This article contains information about the following:
Car Free Day Dates | About Car Free Days | West End | Commercial Drive | Main Street | Kitsilano | Maple Ridge | New Westminster | North Vancouver | Port Coquitlam | Port Moody | Surrey | Other Information
Lower Mainland Car Free Days
People celebrate Car Free Day in Vancouver on Denman Street, Main Street and in Kitsilano in mid-June most years on the Father’s Day Weekend.
The City of Port Moody has had its own Car Free Day in August for the last few years. Car Free Day on Commercial Drive has also taken place in early July instead of June recently. In 2022, dates for each event were different. The same is the case in 2023.
During their respective Car Free Days, there are family-friendly festivities of all kinds going on in all these neighbourhoods.
Car Free Day Dates
In 2023 Car Free Days take place on the following dates:
- June 10th – Car Free Day Surrey in Newton
- July 29th – Car Free Day in New Westminster
- September 9th – on Commercial Drive
- September 10th – Port Coquitlam Car Free Day
- September 16th – on Main Street
- September 23rd – North Vancouver Car Free Day
- September 24th – in the West End on Denman 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 roads. There are street entertainers, food vendors, live music performances and sometimes even dancing.
Each year the combined events in Vancouver attract crowds of over a quarter of a million people.
West End Car Free Festival
If it’s a sunny day, the beach at English Bay is especially busy too. The event usually takes place in June. Denman Street Car Free Day was originally scheduled to take place on August 20th in 2022. However, the event was postponed to September 25th last year. In 2023 it takes place on September 9th from noon until 7:00 pm.
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. Enjoy the seawall in the direction of Stanley Park or towards False Creek or both. Or, after wandering through the festival, enjoy a picnic and the sunshine on the sandy beach at English Bay.
Commercial Drive Festival
The Commercial Drive Festival typically takes place on the Father’s Day Sunday in June. However, in 2022 the event took place later in the year, on Saturday, September 10th. The Commercial Drive event returns on September 9th in 2023.
The festivities occur along the fifteen or so blocks on Commercial Drive between 1st Avenue and North Grandview Highway.
Running since 2005, the Commercial Drive event is Vancouver’s original Car Free Day festival. It’s also an environmentally responsible festival. Not only do its organizers encourage people to go car free for the day, but in recent years they’ve managed to divert over 65% of the event’s garbage in their efforts toward becoming a zero-waste event. These folks are serious about being green!
Main Street Car Free Festival
In 2022 the event was going to run on August 27th, so a couple months later than normal. However, due to the impact of COVID-19, organizers postponed the event to an even later date. Main Street Car Free Day took place on September 18th last year.
In 2023 the event takes place from 12:00 until 7:00 pm on September 16th.
Of all of the Lower Mainland’s various Car Free Day events, the one on Main Street is the largest. There is usually live music, street performers, artisan markets and kids’ activities.
See our article about Main Street Car Free Day to learn more.
Kitsilano Car Free Block Parties
Unlike other street festivals, there are no cordoned off streets on Car Free Day. Instead, individually organized block parties celebrate the festival throughout the Kitsilano neighbourhood. The mini-events usually happen on both days of the Father’s Day weekend.
In 2020 the events were going to take place on June 20th and 21st. The 2021 event was scheduled to take place during Car Free Month. It doesn’t look like the event happened in 2022. 2023 dates and details are to be confirmed.
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. There are barbecues, games and fun all over the place.
TIP: Don’t plan to drive anywhere in Kitsilano on the weekend of the Father’s Day weekend. Kitsilano’s back streets are extremely narrow and will be more crowded on the Father’s Day weekend. Navigation will be tough since there will be numerous blocked-off streets.
Maple Ridge Car Free Day
One of the newest car free-themed events in the Lower Mainland is the Maple Ridge event. 2019 was its inaugural year.
Maple Ridge Car Free Day happens on the Father’s Day Sunday, which is usually the same day as the party on Main Street in Vancouver. Unfortunately, the event didn’t take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It doesn’t look like Maple Ridge Car Free Day happened in 2022 either. 2023 details are to be confirmed.
Similar to the other events in other parts of the Lower Mainland, the Maple Ridge event includes live entertainment, market vendors and food trucks.
For more information click Maple Ridge Car Free Day.
New Westminster Car Free Day
New for 2022 was Car Free Day New West. The annual event is put together by the City of New Westminster and the Downtown New West Business Improvement Association.
Car Free Day New West took place last year on Saturday, August 6th. It returned in 2023 on Saturday, July 29th. The event started at 12:00 pm and ran until 8:00 pm. It was held along Columbia Street between 4th and 8th Street.
The event included live entertainment, an artisan market, beer garden, and food trucks from what is usually the Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest.
See our article about Car Free Day in New West to learn more.
North Vancouver Car Free Day
The Car Free Day North Vancouver event normally takes place along Carrie Cates Road.
In 2023 the event runs from 12:00 to 10:00 pm on Sunday, September 23rd. There are live performances, vendors, food trucks and more to enjoy. The Car Free Day event is one part of the larger Shipyards Festival which takes place on the same day.
Port Coquitlam Car Free Day
New for 2023, Car Free Day Port Coquitlam is presented by the Downtown PoCo BIA and Translink.
The inaugural event takes place on Sunday, September 10th, 2023. Car Free Day Port Coquitlam runs from noon until 8:00 pm. It happens along McAllister Avenue and features live entertainment, electric vehicle displays and other family-friendly activities.
To learn more about the event, see our article about Car Free Day in Port Coquitlam.
Port Moody Car Free Day
Port Moody celebrates its own Car Free Day in August. It’s a free event and takes place along St. Johns Street between Moody Street and Queens Street.
In 2020 Port Moody Car Free Day was supposed to take place on Sunday, August 23rd but got cancelled. It looks like the event didn’t happen in 2022 and it isn’t taking place in 2023 either. Hopefully the event returns in the future.
For further details click Port Moody Car Free Day.
Car Free Day Surrey
In 2022, a Car Free Day event took place in Surrey for the first time. The inaugural Car-Free Day Surrey happened in the Newton district along 137th Street between 74th Avenue and 72A Avenue.
The event returned at the same location on Saturday, June 10th in 2023. It ran from 12:00 to 8:00 pm. Similar to other Car Free Day events, admission was free and activities included live music, food trucks and other family-friendly activities.
To see what the event in Newton looks like, check out the following video.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s June, July and August Calendars of Events
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events
- Vancouver on a Budget