School Field Trips

Interactive historical fields trips in Vancouver

Chinatown - 1930s - James Crookall - courtesy VPL

“Through interesting content, games, and humour, students were captivated throughout our tour.” - Rob M. via Trip Advisor

Field trips into Vancouver history

We offer a custom version of our walking tour The Forbidden Tour – specially adapted for school groups – that provides an interactive forum for students to learn about B.C. and Canadian social history through Vancouver’s past.

The tour recounts the results of the temperance movement’s push to make B.C. liquor-free in the early 20th century. Their successful campaign in 1917 made Vancouver a dry city – but only in theory. In reality, the city was overwhelmed by illicit activity – bootlegging, gambling and vice. The tour charts the influence of women’s rights, religious fervour, war, corruption and crime on the city’s morals during a time of huge economic growth.

The two hour walking tour makes a unique field trip for any secondary-level student group:

  • Discusses the effects of WWI on Canadian society.
  • Puts a human face on the pre and inter-war periods in Vancouver.
  • Explores Canadian prohibition and involvement of Canada in later U.S. Prohibition.
  • Discovers the role of women in social, political and economic change through the temperance and women’s suffrage movements.
  • Discusses the race riots of 1907, including the events leading to it and the aftermath for Chinese and Japanese people in Vancouver.
  • Draws parallels in contemporary attitudes toward drug prohibition and poverty with social issues and remedies of the early 20th century.

Lesson plans

Click here to download a set of interactive lesson plans you can use in the classroom to help your students get the most out of their Forbidden walking tour.

If you’re a teacher and you’ve used these lesson plans, we’d love to hear your feedback! Please do send us your comments below.

Arrange your student field trip

Our Forbidden walking tour is available for school groups large and small. With our team of storytellers, we can cater to school groups of up to 80 students — split between multiple storytellers. Forbidden can typically be run at any time of day, or in the evening.

We’re happy to work with your schedule, just let us know when you want your field trip to happen and we’ll do our best to accommodate your needs. The meeting point is Cathedral Square, across from the Holy Rosary Cathedral at Dunsmuir & Richards Streets.

The price per student is $15 including all fees and taxes. Teachers and adult chaperones may attend free of charge. For more information, contact us through the form below. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours. If you’d like to a book a tour – or even if you just have questions about how it works – we can guide you through the process.

More Options

We also offer the Secrets of Stanley Park and our Really Gay History Tour, both perfect complements to social justice course curriculums.

Secrets of Stanley Park

Explore the hidden trails and walk the historic seawall on a tour designed to show students how urban expansion and economic forces shaped the peninsula that would become Stanley Park. Using storytelling at famous park landmarks both human and natural made, students learn about Coast Salish First Nations who have called the peninsula home for thousands of years, and the impact of European colonizing forces up to the present day. Along the route, students hear about the inspiring, remarkable, and even eccentric characters who have left their mark on Stanley Park.

  • Duration – Up to 3 hours
  • Start and end pointOutside the Vancouver Aquarium entrance by the whale fountain
  • Cost (20 or more students): $20/student including GST
  • Cost (19 or fewer students): $27.30/student including GST

The Really Gay History Tour

The path to equality isn’t always straight! On this walking tour from the downtown core to the heart of Davie Street, our “Man in Pink,” Glenn Tkach, the creator and leader of this tour will entertain and educate students on the struggles, achievements, and inspiring citizens of Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community. Perfect for social justice and civics courses.

  • Duration – Up to 3 hours
  • Start PointOutside Vancouver City Centre Skytrain station, at the intersection of West Georgia and Granville
  • End PointDavie & Bute streets at Jim Deva Plaza, by the rainbow crosswalk 
  • Cost (20 or more students): $20/student including GST
  • Cost (19 or fewer students): $27.30/student including GST

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