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 $15, you get two tickets to the Sins of the City walking tour from the Vancouver Police Museum (a $30 value). Your tickets also get you free admission to the museum on the day of the tour. Tours are currently scheduled to run at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Explore the city's early culture of mayhem and misbehaviour as you weave a path into Vancouver's bootleg-bloated underbelly. Your guide will transport you to the sites of a grisly and grimy proto-city that was once stuffed to the brim with brothels, opium dens, and gambling lairs, as loggers and sailors ran amuck on the stomping grounds of early Vancouverite bar owner Gassy Jack. Tour-takers will see the city's first jailhouse, learn about the drug trade in the city's early years, and wander through Blood Alley before returning to the Police Museum. The Sins of the City walking tour leaves from the museum, is held rain or shine, and requires 24 hours advanced reservation.
The Vancouver Police Museum is housed in the former site of Vancouver’s city analyst’s laboratory, the coroner’s courtroom, and a morgue and is an interactive exploration of the city’s criminal past. Its exhibits draw from a collection of approximately 20,000 artefacts, photographs, and published materials to offer the history of the Vancouver Police Department. Piece together the criminal wrongdoings of your past lives, or discover the real reason your grandmother wasn’t allowed in Vancouver after 1972, with a Sins of the City walking tour and 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, a 3.5-star average from four TripAdvisors, and four stars from five 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 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.
240 E Cordova St.
Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 1L3Get Directions