Crime cannot exist without laws, just as disease cannot exist without medicine. Explore the history of crime and punishment in Vancouver with today's Groupon: for $3, you get an all-day individual admission to the Vancouver Police Museum (a $7 value). The museum is open Monday through Saturday.
Housed in the former site of Vancouver’s city analyst’s laboratory, the coroner’s courtroom, and a morgue, the Vancouver Police Museum is an interactive exploration of the city’s sandwich-filled criminal underbelly. Its exhibits draw from a collection of approximately 20,000 artifacts, photographs, and published materials to offer the history of the Vancouver Police Department. With a one-day admission, guests will see police firearms and supervillain fire arms, classic police vehicles that have patrolled the streets and sidealleys of Vancouver, and counterfeit currency that failed to befuddle at least one cashier. In addition to the permanent collection, a temporary exhibit—running through late 2011—focuses on the history of police athletics and how physical training for the job sometimes led to athletic achievements elsewhere, including the Olympics. Other Police Museum exhibits include rare and confiscated weapons, showcases of changing law-enforcement technology, a coroner’s forensic exhibit, and explorations of past policing methods, such as the destined-to-fail Good Cop/Trapeze-Artist Cop interrogation technique.
Piece together the criminal wrongdoings of your past lives, or discover the real reason your grandmother wasn’t allowed in Vancouver after 1972. All will be revealed with a visit to the Vancouver Police Museum, named one of the top five interesting things to do in the city by the blog Inside Vancouver.
The Vancouver Police Museum comes with a Frommer's recommendation, 3.5 stars from four TripAdvisors, and four stars from four Yelpers. Everyone agrees it's a lot of fun, but maybe not for the weak-hearted or queasy-stomached.
- The confiscated illegal-weapons display is hair-raising; you can also see the old morgue, a simulated autopsy room (with pieces of damaged body parts in specimen bottles), and a forensics lab. – Frommer's
- If you and the ones you love have a taste for murder and mayhem, this is the place to go. – Louise G., Yelp
- In front of [a display] that tells how a mentally disturbed teenager wasted his family one Christmas Eve in the 60s is the long-handled axe from the crime scene - with blond hairs clinging to the blade. – Christine R., Yelp
Vancouver Police Museum
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 percent 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.