5 Iconic Vancouver Murals

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

When I land at YVR, step out the automatic doors from the arrivals area and sniff the cedar-coated Sea Island air, I know I’m home. I hop in a cab at the airport cruise up Granville from one end to the other, and just over the crest of the Granville Street Bridge I get a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains between the neon of the entertainment district. As I pass the Orca mural by Wyland at the north end of the bridge, I not only feel like I’m home, I have one of those “I’m lucky to live here” moments.

Photo credit: Daniel Lobo on Flickr

The Orca mural came down this month after being a symbol of homecomings for me, and an iconic and unofficial “Welcome to Downtown” monument for many more, since 1994.

down comes the whaling wall
Photo credit: Shannon Leigh Photography on Flickr

Painted by the artist Wyland, there are 100 of these large outdoor murals known as Whaling Walls around the world. The murals feature life-size images of sea life like gray whales, breaching humpback whales, blue whales and orcas. In Vancouver a new mural will be commissioned but the location will be moved to East Vancouver [Source].

5 Iconic Vancouver Murals

The ocean, mountains, and a city full of glass towers are all images associated with Vancouver but other works like Wyland’s Orcas, have come to be symbols of their communities. Here are 5 iconic Vancouver murals have stood out for me over the years:

The Beatty Street Mural
Location: Beatty Street between Dunsmuir and Georgia
About: This has always been a popular mural location. In 2009 the current patchwork of graffiti and murals was painted over by the city as this piece took shape, featuring prominent Vancouverites throughout history.

Vancouver: City of Destiny
Photo credit: Clayton Perry on Flickr

David Suzuki Mural Vancouver: Mural (Behind a parking lot off Georgia Street) Beatty Street Mural Vancouver: Mural (Behind a parking lot off Georgian Street)
Photo credit: Kyle Pearce & longzijun & kris krüg & longzijun on Flickr

Lao Tsu Mural
Location: 311 East Pender Street
About: Part of the Vancouver Mural Tour. Vancouver’s first traditional Chinese painting portraying a historical scholar and philosopher in a mural.

Laozi mural
Photo credit: Richard Eriksson on Flickr

Vancouver, B.C. Lao Tzu over Chinatown
Photo credit: Curtis Cronn & Jason V on Flickr

Graffiti Alley
Location: Between Richards and Homer, running parallel to Hastings.
About: A city-funded project that went up in 2005.

Graffiti Mural in Vancouver
Photo credit: Mark Atwood on Flickr

Alley Graffiti Mural, or graffiti?
Photo credit: Terry Lawson & forester401 on Flickr

West End Mural
Location: Bidwell at Robson
About: After the Starbucks moved out in 2014 after 20 years, the fate of the store space is uncertain but this artistic depiction of Vancouver’s West End and Kitsilano along Bidwell is a mainstay in the community.

Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?
Photo credit: Wee Sen Goh on Flickr

nice places Bidwell and Robson
Photo credit: Ryan & flinner! on Flickr

The Drive Mural Project
Location: Commercial Drive at Charles Street
About: Part of the Commercial Drive Mural Project

House Party
Photo credit: Philip Tong on Flickr

the drive.charles street mural 2 the drive.charles street mural 1
Photo credit: Henry Lam & Henry Lam on Flickr

Want to check out more murals? The Great Beginning Program of 2008 has helped create and maintain about 4 dozens murals around the city, that you can visit on self-guided tours and pinpoint on this interactive map:

If you have a favourite mural in Vancouver, leave a comment about it or take a photo on Instagram and tag it #Photos604.

1 Comment  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Julia KristinaTuesday, January 27th, 2015 — 2:39pm PST

    This is really great! Apparently I need to get out and around in my city more to see these.

    Julia Kristina

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