Skip to content

May we suggest

Site-Specific / March 15, 2017

Great Art Galleries In & Beyond the Vancouver City Core

Downtown and throughout the lower mainland, there are terrific art spaces to put on your agenda
The Arthur Erickson–designed Simon Fraser University campus in Burnaby is a design attraction in itself. But the campus also hosts a top-notch contemporary art gallery. Photo: Facebook. The Arthur Erickson–designed Simon Fraser University campus in Burnaby is a design attraction in itself. But the campus also hosts a top-notch contemporary art gallery. Photo: Facebook.


The largest public gallery in the region, the Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby St.), which houses more than 10,000 works—including a healthy dose of paintings by Emily Carr—is a must-visit. A block over, the Bill Reid Gallery (639 Hornby St.) shows work by the famed Haida sculptor, with changing exhibitions of work by other Indigenous artists as well. Republic Gallery (732 Richards St.) and Kostuik Gallery (1070 Homer St.) show a range of national and international artists. Another of the city’s marquee art spaces, the Contemporary Art Gallery (555 Nelson St.), features leading-edge local and global artists. Good things are happening at smaller spaces downtown, too: “I am really excited about Bopha Chhay’s recent appointment as director of Artspeak (233 Carrall St.),” notes curator Tarah Hogue. And keep in mind that there are seasonal events downtown: Art! Vancouver, for example, takes place annually in the Vancouver Convention Centre (999 Canada Pl.).


Uno Langmann has been in the business for 50 years, and his namesake gallery (2117 Granville St.) reflects
his emphasis on historic European painting. A little further south, Petley Jones Gallery (1554 W. 6th Ave.) and Masters Gallery Ltd. (2245 Granville St.) offer a blend of historic and contemporary work. Heffel Gallery (2247 Granville St.) offers a bricks-and-mortar spot for the auction house, while Ian Tan Gallery (2321 Granville St.) focuses on contemporary Canadian work. Bau-Xi Gallery (3045 Granville St.) is Vancouver’s oldest commercial space, having opened in 1965. Marion Scott Gallery and Kardosh Projects (2423 Granville St.) are a leading force in Inuit art. Charles H. Scott Gallery (1399 Johnston St.), on Granville Island, brings programming to the Emily Carr University community.


The Museum of Anthropology (6393 NW Marine Dr.) has a staggering collection of thousands of ethnographic objects, which are shown alongside a range of exhibition programming, often including great contemporary art. The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (1825 Main Mall) places an emphasis on the Canadian avant-garde, with an eye to the progressive. For a glimpse at the next generation’s work, drop by the student-run Hatch Gallery on a weekday (6133 University Blvd.).

Going East

“Georgia Street has a great confluence of people at 221A (100–221 E. Georgia St.), Access Gallery (222 E. Georgia St.), Centre A (229 E. Georgia St.) and the Foreshore (222 E. Georgia St.)—and Unit/Pitt Projects (236 E. Pender St.) is a block over on Pender,” says Hogue. Fazakas Gallery (688 E. Hastings St.), shows internationally renowned Pacific Northwest Coast art, while Back Project Gallery’s (602 E. Hastings St.) roster includes emerging and mid-career artists working in a range of media. Wil Aballe Art Projects (688 E. Hastings St.) recently moved in, too. The collectively run Gallery Gachet (88 E. Cordova St.) has long been an important fixture on the scene; “with a trend towards galleries actively considering accessibility, Gallery Gachet has been doing the hard work for years and deserves the respect,” notes curator Shaun Dacey.

The Flats

From essential artist-run centres like Grunt Gallery (116–350 E. 2 Ave.) to prestigious commercial galleries like Catriona Jeffries (274 E. 1st Ave.), the Flats don’t lack variety. Commercial spaces such as Monte Clark
Gallery (105–525 Great Northern Way), Equinox Gallery (525 Great Northern Way) and Gallery Jones (1–258 E. 1st Ave.) boast some of Canada’s most renowned artists, and Macaulay and Co. Fine Art (293 E. 2nd Ave.) excels in contemporary Indigenous art. Winsor Gallery (258 E. 1st Ave.) has one of the most fun rosters around, while artist-run centre Western Front (303 E. 8th Ave.) offers trailblazing interdisciplinary exhibitions and events.


Digital-media fans can’t miss the Surrey Art Gallery (13750 88 Ave.). Continue east to Abbotsford to visit the Reach Gallery Museum (32388 Veterans Way).


“Plaza Projects (2370–4000 No. 3 Rd.) is a new gallery project doing interesting things in Richmond,” notes Dacey. The Richmond Art Gallery (7700 Minoru Gate), the only public gallery in the city, has been in operation since 1980 and programs exhibitions by local, national and international artists.


SFU Gallery (8888 University Dr.) brings conceptually rigorous exhibitions up the mountain. Also visit the
school’s downtown art spaces: Audain Gallery (149 W. Hastings St.) and Teck Gallery (515 W. Hastings St.). Burnaby Art Gallery (6344 Deer Lake Ave.) displays historic and contemporary art in the
century-old Ceperley House.

North Vancouver

The Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art (2121 Lonsdale Ave.) places a special emphasis on young audiences, but the exhibitions appeal to all ages. Also visit Presentation House Gallery (333 Chesterfield Ave.) and Griffin Art Projects (1174 Welch St.), which offers a glimpse into the private collections of the region.

White Rock

The commercial White Rock Gallery (1247 Johnston Rd.) carries contemporary art, Group of Seven paintings, original prints and more

West Vancouver

The West Vancouver Museum (680 17th St.) houses a collection of important works by artists in the region within a historic building.