Discover First Nations culture in Vancouver

You don’t need to leave the city to get a taste of traditional aboriginal art and cuisine – these restaurants, galleries, hotels and tours give visitors and locals a flavour of First Nations culture in Vancouver. Learn local legends as you discover another side to the city with an authentic aboriginal experience. [Image courtesy of the Museum of Anthropology]

Bill Reid Gallery Of Northwest Coast Art

639 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2G3

Bill Reid’s iconic Haida artwork can be found in other corners of the city, such as the huge Spirit of Haida Gwaii: Jade Canoe at YVR Airport, but inside this compact yet compelling gallery on Hornby Street visitors will find a retrospective of the master artist’s work from his lifetime (1920-1998). The gallery is also a showcase for other aboriginal artists, including a full-scale totem pole created by Haida artist James Hart.

Salmon N' Bannock Bistro

7-1128 Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6H 1G5

Inez Cook, a member of the Nuxalk First Nations, opened Salmon n’ Bannock in 2010 to bring a taste of tradition to Vancouver’s dining scene. Serving up freshly baked bannock, an aboriginal staple bread, the 30-seat restaurant also specializes in wild fish and free-range game. Diners can also sip on a glass of award-winning wine from Nk’Mip Cellar; a First Nations owned and operated winery in the Okanagan.

Takaya Tours

3093 Ghum-Lye Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7H 2V6

If you’re blessed with good weather, why not sign up for an aboriginal-themed aquatic tour. Take a trip in a traditional 25-foot canoe around the waters of Indian Arm on this interpretative water-based tour led by a local First Nations guide. Tour participants will learn all about the Tsleil-Waututh, a First Nations community who live on their traditional land on Burrard Inlet between North Vancouver and Deep Cove.

Skwachàys Lodge

31 Pender St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1R3

If you’re visiting Vancouver, stay in one of the unique 18 rooms at this boutique First Nations lodge and help support the Vancouver Native Housing Society. Each room has been decorated by a local artist and on the roof you’ll find an authentic sweat lodge and totem pole. Downstairs, the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery is open to the public and worth a browse to check out some local Vancouver-based aboriginal artists.

Museum of Anthropology

6393 Marine Dr NW, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

Take a trip to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia to see their extensive collection of over 7,000 First Nation artifacts, most of which are from the Northwest coast. A focal point of the museum is Bill Reid’s huge sculpture entitled The Raven and the First Men. In the Great Hall there are totem poles, canoes and other life-sized exhibits and outside you’ll find the Bill Reid designed Haida-style ceremonial house and a sculpture garden to explore.

Talaysay Tours

334 Skawshen Rd, Vancouver, BC V7P 3T1

Talaysay Tours is run by the family team of Candace and Larry Campo and Jonathan Clark Sr. from the Shíshálh people, who are members of the Coast Salish collective of tribes that share cultural-linguistic and social ties. Take a ‘talking trees’ hike around Stanley Park or an interpretative kayak tour around West Vancouver to learn more about local legends.

Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery

200-332 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B6

Gastown is home to a handful of Native-inspired galleries but Coastal Peoples specializes in fine art, such as Inuit soapstone sculptures from Cape Dorset and colourful Haida woodcarvings. Serious collectors come here to purchase their favourite artist’s masterpieces but it’s also a beautiful art gallery to browse on a rainy day.

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