Exploring Vancouver’s Indigenous culture
If you’re a culture vulture who seeks a vacation destination where you can immerse yourself in the local people’s history and way of life, then Vancouver, with its vibrant Indigenous culture that dates back thousands of years, is the perfect place for you!
We’ve rounded up the best experiences that provide a unique insight into the traditional way of life of the First Nations people of our corner of British Columbia- read on to find out our top picks.
Talaysay Tours offers visitors an opportunity to experience Indigenous culture through a guided tour of Stanley Park, where your guide will share stories of the First Nations’ cultural connection to the trees and plants of the Northwest Coast. Soak up the pristine nature while learning the culinary and medicinal uses of Northwest foliage. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in a forest bathing experience, which involves immersing oneself in the natural environment of Stanley Park to promote relaxation and healing.
Salmon n’ Bannock
Salmon n’ Bannock, Vancouver’s only Indigenous owned and run restaurant, serves authentic flavours crafted into modern dishes using traditional Indigenous ingredients. At this charming restaurant, you’ll enjoy a variety of dishes, including bannock (a type of bread), smoked salmon, and venison. The restaurant also features artwork and decor that showcases Indigenous culture and history.
Mr. Bannock is a food truck that specializes in bannock-based dishes. Visitors can try a variety of unique creations, such as the bannock taco or the bannock pizza. The food truck also features artwork and decor that highlights Indigenous culture and history.
Museum of Anthropology (MOA)
The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is a place of world arts and cultures with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia, Canada. Featuring a vast collection of Indigenous art and artifacts, a visit to the MOA allows you to explore exhibits that showcase the history and culture of the First Nations people of British Columbia, including totem poles, carvings, and textiles.
Bill Reid Gallery
When visiting Vancouver, the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is not one to be missed. This gallery is the only public gallery in Canada dedicated to contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast Art and was established by the Bill Reid Foundation in 2008, to celebrate the Haida master artist Bill Reid (1920 – 1998), and the diverse living cultures of the Northwest Coast.
The Gallery honours Bill Reid by exhibiting the Bill Reid SFU Art Collection, and presenting special exhibitions and programs that build bridges between all peoples, including Indigenous and settler populations.
Takaya Canoe Tours
Experience the culture, tradition and history of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in North Vancouver with Takaya Canoe Tours on a guided canoe tour in replica ocean-going canoes, similar to those used historically by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. On this tour, you will gently paddle in the protected waters of the beautiful salt water Burrard Inlet, while First Nation Guides share songs, legends and point out ancient village sites.
Capilano Suspension Bridge – Kia’Palano
Kia’palano is an educational centre dedicated to highlighting the rich culture of the First Nations people and their connection to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, offering visitors a unique way to experience Indigenous culture. Part of Capilano’s connection to the First Nations people’s story involves the tradition of placing story poles (commonlly called totem poles) on the grounds at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Many of the story poles found in the Park were designed and carved by notable Indigenous carvers Wayne Carlick and James Lewis of the Tlingit/Taltan Nation.
Ready to start exploring Vancouver’s rich culture? Why not book Fairmont Waterfront’s Talking Trees package: enjoy 20% off luxury accommodations, a Talking Trees Tour with Talaysay Tours, and a three course Land and Sea Feast at Salmon n’ Bannock. Your package will also include a $10 donation on your behalf to the IRSSS (Indian Residential School Survivors Society).