BRITISH COLUMBIA

Vancouver Public Art: 17 Pieces That Wouldn't Belong Anywhere Else

05/29/2015 06:34 EDT | Updated 05/29/2015 06:59 EDT
HuffPost B.C.

From spray-painted giants to a giant poodle, there's no question that Vancouver is home to a colourful collection of public art.

It's debatable if the pieces are equally loved, but they certainly are eye-catching.

The Guardian's readers certainly think so, anyway. Three Vancouver pieces made it onto the British newspaper's roundup of standout urban art from around the world.

The city is in good company, making the list alongside other metropolises like Berlin, Chicago, and Istanbul.

You may recognize the Vancouver installations, but perhaps wonder about their origins or symbolism. So, we put together a handy guide to some of our favourites:

  • Granville Island Silos
    Vancouver Biennale/Roaming-The-Planet
    Six concrete silos were transformed into six, vibrant giants with spray paint. The artists are Brazilian twin brothers, and this project was their biggest to date.

    Installed: 2014
    Location: Granville Island
    Artist: OSGEMEOS
  • Trans-Am Totem
    HuffPost B.C.
    Symbolizes society's "out with the old, in with the new" consumer culture by stacking five scrap cars on top of one another.

    Location: Downtown
    Installed: 2015
    Artist: Marcus Bowcott
  • Inukshuk
    Installed at Expo 86 as a welcome symbol to tourists flooding the city.

    Installed: 1986
    Location: English Bay
    Artist: Alvin Kanak
  • Rainblossom Project
    An ode to the rain-soaked city of Vancouver.

    Installed: 2014 (temporary)
    Location: Seawall, West Side
    Artist: Anonymous
  • Human Structures (Vancouver)
    Focuses on the idea that people need to work together for a better society.

    Location: Olympic Villlage/Hinge Park
    Installed: 2014
    Artist: Jonathan Borofsky
  • Lightshed
    Based on the boat sheds that used to line Vancouver's shores.

    Location: Stanley Park Seawall
    Installed: 2004
    Artist: Liz Magor
  • Totem Poles
    Getty
    The nine-totem collection began with four poles in the 1920s and continues to grow.

    Location: Stanley Park
    Installed: 1920s-2009
    Artist: Various
  • Main Street Poodle
    Maureen Smith
    The seven-foot-tall poodle statue embraces the wide variety of people in the city, as it's a breed "not associated with a particular culture," according to the artist.

    Location: Mount Pleasant
    Installed: 2013
    Artist: Gisele Amantea
  • Engagement
    Represents the delicate balance in relationships. Its installation coincided with same-sex marriage debates taking place in Canada during the early 2000s.

    Location: English Bay
    Installed: 2005
    Artist: Dennis Oppenheim
  • Everything Is Going To Be Alright
    Installed in the Downtown Eastside as a symbol of optimism and hope.

    Location: Chinatown
    Installed: 2008
    Artist: Martin Creed
  • The Words Don't Fit The Picture
    Touches on the idea that words and speech have no boundaries. The piece also acknowledges Vancouver's history as one of the "neon-light capitals of North America."

    Location: Vancouver Public Library/Downtown
    Installed: 2010
    Artist: Ron Terada
  • Digital Orca
    Represents the harmony between technology and nature in B.C.

    Location: Jack Poole Plaza
    Installed: 2010
    Artist: Douglas Coupland
  • A-maze-ing Laughter
    The bronze sculptures were loaned to Vancouver just before the 2010 Winter Olympics. About two years later, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson and his wife donated $1.5 million to buy the statues for the city.

    Location: English Bay
    Installed: 2009
    Artist: Yue Minjun
  • East Van Cross
    Developed from a decades-old graffiti symbol, the cross is said to be "an expression of hope and defiance."

    Location: East Vancouver
    Installed: 2010
    Artist: Ken Lum
  • The Birds
    Symbolizes the threat that a non-native species can have on its new environment, even though they may look beautiful.

    Location: False Creek
    Installed: 2010
    Artist: Myfanwy MacLeod
  • Nobody Likes Me
    Honourable mention: The street art piece is a commentary on people's reliance on social media for personal gratification, and quickly became a worldwide sensation.

    Location: Stanley Park
    Installed: 2014
    Artist: IHeart
  • Stanley Park Inukshuks
    Not an official public art piece in the city, but take a walk on Stanley Park's infamous seawall and you're sure to see a couple Inukshuks around.

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