The Vancouver Police Museum & Archives (formerly Vancouver Police Centennial Museum) opened to commemorate the centennial of the Vancouver Police Department and the City of Vancouver, British Columbia in 1986. Located at 240 E. Cordova Street adjacent to Vancouver's Gastown, the museum is housed in a building that was purpose-built in 1932 for use by the City Coroner’s Services and includes the Coroner's Court, morgue and autopsy facilities (until 1980) and the City Analyst’s Laboratory (until 1996). In 1935, the Coroner's Court was used as a makeshift hospital by police during the Battle of Ballantyne Pier. It was designed by architect Arthur J. Bird, and today it is a municipally designated class "A" heritage building.
The museum is run by the Vancouver Police Historical Society, a non-profit organization established in 1983 with the mandate to foster interest in the history of the Vancouver Police Department and to open a museum for this purpose. The catalyst for the project was the museum's first curator, Joe Swan, a former police sergeant and amateur historian. Swan wrote the department's official history book, which was published by the Vancouver Historical Society in 1986, entitled, A Century of Service: The Vancouver Police, 1886-1986.
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