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5 museums you (probably) didn't know were in Metro Vancouver

From a museum full of replica masterpieces to the history of motorcycles
Clockwise from left: The Pacific Museum of Earth, Casimo Geracitano at the Colossal Creations Replica Museum, the Society for the Preservation of Antique Radio in Canada Museum.

It's spring break so what better time to look at the museums across Vancouver and the neighbouring communities.

Vancouver actually has quite a few museums, if you look closely (and include art galleries). There are the famous spots that locals and tourists might visit, like Science World, the (temporarily closed) Museum of Anthropology at UBC and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

There are also quite a few well known (if some what niche) ones for locals, like the MacMillan Space Centre, the Vancouver Police Museum, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and the Maritime Museum.

And, of course, local history is covered at the Museum of Vancouver, Roedde House Museum and Old Hastings Mill Store, among other places.

Important cultural centres exist too, like the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC (which does of self-guided visit times), Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre and the Chinese Canadian Museum.

Not far from the city proper there's also the Canadian Museum of Flight and the BC Farm Museum, while the Transit Museum Society exists, perhaps fittingly, without a permanent location open to the public.

Further down the niche subject museum rabbit hole you pass by the former Herb Museum and the triple-billed site that housed John Keith-King's model train, model ship and sport fishing museums.

And if people know all of those, there are still these five which readers may not know.

1. The Society for the Preservation of Antique Radio in Canada (SPARC) Museum

Perhaps the most niche museum in the area, the SPARC Museum focuses specifically on the history of broadcast radio in Canada.

Broadcast radio was a big deal 100 years ago, and while the radio sets in houses were often artfully designed pieces, there's a much wider world of technical gear out there as well.

SPARC has collected both home radios and broadcast gear with all sorts of pieces, from neat old kitchen radios to a replica 1950s era broadcast studio. There's even a library of old radio magazines.

As it's run by a small team, it's only open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at a location in Coquitlam. Admission is by donation.

2. Deeley Exhibition Motorcycle Museum

At the very edge of Vancouver sits a exhibit space full of new and old motorcycles.

The Deeleys have been a part of the city's motorcycle community since the very beginning; Trev Deeley Motorcycles is the oldest Harlry-Davidson dealership in Canada.

While the family has sold its fair share of motorcycles, they held on to a few.

The current exhibit, Riders Choice, is made up of some of Trev Deeley's own collection which stretches back over 100 years. And yes there's one you can sit on.

It's open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is by donation.

3. The Pacific Museum of Earth

UBC has a few museums, and while the above mentioned MOA and biodiversity museum get a lot of attention, there's a hidden gem that really rocks (apologies for the puns).

The Pacific Museum of Earth is all about geology, mostly focusing on minerals and fossils. With more than 10,200 mineral specimens, the do make sure to curate the collection. Among the fossil highlights is George the Lambeosaurus.

Fittingly, it's UBC's oldest museum.

It's free to visit Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

4. The BC Sports Hall of Fame

Every year the BC Sports Hall of Fame gets some attention as new members are announced, but it's not just a "hall" in a metaphorical sense.

There's a place to visit, too, at BC Place. 

Exhibits focus on some of B.C.'s most notable athletes, including Terry Fox and Rick Hansen. There's also the Indigenous Sport Gallery and a "participation zone."

General admission is $20 (with discounted rates for different age groups) and it's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday (though that can be affected by events at BC Place).

5. Colossal Creations Replica Museum

Tucked away in a home in Coquitlam is one of the more unusual museums

It's dedicated to the work of Casimo Geracitano, an artist with a very specific body of work that includes many, many masterpieces. That's because he paints replicas.

From Vermeer to Da Vinci to Monet, he's painted them all. And put them on display in his own private museum (which is open to the public Friday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.).