Royal British Columbia Museum

Last updated : 02 April 2007 By scotusa1314
CAUTION: This is not your grandfather's museum. The locals who are prone to understatement tell me it's the best museum in Canada and if they're by some chance wrong, then either Toronto or Montréal must be a very lucky city.

We spent three hours in this one and would have spent another three had it not been for the wee matter of a Scotland match. The exhibitions that we saw considered climate change but in a pictorial and interesting way supplemented by a giant wooly mammoth who roared amusingly at small children. The aquamarine exhibits felt like being in a U-Boot but you could alter the creatures you saw by changing the depth. The models of flora and fauna were stunningly realistic but there is more to this than a Museum of Natural History.

The First Nations part of the Museum refused to sugar coat the role of the white man in decimating his culture but the exhibit ended on a beautifully done touch with an empty glass case bar a notice informing us that artefacts had been returned to the Nis'gaa people in their tribal homelands. What remains there though is an incredible insight into their lives both pre and post the European invasion, with models of villages, actual masks, some newspaper articles of the time and you can actually go into home like that of Chief Kwakwabalasami, Jonathan Hunt, a Kwakwaka'wakw chief from Tsaxis (Fort Rupert), created by his son and grandsons.

But for us Scots and especially Dundonians, the most fascinating part must be the scale model of the inside of HMS Discovery, a part of the Modern History Gallery. This exhibit, coupled with countless other relics of that last century culminates with a tiny little cinema of the epoch they'd recreated which was showing Charlie Chaplin films when we rested wearily in there.

This is an all day-er and I was led to understand that your ticket allows you to do exactly that if you want a break halfway through.

My words can't go on for long enough to do it justice here - hopefully your feet can.
Ger Harley (

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