Over the long weekend we decided to experience one of the city’s little known cultural experiences for the first time: the Eastside Mural Tour. With a Starbucks latte in one hand and our iPhone in the other, we set off on our self-guided adventure to discover the painted streets of Vancouver.
Entities including the City of Vancouver’s Great Beginnings Program and the Province provide funding to celebrate murals as public art and community engagement within Vancouver’s first urban area, the downtown eastside. The Eastside Mural Tour offers an opportunity for art lovers to wander the city’s original neighbourhoods – like Gastown, Chinatown, Japantown, and Strathcona – and soak up the beautiful public artwork created by passionate artists.
Forty of Vancouver’s best murals (painted between 1979 and 2011) have been curated into four walkable tours, each taking approximately an hour to complete. And for each tour there is a free downloadable map, and a corresponding cell phone audio component that shares interesting facts about the artists and the stories behind their work.
Each wall art composition tells its own story through vivid colours and imagery, drawing from events, individuals, and narratives found within the community. Two of our favourite murals are The River of Crows and Crossings. The 480-foot long River of Crows masterpiece can be found on McLean Drive between Parker and William, and animates the flight pattern of crows along the two blocks. Crossings can be found along the Adanac Bikeway at Clark Street, and makes reference to cycling. It also depicts the ‘Militant Mothers of Raymur’ who successfully fought for the Keefer Street pedestrian overpass, and a Chinese railway worker from the late 19th century representing the legacy of British Columbia labourers that developed much of the infrastructure in the province.
For more information on the Eastside Mural Tours, visit them online.
Have you checked out the incredible murals in East Vancouver? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.