To be honest I’m not loving this city. Yes it’s beautiful with the sea and the mountains, but four solid months of rain kills that thought pretty quickly. Anyway in an attempt to get out of the rain and into some culture, a couple of weeks ago I decided to hit a few places that usually can’t fail to inspire: museums!
First up was the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) out at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Now Vancouver is expensive, but most museums here have a cheap night option, and at MOA that night is Thursday’s from 5-9pm for $10 (normal tickets are $18). UBC in itself is a beautiful campus full of gorgeous buildings, and a bunch of other museums, and is well worth a visit during the day to fully appreciate it.
The MOA is a stunning piece of architecture in it’s own right, and the huge glass building is full of relics of the First Nations history, world history, and, oddly enough, European ceramics. The huge main room is full of towering, gorgeously carved house posts, statues, canoes, feast dishes, textiles, artwork and the stories of this country’s original inhabitants. There is also a permanent gallery of world culture, featuring mainly masks, weapons and instruments from every culture imaginable; as well as rotating exhibitions, and the aforementioned European ceramics gallery tucked off to the side of the museum.
Next up was a day trip to somewhere I had been meaning to explore for ages, purely for nerdy reasons – the home of the fantasy show Once Upon A Time, aka Steveston.
Located at the bottom of Richmond, getting to Steveston was easier than I thought – train to the end of the line and a bus – and took me just over an hour. It’s a small fishing village by the water, full of cute wooden houses and old school storefronts, as well as a harbour packed with boats.
I can see why it would be so popular in summer, the boardwalk and the huge park would be amazing in the sunshine. I spent the day wandering around taking photos and cafe hopping, before spending too much money at a tiny (and awesome) record store by the water. It did feel weird walking down the street of a place I’d seen on TV so many times, but there was a surprising lack of merchandising about the show, apart from a cardboard cutout of Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin that scared the shit out of me.
You can check out more of my pics in my Steveston photo essay here.
The following day (one of actual rare winter sunshine) I headed to Kitsilano to visit the Museum of Vancouver, which is definitely one of the weirdest looking museums I’ve ever seen in my life. It basically looks like it wouldn’t be out of place in the world of the Jetsons, with a large metal sculpture of a crab in a fountain guarding it. It’s weird and overpriced, which is Vancouver to a T.
Apart from a very pushy ticket desk lady, who spent five minutes telling me why I should pay for a membership (despite me pointing out why would I buy a membership to a museum I hadn’t even seen yet), I really loved this museum. It has a permanent exhibition of some old neon signs from downtown, a new exhibition about the history of protesting in Vancouver, as well as the history of the founding of the city decade by decade. It’s only small (hence why I think it’s a little overpriced at $20), but it’s packed full of things to look at and is quite interactive in it’s exhibits. My favourite section was the mini 50’s style diner, complete with jukebox, and I spent a few minutes happily listening to Chuck Berry the way it was meant to be. Then afterwards I took a quick stroll around the point to check out Kitsilano Beach.