Top 5 Places to Shop for First Nations Art in Vancouver

Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, one of the 5 Best Places to Shop for First Nations Art. Photo: Inuit Gallery of Vancouver

From the Inukshuk that became the symbol of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics to the totems, eagles, and circular killer whales that appear everywhere from the Vancouver International Airport to the Vancouver Convention Centre, First Nations art holds an important place in our cultural aesthetic.

In both its traditional and contemporary modes, First Nations art—sculpture, graphics, bentwood boxes, jewelry—is an expression of the history and geography of our region. For anyone looking for a unique gift—something you won’t find anywhere else in the world—you need look no further than Vancouver’s amazing First Nations galleries and museums.

Top 5 Place to Shop for First Nations Art in Vancouver

1. Coastal Peoples Fine Art Galleries – Yaletown & Gastown
Arguably Vancouver’s most famous spot for First Nations art shopping and a must-see for any visitor to Vancouver (even if you’re not in the market to buy), the two Coastal People Fine Art Galleries specialize in museum-quality, handcrafted artwork by aboriginal artists from B.C.’s Northwest Coast. Artworks include basketry, sculpture, masks, glasswork, jewelry, and graphic prints.

2. Hill’s Native Art – Gastown
North America’s largest Northwest Coast Native Art Gallery, Hill’s three-story flagship store in historic Gastown is another must-visit for First Nations art shopping. At Hill’s, you’ll find everything from original and limited prints, carvings, masks, and totem poles to bentwood boxes, clothing, rattles, and drums.

3. Inuit Gallery of Vancouver – Gastown
Though, as the name implies, this gallery primarily focuses on Inuit art, it also showcases a substantial amount of Northwest Coast First Nations art, particularly sculpture and graphics. Their website has a fabulous “gift section,” too, with elegant pieces in a range of prices, from $45 – $250.

4. Spirits of the North & Eagle Spirit Gallery – Granville Island
Granville Island is a great spot for First Nations art shopping because its home to several shops and galleries, including the museum-quality collections at Eagle Spirit Gallery and the Spirits of the North, which showcases a number of young, up-and-coming artists.

5. MOA – UBC’s Museum of Anthropology – UBC
Strictly speaking, the gift shop at MOA can’t compare in scale and volume with the galleries on this list, but since the museum itself is a must for anyone interested in First Nations art—MOA is world-renowned for its collections of First Nations and Coast Salish peoples’ arts, sculptures, and historic works, including magnificent large-scale sculptures and totems—I had to include it. Spend the day at MOA and you’ll really whet your appetite for First Nations art!

Love First Nations art? Think I left a great place to shop off the list? Please share in the comments!

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