Iconic Public Artworks to Visit Around Vancouver

Two people standing in front of a colourful mural in Mount Pleasant as part of the Vancouver Mural Festival.

Vancouver Mural Festival. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Hubert Kang

With over 400 pieces of public art across the city, you’re sure to find one that speaks to you. Don’t miss these iconic artworks in Vancouver. Which one is your favourite?

 

Monument for East Vancouver

Better known as the East Van cross, Monument for East Vancouver is an illuminated sculpture by artist Ken Lum. It was inspired by a graffiti symbol that dates back to the 1940s. The 57-foot-tall (17.4 m) piece celebrates the culture and history of East Vancouver, a neighbourhood historically associated with immigrants.

Where: Northwest corner of Clark Drive at East 6th Avenue

An illuminated cross with the words East Van against the night sky.

Photo: Daniel Abadia/Unsplash

 

Giants

The six huge silos at Ocean Concrete on Granville Island make up this huge mural, called Giants. Created by twin brothers Gustavo and Otávio Pandolfo, known collectively as OSGEMEOS, the artwork is part of a series, also called Giants, with installations in Greece, Poland, Portugal, and other locations. They worked with the curved surface to transform a normal two-dimensional mural into a three-dimensional work.

Where: Ocean Concrete, 1415 Johnston Street, Vancouver

Giants mural on Granville Island by Os Gemeos

Photo: Destination Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic

 

Girl in a Wetsuit

The life-size bronze sculpture of Girl in a Wetsuit sits atop a boulder on the north side of the Stanely Park Seawall. The work by artist Elek Imredy is an homage to the famous sculpture of a mermaid in Copenhagen. Each day, the tide laps up around the sculpture’s legs.

Where: North side of the Stanley Park Seawall near Brockton Oval, Vancouver

Girl in a wetsuit sculpture in Vancouver

Photo: lairdcamster/Pixabay

 

Vancouver Mural Festival

Since 2016 the Vancouver Mural Festival has transformed Vancouver’s landscape with paint at each year’s festival. To date, they have helped artists create over 300 murals around the city. Use the maps on their website or their app to find the murals.

Where: Locations across Vancouver. See the Vancouver Mural Festival website for details.

Two men talking in front of a mural in Mount Pleasant at the Vancouver Mural Festival

Photo: Destination Vancouver/Hubert Kang

 

Digital Orca

Installed in 2010, Digital Orca takes the orca (killer whale), a familiar symbol in Vancouver, and re-imagines it in a pixelated form. The artist, Douglas Coupland, is a lifelong Vancouver resident who has created several other large public artworks in the city and written acclaimed books including the novel Generation X and City of Glass, a book of essays and photographs about Vancouver.

Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West Building, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver

Digital orca sculpture at sunset in Vancouver

Photo: Masaru Suzuki/Unsplash

 

Voxel Bridge

In 2021, artist Jessica Angel transformed the underside of the Cambie Street Bridge into a 19,000-square-foot (1,765-square-metre) art installation called Voxel Bridge. The artwork on the bottom of the bridge and its pillars is two-dimensional. But if you view it through the Vancouver Biennale app, it becomes an immersive augmented reality experience.

Where: Underside of the south side of the Cambie Street Bridge, Vancouver

Voxel Bridge mural underneath the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver

Photo: Cameron Hudson/Unsplash

 

A-maze-ing Laughter

Installed in 2009, A-maze-ing Laughter is one of Vancouver’s most famous sculptures, visited by thousands each day at its location near English Bay. The work consists of 14 large cast bronze sculptures that each depict the artist, Yue Minjun, laughing.

Where: Morton Park (corner of Davie Street and Denman Street) Vancouver

A-maze-ing Laughter sculpture in Vancouver

Photo: Debbie Konrad/Unplash

 

The Drop

Thousands of people see The Drop each year, thanks to its location at the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place. The 65-foot (20 m) tall sculpture by Inges Idee is meant to invoke a huge raindrop captured at the moment of contact, fitting for Vancouver’s reputation as a rainy city.

Where: Vancouver Convention Centre Bon Voyage Plaza, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver

The Drop sculpture in Vancouver

Photo: Jasper Garratt/Unsplash

 

Inukshuk

This stack of granite blocks was originally erected as part of the North-West Territories Pavillion at the 1986 Expo, then moved to English Bay after the fair. Designed by Inuit artist Alvin Kanak, Inukshuk is inspired by the much smaller stacks of rocks often used as signposts or distance markers in the north.

Where: On the False Creek Seawall near the intersection of Beach Avenue and Bidwell Street, Vancouver

Inukshuk sculpture in Vancouver

Photo: Larry Nalzaro/Unsplash

 

More Vancouver Art

Vancouver is home to dozens of pieces of public art – more than we can fit in this short article. You’re bound to stumble across them around the city. Or follow one of Vancouver Biennale’s biking or walking self-guided art tours. If you want to find more art, check out the City of Vancouver Public Art Registry, which includes over 400 works and a handy interactive map.

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