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The North Shore
The region stretches from Horseshoe Bay at the far end of West Vancouver to picturesque Deep Cove at the eastern edge of North Vancouver. In between are world-class parks, shoreline and places of interest.
The North Shore is a paradise for skiers, serious mountain bikers, hikers and water sport enthusiasts from around the world.
The North Shore’s Best Places
If you’ve come to Vancouver for the mountains and outdoor activities, the North Shore is where you’ll want to go. The region runs from North Vancouver’s Deep Cove in the east to Horseshoe Bay in the west. From one end to the other is about 30 km and takes roughly half an hour to drive in good traffic. Below is what you’ll find in the region.
Best Places in North Vancouver
Below are places of interest in North Vancouver. The first list is of places in the Lower Lonsdale & Shipyards District within the City of North Vancouver. The second list is of places west of Lonsdale Avenue (which is a major road running north to south from the mountains to the waterfront in the middle of North Vancouver). The third list is of places of interest east of Lonsdale Avenue.
In the Lower Lonsdale & Shipyards District
- Burrard Dry Dock Pier – the massive dock that is open for the public to walk along in the Shipyards District. (It’s also sometimes called Shipbuilders’ Pier.)
- Cates Deck – an outdoor plaza between Lonsdale Quay and the Polygon Gallery. It’s one of a small number of outdoor places you can drink alcohol in public.
- Lonsdale Quay – home to a year-round public market, the SeaBus terminal and more.
- Lower Lonsdale – the district at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue that includes the Shipyards, Polygon Gallery and the Lonsdale Quay Public Market.
- Museum of North Vancouver – also known as MONOVA, the city’s history museum opens to the public in 2021.
- Polygon Gallery – an art gallery in Lower Lonsdale at 101 Carrie Cates Court.
- Shipyards Night Market – an artisan market at Shipbuilders’ Square on Friday evenings from May to October.
- The Shipyards – the area where you’ll find Shipbuilders’ Square, Shipyard Commons and the Burrard Dry Dock Pier (which is also known as Shipbuilders’ Pier). In Shipbuilders’ Square and on Cates Deck (near the Polygon Gallery) you’ll also find places where you can drink alcohol in public.
- Waterfront Park – a nice place with a children’s play area, large grassy lawn, dog park and views of Vancouver near Lonsdale Quay. It’s also a place where you can drink alcohol in public (or at least that was the case in 2021).
In addition to the above, the City of North Vancouver has a number of plazas and parks where you can drink alcohol in public (between 11 am and dusk). These include Shipbuilder’s Square and Cates Deck as well as areas at Grand Boulevard, Kings Mill Walk, Mahon, Ray Perrault, Victoria and Waterfront parks. To learn more see Places You Can Drink Alcohol in Public
Places West of Lonsdale Avenue
Parks and attractions located west of Lonsdale Avenue include the following:
- Capilano River Regional Park – one of the best places for beautiful views and nature in the Lower Mainland, plus home to both the Capilano River Hatchery and the Cleveland Dam.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – one of Metro Vancouver’s most famous attractions, with bridges across a canyon and through the trees, plus amazing light displays at Christmas.
- Cleveland Dam – a dam and waterfall at Cleveland Park in Capilano River Regional Park.
- Goat Mountain – a mountain and 4-hour hiking trail that begins at Grouse Mountain.
- Grouse Grind – a hike up Grouse Mountain that’s popular with people wanting a workout.
- Grouse Mountain – a popular and highly accessible ski hill with year-round activities.
Places East of Lonsdale Avenue
Parks and places of interest in the eastern half of North Vancouver (and thus within the District of North Vancouver) include the following:
- Cates Park – a nice park with both sandy and rocky beaches and an amazing play structure for young children.
- The Village of Deep Cove – a picturesque seaside village that’s great for kayaking and hiking in North Vancouver.
- Deep Cove Theatre – a small community theatre venue in Deep Cove.
- Deep Cove Brewery – a craft beer brewpub that gives tours of its distillery.
- Inter River Park – a park with walking trails and North Vancouver’s highest concentration of grass soccer fields. It’s located along Lynn Creek just north of the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge near Capilano University.
- Lynn Canyon Park – nature at its best, with lots of stairs and a free suspension bridge.
- Lynn Headwaters Regional Park – great hiking trails in nature, for both beginners and experts.
- Maplewood Conservation Area – a preserved area of tidal mudflats that’s good for bird watching just off Dollarton Highway in North Vancouver.
- Maplewood Farm – a great place for very young children with pigs, horses, geese and other farm animals.
- Mount Seymour – a place for skiing, tubing and snowshoeing with the family.
- Mt. Seymour Provincial Park – a provincial park that’s popular for hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing. It’s also home to the Mt. Seymour Ski Resort.
- Rice Lake – a beautiful spot for walking and fishing.
- Seymour Demonstration Forest – paved cycling trails through the forest.
In addition to the above, there is the Baden Powell Trail. It is over 40 km of hiking trails that stretch from West Vancouver to North Vancouver.
Best Places in West Vancouver
Parks and other places of interest within West Vancouver include the following:
- Ambleside – a beautiful park and beach in West Vancouver.
- Caulfeild Park – a park with beaches and walking trails near in Caulfeild near Stearman Beach and Lighthouse Park.
- Cypress Falls Park – a popular place with forested hiking trails and a number of waterfalls.
- Cypress Mountain – the North Shore’s largest ski hill with the most advanced terrain. It has ski slopes, cross-country trails, snowshoeing terrain and a tubing park. It summer there is also the Eagle Coaster.
- Cypress Provincial Park – home to Cypress Ski Hill, but also hiking trails, forests and places to go backcountry camping north of West Vancouver.
- Dundarave – a beach, village and pleasant place to walk along the seawall in West Vancouver.
- Horseshoe Bay – location of one of BC Ferries’ terminals linking the Lower Mainland with Vancouver Island.
- Kay Meek Arts Centre – a performing arts centre beside West Vancouver Secondary School.
- Lighthouse Park – a rugged ocean-side park with rocky shores and views of Vancouver.
- Millennium Park – a tiny park between John Lawson Park and Ambleside Beach. It’s significant because, at least in the summer of 2021, it’s a place where you can (or could) drink alcohol in public.
- Park Royal Shopping Centre – a large and upscale shopping mall with over 200 stores in West Vancouver near Ambleside Park.
- West Vancouver Aquatic Centre – a large recreational facility with a swimming pool, water slide and kid’s play pools.
- Whytecliff Park – a rugged ocean-side park in West Vancouver near Horseshoe Bay.
- Whyte Lake Park & Trail – a hiking trail and large forested park in West Vancouver.
The North Shore’s Best Events
The North Shore hosts some of the Lower Mainland’s most popular annual events, including the following:
- Summer Concert Music Series – free live outdoor concerts take place on Friday evenings from early July until late August at Deep Cove’s Panorama Park, Lynn Valley Village, and in Edgemont Village.
- Canada Day Celebrations – at Waterfront Park near Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver every July 1st and at the Red & White Picnic in John Lawson Park in West Vancouver.
- Squamish Youth Nation Powwow – a First Nations cultural event at Capilano Reserve Park in West Vancouver in July.
- Caribbean Days Festival – at North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park on the last weekend in July. (Note: As of 2022, the event’s new home is in Coquitlam.)
- Coho Festival – in early September at the waterfront in West Vancouver.
- Harmony Arts Festival – an August festival that features live music, outdoor movies and lots of art in West Vancouver.
- Lynn Valley Day – a small community festival in the Lynn Valley neighborhood of North Vancouver in either May or June each year.
- Osprey Festival – a small nature and Indigenous-themed event at North Vancouver’s Maplewood Flats in July.
- Shipyards Festival – a free street party-style festival at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue in September.
North Shore events with Christmas and winter holiday themes include the following:
- Dundarave Festival of Lights – a small community event featuring outdoor Christmas tree displays and concerts in December in West Vancouver.
- Grouse Mountain‘s the Peak of Christmas – winter holiday festivities with sleigh rides, gingerbread houses, skiing and skating in December.
- Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge – Christmas light displays in the month of December.
- Holiday Hi-Light Festival – Christmas light displays at the gardens at Park and Tilford mall.
- Light Up The Village – a free outdoor community event at Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver.
- Shipyards Christmas Festival – free Christmas celebrations at the Shipyards in Lower Lonsdale on the first weekend in December.
North Shore Farmers Markets
In addition to the above, the North Shore is also home to a couple of farmers markets in the late spring, summer and early fall. They are the Lonsdale Quay Artisan Farmers Market on Saturdays in North Vancouver and the Ambleside Artisan Farmers Market on Sundays in West Vancouver.
North Shore Hotels
To learn more about places to stay see our article about North Vancouver Hotels.
To learn more about the municipality see the District of West Vancouver‘s website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- The City and District of North Vancouver
- District of West Vancouver
- North Vancouver Hotels
- Marine Drive on the North Shore
- North Vancouver Restaurants
- West Vancouver Restaurants