Docked inside British Columbia's former Supreme Court building in Bastion Square, the Maritime Museum of BC provides visitors with a bridge to the province's past through an affluent collection of nautical and legal treasures. More than 35,000 unique artifacts—plus 40,000 photographs—join forces to ferry eyes through history, including exhibits that showcase notable pirates, explorers, heritage vessels, and shipwrecks.
A fleet of three iconic sailboats has also dropped anchor beneath the museum's roof, and despite its age and creaky joints from years of playing pond hockey, the oldest operating birdcage elevator in North America still totes guests from floor to floor. Aside from its seafaring trove, the museum also runs public and school programs on topics such as immigration, pirates, women at sea, and the Canadian Coast Guard.
The Whale Museum’s exhibits illustrate the natural history of marine mammals, placing special emphasis on the three orca pods that frolic in San Juan waters from May through September. Visitors can watch a looped 30-minute video on Pacific Northwest whales, or listen to the songs of various species in the Whale Phone Booth, which doubles as a superhero transformation chamber. Members enjoy discounts on educational programs and 10 percent off at the museum store.
Lilliputian Degases will be inspired to sculpt masterpieces in the energetic confines of this professional arts studio for children. Choose two of 4Cats Art Studio's many workshops, such as the Royal Oak location's Robot Polymer Clay or the Langford studio's Matisse Cards, in which highly trained curators teach young visionaries to express their creativity in seasonal motifs using paints, professional-quality polymers, modelling clay, and last night's meatloaf. Workshops vary by location, are intended for children ages 3–15, and include all art materials.