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Vancouver Holidays: 5 Must-Go Places for History Buffs

February 12, 2019 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

A gem nestled amidst majestic mountains and a sparkling ocean, Vancouver is known for its enchanting mix of cosmopolitan vibe, lush parks, and multi-ethnic attractions.

Rated as one of the world’s most liveable cities, it offers not just some of nature’s most beautiful creations, but the trappings of a bustling city with world-famous restaurants and diverse entertainment options.

But Vancouver has a rich history and heritage that is waiting to be discovered, too.Here, our Pan Pacific Hotels Group team recommends the top Vancouver attractions that will enthrall any history buff.

  1. Surrender To An Arresting Experience At The Vancouver Police Museum And Archives

Address: 240 E Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1L3, Canada

Telephone number: +1 604-665-3346

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:00am to 5:00pm

Wish to explore the underbelly of this pristine city—without getting roughed up? Make an appointment with The Vancouver Police Museum and Archives.

Housed in a 1930s heritage building that used to be a hospital, Coroner’s Court, autopsy facility, and the City Analyst’s laboratory, the Vancouver Police Museum and Archives lets you relive the rough and riotous past of the city. It features more than 20,000 exhibits detailing the city’s policing history, from the lawless days of the Wild West to current-day initiatives.

One of the highlights is the original Coroner’s Court morgue and autopsy facility, where real crime-scene evidence and photos from Vancouver’s most notorious crimes, as well as the investigative techniques used to solve them, are exhibited. Other activities in the museum include mock crime scenes and criminal artist sketching stations.

If you are in town on the second Tuesday of the month, pop down for their Movies in the Morgue. This might be the most unusual (and perhaps creepy) place for you to watch a flick!

  1. Join A Walking Tour Of Granville Street And Gastown

Meeting point: The steps on the Georgia Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery, near 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada

Telephone number: +1 778 995 5484

If you like something more interactive, take a walking tour of Granville Street and Gastown Vancouver, led by walking tour company Tour Guys. As the city’s original settler neighbourhood, you can expect a plethora of rich stories brought to life by your animated Vancouver tour guide.

The two-hour tour will span 2km, bringing you from Gastown’s beginnings as a Musqueam (ie First Nation or Native Canadian) settlement to a lawless timbre town in the 1860s, and then to the present as a lively hub.

Walk down cobblestone streets, meet riveting characters who shaped the city, and discover its lesser-known history. The walking tours are free, but tips for the guide are encouraged.

Do check their calendar for available dates, as the public tours may be closed for winter.

  1. Step Back In Time At The Burnaby Village Museum

Address: 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby BC V5G 3T6, Canada

Telephone number: +1 604-297-4565

Opening hours: Seasonal. Please check the opening days and hours here.

Step into a time machine whizzing back 100 years at the quaint Burnaby Village Museum. Experience an authentically recreated 1920s village, complete with period costumed townsfolk welcoming you and giving demonstrations at their ‘homes’ and ‘shops’. The museum also features more than 50,000 artifacts—from a small hat pin to an 1893 farmhouse.

Chat with the teacher in the one-room schoolhouse or the clerk at the General Store; explore the restored Interurban Tram that ran on the Burnaby lines until the 1950s; visit the blacksmith at his forge; or learn about lead type at the print shop. Feeling hungry? Dig into the selection of home-styled desserts served by the ice cream parlour.

Before you leave, hop on to the fully restored 1912 carousel for a spot of childlike fun. Rides are priced at a small fee, while gate admission is free. The museum is open only during certain seasons, so be sure to check the opening days and hours before making your way down.

  1. Explore The Culture Of The First Nations Peoples

Address: 6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada

Telephone number: +1 604-827-5932

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Get acquainted with the original Canadians at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology.

Featuring exhibits on world arts and culture, the museum has a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia, Canada. Built on the traditional land of the Musqueam people, its Welcome Plaza is specially dedicated to artworks by Musqueam artists.

The Permanent Exhibitions include the Multiversity Galleries displaying thousands of artefacts from international communities, as well as the Bill Reid Rotunda, which features artwork by the late Haida (one of the First Nations) artist. Daily public tours are held several times a day, and are free with museum admission.

  1. Pan For Gold At The Britannia Mine Museum

Address: 1 Forbes Way, Britannia Beach, BC V0N 1J0, Canada

Telephone number: +1 604-896-2233 – press 0

Opening hours: 9:30am to 4:30pm daily

Do you know that the largest copper mine in the former British Empire can be found in Vancouver?

Now a National Historic Site selected by the Canadian Tourism Commission as a Canadian Signature Experience, the century-old Britannia Mine Museum offers visitors a rare glimpse into the life of a copper miner.

An underground tour will take you on a ride aboard the mine train into the cool bowels deep beneath the earth, akin to what miners did in 1914. Temperatures get cool below, so remember to bring a sweater along. Once you are inside, tour guides will regale you with their tales of how early mining efforts were conducted—complete with actual working equipment.

Discover how life was like for the mining families with the many stories and photos. Try the hands-on exhibits, including panning for gold. Who knows, you may just get lucky!

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