Exploring Urban Change and Diversity Through the Vancouver Mural Festival

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:

Vancouver Mural Festival

Mural by Low Bros. Photo by David Kawai

vancouver mural festival

I made a lame joke about taking off my hat to mix it up. Photo by David Kawai

vancouver mural festival

Mural by David Dullock and Dough Nhung. Photo by David Kawai

vancouver mural festival

Mural by Paul Windsor. Photo by David Kawai

vancouver mural festival

A shoulder to lean on? Photo by David Kawai

vancouver mural festival

Mural by Sandeep Johal. Photo by David Kawai

vancouver mural festival

Mural by Ilya Viryachev. We were losing light quick at this point. Photo by David Kawai

Vancouver Mural Festival

On the lookout for murals around Mount Pleasant.

Vancouver Mural Festival

Vancouver Mural Festival

Mural by Francis Tiffany


What cities are your favourite murals in? Let us know in the comments!


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Comments ( 10 )

  1. ReplyJasmine
    Wow, those are great murals, they are so vibrant and beautiful!
  2. ReplyJolene
    The murals are so cool! I have a cousin in Vancouver and we haven’t been back to see her in over 6 years now. Time to plan a visit soon!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      You definitely should visit! A lot has changed in Vancouver over the past few years. That's great you have family to reconnect with when you go back too.
  3. ReplyErin Clarkson
    Those are so vibrant! I love when artists help revive areas of the city with color and art. We've had a resurgence of murals in Savannah in recent years, too, including a few absolutely beautiful ones right near my house. I'm lucky to be able to pass by them almost daily!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      That's wonderful that it's something you get to see daily! I have yet to visit Savannah, but definitely want to! Thanks for your thoughts, Erin <3
  4. ReplyMarta Rivera
    I am stunned by how talented graffiti artists are! I can barely draw on a regular sheet of paper and here they are on huge buildings!
  5. ReplyJenna | The Urben Life
    All your posts are so amazing! I would love to visit Vancouver. All those murals are awesome!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      You're so sweet - thank you, Jenna! You definitely should! I'll be writing a post on things to do in Vancouver soon. I highly recommend visiting in the summer!

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