NEW WESTMINSTER’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, New Westminster initially closed most public facilities. As of July 29, 2020, however, most park amenities have reopened to the public, including playgrounds, sports courts, skate parks and the outdoor pool at Moody Park. In addition, the New Westminster Public Library is open as of August 4th with new safety procedures.
Deemed an “essential service”, the New West Farmers Market has continued to operate on Thursdays at Tipperary Park. The River Market has also reopened.
Unfortunately, big events at Massey Theatre have either been postponed or cancelled and the Q to Q ferry suspended operations until further notice. Events like the Hyack Parade, Uptown Live and Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Festival were also cancelled.
For more information on what’s happening click City of New Westminster.
To see what else is being affected in the Metro Vancouver area click Impact of COVID-19 on Vancouver.
The City of New Westminster
New Westminster is the former capital of British Columbia and famous for its heritage buildings, waterfront area, various festivals and Queens Park.
The city is located on the north bank of the Fraser River. It’s bordered by Burnaby to the north and west, and Coquitlam to the northeast. Surrey is southwest of New Westminster on the other side of the river, and Vancouver is about 20 km or a half-hour drive to the west.
New Westminster is fairly well-served by public transportation. The New Westminster and Columbia Street SkyTrain Stations are close to the waterfront, and in the summer the Q to Q Ferry runs between the Queensborough and Quayside neighbourhoods.
New Westminster’s Uptown district is the city’s main “downtown” area. Columbia Street is also a popular commercial area with stores and older heritage buildings.
New West Places of Interest
Main places of interest in New Westminster include the following;
- Columbia Street – a street lined with heritage buildings and a surprising number of wedding stores.
- House of Comedy – a live stand-up comedy venue in the Columbia Theatre on Columbia Street.
- Fraser River Discovery Centre – an educational attraction that features a small number of exhibits.
- Massey Theatre – New Westminster’s community theatre.
- Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours – a tour boat company that offers trips along the Fraser River.
- Queens Park – a large and popular urban park.
- Westminster Quay – a waterfront development built around the time of Expo ’86 in the mid-1980s that includes a walkway along the Fraser River, the River Market shopping centre and a number of restaurants.
New Westminster Festivals & Events
In years when there isn’t a pandemic, New Westminster typically hosts a number of great events over the course of the year. Some of our favourites include the following (all of which are free!):
- Hyack International Parade – a large parade with over a hundred floats, marching bands and other entries at the end of May.
- Canada Day – New Westminster celebrates July 1st with various events during the day and fireworks at night.
- New West Farmers Market – a farm produce and artisan market that takes place on Saturdays in the Uptown part of New Westminster in the winter and on Thursdays at Tipperary Park at other times of the year.
- New West Grand Prix – a major cycling race in early to mid-July.
- Uptown Live – a great Indie music festival around the third week of July. It’s free and lots of fun!
- Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest – a large street festival with live music and dozens of food trucks along Columbia Street in late July.
- Safe & Sound Music Festival – a music festival at Westminster Pier Park in August or September in past years (although it didn’t happen in 2019 and it’s unclear if it will ever take place again).
- Riverfest – a community festival at the Quay in mid to late September.
- Remembrance Day – the Remembrance Day ceremonies take place at the Royal Westminster Regiment Armouries and include a parade to the Cenotaph at City Hall on November 11th each year.
- New Westminster Santa Parade – a Christmas-themed parade along Columbia Street in December.
To learn more about the city, see the Tourism New West website.