Remembering Darrin Morrison, 1965-2023
VANCOUVER: It is with a deep sense of loss that we acknowledge the passing of our friend and colleague Darrin Morrison. Following a brief battle with cancer, Darrin passed away on the eve of this year’s West Coast Modern Home Tour, an annual celebration of West Coast Modernism that began in 2006 under his curatorship. Darrin will be remembered by the community not only for his immense contributions to the local arts and culture, but for his formative role in elevating the contemporary appreciation of our West Coast Modern architecture and design history. We offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and to all of those who worked closely with him over the years.
Darrin Morrison was born in Toronto and studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design. After graduating in 1994, he relocated to the west coast, enrolling at the University of British Columbia with a focus on museum studies, conservation, and chemistry. During this time, he held a position at the Museum of Anthropology, working in preventive conservation, project management, and exhibition design.
In 2005, Darrin took up the mantle of Director/Curator at what was then known as the West Vancouver Museum. Along with then-Assistant Curator Kiriko Watanabe and other museum staff, he produced more than 30 exhibitions on art and design and numerous publications, propelling West Coast Modernism back into the limelight of contemporary design culture. Architectural/cultural journalist Adele Weder, Founder of the West Coast Modern League, recalls that “it was a huge privilege to work on several occasions with Darrin, Kiriko, and the rest of the West Vancouver Museum staff. The Museum’s architecture books and exhibitions helped bring a renewed awareness of the value of West Coast architecture to the north shore at a time when the area’s entire illustrious history was in danger of being forgotten.” Under Darrin’s stewardship, the West Vancouver Museum produced exhibitions and publications on B.C. Binning, Simon Scott, John Fulker, Selwyn Pullan, Barry Downs, Fred Hollingsworth, and several survey shows on West Coast Modernism.
Darrin retired from the museum in 2020. As architect Steve Gairns, Chair of the West Coast Modern League, found during a recent visit with Darrin, neither his gentle spirit nor his passion for the arts had waned. “What began as a wonderful conversation reminiscing about the pioneers of our mid-century architecture movement evolved into a guided tour of the delicate Japanese Maple trees and exotic native plants, located about the house and surrounding garden, that Darrin had been lovingly nurturing with his wife Stephanie.”
Darrin will be greatly missed, and we will forever be grateful for his contributions to our community.
April 14, 1965 – July 7, 2023