Museums of Metro Vancouver: Vancouver Police Museum

by - May 12, 2021

Among the places to visit in Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Museum is not when that usually comes to mind. However, I saw that it popped up on Groupon and thought why not? We ended up going for it on a rainy day and it did not disappoint.

The Vancouver Police Museum (formerly called the Vancouver Police Centennial Museum) was started way back in 1986 by Joe Swan, a former police sergeant and amateur historian. Swan wrote the department's official history book, which was published by the Vancouver Historical Society in 1986, entitled, A Century of Service: The Vancouver Police, 1886-1986.

The museum and is housed in a old brick “heritage” building which, only six years before, was the Coroner’s Court and autopsy facilities. The morgue has since been turned into part of the museum and can be toured. The area the building is in, is in the Hastings area, which houses many homeless and drug addicts, FYI.

You can also check it out on Family Day in February, when entrance is free and there are also activities planned. When we went, we also did a scavenger hunt to search for letters hidden all around the Museum, and it was a fun activity.

The museum houses a number of items. In one room, there were firearms, whereas the main room had a city hall exhibit, police uniforms and vehicles, not to mention a lot of other  memorabilia.

The museum is run by the Vancouver Police Historical Society, a non-profit organization established in 1983 with the mandate to foster interest in the history of the Vancouver Police Department and to open a museum for this purpose. 

The other rooms have wall exhibits so there's less interactive stuff. There are lots of photographs and images and text so you can peruse at your own leisure. Since the museum itself is small, it is worth it to read through the exhibits.

Definitely though, the creepiest part of the museum is the morgue where they do the autopsies and they have specimens of body parts as well. Our daughter delighted in it, but mind I say, it was CREEPY.

This image below is actually organs and some other fairly intense anatomical specimens left over from crime analysis!

Just note that it is a small museum and could take maybe half an hour or an hour to see all of it. However, while the tickets are around $12, there are many days in the year when the museum is free (family day) and there are also lots of Groupons that one can avail to get a good deal.

 The museum is located on Cordova Street, which is one block north of Hastings. There is extensive metered parking in the blocks surrounding the museum, costing $1 per hour

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