Sundown At MOA

The best views in life are free. Well, not always. But, if you are looking for a  quintessentially British Columbia experience, head out to the Museum of Anthropology before dusk.

If you have not yet been inside MOA, it is a Vancouver must-see for another day. The Museum houses more than 40,000 ethnographic pieces from around the world. The First Nations art and history is astounding.

In the early evening, walk west, past the main entrance. Transformation 2010 by Musqueam’s Joe Becker will light the way.


Follow the signs into the wooded path and towards the Outdoor Sculpture Complex. You will pass a figure carved by renowned artist Susan Point and a greeting: ‘Imich Siiyem – Welcome Good People. This Musqueam figure acknowledges the estimated 10,000 years the ancestors of the Musqueam people have lived on these lands and through the present generation represents the continuum into the future.’


In deference, the woods smell particularly BC fresh. The path will take you in through two beautifully carved Musqueam House Posts, also carved by Susan Point. Point’s contemporary creations were inspired by 19th century house-posts from her community.


To your left, you will see the Haida House Exhibit, a 20th Century reconstruction of Haida post-and-beam architecture. The larger house is a recreation of a family dwelling; the smaller is a mortuary chamber.

Celebrated Haida artist Bill Reid directed the House project, with John Smyly designing the houses and John Barnes heading construction. There are a series of poles throughout the outdoor space, with in-depth descriptions of the artists and the significance of their pieces.


The image above, for instance, is a Double Mortuary Totem PoleThese were used to house the deceased and to stand in front of their former dwellings. The figure on the Double Mortuary pole is a Shark (Dogfish). It was designed by Bill Reid and carved by Reid and Douglas Cranmer in 1960-61.

As you walk around the MOA outdoor exhibit, you will see the sun setting over the ocean, visible over a mountain-facing railing to the north. From every angle, you will also get a glimpse into the gorgeous concrete and glass building of Canadian architect Arthur Erickson.


Erickson was aiming for a “tranquility of space” with his design. Landscape designer Cornelia Oberlander worked to include indigenous plants and grasses.

“Whatever you build should enhance the surroundings,” Erickson said. As darkness descends, Erickson’s design and the remarkable art in and outside the museum are reflected in the reflecting pool.

This is truly a unique, Beautiful BC evening’s walk.

Our past article on MOA

Written by Elizabeth Newton





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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton