Formerly called Community Day, West Vancouver’s Bridge Festival is a 2-day event with family-friendly activities and live music at Ambleside Park in June.
West Vancouver Community Day used to be an annual 1-day event. New for 2019, it was renamed as the Bridge Festival and now runs for two days. 2020 dates were supposed to be June 5th and 6th, but the event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Bridge Festival at Ambleside
West Vancouver‘s Community Day event has been taking place in the Ambleside neighbourhood on the first Saturday in June for many years. In 2019, with the new Bridge Festival, the activities happened on both Friday May 31st and Saturday June 1st. It’s a fun event at one of the Lower Mainland’s most popular oceanfront parks.
Ambleside Park is located just off Marine Drive southwest of the Park Royal shopping mall which itself is just a short distance from the north end of the Lions Gate Bridge. The park’s address is 1150 Marine Drive but its main access is via 13th Street which turns into the park and Argyle Avenue.
Bridge Festival Hours
In 2020 the West Vancouver Bridge Festival was supposed to run from 4:00 until 9:30 pm on Friday, June 5th, and from 11:00 am until 9:30 pm on Saturday June 6th. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
2021 dates and details are to be confirmed, but they will likely be similar to what was planned for 2020.
Bridge Festival Activities
West Vancouver Bridge Festival activities include live music, dance performances, food vendors, sports activities, a kids’ zone, community information booths, cultural pavilions and a cultural beach parade. In 2019 there was also an animated “Walkway of Nations” path.
In previous years, during the 1-day Community Day event, the parade started at about 10:00 am on the Saturday and went along Marine Drive from 13th Street to 17th Street, down 17th a block to Bellevue, and then along Bellevue back to 13th Street and the entrance to Ambleside Park.
In 2019, the parade began at John Lawson Park and made its way to Ambleside Park and the festival grounds via Argyle Avenue. As it did not occur in 2020, we expect 2021 details to be similar.
The parade is a fairly simple event, but fun, with people from different community groups in costume giving out candy and things as they walked along the street. There are also a few bands, dance groups and other typical small-community-parade kinds of things.
Below is the schedule of activities for the 2019 Bridge Festival. (Note: details were subject to change.) We expect 2021 details to be similar.
Friday May 31st
- 4:00 pm – Mariachi Los Dorados
- 5:45 pm – Kow Kanda
- 8:00 pm – Tanga
Saturday June 1st
- 1:00 pm – Cultural Beach Parade
- 4:00 pm – Amir Haghighi and Amy Stephen with the Taneen Ensemble
- 6:00 pm – Herbert Kwan
- 8:00 pm – The Starbirds
The WVYB Symphonic Band also performed with the Sp’akwus Slulem (Eagle Song Dancers) and the West Vancouver Youth Band.
Getting to the Bridge Festival
Getting in and out of the Ambleside Park area can be a challenge during major events for a number of reasons. First, there is a fair bit of parking at the park itself, but on event days the area is usually closed to cars. Second, Ambleside Park is a popular place on a regular day and so it is particularly crazy when something special is happening.
What does all of the above mean? It means use public transit if possible, or carpool, or ride your bike. If you need to drive, there’s lots of parking at Park Royal mall which is right close by (although parking there is “just for customers”), or get to West Vancouver early and look for street parking further west past Marine Drive and 18th Street.
If you go as far as Dundarave, which is over 3 km away, you’ll be able to get some good exercise walking back to Ambleside while enjoying one of Metro Vancouver’s finest walks along the waterfront.
For more details see the West Vancouver Bridge Festival website.
For major events on other days of the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals and Events Calendar.