Car Free Days are celebrated in Vancouver on Main Street, Commercial Drive and Denman Street, as well as in the Kitsilano neighbourhood and North Vancouver.
Lower Mainland Car Free Days
Car Free Day is celebrated in Vancouver on Denman Street, Main Street and in Kitsilano in mid-June each year on the Father’s Day Weekend.
For the last couple of years North Vancouver has had its own Car Free Day on a weekend mid-month in either July or August, as has the City of Port Moody. And, since last year, Car Free Day on Commercial Drive is held in early July instead of in June.
During their respective Car Free Days, there are family-friendly festivities of all kinds going on in all these neighbourhoods.
2018 Car Free Day Dates
In 2018 Car Free Days take place on the following days:
- June 16 – in the West End on Denman Street
- June 17 – on Main Street
- June 16 & 17 – throughout Kitsilano
- July 8 – on Commercial Drive
- July 21-22 – in North Vancouver (with its Fun City Festival event)
- August 19 – in Port Moody along St. John’s Street
About Car Free Days
Car Free Days are volunteer-run festivals where specific streets are closed for the day, people are discouraged from driving, and there is entertainment and celebrations on the road. There are street entertainers, food vendors, live music performances and sometimes even dancing.
Each year the combined events in Vancouver attract crowds of over 250,000 people.
West End Car Free Festival
The day before Father’s Day in June the West End Festival runs along Vancouver’s Denman Street between Davie and Robson. Here there are thousands of people, street performers, artisans and food vendors filling the street.
If it’s a sunny day, the beach at English Bay will no doubt be busy too. In 2018 the day before Father’s Day (and so the date of this great event) is Saturday, June 16.
For more information, see Denman Street Car Free Day.
TIP: Combine your visit to the Denman Street Car Free Day celebrations with a stroll or bike ride along the English Bay Seawall, either in the direction of Stanley Park or towards False Creek. Or, after wandering through the festival, enjoy a picnic and the sunshine on the sandy beach at English Bay.
Commercial Drive Festival
In 2018 the Commercial Drive Festival takes place from noon until 7 pm on Sunday, July 8th. In previous years it happened on the Father’s Day Sunday, which was the same day as the same event on Main Street. Today the festivities still occur along the fifteen or so blocks on Commercial Drive between Venables and Grandview, just in July though instead of June.
Running since 2005, the Commercial Drive event is Vancouver’s original Car Free Day festival. It’s also an environmentally-responsible festival – not only does it encourage people to go car free for the day, but in recent years they manage to divert over 65% of their garbage in their efforts toward becoming a zero-waste event. These folk are serious about being green.
Main Street Car Free Festival
The Main Street Festival takes place from noon until 7 pm on the Father’s Day Sunday most years from Broadway to about 30th Avenue. Here also there is live music, street performers, artisan markets and kids activities.
Of all of the Lower Mainland’s various Car Free Day events, the one on Main Street is the largest.
Kitsilano Car Free Block Parties
Instead of a street festival where an entire street is cordoned off, Car Free Day is celebrated by individually-organized block parties throughout the Kitsilano neighbourhood on both days of the Father’s Day weekend. There are BBQs, games and fun all over the place.
These events are especially fun and convenient for people living in Kitsilano, but also interesting for anyone just dropping by while on a bike ride or a stroll in the area.
TIP: Don’t plan to drive anywhere in Kitsilano on the weekend of the Father’s Day weekend. Back streets in Kitsilano are narrow enough to navigate on a regular day, so on the Father’s Day weekend it’ll be nuts, especially as it won’t be just one single street that’s blocked off.
Car Free Day in North Vancouver
During the North Shore car free event, on the lower part of hilly Lonsdale Avenue vehicle traffic is replaced by people in swimsuits and a giant 1000-foot water slide.
Each year a massive water slide is imported and set up for the day by Slide the City, an American company based in Utah. Unlike most other Car Free Day activities, the water slide won’t be free, but it won’t cost anything to watch the excitement, or other festival activities also going on in the area.
In previous years water slide tickets have sold out months in advance, so if you want to slide in 2018 don’t wait until the last minute to book your tickets.
For more information on the North Vancouver Car Free Day event, click Fun City Festival.
For more information on Car Free Day activities around Metro Vancouver, check out the Car Free Day Vancouver website.