This museum is right on the coast of English Bay at Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver – a fitting spot for a maritime museum. The main focus of the museum is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner St. Roch that was used to patrol the Arctic. Upon entering the museum, you go to the left to watch a video about the vessel then you have twenty minutes to explore the decks and cabins – note this requires climbing stairs and ladders. It is very interesting to learn about the St. Roch and her crew who took her through the Northwest Passage in 1942 with Sergeant Henry Larsen at the helm. Her unique construction – a rounded hull – allows ice to slip under her. The St. Roch was used to patrol Canada’s northern waters during WWII and spent much of her time delivering goods and people between communities and RCMP detachments in the north. You can even go below water level to see the full extent of her hull. Her first voyage was in 1928 and in 1950-51 the ship was the first to circumnavigate North America when she sailed from Vancouver to Halifax via the Panama Canal.
The remainder of the museum has a lot of interactive areas for children – in fact there was a young school group in when I was there – and exhibits about the Franklin Expedition and the Quest for the Northwest Passage. You can even pretend you are piloting a tub boat.
It is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and until 8:00 pm on Thursdays. Admission is $11 for adults and $8.50 for seniors. The only thing missing is a café.
After visiting the museum, walk down to the dock and hop on the False Creek Ferry. You can get a day pass for $15 and visit all the stops around False Creek. It is a nice way to spend the day. I decided to walk to Granville Island from the museum as it was such a nice day. However, the same rationale could be used to take the ferry. Next time I will to experience the scenery from the water.