Exploring Urban Change and Diversity Through the Vancouver Mural Festival
It’s been over three years since I left my hometown of Vancouver for the sunny California coast and the city has undergone quite a transformation since. I visit about two times per year and see a new crop of shops, restaurants, breweries, apartments, and events popping up each time. Perhaps most noticeable are the sprawling murals now seen across Canada’s third largest city. Over the past two summers, I’ve seen friends post vibrant photos of these diverse artworks across social media and noticed a few tagging “Vancouver Mural Festival”. Turns out a local non-profit launched an annual art celebration in 2016, which takes shape through events and art installations across the city.
I was having bubble tea (boba, to those those who live in America) with friends who were also visiting Vancouver over the holidays when we decided to finally check out these murals for ourselves. We were tight on time and only got to see some of the ones scattered around the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, but this small glimpse into the Vancouver Mural Festival was definitely worth it. The diversity and constant change I have always seen in Vancouver is very much reflected in the city’s paintings. Narratives on British Columbia’s First Nations heritage, its continually expanding cultural and ethnic diversity, and the city’s growing poverty issues can all be seen in these aesthetically pleasing murals. Some are just straight up fun and eccentric.
If you’re hoping to check out Vancouver’s diverse art installations yourself, the Vancouver Mural Festival offers maps and tours. We had a fun time navigating our way around Mount Pleasant’s side streets and alleys in our search for its colourful walls. There are so many murals we didn’t get to see so here’s the Daily Hive’s gallery of murals that sprung up last summer. I highly recommend taking a look at the murals we didn’t get to capture. They’re really quite impressive!
Some of the Vancouver murals we managed to find:
What cities are your favourite murals in? Let us know in the comments!