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Vancouver Plan Arts and Culture Policy

Vancouver is home to world-renowned artists, diverse cultural traditions and industries, and a flourishing music scene. We are also at the centre of an Indigenous cultural resurgence. The xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ  (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations (the Nations) and urban Indigenous Peoples, as well as people from around the world, have instilled Vancouver with qualities, stories, heritage and character that make the city unlike any other.

Theatres, studios, cultural centres, public art and plazas enliven Vancouver, while our architectural forms and monuments reflect our identities and histories. The city’s heritage— from oral traditions and rituals to archeological sites, historic areas and buildings—tells a rich and complex story that is Vancouver.

Directions and Policies

Direction 8.1: Arts and Culture Focus

Embed arts and culture in city building.

Arts and culture contribute to neighbourhood vitality and help define Vancouver’s identity. Support arts and culture as a core civic priority through appropriate investments and a focus on land use and infrastructure planning, processes and policies.


8.1.1 Ensure cultural vitality is integrated into Vancouver’s sustainable development, identity, livability, and economic prosperity, by including arts and culture in land use planning processes and policies.
8.1.2 Consider and support, artist and community-led priorities and practices in land use planning processes and policies, particularly elevating artists’ voices of equity-denied groups.

Direction 8.2: Arts and Cultural Spaces

Expand and support spaces to produce, present and experience arts and culture.

A thriving arts scene, and the people who make it, require spaces for production, performance, and practicing. Support the creation of new, affordable, and diverse spaces, while seeking to protect existing arts and culture spaces. Making Space for Arts and Culture identifies 10-year targets of “no net loss” of Vancouver’s cultural spaces and 650,000 square feet of new or repurposed space for professional and community arts and cultural activities. This includes art and rehearsal studios, outdoor performance venues, museums, and galleries.


8.2.1 Prioritize, support and make visible the Nations’ cultural spaces, places, and areas of cultural significance, as led by the Nations.
8.2.2 Identify arts and cultural districts where there exists a high concentration of arts and cultural production or presentation spaces, and develop tools for their protection.
8.2.3 Continue to remove regulatory barriers and update policies and guidelines to reduce displacement and protect arts, cultural, and music spaces.
8.2.4 Support the growth of diverse, affordable, accessible non-profit arts and cultural spaces city-wide.
8.2.5 Include public art, and arts and cultural spaces in new community and civic facilities, such as libraries, fire halls, community centres, and City Hall.
8.2.6 Develop outdoor music and performance spaces in city parks and other public space.
8.2.7 Support innovations in ownership and operations such as land trust models, funding models, shared spaces, and community-owned assets.
8.2.8 Support integration of arts and cultural spaces into new mixed-use developments, particularly in areas where existing arts or cultural spaces could be displaced.
8.2.9 Apply equity and accessibility approaches when planning for cultural spaces and programs, addressing how different equity-denied groups may experience physical, social, cultural, linguistic, spatial or financial barriers to participation.

Direction 8.3: Heritage Stewardship

Ensure meaningful and respectful stewardship of tangible and intangible heritage resources, in particular supporting Indigenous and equity-denied communities’ perspectives and approaches.

Culture and heritage can expand and deepen our understanding of the city’s remarkable diversity, past and present. It is important to recognize and celebrate the many cultural communities that comprise the city and to advance understanding of cultural heritage and cultural landscapes. The City and community must address historic and current discrimination, erasure, and loss experienced by many communities.


8.3.1 Prioritize and support the Nations’ visibility, voice and cultural practices across the city through public art, revitalization of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh languages, cultural spaces and programming, educational initiatives, and design, as led by the Nations. Explore  and expand tools and methods to protect cultural heritage sites (archaeology) and culturally important places.
8.3.2 Explore methods and expand planning tools to protect cultural heritage assets, heritage values, and historic places with a focus on ethno-cultural community areas and cultural redress areas.
8.3.3 Ensure the Vancouver Heritage Program furthers an understanding of the Nations’ cultural heritage and historic places, and those of equity-denied groups. This will include upgrades to the Vancouver Heritage Register (VHR) for more equitable and diverse representation of heritage values and resources.
8.3.4 Encourage heritage conservation by supporting adaptive reuse of historic buildings, including accommodating arts, cultural, and community-serving uses whenever possible.
8.3.5 Integrate input from communities on their histories and heritage values in area planning processes, including from the Nations.
8.3.6 Identify and protect new heritage districts or cultural landscapes where there is a high concentration of tangible or intangible heritage assets, including development of historic context statements.