Vancouver Maritime Museum - Atlas Obscura

Vancouver Maritime Museum

Step aboard the first ship to circumnavigate North America. 


Located near Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver, Canada, the Vancouver Maritime Museum showcases numerous nautical artifacts, including a deep-sea diving helmet, the St. Roch, an Arctic exploration ship, and furniture from the Empress of Canada, a luxury ocean liner.

Visitors can learn about Canada’s Arctic explorers and the northern fauna explorers may have encountered in an exhibit featuring a taxidermy musk ox and polar bear skull.

The museum also delves into lesser-known Canadian maritime histories, such as rum-running operations based in Vancouver, which enabled bootlegging as far south as California during the Prohibition Era, pirate operations in the Salish Sea, and lighthouses and the people who operated them.

One of the main highlights of the museum is the intact vessel visitors can board and explore on their own. The St. Roch was the first ship to cross the Northwest Passage from the west to the east coast. The vessel completed the journey in one season and was also the first ship to circumnavigate North America. On board the St. Roch, visitors can see how sailors lived, peer into cabins, and see more nautical artifacts.

The Vancouver Maritime Museum offers a unique glimpse into Canada’s maritime history. The museum is housed in a mid-century modern A-frame building and has been open for more than 60 years, serving as an important repository of information for the region’s history. 

The museum can be reached by ground transportation and by boat. The False Creek Ferries stop at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and there is a walkway leading up to the museum from the docks. 

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April 2, 2024

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