Vancouver Mural Festival Showcases Incredible Art Scene

The Kraken – Artist: Tyler Toews

Last Updated on March 11, 2023

What Is The Vancouver Mural Festival?

The Vancouver Mural Festival is an annual event that celebrates art and community. Every summer, local and international artists come together to paint murals on buildings throughout the city. The festival also features musical performances, Mural Tours, Talks & Workshops. The goal of the event is to bring people together, create a sense of pride in the city and celebrate the creativity, diversity, and vibrancy of Vancouver.

The Mural Festival aims to have 70%+ local talent to showcase the amazing work tucked away in studios, galleries, and private collections all over our city, bringing it to the streets. A few national and international artists are brought in every year to add to the mix.

Driving around Vancouver we would spot some murals here and there, but we had never realized just how full of murals Vancouver has become. Or, how special and full of color and inspiration those back alleys that we ignore would be. We never took the time to properly appreciate the art scene in Vancouver. The Vancouver Mural Festival contributes incredible Vancouver street art to the city.

Vancouver Mural Festival art
Garbage Kid – Artist: Tyler Toews
Vancouver Mural Festival trash can whale art
Whale of a Problem – Artist: Tyler Toews
Vancouver Mural Festival polar bear art
Future Island – Artist: Tyler Toews

When Did The Vancouver Mural Festival Start?

Embarking on a mission to revolutionize the manner in which art is enjoyed in Vancouver, the festival has progressed from its grassroots beginnings as a street festival into an internationally renowned multi-media arts consulting and production firm since 2016.

Vancouver Mural Festival 2022

This year’s festival will take place from August 3-13, 2023.

In recent years, the festival has become one of Vancouver’s most popular summer events, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world.

We somehow had not noticed the Vancouver Mural Festival until it was in its fifth year in 2020, when the event was expanded into a three-week festival. In 2020, over 60 murals were painted and unveiled in nine different neighborhoods.

Thirsty – Artist: iHeart
Vancouver Mural Festival art
Exhausting Machine – Artist: NEVERCREW

Download The Vancouver Mural Fest App

The best way to find murals in Vancouver is to download the Vancouver Mural Fest App.

We took a day to drive around all over Vancouver with the Vancouver Mural Fest App to see how many murals we could find until the kids got tired of driving around all day and constantly hopping in and out of the car. The app was a great way to find our way around as you could “favorite” the murals you wanted to see, sort by area, or theme. The app also included details about each piece; it was nice to know more detail about what the piece meant to the artist. The app seemed to also include murals from all years of the Vancouver Mural Fest as well, so we were not just limited to discovering the new 2020 ones.

There were a few murals that really spoke to us. Our favorite, hands down, was The Kraken. We particularly loved the ship in a bottle detail. We also loved the deep meaning behind some, like those on the trash cans in Harbour Light Alley. The kids especially loved the mermaids and the dinosaurs (one from the 2018 Mural Festival). We also found Gastown’s Murals Of Gratitude collection to be very touching. The Murals Of Gratitude is an outdoor gallery that honors Canada’s healthcare heroes and showcases the plywood murals that were created by over 20 artists for the shops of Gastown during the pandemic.⁠⁣

Vancouver Mural Festival art
The Present is a Gift – Artist: Drew Young, Jay Senetchko


If you’re in Vancouver, even if it is not during the actual festival, make sure you check out the incredible art scene. There are SO many murals to discover that it could take a trip or two to adequately discover the rest of them.

Download the Vancouver Mural Festival App, and off you go! It will make you look at Vancouver in a whole new way after you do.


Where have you discovered some great murals? 

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