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Burnaby Village Museum: Everything You Need to Know (Photos)

Burnaby Village Museum image collage

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the Burnaby Village Museum. I’m not a big museum-goer but it was a great time. We went with our two boys and niece (ages 7, 8 and 10).

My wife and I loved it. Our kids enjoyed it more.  So yes, it’s a fantastic place to take your kids.  It’s one of the rare outings that is free as in free parking and free village.  The only thing you need pay for is the carousel which is a few bucks per ride (worth doing BTW).

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What is the Burnaby Village Museum?

It’s a village showcasing what life was like in the 1920s.  It does this with actual buildings constructed in the 1920s. I’m not talking about just a few buildings but an entire village worth including three houses, a school, church, general store, movie theater, gas station, smithy, bank and bakery. 

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The village was not originally located on the site.  Instead, the buildings were moved there and situation to replicate what a 1920s village might look like.  

The Elworth country house was built on the site.  This house is definitely worth a look. It’s just outside the village.

Where is the Burnaby Village Museum located?

It’s located at 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, BC.  It’s very easy to get to minutes of Highway 1 just east of Vancouver.

Here’s a map:

Here’s my photo narrative outlining pretty much everything you need to know and can see at the Burnaby Village Museum.

While the free parking lot isn’t huge, we got lucky finding a spot.

Burnaby Village Museum parking lot (free)

From the parking lot you enter through a building and pass by the information booth.

Information booth at the Burnaby Village Museum

The first attraction is a large 1920’s farmhouse you can tour both outside and inside

1920s farmhouse at the Burnaby Village Museum

Grounds and exterior of a 1920s farmhouse at the Burnaby Village Museum.

I was very happy we could tour the entire main floor of this sizeable farmhouse.  Yes, it was an actual farmhouse from the 1920s.

Bedroom in the 1920s farmhouse

Bedroom in the farmhouse.

1920s farmhouse living room at the Burnaby Village Museum

Dining room and kitchen at the 1920s farmhouse at Burnaby Village Museum

After the farmhouse, you cross the creek via a short bridge and come to the 1920s school house

Schoolhouse exterior at the Burnaby Village Museum

There was a person in the schoolhouse who took the time to explain what schoolhouses and classes were like to our kids. They found it really interesting including what kids typically took for their lunch.

Interior of a 1920s schoolhouse at the Burnaby Village Museum

This single-room school was grade 1 to 7. Look closely and you’ll see the desks on the right are smaller and gradually get bigger to the left. Grade one kids were on the right and each row were the next grades to grade 7 kids on the left side row.

Across from the schoolhouse is a small 1920s house.

Small 1920s house at the Burnaby Village Museum

This tiny, two-room house was apparently shared by two bachelors.

Interior of tiny two-room 1920s house at Burnaby Village Museum

Interior small 1920s house at Burnaby Village Museum

From there you enter the village main street where you can tour many typical stores and establishments found in 1920s villages

Main village street at the Burnaby Village Museum

Overall the village is awesome but it could be better if the road was more authentic – dirt or cobblestone or whatever village roads were surfaced with in the 1920s. I also think all the banners hanging on the buildings detract.

Main street in 1920s village at Burnaby Village Museum

On the right is the general store

Exterior General Store at Burnaby Village Museum

Purchase area in General Store at Burnaby Village Museum

The general store was my favorite village building. It was really interesting to see all the variety that was sold in one store.

Post office in the General Store at Burnaby Village Museum

1920s General Store interior

Next door is the 1920s gas station

1920s car at the gas station at Burnaby Village Museum

Across the street is a 1920s bakery

Exterior 1920s bakery at Burnaby Village Museum

Interior of bakery at Burnaby Village Museum

Kitty corner to the bakery is a 1920s mechanics shop (a kid favorite)

Iron works smithy at Burnaby Village Museum

This building is a kid favorite. Our kids watched this man working for over 20 minutes fascinated by what he was doing with metal works.

Up the side street from there was the optometrist’s office and movie theater.

1920s movie theater at Burnaby Village Museum

Interior of a 1920s movie theater at Burnaby Village Museum

Movie theater seating and tech have come a long way. Our 65″ TV at home is nearly as large as the movie screen.

From there, we crossed the street to visit the newspaper building.

Newspaper building Burnaby Village Museum

The Burnaby Post newspaper building was also fascinating. It was where the paper was written and produced. The following photos show just how much equipment was needed to produce a newspaper.

Interior newspaper building at Burnaby Village Museum

Interior newspaper building Burnaby Village Museum

Printing press at 1920s newspaper at Burnaby Village Museum

Interior of newspaper at Burnaby Village Museum

Next was the bank

1920s bank interior at Burnaby Village Museum

Interior bank at Burnaby Village Museum

Bank manager's office in 1920's bank at Burnaby Village Museum

You can’t see, but this little bank office was separated by walls and a glass door from the rest of the bank.

Around the corner was a music store where people could buy instruments back in the day.

Pianos for sale in 1920s music store at Burnaby Village Museum

Record players for sale in 1920s music store at Burnaby Village Museum

After touring the village, we went for ice cream.

Entering the main village area at the Burnaby Village Museum

On the way to the street car and carousel, we popped into the 1920s church.

1920s church at Burnaby Village Museum

Interior of 1920s church at Burnaby Village Museum

Kids love checking out the street car exhibit so we did of course.

Street car at Burnaby Village Museum

Front of street car at Burnaby Village Museum

Our final attraction was the popular carousel ridge.

Carousel ride at Burnaby Village Museum

The best part of the carousel was the man who spoke the instructions and greetings on the microphone before and after the ride. It was a comedy routine. It’s worth going to hear him. The ride itself was fun too.

On the way back to our car, we toured the large “Elworth” country home to wrap up our self-directed tour.

Large 1920s home at Burnaby Village Museum

My favorite building to tour was this house which is called the “Elworth” house. It was a country home built on this site. It’s a fairly grand old house. The interior was fascinating.

Elworth House information at Burnaby Village Museum

Entry hall into large 1920s home

Elworth dining room at Burnaby Village Museum

Living room at Elworth House at Burnaby Village Museum

Bedroom in Elworth House at Burnaby Village Museum

In-kitchen built-in dining nook at Elworth House in Burnaby Village Museum

Stove at Elworth House at Burnaby Village Museum

Icebox in the kitchen of Elworth House at Burnaby Village Museum

This is a pre-electricity refrigerator. A block of ice was placed in the top left section which would cool the right side. As the ice melted, the water was collected in the bottom right section. A block of ice could last as long as a week.

Burnaby Village Museum FAQ

How much does it cost to visit the Burnaby Village Museum?

The entire village is free of charge. Amazing for these days. The carousel does cost a few dollars per person.

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Is the Burnaby Village Museum a good place to take kids?

Yes. Our boys love the place. They’ve been several times now and love it every time.  Christmas is also a great time to go because it’s all lit up.

Is there parking at the Burnaby Village Museum?  Is it free?

Yes, there’s a decent amount of free parking. If the lot is full, there are other parking lots in the vicinity.

How long does it take to see everything at the museum?

Expect to spend 1.5 to 2 hours there to see everything.  We spent time getting ice cream and saw everything there was to see so we were there about two hours.

Is there a concession or restaurant to buy food and drink?

Yes, there’s an ice cream and coffee shop in the village where you can buy snacks and ice cream.  There’s plenty of seating inside and out.

Is the Burnaby Village Museum a good place to visit when raining?

While we dodged the rain bullet during our visit, it’s not a bad place to visit if raining.  You spend most of your time inside buildings.  Yeah, you’ll get wet when going from building to building but it’s not as if you’re outside the entire time.  I would add to my list of things to do in Vancouver on a rainy day.  FYI, the Swedish Heritage in BC Museum is only a few minutes away.

If you’re visiting or live in the Vancouver area and haven’t visited the museum, I recommend you do. It’s one of those rare places that both adults and kids will enjoy.  

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