On Vancouver’s Maritime Museum, A Stunning Icon Of Mid-Century Modernism

Mid-century-architecture

Opened in 1959, the Vancouver Maritime Museum is one of the most gorgeous pieces of mid-century modernist design in the city, not to mention one of the most comprehensive displays of this Pacific Northwest’s storied maritime history.

The site was built to coincide with provincial centennial celebrations the year before, commemorating the establishment of the colony of British Columbia in 1858. The main building was designed by C.B.K. Van Norman & Associates, including Australian architect Raymond O. Harrison, who’s personal interest in the development of this site subsequently led him to pursue a long career as a museum administrator and director across Canada.

The stunning A-frame design features bright wood-shingled siding and large floor-to-ceiling triangular fenestration providing those who pass by a glimpse of what’s inside. The shape of the building is no coincidence, for inside sits the main exhibit: the 80-ton St. Roch, a 1928 RCMP arctic patrol ship.

Savour the last bit of summer and check out one of their other all-ages exhibits Babes & Bathers: History of the Swimsuit, on until November 2nd. Take note, too, of the beautiful totem pole just adjacent to the museum, carved by famed BC artist Mungo Martin.

  • Shingle & window detail
    Shingle & window detail
  • The museum collection spans two connected buildings
    The museum collection spans two connected buildings
  • Wood Shingles
    Wood Shingles
  • A-Frame Peak
    A-Frame Peak
  • A-Frame Design
    A-Frame Design
  • Mountie mannequin hanging out inside the museum
    Mountie mannequin hanging out inside the museum
  • More mural detail
    More mural detail
  • Mid-century architecture
    Mid-century architecture
  • Maritime mural across the collections building
    Maritime mural across the collections building
  • Mural detail
    Mural detail
  • View from behind the collections
    View from behind the collections
  • Scenic view of Vanier Park
    Scenic view of Vanier Park
  • Huge ship propellor
    Huge ship propellor
  • The St. Roch sailing in the Atlantic, 1944
    The St. Roch sailing in the Atlantic, 1944
  • Anchors Aweigh!
    Anchors Aweigh!
  • The St. Roch outside the Vancouver Maritime Museum, 196-
    The St. Roch outside the Vancouver Maritime Museum, 196-
  • The museum overlooks the Burrard Inlet
    The museum overlooks the Burrard Inlet

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