If you live in Vancouver, you’ve probably heard of the Vancouver Mural Festival. If you haven’t – it’s the city’s largest annual free public art celebration. Thousands of people from across the city head to the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood to see some of the city’s coolest and most colourful murals and street art. It takes place just off hipster Main Street. In case you can’t come, I’ll guide you through the some of the most impressive street art of Vancouver. Check out the Vancouver Mural Festival’s Twitter to make sure you don’t miss a mural at the festival.
The Vancouver Mural Festival: Beginning on East 3rd Avenue
The Vancouver Mural Festival is the creation of the Create Vancouver Society, a non-profit organization for artistic and cultural development. By producing these colourful murals, the aim is to provide a platform for creativity in BC’s Lower Mainland. Each August, the Mural Festival takes place for a week and attracts people from all across the city.
While some of the murals remained from previous Vancouver Mural Festivals, it’s still a great excuse to get out and see some of the awesome street art tucked away in alleyways and lanes. We began along Vancouver’s East 3rd Avenue near my apartment before walking up to Mount Pleasant.
We followed the crowds, soaking up the designs, pensive messages, and mantras of each individual mural.
Virtually every corner you turn in the area, you’re faced with a new colourful mural.
Every year, a growing number of murals can be found spreading across Mount Pleasant. They’re such a cool addition to a once industrial suburb.
The Vancouver Mural Festival: Up to East 5th Avenue
Walking along the streets, we neared East 5th Avenue. We really liked this mural which is a nod to Canada’s First Nations population and their indigenous art.
As well as plenty of murals, there are a few pop ups around the area and a bunch of food trucks. Each pop up offered chill out areas and photo booths.
Inside The James Black Gallery
The Vancouver Mural Festival is also a great chance to be nosy. We came across this adorable heritage house which has been converted into a gallery across three floors.
There were some really interesting contemporary pieces inside. Some of them could certainly resonate with today’s obsession with social media.
We continued into the Mural Festival outside to some of my favourite murals in Vancouver. I love the huge scale colourful murals that take up the entire walls on which they’re painted.
The Vancouver Mural Festival
For those who like watching skateboarders do tricks, there was also some of that set to music as entertainment.
The Mural Festival also has areas where you can relax with a cold drink.
Next, we headed along 7.5th Street to see some of the new mural creations for this year.
This reminded me a lot of Banksy’s street art. What do you think?
I found this mural quite mysterious and it reminded me a little of something spooky from Harry Potter. The murals vary so much. Some have more of a cartoon style, and this in particular made me think of Orla Kiely.
This was one of my favourites! There’s so much to see in one mural, it was rather like a Where’s Waldo. We even got to see it being finished off.
Main Street, Vancouver
Once we’d explored almost all of the murals, we headed to Main Street where the festival continued with food trucks and stalls. It’s a really cool quirky street, and even better right in my new neighbourhood. The mural theme continued, with plenty of opportunities for everyone to paint and express their own creativity.
We browsed some shops, watched rollerbladers, and stopped for ice cream at my favourite ice cream shop in the city, Rain or Shine. There was even a little piece of home for us along the way home!
We finished off a wonderful day with a few sushi rolls. Ultimately, it’s a really awesome festival that celebrates the best of Vancouver’s creativity.
Did you go to the Vancouver Mural Festival this year? Which mural is your favourite?