Education program

Connecting students to the world

Port of Vancouver Discovery Centre Free Field TripAs Canada’s largest port, the Port of Vancouver plays a significant role in Canada’s economy and in enabling the country’s trade objectives. The port is Canada’s western gateway to over 170 trading countries around the world and handles the most diverse range of cargo of any port in North America. Understanding how trade impacts our country is important, which is why we offer a specialized education program specifically designed to support grade four to six students curriculum guidelines, as outlined by the British Columbia Ministry of Education. Please see our Curriculum Connections-MOE.

Through this program, students will learn about Canada’s largest and most diversified port through activities that encourage:

  • hands-on learning through doing, touching, watching, hearing and reading
  • activities that promote reflection, inquiry, critical thinking and creativity
  • individual and group communication through actions, words and pictures

We offer our educational presentation either broken up in eight pre-recorded segments, or as “live” facilitated presentations for grade four, five and six elementary school classes with our community outreach coordinator.

This interactive education program shows students how their lives are connected to the port and allows them to see that connection in action by observing the working port around Burrard inlet.

Option 1: virtual field trip-online 60 and 45 minute presentations
Option 2: pre-recorded segments of the presentation

Designed to build on students’ awareness of the importance of trade in our lives and the role of the Port of Vancouver in facilitating trade, this program covers:

  • what a port is
  • the five business sectors at the port
  • imports, exports and international trade
  • what makes our port a sustainable one

In addition to the formal program, we also have online learning resources available for classrooms, such as quizzes, word searches, crossword puzzles, videos, map and kahoot activities. Click on the blue bar below.

Presentation options

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are adapting to new ways of working using creativity and innovation. The in-person presentations are currently on-hold and we brainstormed ways to bring our education experience to you and your students.

As we enter the 2020-2021 academic year, we are offering two options for the presentation normally given in either the Port of Vancouver Discovery Centre or in-class.

Option 1: “Live” virtual presentations for your classroom with our community outreach coordinator
Part 1: 60 minute presentation (intro to the port and five business sectors)
Part 2: 45 minute presentation (sustainability, imports, exports and international trade)

Option 2: A pre-recorded presentation, with eight segments, hosted by our community outreach coordinator

You can also access activities and online content to support the presentation below.

Education presentation: What happens at the Port of Vancouver?

Video part 1: An introduction to what a port is, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and what happens at the port of Vancouver.

Drawing: What happens at the Port of Vancouver-instructions, what happens at the Port of Vancouver – activity sheet
Kahoot game: Port vocabulary
Activity: Port vocabulary wordsearch, Port vocabulary wordsearch answer key
Infographic: What is a Canada port authority
Video: Port of Vancouver – aerial tour
Matching Activity: Maps activity – teacher instructions, maps – activity sheet, maps activity answer sheet

Education presentation: Automobiles

Video part 2: Information about the five business sectors at the Port of Vancouver. The first is automobile.

Education presentation: Breakbulk

Video part 3: Information about the five business sectors at the Port of Vancouver. The second is breakbulk.

Video: What it feels like to be on a log drive on B.C.’s Fraser River

Education presentation: Bulk

Video part 4: Information about the five business sectors at the Port of Vancouver. The third is bulk, focusing on the top four exports: coal, grain, potash and sulphur.

Video: Sulphur – behind the scenes at Vancouver Wharves
Video: Port and mining community connection
Video: Sulphur –  scientific explanation
Video: Potash – how it’s made

Education presentation: Container

Video part 5: Information about the five business sectors at the Port of Vancouver. The fourth is container.

Website activity: Journey of a shipping container: The Port of Vancouver plays a critical role in Canada’s trade. Learn about the history of containers, benefits of containers, what is inside containers. Learn about some import and export stories.
Activity: Port of Vancouver container maze
Video: Containerization

Education presentation: Cruise

Video part 6: Information about the five business sectors at the Port of Vancouver. The fifth is cruise.

Video: Cruise  (start at 43 seconds in)

Education presentation: Environment

Video part 7: Information about the environmental team at the Port Authority and a few of the projects they are working on.

Website: Shore power
Video: Shore power
Video: ECHO 
Video: Cleaning up the Fraser River

Education presentation: International trade and moving goods

Video part 8: The conclusion of the presentation with international trade and the story of an import.

Discussion: The importance of international trade – discussion questions
Kahoot Game: International trade at the Port of Vancouver
People of the Port – occupations
Video: Harbour patrol officer
Video: Paul the blueberry farmer
Video: Colleen with Freshpoint Produce
Video: Dave the tug boat captain
Video: Logistics and chickpeas

Presentation review

Activity: Crossword puzzle, crossword puzzle answer key
Activity: Review – environment, cruise
Activity: Review – trade, RoRo
Kahoot game: Port of Vancouver Trivia Challenge

Virtual Harbour Tour

Experience the sights and sounds of a busy harbour while learning about Canada’s largest and most diversified port. Get an up-close look at port operations in the Burrard Inlet and learn some interesting facts about living in a port city with our virtual harbour tour.

Download the Port of Vancouver community map to follow along during the tour!

Duration: 20 minutes

Other related resources
Minerals Education – learning resources
Vancouver Maritime Museum – #VMM Online Tools
Fraser River Discovery Centre – [email protected]!
North Vancouver Museum and Archives – online programs
Buster Bear Adventures – suitable for younger grades
Part 1
“Go West, Young Bear, A Buster Bear Adventure”, Captain Nemo sends Buster on a quest around Vancouver… Buster
learns about First Nations settlements in the area, and the history of Moodyville, and its famous mill…”

Part 2
In this next episode in Buster Bear’s Vancouver quest, Steve Adore fills Buster in on the importance of containers to
shipping, and how the first containers EVER were shipped from North Vancouver… Buster gets a bird’s-eye “bearspective”
on Burrard Inlet, and all the amazing things that move through the port each year…”

Booking information for presentations

To book this free education program and to learn more about the two-part presentation, please contact our community outreach coordinator by filling out our contact us form or by calling 604.665.9038.

Please include the following information in your request:

  • teacher name
  • email
  • phone number
  • name of elementary school
  • grade of students
  • number of students participating
  • two preferred booking dates and times for presentation part 1 (60 minutes-intro to the port and five business sectors)
  • two preferred booking dates and times for presentation part 2 (45 minutes-sustainability, imports, exports and international trade)

Reviews and feedback

“Thank you so much for your presentation and to the port authority for providing a free educational field trip. The students and I were engaged and learned more about the port in an entertaining format. The hands-on activities, that included the map puzzle, the load-the-carrier race, and touchscreen assignment, enhanced their understanding. They were also moving their legs that broke up the sit-and-listen period. The students can now explain to their peers and parents the sights and sound that encircle the Burrard Inlet and the other coasts of Metro Vancouver. The presentation thrilled us!”

“Awesome program that provides a memorable day full of learning- thank you!”

“The program was well run and well paced. The students enjoyed the program and everyone (including myself and the parent volunteers) learned a lot about the port and the activities that happen there. I look forward to taking future classes to this program.”

“I was so impressed with this program. Been teaching 25 years and I have to say it was one of the most organized, clearly laid out and interesting field trips I’ve been on.”

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