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Car Free Days in Vancouver

Car Free Day on Commercial Drive

Vancouver celebrates Car Free Days on Main Street, Commercial Drive and Denman Street, as well as in Kitsilano, Port Moody and Maple Ridge.


EVENTS CANCELLED, BUT GOING ONLINE INSTEAD!

As of April 13th, 2020, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, car free day events on Main Street, Commercial Drive and Denman Street have all been cancelled, as have the block parties in Kitsilano this year. There will still be some sort of online events happening, but not the real things now until 2021.

Details about the Port Moody and Maple Ridge events are still to be confirmed (but they’ll likely get cancelled or postponed too unfortunately). Hopefully not, but they are looking unlikely.

To learn more about the plans for the online events in the summer of 2020, see the Vancouver Car Free Day Facebook page.

To learn more about how the virus is impacting other Lower Mainland events see our article about COVID-19 and Vancouver Event Cancellations.


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 few years the City of Port Moody has had its own Car Free Day in August. And, for the last couple of years, Car Free Day on Commercial Drive has been 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.

2020 Car Free Day Dates

In 2020 Car Free Days were scheduled to take place on the following days however they were cancelled due to COVID-19:

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

Band on Denman StreetThe 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 is especially busy too. In 2020 the day before Father’s Day (and so the date of this great event) was Saturday, June 20.

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.

West End Car Free Day
West End Car Free Day on Denman Street

Commercial Drive Festival

In 2020 the Commercial Drive Festival was scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 12th. In previous years it happened on the Father’s Day Sunday, which was the same day as the similar 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 folks are serious about being green.

Commercial Drive on Car Free Day
Car Free Day on Commercial Drive

Main Street Car Free Festival

The Main Street Festival was going to take place from noon until 7 pm on the Father’s Day Sunday, so for 2020 on June 21st. 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.

Car Free Day on Main Street
Car Free Day on Main Street

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. In 2020 the events were going to take place on June 20th and 21st.

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 BBQs, 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. 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’s not just one single street that’s blocked off.

Maple Ridge Car Free Day

The Maple Ridge event is the newest car free-themed event in the Lower Mainland. 2019 was its inaugural year.

Maple Ridge Car Free Day happens on the Father’s Day Sunday, so on June 21st in 2020, which is the same day as the party on Main Street in Vancouver.

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.

Port Moody Car Free Day

Port Moody has been celebrating its own Car Free Day in August for the three or so years. 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. It’s not as large or well-attended as the events on Main Street or Denman Street or Commercial Drive, but it’s still pretty good and interesting.

For further details click Port Moody Car Free Day.

Other Information

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: