Vancouver public art

Vancouver is rich in public art.  Eight days in the city (with a few of those for professional commitments) only allowed me to scratch the surface and take in a few pieces.  What I did see made me smile, and in a few cases made me reflect.  Here are a few highlights.

Probably the piece I was most interested in seeing was the Terry Fox Memorial outside of BC Place Stadium.  Like many Canadians of my generation, he was a hero to me.  His resiliency, determination and sheer stubbornness in the face of immense obstacles, let alone his athletic achievement (the equivalent of running a marathon a day for 143 consecutive days), inspired awe.  Seeing this memorial in Vancouver was a highlight of the trip for me:

Terry Fox Memorial

On our first day city tour of Vancouver, we went past this giant steel crab sculpture by George Norris outside of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Kitsilano:

"The Crab", George Norris

This gem is located outside the convention centre and next door to the cruise ship terminal on Vancouver Harbour.  “The Drop” by a German artist group called Inges Idee is meant to remind visitors of the power of water, ever so present in Vancouver’s geography and climate.  It’s an impressive piece standing over 60 feet tall:

"The Drop", Inges Idee

On the other side of the convention centre is another great piece, this one, “Digital Orca” by Douglas Coupland.  The orca is a great symbol of Vancouver, here represented via a pixelated metaphor representing the new world of technology in which we live.   Juxtaposed against such awesome natural beauty it makes a powerful statement:

"Digital Orca", Douglas Coupland

Near English Bay on the west end of downtown Vancouver is probably the most iconic of all of the public art displays around the city.  “A-maze-ing Laughter” by Yue Minjun is a favourite, so much so that the installation was under a refurbishment initiative with the grounds of the sculptures torn up and fenced off.  Even so, it’s a great installation:

A-maze-ing Laughter, Yue Minjun

Further along the Sea Wall heading south, the English Bay Inukshuk strikes an imposing figure set against the backdrop of the mountains of North Vancouver and English Bay with Burrard Inlet off in the distance:

Inukshuk at English Bay

Maybe not traditionally thought of as public art, this was a piece of true street art that was a work in progress on Robson just at Burrard across the street from our apartment.  It was great to see the artist elaborating this work during the week and carefully taping it in a protective cover each night.  Here’s a partially completed replica of “Sacrifice of Isaac” by Caravaggio:

Street painting, Burrard/Robson


One thought on “Vancouver public art

  1. Pingback: Exploring more Vancouver public art | Bluenose Traveler

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