aerial shot of campus
August 16, 2023
3 mins read

Exploring UBC's campus—virtually

UBC is big. Really big. 

UBC Vancouver has over 58,000 students and 17,000 staff and faculty, and its campus spans 400 hectares—that’s almost 750 football fields! 

If you want to see for yourself just how large UBC really is and familiarize yourself with some important buildings and spots, check out this video that the UBC Life team put together:

Keep reading for more info on some of the locations shown in the video and some fun facts about UBC!

Musqueam Post

Musqueam Welcome Post
  • UBC is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. The Musqueam Post is a reminder of UBC's relationship with the Musqueam whose history predates the university by thousands of years. It also serves to welcome people to campus.
  • Carved by Brent Sparrow Jr., the Musqueam Post marks one of the main entrances to UBC. 
  • The Musqueam Post was installed in 2016, during UBC’s centennial!

UBC fun fact: 

The Vancouver campus has over 8,000 trees that have been planted since 1925, and over 10,000 native trees in natural settings!

UBC Bookstore

Students sitting upstairs in the Bookstore
  • Directly southeast of the Musqueam Post is the UBC Bookstore, where you can purchase textbooks, stock up on UBC swag, or grab a drink from Starbucks. 
  • Bookmark their website to stay up to date on when you can order course materials for the fall!

UBC fun fact: 

The UBC Bookstore is the 14th largest university bookstore in North America (out of 2,600!).

The Nest


UBC fun fact:

UBC has been ranked fourth in the world for climate action—no matter what faculty you’re in, you’ll be part of a community passionate about the environment.

UBC Life Building

Three students seated at the lunch tables in the UBC Life cafeteria. The students are laughing while one student is looking at their laptop
  •  Home to International Student Advising and Go Global, the UBC Life Building complements the Nest as another student hub.
  • The building was completely renovated from 2015 to 2018—it used to house the old Student Union Building (essentially the old AMS Nest!).
  • The Life Building also contains the ARC, one of UBC’s main student fitness centres, along with the Birdcoop gym and Aquatic Centre. Of course, just traveling around campus can be good exercise as well!

UBC fun fact: 

Over 240 UBC students have competed at the Olympics, and the UBC Vancouver campus is the only venue in the world to have hosted the Olympics, Paralympics, and Special Olympics!

Koerner Library

Koerner Library
  • Only a 5-minute walk from the UBC Life Building, Koerner Library is a great spot for quiet studying.
  • This library holds 800,000 volumes. It sounds like a lot until you realize UBC Library has over 5.6 million print books in all and 3.8 million e-books!
  • UBC is one of the top 40 research institutions in the world—a fair portion of the books and resources were likely written by UBC faculty and alumni!
  • Koerner is also home to the Research Commons, located on levels 4 and 5, a multidisciplinary hub that helps students optimize their research. Check out their workshops, book a study room, or book a consultation for help with your research.

UBC fun fact:

8 Nobel Laureates are associated with UBC, including Michael Smith, who won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work reprogramming segments of DNA.

The Fountain

The Fountain
  • This area is actually called the “Martha Piper Plaza” after one of UBC’s former presidents, but most students know it as “The Fountain”.
  • It’s located about halfway down the central stretch of Main Mall.

UBC fun fact: 

You don’t need a watch to know if you’re running late to class—the height of the fountain water during breaks lets you know how much time is left until class starts. The shorter the spouting water, the closer you’re cutting it!

Reconciliation Pole

Reconciliation Pole
Reconciliation Pole detail
  • The Reconciliation Pole was installed in April of 2017 to commemorate the history of Indigenous people in Canada before, during, and after the Indian residential school era.
  • It also promotes reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, symbolized by two distinct boats traveling together side by side.
  • The pole was carved by Haida master carver, 7idansuu (Edenshaw) James Hart, and a number of assistant carvers and painters over 2 years.

UBC fun fact:

The distance from the Flag Pole on the north end of campus to the Reconciliation Pole further south on Main Mall is 1 kilometre long!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual tour of campus—and remember, you’re part of an amazing community of UBC students!

Header photo credit: UBC Brand & Marketing