Vancouver celebrates Car Free Days on Main Street, Commercial Drive and Denman Street, as well as in Kitsilano, Port Moody and Maple Ridge.
In 2022 there were also a few new events. Car Free Day Surrey took place for the first time ever on June 12th and New West Car Free Day was on August 6th.
There will be a number of Car Free Day events in 2023. Exact details for some events, however, are to be confirmed.
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 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 are scheduled to take place on the following days:
- June 10th – Car Free Day Surrey in Newton
- September 9th – on Commercial Drive
- September 16th – on Main Street
- September 23rd – in the West End on Denman Street
In 2022 there was also a Car Free Day event on August 6th in New Westminster and another on September 17th in North Vancouver. 2023 dates for these locations are to be confirmed.
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
The West End Festival runs along Vancouver’s Denman Street between Davie and Robson. There are usually 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. 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
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.
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. The event started at 12:00 pm and ran until 8:00 pm. It was held along Columbia Street between 4th and 8th Street. 2023 details are to be confirmed.
At the first event you could expect to see four stages with live entertainment. There was also 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. 2023 dates and details are to be confirmed.
In 2022 the event ran from 12:00 to 10:00 pm on Saturday, September 17th. There were live performances, vendors, food trucks and more to enjoy. The Car Free Day event was one part of the larger Shipyards Festival which took place on the same day.
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 it didn’t happen in 2022 either. Hopefully the event returns in the future.
Port Moody Car Free Day isn’t 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.
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 returns at the same location on Saturday, June 10th in 2023. It runs from 12:00 to 8:00 pm. Similar to other Car Free Day events, admission is free and activities include live music, food trucks and other family-friendly activities.
For more information about the new event see our article about Car Free Day Surrey or visit the Newton BIA website.
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