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BC Souvenirs: Keepsakes You Can Find at Local Attractions

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British Columbia is top notch when it comes to fascinating attractions throughout the province—for every age or interest. But did you know that many must-sees also have fabulous gift shops? You can take home a coffee table book from an art gallery, plant seeds from a botanical garden, and much more. Here are a few must-stops whose treasures will remind you of your visit to beautiful BC.

Whistler

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) showcases the art, history, and culture of the Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Úxumixw (Squamish Nation, Coast Salish) and Lil̓wat7úl (Lil’wat Nation, Interior Salish). Music, storytelling, multi-media presentations, and ancient and contemporary artifacts deliver a thought-provoking museum experience. In the SLCC’s admission-free zone, guests can dine at the Indigenous-inspired eatery, Thunderbird Café, and shop in Whistler’s largest First Nations gift shop. The latter showcases merchandise authentic and unique to the Squamish, Lil’wat, and other Indigenous peoples in Canada, including clothing, accessories, hand-carved masks, woven blankets, moccasins, jewelry, books, and more.

Also in Whistler, the Audain Art Museum is not to be missed. Here, a permanent collection focuses on BC art from the late 18th century to the present. The works of Canadian artists like James Hart, Emily Carr, and photographer Jeff Wall are on display, and the attached museum gift shop features pink “We Heart Local Art” stickers that denote the homegrown artists that are represented. Local potter Vincent Massey has pieces for sale here, while ceramic artist Kathleen Tennock’s Naked Raku work deserves a special spot in any home. You’ll also find Heather Johnston’s coasters, prints, throw cushions, and hanging ornaments, all featuring her Whistler photography.

Vancouver Art Gallery | Tanya Goehring

Vancouver

The Vancouver Art Gallery is home to thought-provoking exhibitions from across the globe, with a focus on the historical and contemporary art of British Columbia, including important Indigenous works. Equally impressive, its Gallery Store houses a robust offering of books, posters, paper goods, jewelry, designer giftware, and more. Pick up artfully designed tea cups and saucers, score socks bedecked with your favourite classic design, or splurge on a minimalist bracelet by a local designer. And if you’re a fan of modernist landscape painter Emily Carr, you can find specialty items that pay homage to the BC legend.

The Bill Reid Gallery | Sama Jim Canzian

BILL REID GALLERY

The Bill Reid Gallery—Canada’s only public gallery dedicated to Indigenous Northwest Coast Art—celebrates Haida master artist Bill Reid (1920-1998) and the diverse living cultures of the Northwest Coast. The Gallery gift shop carries a unique selection of sculptures, prints, silver jewelry, accessories, and books; the Bill Reid Gallery Satellite Shop located in the SFU Bookstore at Harbour Centre also features an array of Northwest Coast Indigenous art. All purchases support local Indigenous artists, gallery programs, and exhibitions.

The Museum of Anthropology blends art and culture with a strong emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia. The MOA Shop is also worthy of perusal, with stunning pieces that often reflect the museum’s current exhibitions. Look for handcrafted works by local and international artisans, including soapstone and large wood carvings, bentwood boxes, needle baskets, limited-edition prints, and hand-carved dishware. Proceeds from the shop support museum acquisitions, publications, and public programs.

Explore the floral delights at VanDusen Botanical Garden before checking out the visitor centre, where local and handmade items are brought in seasonally (think: garden supplies, plants, and seeds collected from the garden by their in-house VanDusen Seed Collectors). Honey produced from garden hives? Tea crafted from herbs and plants that grow in the garden? It’s all here. Branded merchandise is carried too, like umbrellas, postcards, stationary, tea towels, and lovely souvenirs that won’t trigger buyer’s remorse.

The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park has been home to thousands of aquatic creatures since 1956. Canada’s largest aquarium educates and inspires—it’s also headquarters of Ocean Wise®, where scientists, educators, and conservation experts work to protect the oceans and inspire others around the world to do the same. Here, the Gift Shop carries products that have a minimal environmental impact, all with a fun, aquatic theme. One example? Stuffies without nurdles (plastic beads that don’t biodegrade). A non-profit organization, the Aquarium ensures that purchases directly fund their education, conservation, and research initiatives.

 

The Polygon Gallery Gift Shop | The Polygon Gallery

North Vancouver

The Polygon Gallery, located on Lower Lonsdale, was known as the Presentation House Gallery for nearly four decades. Name change aside, this hip, modern gallery focuses on photography and media-based art. The Polygon Shop sells locally made jewelry like MDW sterling silver pieces, home products including Le Fil Rouge tea towels from Lynn Valley, and photography-focused items for all ages.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park has been offering thrill-seekers a jaw-dropping experience since 1889. The bridge is home to Vancouver’s oldest and one if its most popular tourism stops—the Trading Post Gift Shop. Built in 1911, the complex has undergone numerous additions and developments, namely when local Vancouverite Nancy Stibbard purchased the entire property in 1983. Thanks to her, Canadian-made products and upscale brands have taken the shop from touristy to terrific. Think: outerwear from Helly Hansen, accessories, jewelry, plush toys, blankets from Pendleton, and Indigenous designs. Local, homemade fudge, Roger’s chocolates, maple syrups, and smoked salmon round out the culinary take-home-treats.

Royal BC Museum exterior | Tanya Goehring

The Royal BC Museum has a deep history in BC’s capital city, with a rotation of collections and archives that beckon visitors intrigued by the past. All sales from the Royal Museum Gift Shop—including snap-up, BC-focused books, art, jewelry, music, clothing, and toys—go towards supporting the programs and events that take place in the museum.

Victoria

It all started in the early 1900s, when, slowly but surely, The Butchart Gardens was created from an old limestone quarry by visionary Jennie Butchart. Nowadays no visit to Victoria would be complete with spending time here in one of the most beautiful gardens found anywhere. The Seed & Gift Store offers one-of-a-kind take-homes, from hand-packed seeds to local artisans’ wares. Too big for your carry-on bag? They will gladly ship to wherever suits you.

Header image: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre | Blake Jorgenson

POSTED BY: Catherine Dunwoody

From: Vancouver
Catherine Dunwoody is like a proud parent when it comes to boasting about BC—shamelessly sharing the province’s attributes with a photo album in her iPhone, to boot. As a freelance lifestyle writer / editor plus photography / video producer, stylist and TV guest she’s circled the globe, and her work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online publications—including Travel + Leisure, The Globe & Mail, Food Network Canada, Inside Vancouver, CTV and more.

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