MOV debuts “City On Edge – A Century of Activism”

MOVVancouver has a long history of protest and activism, this month the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) examines this legacy with the new exhibition; City on Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism.

The new photo-based exhibition will be on display at MOV from September 28, 2017 to February 18, 2018. The multi-media collection features 650 photographs of demonstrations, occupations, riots, blockades, and strikes from the early 1900s to the present day. Events like the race riots of 1907 to the recent Kinder Morgan protests.  In addition, visitors will find large digital projections, short films, and animated sounds of protest rallies and choirs, inviting the public to engage with and think about the impact of grassroots activism in their lives and the times when the city showed up, stood up, and rallied for change, or exploded in anger.  

Haney Students
1930s Haney Students Strike
credit: Stan Williams – Vancouver Sun

“Images of street demonstrations are uniquely gripping and beautiful. They highlight the agency of people in challenging the status quo and effecting social change,” explains Viviane Gosselin, City on Edge Co-Curator and Director of Collections & Exhibitions at MOV. “Several events depicted in the exhibition remind us that laws and policies that we often overlook today are the result of citizens taking their concerns to the street.”

credit: Ralph Bower – Vancouver Sun

“The photographs reveal a wide range of social and political issues throughout Vancouver’s history,” adds Kate Bird, Co-Curator of City on Edge. “Some protests, especially those regarding affordable housing, urban development and heritage protection are hyper-local, while the peace and environmental movements reflect a more global activism. The powerful act of marching together with a shared purpose gives people a sense of community engagement with their city, province, country, and the world.”

Museum of Vancouver (MOV) is located at 1100 Chestnut St, at Vanier Park. City On Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism runs September 28, 2017 until February 18, 2018. Permanent exhibits run continuously throughout the year.

Museum of Vancouver brings an Unbelievable new exhibition

After digging through their vaults, the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) is ready to unveil a new and “Unbelievable” exhibition. Unbelievable is a quirky new exhibition curated from the Museum’s own collections, on display at MOV June 24 – September 24, 2017.

Diving deep into the vaults of MOV, Unbelievable assembles iconic artifacts, storied replicas, and contested objects for an exploration of the role stories play in defining lives and communities – and what happens when we question the tales we’ve long relied upon. “Stories are how we create our community and nation. They are literally a matter of life and death, possessing the power to bring us together or tear us apart,” explained Gregory Dreicer, MOV’s Director of Curatorial and Engagement and the creative mind behind Unbelievable. “A shockingly diverse collection of objects will provoke laughter, nostalgia, and fear. What unifies them is not the physical objects themselves – but the contradictory and unbelievable stories that surround each of the treasures on display. We are taking people deep behind the scenes – in order to explore the creation of stories and how they define our past, present, and future.”

A carved wooden bear with open jaws. Collected at Nootka Sound by Midshipman Thomas Dobson on HMS “Discovery” under Captain George Vancouver 1791-1795. Dobson was brought onboard as a Spanish translator.
A carved wooden bear with open jaws. Collected at Nootka Sound by Midshipman Thomas Dobson on HMS “Discovery” under
Captain George Vancouver 1791-1795. Dobson was brought onboard as a Spanish translator. (MOV Collection)

The first large Unbelievable object that visitors will encounter is the Thunderbird totem pole. It appeared in controversial filmmaker Edward Curtis’ 1906 work In the Land of the Head Hunters. The totem pole has since been replicated in fiberglass, as well as re-carved to stand in Stanley Park – but the original has been tucked away within MOV’s vaults. The pole’s complex histories lay the groundwork for an exploration of stories, symbols, and struggles that follow.

Unbelievable will also include a search for other contemporary ‘totems’, each with contrasting stories about a point in time in Vancouver. These include the original ‘R’ from Arbutus Street’s ‘The Ridge’ sign (a replica now adorns condos); a full-scale bronze-cast model of Stanley Park’s derivative Girl in a Wet Suit; and opposing and battling Quatchi costumes from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games – one an official costume, the other an anti-mascot built by protestors.

Elephant foot table from prominent Vancouverite, Alexander Bruce Robertson’ taxidermy collection now housed at the museum. Mr. Robertson hunted the elephant himself while on safari in Africa, and the table was probably prepared at RJ Pop, a local taxidermy store Mr. Robertson used to mount his animals.
Elephant foot table from prominent Vancouverite, Alexander Bruce
Robertson’ taxidermy collection now housed at the museum. Mr.
Robertson hunted the elephant himself while on safari in Africa, and
the table was probably prepared at RJ Pop, a local taxidermy store
Mr. Robertson used to mount his animals. (MOV collection)

The artifacts will also illustrate the tangled threads of narrative around Vancouver’s relationship with First Nations communities. Pieces include a carving given to George Vancouver’s crew, a large mask of a bird depicting the European-brought disease of smallpox, and Pauline Johnson’s ‘Indigenous’ dress, a fantasy garment for a cultural celebrity with a vivid imagination.

Finally, more surprising items ask visitors to create their own stories about unique artifacts found within the MOV collection, such as a side table crafted from an elephant foot, a chair cobbled together from cattle horns, and favourite pieces of garbage salvaged by the City of Vancouver’s sanitation workers. This interactive component of the exhibition will encourage visitors to share their thoughts about how each object came to be, and then later present them with the opportunity to compare their narrative to MOV’s documentation of each artifact.

Inspiration for Unbelievable originated last fall in the wake of the American election, which highlighted an astonishing aspect of human nature: people reject facts that don’t fit their story, even if the information is true. MOV concluded an exhibition exploring the notion of truth – including the museum’s role as one of Canada’s most trusted institutions – could not be more timely or relevant. Essentially, lack of trust, the reach of the web, the crisis in journalism and democracy have sparked Dreicer to embark on a quest for stories to believe in. “We live in an age of information where alternative facts and absolute falsehoods have run rampant.” continued Dreicer, “In an era where nothing can be taken at face value, MOV wanted to create an exhibition that raises questions. With Unbelievable, we ultimately hope visitors will walk away awed by the power of story – with a different understanding and possibly skepticism – about the tales they encounter and the stories they tell themselves.”

Unbelievable run June 24 – September 24, 2017 at Museum of Vancouver at 1100 Chestnut Street.  Visit for more information on Unbelievable and the rest of the exhibits at the MOV on now.

Picks of the Week – May 31, 2017

Wrapping up May and kicking off June means we’re that much closer to Summer. Let’s see what the picks of the week have in store

Duo: Country Couple Faith Hill and Tim Mcgraw bring their Soul2Soul tour to Rogers Arena tonight.

Traces of Words at MOA

Soul: R&B Crooner, John Legend’s Darkness and Light Tour stops at Rogers Arena on Thursday June 1st.

Aussies: Take in a show under the stars when Midnight Oil performs at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park on Friday June 2nd.

Words: The Museum of Anthropology’s exhibition Traces of Words: Art and Caligraphy of Asia examines forms of the written word around Asia, on until October.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company has a pair of shows on now; Million Dollar Quartet at The Stanley Stage, until July 9th and Hand To God at The Goldcorp Stage, until June 25th.

Improv: The Vancouver Theatresports League Western World show continues to bring the laughs at the expense of HBO’s popular hit, Westworld.

Music: Celebrate the grand opening of the brand new flagship Tom Lee Music shop on Granville Street

Kicks: Our Vancouver Whitecaps FC continue their busy stretch with another match at BC Place on Saturday, hosting Atlanta United FC

Picks of the Week – May 17, 2017

It’s time for that unofficial kick off to summer, the May Long, May two-four, Victoria Day, or whatever you like to call it, is upon us and maybe the clouds will clear to get out and enjoy the picks of the week!

Eat: Tonight, explore the culinary flavours of The Heights on another edition of Vancouver Foodster’s food tour, Tasting Plates : Burnaby Heights 

Stand-up: Canadian funny man Gerry Dee brings his comedy to the stage at the Vogue Theatre tonight

Art: Tomorrow, catch a preview of the upcoming West of Main Art Walk, with the Roundhouse Exhibition, 10am – 9pm at Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre

Ice: Witness the best and brightest of the Figure Skating world as Stars on Ice comes to Rogers Arena Thursday

Drag: Comic Queen Bianca Del Rio brings her unique brand of humour to the Vogue Theatre Thursday night with her “Not Today Satan” Tour

Comedy on Wheels_Tanyalee Davis

Wheels: Comedy on Wheels: Celebrating Canada’s Birthday with Belly Laughs! from Realwheels Theatre brings a limited 3 day only show to performance works



Laughs: Mother’s Day may have passed but the laughs and heart tugging tales of the Arts Club Granville Stage Mom’s the Word 3 – Nest Half Empty are holding on for another week, closing May 27th.

Balls: Whitecaps FC kick off versus Sporting Kansas City this Saturday, at BC Place

Comedy: Saturday night, the multi-talented Fred Armisen of Portlandia and SNL fame takes the stage at the Commodore Ballroom

Words: The Museum of Anthropology’s exhibition Traces of Words: Art and Caligraphy of Asia examines forms of the written word around Asia, on until October.

Icon: There’s still time to head to the Firehall Arts Centre for the unique musical experience, Circle Game: Reimagining the music of Joni Mitchell, before it closes May 20


Traces of Words coming to MOA

Traces of Words : Art and Calligraphy from Asia is a new exhibit opening May 11th at Museum of Anthropology (MOA).

From Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions and Qu’ranic manuscripts, to Afghan graffiti and digital creations from Japan, Traces of Words: Arts and Calligraphy from Asia honours the special significance that written forms hold across many diverse cultures in Asia.

The multimedia exhibition will examine how artists have reinterpreted written words as visual expressions.  Texts in many styles represent physical traces of time and space, evoking the ephemeral and eternal.

traces of words at MOA
Hisao Yugami, Mikazuki???, Crescent, 2015Sumi ink on gasen paper mounted on wood panel, 14 x 18cm ·3186/4

“All creatures leave traces of themselves as they move through life; but words, whether spoken, written, imagined, or visualized, are traces unique to humans,” explains Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura, MOA Curator, Asia. “Some words disappear, while others remain only in memory or leave physical traces as writing or text. These traces are the theme of the exhibition.  In it we explore the powerful duality that emerges when the written word becomes a medium or canvas.”

The exhibition represents an enormous diversity of calligraphy, painting, digital and mixed media works.  

traces of words at MOA
Leaf from a Qur’an manuscript in Kufic scriptPossibly Iraq, Iran or Syria, 9th centuryVellum and ink, 23.5 x 32.5 cm ·2988/1

Through paper, silk, clay, woodblock and digital projections, Traces of Words invites visitors to experience and sense the works, and gain an appreciation for the cultural significance of Asian writing beyond reading and writing.

Works on display within the Traces of Words exhibition come from across the continent; including Thailand, Afghanistan, Tibet, Japan and more.

Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia at MOA runs May 11 to October 9, 2017. Visit for more information on the art and artists in the exhibition.

Across The Top Of The World exhibit opens

AcrossTheTopOfTheWorldThis newest exhibit at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, Across The Top Of The World: The Quest For The Northwest Passage is now open. If you’re a history fan of any kind this exhibition covers it all, from British Maritime and Naval History, to Canada’s birth of a nation, and Inuit History to the discovery of the Franklin Expedition.

Based on the book Across The Top of The World by James Delgado, with the help of historic documents, photographs, and artifacts the show weaves a century of stories about the European Quest for the elusive Northwest Passage, a short cut trade route to the Orient, followed by Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic and the historic discovery of John Frankin’s HMS Erebus by Parks Canada.
Along the way,  we learn of the human sacrifice, endurance and camaraderie the mariners endured in the quest.

Across The Top Of The World: The Quest For The Northwest Passage  runs at the Vancouver Maritime Museum throughout the summer. Tickets are available online at

Invisible Threads at Vancouver Maritime Museum

InvisibleThreads_6833Last week, a very interesting and historic exhibit opened at Vancouver Maritime Museum, Invisible Threads: Life Saving Sugihara Visas and the Journey to Vancouver.
The exhibit tells the history of thousands of Jewish refugees who fled Nazi occupied Europe and were able to escape to Japan as a result of Japanese vice-council to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara.  Going against the wishes of his bosses in Japan, Sugihara issued 4500 refugee visas, many personally handwritten, which allowed 6000 Jewish refugees transit to Japan and safety beyond.  Those refugees, many of whom came on ships to Seattle and Vancouver, and their descendants have spread around the world and are now estimated to number 40,000 people who are alive as a direct result of Chiune Sugihara.
At the opening of the exhibit, part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Vancouver – Yokohama sister city, many of the families of Sugihara Visa recipients were on hand to lend some personal meaning to the history of the exhibit and show how the Invisible Threads bind generations and people around the world.

Invisible Threads: Life Saving Sugihara Visas and the Journey to Vancouver, runs until July 1, 2015 at Vancouver Maritime Museum, at 1905 Ogden Ave, in Vanier Park.