Imagine Van Gogh: Is it Worth it?

I finally did it.

I took a vacation day.

Back in March 2020, I started saving my vacation days. I was hoping to travel internationally by the end of the year. Now, over one year later, it doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon.

In lieu of an overseas adventure, I took a weekday off for a small, local trip within my own city—to Imagine Van Gogh at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Imagine Van Gogh costs about $33 to $50 per person. My mom nabbed pre-sale tickets for herself, my sister and me. We were fortunate our time slot coincided with a beautiful, blue-sky day in downtown Vancouver.

We drove towards Waterfront Station, parking across the street from the convention centre. Bold signs reading “Gogh This Way” led us to the entrance.

After giving our contact information and double-checking our face masks, we had a run-down of how the show works. There are no bathrooms inside the exhibit (so use the facilities first). There are two rooms, and once you move into the second, you can’t backtrack to the first (but I highly doubt you’d want to, anyways).

In the dimly lit first room, hanging signs detailed Van Gogh’s tragic life story and explained the production of the exhibit. Everyone stood with their own group within illuminated hexagons. We could only move forward to read the next hanging sign when a illuminated spot was vacant.

My advice? Read about Van Gogh before you go and skip the first room entirely. The second room is where it’s at.

Upon entering, I gasped under my mask. Loud music played across the large room. Close-ups of oil paint strokes danced on the walls. Some images moved slowly, while others stood static for seconds until fading into black or transforming into another image, changing with the music.

Almost everyone was standing or walking around slowly, taking in the larger-than-life paintings. The projections covered the floor and stretched high along the walls. From every vantage point, you could see two to three different images or parts of a painting. It was an overwhelming, immersive feeling, akin to being inside Van Gogh’s imagination.

We spent a little more than our allotted hour watching the walls shift and listening to the enchanting musical score play through twice. Then we waited just a little longer to glimpse the famous Starry Night one last time.

So, is it worth it?

Yes! While it might seem a little expensive, if you enjoy art galleries and Van Gogh’s artwork and can afford it, you will likely appreciate this unique exhibit.

After enjoying the experience, we dined at nearby Tap & Barrel. We snagged a spot on the patio overlooking the glittering blue ocean and white-tipped mountains. After a short walk and a tasty treat at Bella Gelateria (dubbed Vancouver’s best gelato), we finished off a fantastic vacation day that almost felt like we were travelling again.

Imagine Van Gogh will be in Vancouver until the end of August. The exhibit is also launching in Edmonton in June.

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