New Westminster is a city of around 70,000 that’s located along the Fraser River about half an hour east of Vancouver between Burnaby and Surrey.
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
New Westminster 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.
- TD 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. (In 2022 it took place as New West Car Free Day instead.)
- New West Car Free Day – a new pedestrian street party-style event on Columbia Street in the summer.
- Queens’s Park Arts Festival – a summer festival featuring art, music, theatre and other activities at Queen’s Park.
- On Your Block Festival – a community event with music, food trucks and family-friendly activities at Tipperary Park in the summer.
- Queen’s Park Concert Series – a series of musical performances at Queen’s Park in the summer.
- Farewell to Summer Fireworks Festival – a fireworks event at the end of the summer. (It happened in 2022 but may or may not happen again in future years.)
- New West Craft – a series of artisan markets hosted by the Arts Council of New Westminster throughout the year on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month.
New West Autumn and Winter Events
- Recovery Day BC – a street party celebrating mental health issues and recovery in New Westminster in early September.
- Riverfest – a community festival at the Quay in mid to late September.
- New Westminster Culture Crawl – an annual arts and culture festival where artists open their studios to the public in October.
- 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 West Holiday Market – a food and artisan market hosted by the New West Farmers Market in December.
- New Westminster Santa Parade – a Christmas-themed parade along Columbia Street in December.
New West Restaurants
A few prominent restaurants in New Westminster include the following:
- Boathouse Restaurant – a casual-style chain restaurant near the waterfront at 900 Quayside Drive in the Westminster Quay area.
- Kelly O’Brian’s – a Keg-style, Irish-themed restaurant in the city’s old train station at 800 Columbia Street.
- Old Bavaria Haus – a charming German restaurant at 233 – 6th Street.
To learn more about the city, see the Tourism New West website.
To learn about neighbouring municipalities see our articles about Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Metro Vancouver
- Lower Mainland Parks and Nature
- Top 100 Places in Metro Vancouver
- The A to Z’s of Vancouver
- Vancouver Festivals and Events