Cates Park is a great park for kids in North Vancouver. It has an amazing play structure area for young children, and the beach has both sandy and rocky areas.
The park’s name in the local Tsleil-Waututh Indigenous language is Whey-ah-Wichen which means “faces the wind.”
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Cates Park on the North Shore
Cates Park is at 4141 Dollarton Highway in North Vancouver.
There is a lot of parking at Cates Park, which is good because the place is popular on sunny days in the summer. The odds are you’ll find a spot to park, although it’s not guaranteed on busy days, like when it’s hot and there’s a live outdoor concert at the same time.
The best way to get to Cates Park is by car, not public transit. Buses do go out there, but it’s a 45-60 minute trip from Lonsdale Quay with at least one, but sometimes two transfers.
Cates Park has a boat launch and kayak rentals in the summer.
Cates Park Concert Series
In the summer there are often live band performances on the weekends from around 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm on Saturdays between early July and mid-August
The concerts didn’t happen in 2020 because of COVID-19. They were cancelled for the same reason in 2021 as well. Instead of the summer concerts, organizers of the event put on a series of virtual performances between September and December. To learn more, see the Musart.ca website.
2019 dates and performers were the following (and events in future years might be similar):
- July 13, 2019 – Fear the Wolves, Highland Eyeway and Reed
- July 20, 2019 – Victoria & the Secrets and Theory of Roses
- July 27, 2019 – Acoustic Ghosts, Symentha Holmes and Delan
- August 3, 2019 – Horse Opera, Cat Murphy Band and The Ship Of
- August 10, 2019 – Ashley Pater & Destination Unknown, Eye Bender and Ilhan Saferali
- August 19, 2019 – Antoinette & the Latest, Kyoga and Bealby Point
- August 24, 2019 – Sarah J, Augustiner and Ryan Fischer
Click Cates Park Summer Concerts for more details.
Check out Free Outdoor Music for summer concert venues in Metro Vancouver, including performances at Cates Park in July and August.
About Cates Park
There are opportunities for year-round recreation at Cates Park. Amenities at the park include tennis courts, trails, beaches, a playground, picnic tables, kayak rentals, a concession stand and a boat launch.
In total there are about 6 kilometres of trails within the park. The main trail winds along the waterfront and offers great views of Indian Arm and the Burrard Inlet. Trails in Cates Park are also dog-friendly, although our furry friends are required to be on-leash at all times except on the upper section of trails.
One unique feature of the trails along the waterfront are two shacks built along the shore. The shacks were built in the 1940s and 50s and are reminders of Canada’s literary history. Earle Birney, a poet, and Malcolm Lowery, a novelist, lived in these buildings.
First Nations Heritage
Cates Park holds important cultural significance to the Tsleil-Waututh people. There are reminders of this significance scattered across the Cates Park grounds. One of these pieces is the large totem pole that resides next to one of the picnic shelters. There is also a traditional canoe on display close to the totem pole.
North Vancouver is on the traditional unceded territories of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation has a reservation near Cates Park. Takaya Tours is a company that’s owned by the band. They offer kayak rentals and boat tours out of Cates Park.
Cates Park shouldn’t be confused with Cates Deck. The park is in the District of North Vancouver about halfway between the Second Narrows Bridge and Deep Cove. Cates Deck, meanwhile, is a wharf-like plaza in the Lower Lonsdale District of the City of North Vancouver between the Polygon Gallery and Lonsdale Quay.
Cates Deck is a nice kind of plaza. What makes it extra special though is that it’s one of a few places in the City of North Vancouver where you can drink alcohol in public. Adults can drink beer and other alcoholic beverages there, but not at Cates Park.
To learn about the relaxed liquor laws in the City of North Vancouver see our article about North Shore Alcohol-Friendly Parks.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- North Vancouver
- The North Shore
- Vancouver Activities for Children
- Lower Mainland Parks and Nature
- Vancouver on a Budget