Destinations, English

Colorful murals in Vancouver: Part 1

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Street Art before the Vancouver Mural Festival:

Until a year and a half ago, street art was not easy to find in Vancouver, I don’t have a big souvenir of big murals in the city.  There was some graffitis of course like in any other city in the world, however not huge colorful ones covering entire walls. The only one I remember seeing (and they are still there, so that’s maybe why I remember haha) upon my arrival in the city is located in Granville Island and it’s called the « Giants ».  Those big guys are painted on the Ocean Concrete silos close to the creek.

So, WHY there wasn’t many street art in Vancouver? Well, the reason is simple: graffitis are forbidden by law in Vancouver and street art is considered vandalism under the law when it’s painted without permission. As a result, property owners have to remove the illegal painting, and if they don’t do it, they can be charged a fine. For example, several artworks from the local artist iHeart have been removed by the City.


In August 2016, the 1st Vancouver Mural Festival was born thanks to some young Vancouverites in Mount Pleasant. More than 40 permanents murals have been created during that event by 39 locals artists and 6 internationals.

A year after this 1st event the festival featured over than 60 new murals from 60 different artists in Mount Pleasant and Strathcona.

Selection of artists:

First of all, artists have to submit applications before the festival. If the majority is from the area, more and more international artists propose their project. They come from Italy, Russia, France, Mexico…

Once they have been selected, they can choose their own topic. However, they must get the building owner’s approval.

After getting the approval, the City delivers a permit. Paintings start a few days before the festival, and it can take up to 7 days to paint a large mural. As of today, the biggest project is on the Hootsuite Building. The walls have been painted, it represent appriximately 1115 m2.

The festival:

A big street festival takes place in Mount Pleasant an afternoon in August. On this occasion, Main Street is closed to traffic between noon and 6:00pm from 7th to 12th avenues. The admission is free and in addition to the artists working, you will find concerts, food trucks, local boutiques, a beer garden..

If you want to learn more about this event, here is the link for their website

The result?

We have been seeing more and more vibrants and colorful creations around the city, not only in Mount Pleasant. Those murals make the city more beautiful, even more during those grey winter days. I got so many WOW when I saw some of them. As you will see below, artists have painted in all kind of support: parking lots, big bins, utility boxes…

In short, you understood that I am a big fan and I can’t wait to see more new street arts.  I got some big crushes!

Vancouver has a « no fun city  » reputation, where there is no room for entertainment. This project undermines these perceptions, doesn’t it?

In any case, it leaves no ones indifferent.

Ready for some vibrant murals?

Yep, I said first, there are so many murals that I will make 3 differents articles.

South of Main Street and Broadway:



Ilya Viryachev / Godzilya

Artist: Marat Morik

So, do you have any favorite? Tell me which one and why?

See you later for a whole new article.


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