The weather report said that it was going to rain through Sunday, so outdoor events were cancelled. No hiking, no biking, nothing. So it was only natural that I go to Vanier Park!
Before that, we had to eat breakfast.
Vanier Park is connected to Kitsilano by a short trail with a dog park in between. There are also three museums on site – the Museum of Vancouver, H.R. MacMillan Space Center, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
There is a huge parking lot just in front of the building. The rate is $2.50 for each hour or $10.00 from 6AM to 6PM. My friend and I wanted to visit all three museum and maybe hang out at the park after so we purchase the $10.00 ticket.
We arrived around noon and went to the Museum of Vancouver first. I have never been to this museum, even as a kid. When you enter the room, you can take two paths, the right and the left. We went to the right and visited their permanent exhibition about Ugly Vancouver: Neon Signs.
I thought this exhibition was quite interesting. Back in the days, Vancouver had as many as 19,000 neon signs lite up, trying to get attention from all audiences. Some thought it was the essence of big city life while other thought it made the city ugly – controversy ensued and by the 60ès, most were asked to be removed.
Many of them landed in junkyard, waiting for its day to be reused as sheet metals but some were rescued and currently resides here.
Interestingly, the neon signs in Vancouver were leased and not purchased; therefore, they were kept in relatively good conditions when they were in used (as compared with other cities). (more information here).
The next temporary exhibition we visited was Your Future Home – a display of ideas of what a new Vancouver should look like. It talks about “housing affordability, urban density, mobility, and public space” (source).
There were many displays about green spaces, and interesting idea.
They even have a beer that bears my name on display but I couldn’t find the reason why it was there.
Another exhibition we passed by was the c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city. The area, which I believe is current Marpole in Vancouver, was inhabited by the Coast Salish People. There are many findings here that dates back some 1000 years. The exhibition was created for discussion, since the very group that removed the findings from the site were the predecessors of the Museum of Vancouver.
Finally, we were at the last exhibition of Museum of Vancouver – Vancouver through the 20th century and up until the 70s.
Interestingly, the early part of 20th century was quite similar to now – a lot of new immigrants, urban development, and a crazy housing boom.
Each room has a different decade with the 10-20’s, 30-40’s, 50’s, and 60-70’s.
The 50’s get its own little room with a vintage car and a jukebox to boot.
That concludes the tour of the Museum of Vancouver.
The building is home to 2 museums, most of downstairs belongs to the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) and the rest and the second floor belongs to the H.R. MacMillian Space Center!
The Space center is my favorite of the three, as it has a planetarium! I came here as kid and there used to be a robot that comes out from the middle to guide you through space. The pictures are shown on the roof above. It was really cool as kid!
The planetarium has different shows and you can sit-in as many as you want. I watched Surfing The Solar System, Dark Matter, and Black Holes. The first was the best with live commentary and taking us through our own solar system. The other two were based on educational documentaries and since scientists are still researching dark matter and black hole, it doesn’t really give us too much insight. Regardless, it was nice and relaxing.
The planetarium also have some live science shows and permanent exhibitions.
Finally, there was the Vancouver Maritime Museum. I didn’t visit the museum in full this time but I came here recently. They have lecture series on Thursdays that allows people to listen in with an expert and stay late until 8 PM.
Its main goal here is to promote the maritime and exploration history of the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic.
It’s main exhibition is the St. Roch, the actual boat used by the Royal Mountie Police as an exploration vessel.
Other exhibitions include the Arctic Encounters and the ill-fated Franklin Exploration. The latter was an extreme case of attempting to survive in nature in one of the worse conditions possible.
After the visit, we went walking along the shore line. Vanier Park has a walkway that directly connects with Kitsilano Beach. Unfortunately, there are no coffee shops around the Vanier Park but there are some on 1st Avenue and more near Kitsilano.
We ended the day with Mexican food.