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What to See Vancouver

Richmond Art Gallery: Beyond the Horizon


"Evening - Keremeos, B.C." by William Percy Weston. (Photo: Lance Blomgren)

“Evening – Keremeos, B.C.” by William Percy Weston. (Photo: Lance Blomgren)

To Aug. 20, 2017 See the forest and the trees—and everything in-between—at Richmond Art Gallery’s Beyond the Horizon. The exhibit explores Canada’s vast landscape through the works of famed True North artists, and 10 secondary-school students’ responses to them. See stunning scenery by luminaries like Toni Onley, Susan Point and William Percy Weston (“Evening – Keremeos, B.C.,” pictured) alongside some of BC’s fresh talent. It’s the great outdoors, but in a way you’ve never pictured.

Must-See Movies: Vancouver Queer Film Festival


Revelatory documentary FREE CeCe screens at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Revelatory documentary FREE CeCe screens at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Aug. 10 to 20, 2017 Catch more than 50 fabulous films from 15 countries at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Dive into documentaries like FREE CeCe (pictured), Laverne Cox’s interview with African-American trans woman CeCe McDonald about her imprisonment following an act of self-defence. A Taiwanese filmmaker documents 20 years of conversations with her mother, a lesbian Taoist priestess, in Small Talk (Ri Chang Dui Hua). Meanwhile, Signature Move tickles funny bones as amateur wrestler Zaynab, a young queer Pakistani woman, hides her new relationship from her TV-obsessed mother. Watch and learn—and laugh, cry or fall in love—at venues all over the city.

Vancouver Mural Festival Brightens Up City Spaces

The writing—graffiti, street art and more—is on the wall


Visit The Arts Factory to see this nature-infused mural by Ola Volo

Visit The Arts Factory to see this nature-infused mural by Ola Volo. (Photo: KK Law)

Aug. 7 to 12, 2017 Artists are painting the town red—and every other colour of the rainbow—at the second annual Vancouver Mural Festival. Last year, the inaugural event added a splash of colour to the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood by way of 35 eye-catching murals. This year’s festival adds to that colourful legacy, transforming more than 50 additional walls around East Van into large-scale canvases. The line-up includes artists from Vancouver and around the globe, with an emphasis on graffiti artists like AA Crew, and First Nations artists such as Corey Bulpitt and Sharifah Marsden. The paint-flecked celebrations include a vibrant street festival, live musical performances, walking tours, artists talks and a beer garden. If your trip wasn’t timed quite right, don’t fret: on Saturdays, take in the city’s largest display of street art on a guided tour. Or simply download a map for a self-guided stroll of alfresco art.

Meet a Mountie


Spend a summer afternoon with friendly Mounties at the Burnaby Village Museum

Spend a summer afternoon with friendly Mounties at the Burnaby Village Museum

To Aug 29, 2017 You may have heard of the Canadian tuxedo—an all-denim outfit reportedly inspired by Bing Crosby—but the true mark of a special occasion in Canada is the presence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their scarlet dress uniforms. (Trivia fans: these iconic outfits are called “red serge.”) Usually, the most you’d get is a smile and a wave as our sharply dressed federal lawkeepers ride by in a parade. All that changes for Canada 150—every Tuesday all summer long, merry Mounties pose for pictures with visitors at the Burnaby Village Museum from noon to 2 p.m. Polish your boots and straighten your smile, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with the “eh” team.

Pictures From Here: Photo Exhibit Captures the Spirit of the City


"Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour" by Rodney Graham. (Photo: Rodney Graham/303 Gallery, New York)

“Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour” by Rodney Graham. (Photo: Rodney Graham/303 Gallery, New York)

To Sep. 4, 2017 See the city through the lens of famed local photographers in Pictures From Here at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The exhibit highlights the emergence of photo-conceptualism, a movement that brought the city international attention as a centre for contemporary art. Skilful snaps by luminaries such as Fred Herzog, Roy Arden, Jeff Wall and Rodney Graham (“Paddler, Mouth of the Seymour,” pictured) act as a counterbalance to the lyrical landscapes that had dominated the Canadian art-making tradition. Now that’s a fresh perspective.

Drum is Calling Festival


Shane Koyczan (centre) joins an illustrious list of performers at The Drum is Calling Festival.

Catch Shane Koyczan (centre) and other Canadian legends at The Drum is Calling Festival.

Jul. 22 to 30, 2017 For nine glorious days, The Drum Is Calling Festival becomes the beating heart of our city, highlighting the music, art, fashion and strength of First Nations and diverse cultures. What can you expect? Throat singing by award-winning vocalist Tanya Tagaq. Powerful performances by Canadian Music Hall of Fame veteran Buffy Sainte-Marie, Juno Award–winning Chantal Kreviazuk, spoken-word champion Shane Koyczan (pictured, above centre) and others. Stunning designs at Indigenous Fashion Week. Thunderous cross-cultural drumming. Plus carving and weaving workshops, short films, DJs, artisans and food vendors. At a festival like this, there’s plenty to celebrate.

Oh Canada! Online Art Auction


"Indian Encampment" by  Thomas Mower Martin. (Photo: Heffel Fine Art Auction House)

“Indian Encampment” by Thomas Mower Martin. (Photo: Heffel Fine Art Auction House)

Jul. 6 to 27, 2017 It’s a True North takeover at Heffel. Raise a virtual paddle at the Oh Canada! online auction, which features historical Canadian works to celebrate the country’s sesquicentennial. Stop by the auction house to view watercolours, oils and pastels by celebrated artists like Cornelius Krieghoff and Thomas Mower Martin (“Indian Encampment,” pictured). Let the bidding begin.

Souvenir Shop On Wheels


Keep an eye out for this tiny taxi laden with Canadian-made gifts

Keep an eye out for this tiny taxi stocked with Canadian-made gifts

To Jul 31, 2017 Great souvenirs are a reminder of your favourite things about a trip, but when the “shop” you find them in is a fabulously festive Canada 150 cab, the shopping experience might actually be the best part. Hop into the True North Taxicab—possibly the world’s smallest gift shop—to pick up Canadian-made culinary gifts by Edible Canada. It’s a visit you won’t soon forget.

Seaplane Scenery

For the best view in town, take to the skies 

Harbour Air proudly flies national colours in honour of Canada's 150th birthday

Harbour Air proudly flies national colours in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday

Soak up spectacular scenery and national heritage in one of Harbour Air’s limited-edition Canada 150 seaplanes. The iconic (and adorably named) de Havilland Otter and Beaver planes—which once flew prospectors north in search of gold—are all dressed up and ready to take modern-day explorers on the ride of a lifetime. Get up close and personal with breathtaking landscapes on the Alpine Lakes & Glaciers tour, soar over the Gulf Islands on your way to a whale-watching adventure in Victoria, or customize adventures to suit your sightseeing style. Thanks to panoramic cabin windows, every seat gets a front-row view.

Vancouverites Get Muddy at Rugged Maniac


The muddier, the merrier, at Rugged Maniac

The muddier, the merrier, at Rugged Maniac.

Jul. 15, 2017 Do you have what it takes to be a Maniac? Find out when Rugged Maniac returns to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. This 5K obstacle race is filled with waterslides, fire jumps, trampolines, tunnels and mud—lots of mud. The day involves more than just a wacky race: participants and spectators alike can listen to live music, ride a mechanical bull, try outstanding food and beer, and take part in pie-eating and strength contests. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a couch potato, you’re sure to find something to test your mettle.

Gathering of Canoes Lands at Vanier Park


Welcome the incoming canoes at Vanier Park. (Photo: Takaya Tours)

Welcome the incoming canoes at Vanier Park. (Photo: Takaya Tours)

Jul. 14, 2017 History buffs, take note: Gathering of Canoes digs paddles deep into Vancouver’s past. For millennia, the coastal waterways were highways for local First Nations peoples, and this Friday, it’s possible to witness a traditional canoe landing at Vanier Park. Watch as up to 30 canoes request permission to come ashore on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories, just one stop on a 10-day journey that travels time-honoured routes along the Sunshine Coast. Afterwards, celebrations make a splash with musical performances, family-friendly activities and an afternoon feast.

Vancouver Folk Fest’s Fortieth Birthday


World music and a stunning seaside backdrop make for a memorable festival. (Photo: Erik Price)

World music and a stunning seaside backdrop make for a memorable festival. (Photo: Erik Price)

Jul. 13 to 16, 2017 This weekend, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival celebrates its 40th birthday at Jericho Beach Park with 40,000 fans, as well as a spectacular line-up of roots and folk musicians from Canada and around the world. Soak up the sweet sounds of the Barenaked Ladies, Kathleen Edwards, Blind Pilot, Mbongwana Star and others. With multiple seaside stages featuring orchestral indie-pop, didgeridoo, Inuit indie and impromptu sing-alongs, there’s plenty to dance about. Shop the artisan market, sample global cuisine, then hula-hoop over to the Little Folks Village for kid-focused crafts and performances. After all, birthday parties are a family affair.