The 10-acre open-air Burnaby Village Museum transports visitors back in time to explore a 1920s-inspired village filled with heritage and replica buildings typical of a tram-stop community along the B.C. Electric Railway. Explore the surroundings at a leisurely pace and enjoy the smiles of period-costumed townsfolk who offer demonstrations in the village’s homes, businesses, and shops. Fan-favourite stops include the blacksmith, the schoolhouse, the spaceship, and the farmhouse gardens. The annual pass also includes rides on the historic 1912 CW Parker Carousel, with riding mood music provided by a 1925 Wurlitzer Military Band Organ and a mezzo-soprano monkey. For an old-fashioned holiday outing, Burnaby Village hosts Heritage Christmas from November 27 to January 2 to let visitors experience the merry-making of yore. Picnic tables, a gift shop, and an ice cream parlour are also on the premises.
240 East Cordova Street used to be the address where Vancouver’s police officers, morticians, judges, and dead converged. The building, which was built in 1932, served as the city’s coroner’s court and morgue until the 1980s and the city analyst’s lab until 1995. Countless toxicology tests and several high-profile investigations have taken place between the building’s walls, including the Castellani Milkshake Murder and Errol Flynn’s autopsy. Fittingly, given the building’s significance to Vancouver's criminal-justice history, it is now home to the Vancouver Police Museum.
To date, the museum staff has curated a selection of approximately 20,000 historical artifacts, including confiscated weapons, counterfeit currency, photographs, paperwork, and vintage police vehicles. Currently, 40 per cent of the collection is on display in the museum’s several exhibits, one of which allows visitors to explore a coroner’s forensic lab. The museum also offers educational programs such as walking tours and a two-hour forensic-science program. During this program, guests scour a faux crime scene for clues and try to prevent the brash, young rookie cop from running off into the night to find the perpetrator.
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.
Cities are the ultimate conglomerations, existing as both the collections of people, institutions, and locations that currently compose them as well as the memories of all of the bygone inhabitants that came before. Without some concept of that past, current-day residents are hard-pressed to really understand their present. Fortunately, the historians at Museum of Vancouver keep visitors in the know with expertly curated exhibits revealing the unforgettable events that shaped the city's character. In the permanent galleries, a series of permanent historical displays chronicle the city’s evolution from the 1900s real-estate boom into the excitement of the 1970s. In 1960s-1970s: You Say You Want A Revolution, Vancouver’s hippie community comes to life with the jangling tunes of local bands of the day and discussions of the Greenpeace movement; in Neon Vancouver, Ugly Vancouver, gallery walls fill with the sizzling light of antique advertising and signage rescued from obscurity before its date with the dump.
To complement the history galleries, three special rotating exhibits each year showcase works by artists such as Tobias Wong, a cheeky craftsman considered one of the forerunners of conceptual design. In 2013, visitors will revist Vancouver's street photography era as they delve into the works of the infamous Foncie Pulice, and explore the west coast modernist architecture of Daniel Evans White. During special events, the museum’s halls fill with the wisdom of curators, artists, and others explaining their work.
Tasked with the preservation of British Columbia’s rich railroading history, the West Coast Railway Association’s train enthusiasts curate and maintain a collection of vintage rolling stock and artifacts. The heart of the 90-piece collection lies in the scenic confines of the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. Visitors are free to wonder the space’s wide-open tracks, visiting locomotives including the Royal Hudson, along with rarities such as an 1890 business car and a gently snoring 1905 sleeping car. A miniature railway affords pleasant rides around the 12 acres of grounds. With many pieces of operational equipment still on hand, the association also offers frequent train tours to destinations across British Columbia.
For more than 30 years, the non-profit, volunteer-driven Canadian Museum of Flight has educated aviation enthusiasts about British Columbia's flying-machine history with a comprehensive, well-preserved collection of aircraft and aviation artifacts. Among its flock of winged warriors, visitors will find replicas of WW1 aircrafts, a Waco biplane from 1930, a Douglas DC-3 transport from 1940, and a 1942 Hampden bomber, which was used in World War II and is the last craft of its type in existence. Hand-plucked jets include a de Havilland Vampire fighter, the all-Canadian designed and built CF-100, and the needle-nosed Lockheed Starfighter. While some of these crafts, like a third eye, are just for show, many of the fleet-footed fleet regularly take to the skies at airshows and events during the warmer months. Groupon users also receive a 15% discount off anything in the aviation gift shop.
The vibrant blooms and lush foliage of approximately 12,000 plants greet visitors' eyes as they wander along the outdoor paths of UBC Botanical Garden. Guest are encouraged to make small talk with plants on display, which include international varietals such as Asian maple trees, alpine and montane flora, more than 400 species of rhododendrons, and vascular plants from the rainforest. Inside the Nitobe Memorial Garden, waterfalls and streams reflect the harmony of nature framing a traditional Japanese teahouse. The garden's classes can help students cultivate home botanicals, teaching techniques such as pruning and training fruit trees. The picturesque surroundings also play host to researchers, weddings, and school groups.