International departures section of YVR
Our Guide to Vancouver

Understanding Indigenous Cultures at YVR Vancouver Airport

Understanding Indigenous Cultures at YVR Vancouver Airport 

Did you know that you are already welcomed by Indigenous artwork upon landing at YVR? These Indigenous art installations and cultural displays at YVR aim to create a sense of place, honour the Indigenous peoples of the region, and foster an appreciation for Indigenous cultures and histories among travellers passing through the airport.  

Some notable features include: 


The Musqueam Welcome Area 

Located in the International Terminal, the Musqueam Welcome Area serves as an introduction to the traditional territory of the Musqueam Nation, welcoming travellers to the traditional territory of the Musqueam Nation. It features Musqueam artwork, including a large wooden spindle whorl and a welcome pole, both of which showcase Musqueam artistic traditions and symbols. This area is a reminder of the deep connection between the airport and the Indigenous peoples whose land it occupies. 

Indigenous artwork showcased at YVR Airport

Indigenous Cultural Display Areas 

YVR has designated cultural display areas that exhibit artifacts, artwork, and informational panels about local Indigenous cultures, providing travellers with an immersive opportunity to learn about the history, traditions, and contributions of Indigenous peoples in the region. There are also many installations inside and outside the building that highlight the cultural diversity, artistic traditions, and contemporary expressions of Indigenous peoples from across Canada YVR  features artifacts, artwork, and informative panels that explore the cultural heritage, traditional practices, and contemporary issues of local Indigenous communities. 


One of these is the Bill Reid statue, titled "The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe," is one of the most prominent and recognizable art installations at YVR’s International Terminal. Created by renowned Haida artist Bill Reid, the statue is a monumental bronze sculpture that depicts mythological figures from Haida culture paddling in a traditional Haida canoe. The statue represents the artistic and cultural legacy of the Haida people and serves as a symbol of Indigenous heritage and connection to the land and sea. 

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe

For more information about the art being featured in the airport, visit

“YVR's award-winning Sense of Place is the thematic art and architecture that draws on the themes of land, sea and sky. Showcasing the best of British Columbia, this calming and inspiring force welcomes and bids farewell to the millions of travellers who make their way through YVR each year.” 


Indigenous Art Program 

Reconciliation and the preservation of Indigenous art require dedicated efforts and resources. This program by YVR Art Foundation brings together these art pieces to contribute to the growth and preservation of Indigenous artistic traditions, benefiting the artists, their communities, and the people of British Columbia and the Yukon. 




This piece is consolidated by YWCA Hotel Vancouver as an ongoing effort to highlight or showcase Indigenous operators and promote Indigenous history and culture as our efforts toward reconciliation. Whether we are exploring these occupied lands as tourists or operating here as the tourism industry, it's important to know that we are uninvited guests on these traditional ancestral and unceded territories, and that we are inadvertently benefiting from this country's colonial legacy.  

YWCA Metro Vancouver operates on the ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We also acknowledge the unceded territories of Semiahmoo and the Stó:lō peoples, including the Katzie, Kwantlen, Kwikwetlem and Qayqayt Nations, as well as the treaty lands of the Tsawwassen Nation.