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North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay

Lonsdale Quay Under Construction

Lonsdale Quay is where you’ll find the SeaBus terminal and Lonsdale Quay Public Market. Close by are the Shipyards, Waterfront Park and many restaurants.

The market building itself is currently under construction, and has been for quite a few months. The place is still open, however, and the renovations are expected to be completed sometime in 2023 or 2024.

 

Lonsdale Quay and Lower Lonsdale

When you take the 15-minute SeaBus ride from Vancouver’s Waterfront Station over to the North Shore you land at Lonsdale Quay, home to the Lonsdale Quay Public Market and close to a variety of interesting places. The entire neighbourhood is known as Lower Lonsdale.

 

Lower Lonsdale Waterfront
Lower Lonsdale

 

What to Expect

At first, North Vancouver‘s Lonsdale Quay might seem unimpressive if you arrive by water. As you exit the SeaBus terminal, straight in front of you is a giant concrete bus terminal, which is convenient if heading someplace else on the North Shore directly. Don’t be fooled by the uninspiring first impressions!

Walk over to your right as you exit the SeaBus terminal and you’ll find the main attraction – the Lonsdale Quay Public Market.

Walk further on around and you’ll come across Shipbuilders’ Square – home of North Vancouver’s amazing Shipyard Night Market in the summer. And a little further on you’ll find the Shipbuilder’s Pier which is a nice place for a stroll.

Or, instead of turning right as you exit from the SeaBus, if you turn left past the McDonald’s, through the taxi and drop off parking and then down a small lane, you’ll come to Waterfront Park (where in the summer of 2021 you were allowed to drink alcohol in public during set times).

See below for more details on each of the above mentioned places in North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale and Lonsdale Quay area.

 

Vancouver View from Lonsdale Quay Plaza
Lonsdale Quay Plaza

 

Lonsdale Quay Public Market

The public market has been a North Shore attraction since Expo ’86 – Vancouver’s 1986 World’s Fair. Inside the market you’ll find an eclectic selection of stores selling everything from wine to candies, fish, art, fresh produce and flowers.

Outside the market in the summer there is often live entertainment. Also, if you climb up the stairs to the observation tower (the bright red one with the giant Q at the top), you’ll find a beautiful view of Vancouver in the distance.

Making a very interesting daily public market even more interesting is the Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market that takes place right outside the Quay on Saturdays from May until October from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Although a tiny farmers market compared to other Metro Vancouver farmers markets, Saturdays in the summer are a great time to visit the Quay, and a good day to pick up farm fresh produce.

In addition to shops and places to eat, there is also a place to stay overnight. The Lonsdale Quay Hotel offers boutique accommodations on the top two floors of the public market’s building.

To learn more about the year-round indoor shops see our article about the Lonsdale Quay Public Market.

 

Lonsdale Quay
Lonsdale Quay Public Market

 

Lonsdale Quay vs. Granville Island

What’s the difference between Metro Vancouver’s two world-famous indoor year-round public markets? The one at Granville Island is a bit more famous, and perhaps a bit more rustic. It also has more than one fruit and vegetable stand.

Built in 1979, the Granville Island Public Market is also slightly older and has about 70 or so permanent stores. In addition to the public market, there are also lots of other unique shops at Granville Island. (To learn more, see our article about Shopping Opportunities at Granville Island.)

With over 80 vendors and running since 1986 (which was the year of the Expo 86 World’s Fair), Lonsdale Quay has two storeys of shops. It’s both a classy and eclectic place.

The Lonsdale Quay Public Market only has one fresh produce vendor, compared to Granville Island’s two or three, so the farmers market fruits and vegetables vendors on Saturdays from May until October are a nice addition.

Lonsdale Quay is also more accessible by public transit. Both the North Vancouver and Granville Island venues are served by public bus service and have lots of nearby parking. The former, however, is right next to the SeaBus terminal, which connects with downtown Vancouver’s Waterfront Station via 15-minute ferry rides. This makes it extra convenient and fun to get to.

Lonsdale Quay is a great place to visit, shop and explore any time of the year, and even more so on days when the Lonsdale Quay Artisan Farmers’ Market is also happening. Granville Island is also exceptional.

 

Shopping in Vancouver
Lonsdale Quay Public Market

 

Lonsdale Quay Events

The Lonsdale Quay Public Market puts on free events from time to time. Around Chinese New Year, for example, they host fan dancing, kids’ craft activities and a lion dance. Events and entertainment also usually take place at the Quay around Family Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Canada Day and other seasonal holidays.

In the summer there is also usually live music, yoga (or some other kind of exercise class) and occasionally even a free outdoor movie outside in the plaza.

 

Roch Dock at Shipbuilders' Square
Lonsdale Quay and the Shipyards

 

Shipbuilders’ Square & North Van Night Market

If you walk east of Lonsdale Quay for about 5 minutes you’ll come to Shipbuilders’ Square. It’s on the waterfront side of the big white Pinnacle Hotel at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue, behind an old restored ship manufacturing building from bygone years.

Past Shipbuilders’ Square is a pier, which makes for a nice walk out into Burrard Inlet for a ways. There isn’t a lot else to see, except for Friday and Saturday evenings in the summer when the place really comes alive.

Fridays are when North Vancouver’s Shipyard Night Market takes place at Shipbuilders’ Square from mid-May until mid-September.

Unlike at some of Metro Vancouver’s Night Markets (like the Richmond Night Market), you won’t find any inexpensive sunglasses, imported electronics or cheap clothing here. The market at the Shipyards features high-quality products made by local artisans.

The vendors at the Shipyards Night Market are typically local artisans selling everything from organic vegetables to gluten-free bread to handmade jewellery. To add to the atmosphere, a different local band performs each night.

 

North Vancouver's Lonsdale Quay

 

Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park is a nice little park. It’s not outstanding, but still a nice enough place. It’s less than a 5-minute walk from the SeaBus terminal, but not easy to see at first.

A number of festivals take place at Waterfront Park annually including North Vancouver’s Canada Day celebrations every July 1st and the Caribbean Days Festival in late July.

In 2021 North Vancouver legalized the drinking of alcohol in a number of designated public places. Waterfront Park was one of them.

 

Winter Yacht at Lonsdale Quay

 

Advice and Suggestions

Below are some tips and things to know to help you make the most out of your visit to Lonsdale Quay and the Lower Lonsdale Neighbourhood.

TIP #1: Consider going to the Lonsdale Quay Market on a Friday in the late afternoon so you can combine it with a visit to the night market at Shipbuilders Square in the summer.

TIP #2:  There used to be free parking on weekends and evenings at the ICBC parkade on tiny Rogers Avenue just off Esplanade. As of 2020, however, this is no longer the case. If staying for less than 1 or 2 hours though, if you park a couple of blocks or more away from the Quay you can still take advantage of North Vancouver’s free on-street parking (assuming you can find an empty spot).

TIP #3: Got little kids? Need a break from dragging them through the market? Then check out the free kids’ play area upstairs in the market building at Lonsdale Quay. It’s tiny (so your kids need to be tiny too), but the play area can keep the children happily entertained while you sit for a rest and/or read a book.

TIP #4: Tourist attractions in the area include the Shipyards (where there is a large sheltered outdoor plaza as well as a pier that goes out into the water). There is also the Polygon Gallery (which is an art museum specializing in photography) and MONOVA (which is the new Museum of North Vancouver).

 

Other Information

To learn more about the market see the Lonsdale Quay website.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

 

ACCESSIBILITY NOTE:

Lonsdale Quay and Shipbuilders’ Square are both wheelchair and stroller accessible. Lonsdale Avenue has some nice little shops to look at in the area too, plus a number of great restaurants, but it’s a steep hill for the first eight or so blocks (kind of like San Francisco) so not good for wheelchairs, except for those with powerful motors.