The Most Impressive Buildings in Vancouver

Museum of Anthropology
Museum of Anthropology | © Colin Knowles / Flickr

Canada is a relatively new country, as it’s only celebrating its 150th birthday this year. However, Vancouver does have some historically beautiful buildings, juxtaposed against its innovative modern counterparts. Check out these impressive buildings the next time you’re in Vancouver.

1. Vancouver Art Gallery

Art Gallery

Vancouver Art Gallery
© Cord Rodefeld / Flickr
Located in Vancouver’s former main courthouse, the Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest art museum in Western Canada. Francis Rattenbury designed the neoclassical building in 1905, and it features marble imported from Vermont, Tennessee, and Alaska. In 1980, it became a Canadian National Historic Site. Many TV shows and movies that film in Vancouver use the Art Gallery’s steps for important scenes.

2. Science World


Aquabus and Science World at Telus World of Science
© Felix Choo / Alamy Stock Photo
Science World was built for Expo 86 and was the Expo Centre during the 1986 World Fair. Its unique golf ball design is a geodesic dome, created by R. Buckminster Fuller. The American inventor patented 28 inventions, including this type of dome. Science World’s dome is a must-see at night when its 391 lights and 766 triangles are reflected in the surrounding water.

3. Vancouver Lookout

Architectural Landmark

Vancouver Lookout, constructed in 1977, is the defining feature of Vancouver’s skyline, and its flying saucer design offers sightseers 360-degree views of the city. The lookout lights up at night and becomes a Christmas tree during the holidays. It’s a part of the Harbour Centre, which includes 28 floors of offices. There is also a revolving restaurant waiting for you at the top.

4. Marine Building


Marine Building and its reflection
© Kyle Pearce / Flickr
Some people say the Marine Building may be the most impressive example of Art Deco architecture in Canada. Completed in 1930, its interior and exterior both feature marine symbols in the stonework and brass fixtures. Its exterior, which resembles a tiered wedding cake, was also shown regularly in the hit TV series Smallville,as it symbolized the Daily Planet headquarters.

5. Museum of Anthropology

Building, Museum

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia
© Paul Christian Gordon / Alamy Stock Photo
Located on the University of British Columbia campus, Canadian architect Arthur Erickson designed this award-winning museum in 1976. The Museum of Anthropology’s “concrete and glass structure is based on the post-and-beam structures of northern Northwest Coast First Nations.” Its unique architecture is complemented by its unique setting on the Point Grey cliffs.

6. Evergreen Building


Evergreen Building
© Jason V / Flickr
The Evergreen Building, constructed in 1980, is another Arthur Erickson creation. It’s a ten-story building that features a pyramid of triangular concrete gardens with overhanging plants in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighborhood and is today used for both residential and office space. There has been pressure to demolish the building in favor of another skyscraper of apartments. However, public backlash has prevented the impressive Evergreen’s destruction.

7. Holy Rosary Cathedral


Holy Rosary Cathedral
© Thomas Quine / Flickr
A pristine example of French Gothic architecture, the Holy Rosary Cathedral has stood in Vancouver’s downtown area since 1899. It’s now home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. The church became a cathedral in 1916 and is also a legally protected building, with 21 stained-glass windows and two bell towers that are undoubtedly Holy Rosary Cathedral’s most prominent feature.

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