The Spring of 2020 has definitely been a spring for the history books. Arts and culture has taken a backseat to ensure the health and safety of patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after almost three months of lockdown, the Government of B.C. will implement Phase Two of their Restart Plan to re-open museums, art galleries, libraries and recreational sites which observe social distancing. Some of the sites below will be opening by June, while others will continue to remain closed but offer virtual exhibits and limited activities. Either way, these local institutions could definitely use our patronage and community support. Stay safe everyone and I’ll see in you the summer!
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Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam
The Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam aims to provide quality arts experiences and cultural programming to the Tri-Cities area of the Lower Mainland. Following the B.C. Restart Plan, the Evergreen Centre is planning to re-open the Art Gallery to visitors in June. Programming details will be announced closer to June; for more information, please check out their website!
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Fort Langley National Historic Site, Fort Langley
The Fort Langley National Historic Site was originally a fur trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company in the early 19th century, which helped bring trade and commerce to the Fraser Valley. Parks Canada announced that the historic site will be re-opening on a limited basis in mid-June for a limited number of visitors to explore the historic and reconstructed buildings of the early fur trade in the Pacific Northwest.
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Indian Summer Festival: Digital Season
In the face of the global pandemic, the Indian Summer Festival is going online with digital events from May 16 to July 18. On May 30, they will host It Could Be Verse: Poetry for a Pandemic on Facebook and YouTube. For centuries, poetry has been the literary form that has told the stories of our times. Poets have been the chroniclers of our battles, the heralds of our celebrations and the ones who have offered us solace in times of need. A series of intimate readings by outstanding poets from around the world, will offer viewers literature as shelter, medicine and mirror.
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Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, Burnaby
The Nikkei National Museum is dedicated to promoting the arts and culture of the Japanese Canadian community. They currently feature a number of online exhibits detailing the lives of the Japanese diaspora in B.C. in the war and interwar period of the early 20th century. In the month of June, the museum will be hosting a Book Sale every Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with sales going to support the museum and cultural centre. Lineups and social distancing will be observed during the sale.
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Place des Arts, Coquitlam
Situated in the Franco-Columbian community of Maillardville in Coquitlam, the Place des Arts has been home to the Coquitlam Arts Educational community, providing a variety of events and performances, classes and lessons and artwork from burgeoning local artists since 1972. While the arts educational centre plans to remain closed until July, the centre will launch its June digital exhibit on June 5, featuring various mediums by current and past Place des Arts students, teachers and staff.
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PoCo Heritage Museum and Archives, Port Coquitlam
The PoCo Heritage Museum was formed in 1988 to provide its community with a place to celebrate and preserve the culture and history of Port Coquitlam. During the pandemic, they’ve expanded their online presence to help engage the community into sharing their stories of pandemic life in the Tri-Cities. The museum will be hosting the Rhymes of Times, a poem and story-sharing session, on June 8 virtually over the Zoom video conferencing platform. To register for the session, please check out their website.
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The Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford
The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford aims to be an important hub of art and culture in the Fraser Valley, preserving and sharing the stories of Abbotsford’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and showcasing the best in arts from both inside and outside the community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum has been forced to close its doors, but they’ve also unveiled The Reach@Home, bringing exhibitions, education programs and interactive activities right to your living room. Take a virtual video tour of their exhibits, try your hand at art-making activities and participate and respond to contemporary art inspired by the rapidly changing social conditions wrought by COVID-19.
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Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond
The City of Richmond’s Art Gallery remains closed until further notice during the pandemic. However, the gallery continues to have its @Home exhibits and digital presentations. In late May, the gallery will be hosting an artist salon webinar, with interdisciplinary artist Lou Sheppard discussing being an artist-in-residence during a pandemic, and a digital exhibition featuring artists from Hong Kong, Beijing and Manila discussing shared concerns germane to the pandemic and locational contexts.
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Twilight Drive-In, Langley
At its height in the 1950s and 60s, there were thousands of drive-in theatres across Canada and the United States. Today, the Twilight Drive-In Theatre has been the only theatre operating in Metro Vancouver during the COVID-19 pandemic, screening a mixture of classic and contemporary movies like Back to the Future and Wonder Woman. Because movie patrons are, in effect, self-isolating in their cars in an outdoor setting, the drive-in theatre is poised to make a comeback in the pandemic-era. So why not bring your family and drive on down to watch a movie in the comfort of your family car?