A feature of the North Vancouver waterfront since 1986, the Lonsdale Quay Public Market is a vibrant marketplace with a variety of shops and vendors.
The Public Market has been open throughout the pandemic. Some businesses had to close in the spring of 2020 for a while, but then reopened.
As of mid-August in 2021, some events are also scheduled to take place at the market. They include free live music on a selection of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer.
Lonsdale Quay Public Market
The Lonsdale Quay Public Market is an iconic part of North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay and Lower Lonsdale District. Home to 60 or so locally-owned and operated businesses, visitors can find everything from fresh produce to local artisan products at the market.
Built in 1986, the Lonsdale Quay Public Market was created as a carnival-style marketplace attraction for Expo ’86. Expo ’86 was Vancouver’s 1986 World’s Fair. Since then the market has retained most of its original architecture and remains a sight to be seen on the North Shore.
The market is also known for its iconic Q tower. To access the tower, folk can exit the building onto the patio and climb 77 steps up to the top. It sounds like a lot of steps but the view at the top is worth the effort!
Market Hours and Location
The Public Market can be found at 123 Carrie Cates Court at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue. The market is easily accessible by public transit, with both a major bus hub and the SeaBus terminal right next door.
There is a parkade within the market which costs around a couple of dollars per hour. Parking at the ICBC Building across the street used to be free on weekends and daily after 6 pm, but not anymore.
Via the SeaBus, it takes about 15 minutes to get to Lonsdale Quay from downtown Vancouver. Lonsdale Quay is also less than a 5-minute walk to the Shipyards District where the Shipyard’s Night Market takes place in the summer (although not in 2020 due to COVID-19).
Hours of operation for the market differ between the Market level and the Retail level. Both are open every day of the week. The Market level is usually open from around 9 am until 7 pm while the Retail level is open one hour later, so from 10 am to 7 pm. On Sundays both levels usually close at 6 o’clock.
Note: Some individual vendor hours may vary including those of restaurants.
Quay Market Vendors
There are over five dozen vendors in the Lonsdale Quay Public Market selling a wide range of products and services. The shops are organized on two levels, with the Market level on the ground floor being primarily where fresh products are sold and the second level being predominantly Retail.
Some examples of items sold on the first level of the market include fresh produce and other food products, wine, beer, apparel, jewelry and flowers, among other things. There is also a fish shop, butcher, boutique candy store and brewery.
Stores located on the upper Retail level of the market include a toy store, restaurants, a children’s play area and other retail stores. There is also a really good and affordably-priced restaurant – the Cheshire Cheese.
A really nice thing about the public market is the fact that the stores are independently-owned and operated. There is no McDonald’s, A&W, Starbucks or Pizza Hut in the food court area, and no big chain retail stores. There are instead unique boutiques, artisan vendors and one-of-a-kind shops. This makes both shopping and window-shopping especially enjoyable and interesting.
Just outside the market in the summer folk can often find live entertainment. There are also outdoor patios where people can eat, drink and enjoy the scenery.
Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market
Another interesting fact about the public market is that the Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market takes place right outside. The Farmers Market runs on Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm in the summer, from May until October.
With only a dozen or so vendors on a busy day, the Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market is smaller than most farmers markets in Metro Vancouver. However, it is a good complement to the year-round indoor public market and a great place to purchase local, fresh produce.
To learn about other similar weekly summer markets see our article about Vancouver Farmers Markets.
Olde World Confections Video
Below is a video of Olde World Confections which is a candy store which makes many of its own products at the market. They make their own fudge, chocolates and a variety of other treats right in the store.
In this video you can see the owner, David White, making peanut brittle. We got to try a sample at the end and can honestly say it was the best we’ve ever had! It put the generic mass-produced peanut brittle you can get at most stores to shame, and was even far better than when we’ve made our own.
If you like peanut brittle you’ll love what they make at Olde World Confections (and they haven’t paid us to say so)! Their other candies are delicious too, including their fudge.
Lonsdale Quay Hotel
In addition to all its unique shops and restaurants, the facility is also home to a boutique hotel. The Lonsdale Quay Hotel has about 70 rooms located on the third and fourth floors of the building.
Lonsdale Quay Events
A number of events take place in and around Lonsdale Quay each year. In addition to the above-mentioned Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market on Saturdays in the summer, other events and activities also happen on a fairly regular basis.
On weekends in the summer there is often a musician playing in the plaza outside Lonsdale Quay. On other days there might be a free session of yoga.
On holidays and days with cultural celebrations like Family Day, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo and Canada Day, there are usually free performances and family-friendly activities, either outdoors or inside in the Atrium. There is also often a free outdoor movie at least once a year in the summer (although likely not in 2020).
Just a block or so down the street is the Shipyards District, which is where special events often take place. For example, the Shipyards Night Market usually happens on Friday evenings from late spring until the early fall. Live music also takes place in Shipbuilders’ Square on Saturday evenings in the summer most years, as do a number of cultural festivals.
2020 is different from normal due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite COVID-19 though, there is still lots to see and do in the area.
For a full list of vendors and other information about the market, see the Lonsdale Quay Public Market website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s Best Places for Shopping
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Granville Island Public Market
- Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market
- Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar
- Free Outdoor Summer Concerts
- Vancouver on a Budget