chief of the Undersea... Read more World, outside the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. Also in the park are the much-visited totem poles and cedar gateways at Brockton Point. The nine poles and three gateways were carved by artists from the Haida, Squamish, Coast Salish and other First Nations bands. An on-site interpretive centre provides historic details.

(Tourism Vancouver/Capilano Suspension Bridge Park photo)

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Suspend your breath at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, swinging and swaying 70m/230ft above the raging Capilano River. Want more excitement? Stroll high above the river on Cliffwalk, a series of cantilevered platforms attached to the canyon wall, or explore the Treetops Adventure, a network of walkways in the forest canopy. All three, plus historic displays and First Nations art and culture, are at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

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Destination BC/Jordan Manley photo

Siwash Rock - Stanley Park Seawall

As you stroll along the Stanley Park Seawall, watch for Siwash Rock just north of Third Beach. Also known by its Squamish name, Skalsh or Slhx̱i7lsh, this 15-metre tall, 32-million-year-old, sea stack just offshore is the focus of a Squamish legend about a young man transformed into stone as a reward for unselfishness.

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Aboriginal Artwork at YVR

Vancouver International Airport welcomes you with dozens of stunning works in wood, stone and... Read more glass, many on a monumental scale. International passengers are greeted by Nuu-chah-nulth artist Joe David’s Welcome Figures – they stand in the arrivals meet and greet area. Bill Reid’s iconic The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe, is the centrepiece of the collection, located in the international terminal near the check-in desks where everyone can admire it.

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

A public gallery nestled in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Named after the acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid (1920-1998), the Gallery is located close to major hotels and the SkyTrain Canada, Millenium and Expo lines.

It is the only publ...

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(Tourism Vancouver/Canadian Tourism Commission photo)

Museum of Anthropology

The Museum of Anthropology feature one of the best collections of First Nations and world art to be found anywhere. See towering cedar poles and Bill Reid’s iconic “The Raven and the First Men” sculpture. Stroll the lakeside pathways at the Nitobe Memorial Garden, a traditional Japanese garden near the museum; explore the rainforest canopy on the Greenheart Canopy Walkway at the UBC Botanical Garden; or see a full blue whale skeleton at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.
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Aboriginal Culture in North Vancouver

The North Shore – the area directly north of downtown Vancouver across Burrard Inlet... Read more – was originally inhabited by Aboriginal peoples: the Squamish First Nation, the Tseil-Waututh First Nation, and the Musqueam First Nation. Get a glimpse into their lives and the tradition of placing totem poles at Kia’palano, at the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Then, visit the  Khot-La-Cha Gallery to see (and buy) masks, prints, gold and silver jewellery, wood carvings, textiles and clothing produced by Aboriginal artists and displayed in a distinctive longhouse-style building.

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Places to Eat

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Aboriginal Cuisine

Try real Aboriginal cuisine, like wild sockeye salmon with wild rice and oat mushroom risotto,... Read more or bison burgers, all served with bannock (traditional fried bread) at Salmon n’ Bannock, a bistro and gallery on West Broadway. Aboriginal cuisine has inspired other Vancouver chefs too. Top tastes include cedar plank or alder-grilled salmon, with its delightful smoky flavour, and salmon candy – smoked salmon marinated in brown sugar or maple syrup. Most Granville Island fishmongers carry it: try Longliner Seafoods or Finest at Sea.

Salmon House On the Hill

Lat: 49.3438122404604
Lon: -123.167011492135
93 reviews
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Salmon n' Bannock

Lat: 49.26314
Lon: -123.13009
Fairview Slopes
Canadian (New)
113 reviews
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Places to Shop

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Shopping for Aboriginal Artwork

Aboriginal works, from museum-quality antiques to fun fashions, abound in Vancouver. Coastal... Read more Peoples Fine Arts Gallery have contemporary works from basketry to silver jewellery. For sheer volume, visit Hill’s Native Art in Gastown, with three levels of treasures from bentwood boxes to totem poles. On Granville Island, check out the Wickaninnish Gallery, Eagle Spirit Gallery, the Raven and the Bear, and the Inukshuk Gallery. The gift shop at The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is great place to pick up original works by local artists.

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

Lat: 49.28432
Lon: -123.1198
Museums, Art Galleries
7 reviews
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Douglas Reynolds Gallery

Lat: 49.2650172
Lon: -123.1387368
Fairview Slopes, South Granville
Jewelry, Art Galleries
5 reviews
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Hill's Native Art

Lat: 49.2628315
Lon: -123.1023847
Mount Pleasant
Jewelry, Art Galleries
14 reviews
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Vancouver Art Gallery Store

Lat: 49.2830721
Lon: -123.1208098
Arts & Crafts, Jewelry, Newspapers & Magazines
12 reviews
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Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery

Lat: 49.2842921
Lon: -123.1096644
Gastown, Downtown
Art Galleries
5 reviews
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Wickaninnish Gallery

Lat: 49.2719
Lon: -123.13562
Granville Island/False Creek
Jewelry, Shoe Stores, Accessories
6 reviews
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Places to Stay

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Skwachays Lodge

Canada's first Aboriginal arts hotel, Skwachàys Lodge combines art and culture with exceptional hospitality.

Eighteen one-of-a-kind guest suites, designed by local Aboriginal artists and Vancouver interior designers, tell stunning visual ...

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The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel

Nestled on Vancouver's harbour & offering stunning water views of Stanley Park, the North Shore mountains or Vancouver's sparkling city skyline, the Fairmont Waterfront truly embodies relaxed west coast luxury.

This 4 Diamond rated urban...

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The Listel Hotel

The Listel Hotel is so much more than simply a place to sleep; it is a cultural tourist's dream, as well as a leader in environmental responsibility. 129 boutique rooms and suites are filled with limited edition and original artwork and modern ame...
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West Coast Suites at UBC

Located on the west side of Vancouver, 20 minutes from the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) or downtown by car, the only all-suite hotel on the beautiful UBC campus. Ideal for business travellers or vacationers. Our contemporary & well-appoin...
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Getting Here and Around

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Getting to Vancouver

When flying in to Vancouver, book a window seat – the approach offers great views of the... Read more mountains, the Fraser River and distant Vancouver Island. Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is just a short drive from downtown, or ride the rapid transit Canada Line from the airport to the city centre. The city is also accessible by bus, train or floatplane. A full range of taxi, transit, car and bike rental options are also available.

Getting around Vancouver

You can get just about anywhere you need to go in Metro Vancouver on the city’s TransLink... Read more system, which includes buses; three rapid transit lines, known as the SkyTrain; and the SeaBus, a passenger ferry serving North Vancouver. SkyTrain is a great way to travel to and from Vancouver International Airport, and to explore Richmond, Burnaby and New Westminster. The SeaBus makes regular crossings between downtown Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. Vancouver boasts an extensive network of bike paths including the car-free Seawall Path, which runs more than 20 km (12 mi) along Vancouver’s waterfront.

Amtrak Cascades

All aboard! The Amtrak Cascades train service runs daily from Eugene, Oregon, via Portland and... Read more Seattle, to downtown Vancouver. With meal service,bike racks, on-board Wifi and scenery galore, it's one of the most relaxing ways to reach Vancouver.

Sea Vancouver

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime! Whether you are a first time zodiac adventurer or a seasoned veteran, we guarantee that you will have a blast! Our fleet of open-air, purpose built, zodiac-style vessels are one of Vancouver's fastest & s...
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