North Vancouver has some of the Lower Mainland’s most spectacular attractions and places to visit including mountains, numerous parks and miles of nature.
NORTH VANCOUVER’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, North Vancouver closed all rec centres, public pools, libraries and public playgrounds. As of early July, public tennis courts, basketball courts, skateboard parks and playing fields have reopened. Playgrounds were closed until late May but are now open as well, and libraries are set to reopen on July 7th.
Many attractions such as Capilano Bridge, Grouse, Mt. Seymour, Maplewood Farm and Centennial Theatre have also closed temporarily. Capilano Bridge and Grouse Mountain are both open again though as of the 19th and 22nd of June respectively.
Other venues that have closed include Murdo Frazer Pitch & Putt, Northlands Golf Course and the Lynn Valley Ecology Centre. The two golf courses, however, have since reopened.
On June 5th Grouse Mountain announced that it was reopening on June 22nd, but initially just for people with season’s passes. Also on June 5th, the Shipyards Night Market announced, regrettably, that its entire 2020 season has been cancelled.
Sports fields were closed in the City of North Vancouver to games and team practices, but trails, parks and sports fields remained open in both North Vancouver municipalities for casual public use (but with the advice that people maintain appropriate 1-2 metre social distancing).
Most North Vancouver hotels are still open. The Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier closed for a brief time, but then reopened.
To reduce the number of people visiting area parks, the District of North Vancouver closed a number of roads to all but local traffic. Consequently, non-residents have been discouraged from accessing Deep Cove Road, Gallant Avenue or Panorama Drive.
At the beginning of June, to help locals enjoy life more, plus enjoy a beverage with their take-out picnic dinners, the City of North Vancouver mayor and councillors voted to allow people to consume alcohol at certain parks.
Public venues where people will likely be permitted to drink alcohol include areas at Waterfront Park, Victoria Park, the City Hall Plaza, Shipbuilders Square and Cates Deck, plus a few other designated places. The drinking can happen between 11 am and 9 pm as soon as the city manages to put up the signage (which will likely be sometime in the second week of June).
Many North Shore events have been cancelled for 2020 due to the coronavirus. These include the Shipyards Night Market and Caribbean Days, among others. North Vancouver’s main Canada Day event, however, has not been cancelled. Instead of being a live in-person event at Waterfront Park, due to COVID-19, it instead happened online. For details see Canada Day Reimagined 2020.
For updates on other events and attractions affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus, see our article about COVID-19 in Metro Vancouver.
North Vancouver, BC
There are few cities anywhere, in fact, with as many world-class outdoor recreational venues and as much natural beauty as North Vancouver.
Based at the foot of the North Shore Mountains, the area is home to ski hills and some of the most spectacular (and extreme) mountain biking and hiking trails on the planet.
About North Vancouver
Located across from Vancouver via either the Lions Gate Bridge or Iron Workers’ Memorial Bridge, North Vancouver is actually made up of two separate municipalities: the City of North Vancouver (population 48,000) and the District of North Vancouver (population 83,000).
When you look across Burrard Inlet at the North Shore Mountains from Canada Place or Coal Harbour, the beautiful city you see at the base of the hills is North Vancouver, or just “North Van” for short.
North Vancouver is on the traditional unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Reserve lands for both the Squamish Nation (or Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw) and Tsleil-Waututh (which means People of the Inlet) are spread out across the area including near Lions Gate Bridge and Cates Park.
North Vancouver’s Best Places
North Vancouver has some of the Lower Mainland’s most spectacular attractions and places to visit. North Van’s highlights include the following:
- Baden Powell Trail – an amazing hiking route through the forests and across the North Shore Mountains.
- Capilano River Regional Park – stunning views, hiking trails and the source of 30% of Metro Vancouver’s pristine drinking water. Also home to the Capilano River Hatchery.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – one of Metro Vancouver’s most famous attractions.
- Cates Park – a great park for young children and from which to kayak in the summer.
- Cleveland Dam – a site to visit at the Capilano River Regional Park with beautiful views and nearby walking trails.
- Deep Cove – a picturesque seaside village that’s perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding. It’s also great for hiking, with excellent trails leading to a lookout at Quarry Rock.
- Grouse Mountain – Vancouver’s most accessible and popular ski hill, and home to two captive grizzly bears, zip-lining, the world-famous Grouse Grind hiking/stair-climbing trail and more.
- Inter River Park – a park with walking trails, off-leash dog areas, sports fields and a BMX bike park.
- Lonsdale Quay – one of Metro Vancouver’s two best and most famous public markets, and one of the best views of Vancouver from across the water.
- Lower Lonsdale – the area of North Vancouver that’s home to the Polygon Gallery, Lonsdale Quay and the Shipyards.
- Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve – a great park and home to beautiful Rice Lake and the Seymour Demonstration Forest.
- Lynn Canyon Park – a first-class park with trails through the forest and a free suspension bridge.
- Lynn Headwaters Regional Park – exceptional hiking trails for both beginners and experts.
- Maplewood Farm – a former dairy farm that now features pigs, chickens, horses and hundreds of birds and other farm animals, making it a fun place for young children.
- Maplewood Flats Conservation Area – a nature preserve that’s home to large number of birds in the District of North Vancouver.
- Mt. Seymour – Metro Vancouver’s favourite ski hill for young families and snowshoeing enthusiasts.
- Northlands Golf Course – one of Metro Vancouver’s best public golf courses.
- Polygon Gallery – an art museum located at 101 Carrie Cates Court in Lower Lonsdale.
- Rice Lake – a beautiful lake in the woods that’s great for fishing and walking around.
- Seymour Demonstration Forest – one of the best places to take the family for a bike ride with its paved cycling trails through the woods.
- Shipyards – an area in Lower Lonsdale that features a public plaza, a 700-foot pier out into the water, free ice skating in winter and community events throughout the year.
- Trans Canada Trail – the longest hiking trail in the world which passes through some of North Vancouver’s finest natural areas.
If you love nature and outdoor recreation, then you’ll love North Vancouver – it has the most of everything, including rain, snow, mountain bikes, sports equipment stores and wait times at the hospital’s emergency room (due to all the extreme sports activities in the region)!
Check out North Vancouver’s Best Bars and Restaurants for places to eat and drink on the North Shore.
North Van Festivals & Events
North Vancouver hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year. Some are small and community-focused, and others are major events that attract people from all across the Lower Mainland.
The following are North Vancouver events of special interest:
- Friday Night Live in Lynn Valley – a community comedy improv show that takes place in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley on Friday evenings most months of the year.
- North Vancouver Summer Concert Series – free outdoor concerts in July and August in Lynn Valley, Edgemont Village and Deep Cove.
- Shipyards Summer Sessions Concerts – free concerts on Saturday evenings in July and August at Shipbuilders’ Square.
- Lynn Valley Day – a small community festival in Lynn Valley at the end of May.
- Canada Day at Waterfront Park – North Vancouver’s Canada Day celebrations every July 1st at the park just a couple of blocks from Lonsdale Quay.
- Caribbean Days Festival – a festival celebrating Caribbean culture at Waterfront Park in late July each year.
- Deep Cove Daze – a small community festival with music, food and family activities in North Vancouver’s Deep Cove on the last Sunday in August. (Note: this event has not happened for a couple of years. It might take place again one day, but it also might not.)
- Carol Ships Shoreline Celebration – a community event with a giant bonfire, music, family-friendly activities and a procession of boats with Christmas lights in December.
- Deep Cove Penguin Plunge – a New Year’s Day event involving live music, a community bonfire and mass polar bear-style swim in the ocean at Panorama Park.
- Polish Festival – a small Polish festival at either Lynn Valley Village or the Shipyards in early September.
- Coho Festival – a festival in early September celebrating salmon. The event takes place primarily in West Vancouver, but the Coho Walk portion of it occurs in North Vancouver’s Capilano River Regional Park.
- Remembrance Day – the City of North Vancouver’s main Remembrance Day event includes a small parade through the streets and a ceremony at Victory Park each year on November 11th.
- Holiday Hi-Light Festival – Christmas light displays at Park and Tilford garden in December.
- Philippine Days – a Filipino cultural event at North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park near Lonsdale Quay in June.
- Shipyards Festival – a relatively new music festival and street party at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue in September.
- Shipyards Christmas Festival – Christmas celebrations at Shipbuilders’ Square on the first Saturday in December.
- Shipyards Night Market – a seasonal artisan market at Shipbuilders’ Square near Lonsdale Quay with evening concerts on Fridays from May until September.
- Vancouver’s North Shore Craft Beer Week – a beer-themed series of events involving North Vancouver craft breweries in October.
- Peak of Christmas – ice skating, sleigh rides and holiday decorations at Grouse Mountain in December.
- Canyon Lights – Christmas lights and family-friendly things to do at Capilano Suspension Bridge from late November until January.
In addition to the above, North Vancouver also hosts the Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market on Saturdays from May until October. It’s a tiny market with about a dozen or so vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to clothing.