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North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale

North Vancouver's Lower Lonsdale

Lower Lonsdale is a vibrant district in North Vancouver that includes Lonsdale Quay, the North Shore’s SeaBus terminal, the Shipyards and Esplanade Avenue.

Also in Lower Lonsdale is Shipbuilders’ Pier, Waterfront Park and numerous shops and restaurants within walking distance of the bottom several blocks of Lonsdale Avenue.

To learn more about this neighbourhood, skip the next section. To see a video showcasing area businesses, however, including stores and restaurants that are still serving customers as of the beginning of May, 2020, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, see the section directly below.


LOWER LONSDALE AND COVID-19

A lot of the world shut down in the spring of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many Lower Mainland businesses remained open, however, including a fair number in the Lower Lonsdale and Shipyards District in North Vancouver. People still need to eat, so it’s good news that area grocery stores and produce shops are still operating, and that plenty of restaurants are still open for take-out and delivery (and for dine-in services as of May 19th).

For a list of businesses that are still open see the Shipyards District website. There you’ll find a list featuring dozens of places still serving coffee, making bread and soup, delivering dinner, selling groceries, employing local staff, cleaning everything extra well, and ready to help you with your needs.

In these troubling times, thanks for supporting small local businesses with your purchasing dollars! Together, we can get through this!

To see a video of Lower Lonsdale businesses that are still open during the pandemic, as of early May 2020, check out the following:

The above video begins at Lonsdale Quay, then goes up to (and slightly past) Esplanade Avenue, down Lonsdale Avenue and then to the Shipyards. Places featured in the video, at the Lonsdale Quay Public Market, include the Bowen Pizza Company, The Soup Meister, Sharky’s Chophouse, COBS Bakery, Olde World Confections, Craffles, Lonsdale Green Grocer, Shipyards Coffee, Sushi Akebono and the Lonsdale Quay Hotel.

After leaving Lonsdale Quay, in the video we next head up to Sailor Hagar’s Brew Pub (at 86 Semisch Avenue) before heading along Esplanade towards Lonsdale Avenue and the Shipyards.

Featured in the video on Esplanade Avenue there is the IGA grocery store, Freshslice Pizza and the Thai House Restaurant. Along the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue, the restaurants shown are Fishworks, Jägerhof and Anatoli Souvlaki.

Next, there is the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, the Tap and Barrel Restaurant, an empty-looking Shipbuilders’ Square, Larry’s Market, Caffe Artigiano, Main Street Honey Shoppe, Reckless Bikes, Joey Shipyards and the Seaside Hotel. At the end of the video are scenes of Burrard Inlet with the SeaBus (which also continues to operate, although on a slightly reduced schedule).

All of the above are great community businesses and none of them paid to be featured in this video. They are all still open, or at least they were when we visited at the beginning of May. Check them out the next time you want to go for a walk and need groceries, bread, soup, lunch, dinner or a place to stay (like if you’re from out of town or unable to go home because of COVID-19 issues).

Wherever you happen to live, thanks for supporting local businesses in your community!


The rest of this article includes information about the following topics:

Places of Interest | Restaurants & Bars | Hotels | Festivals & Events | Layout of Lower Lonsdale | Tips & Advice | Other Information

Click any of the above links to jump to a specific subject, or continue reading to learn all about this most interesting neighbourhood.


Lower Lonsdale and the Shipyards District

Lower Lonsdale is a popular district. When folk seek nature on the North Shore they head to the parks, beaches and mountains. When they want night life, restaurants, culture, shopping and other urban amenities, they head to Lower Lonsdale.

In the Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood there are a couple of hotels, a good number of restaurants, a few pubs, an indoor market, a couple of public squares and an art gallery. There is also a giant summer night market on Friday nights, free outdoor concerts on summer weekends and community events at various times of the year.

The area is also home to both the SeaBus terminal, which connects the City of North Vancouver directly with downtown Vancouver, and the largest public bus depot on the North Shore, which connects Lower Lonsdale with the surrounding region.

All of the above factors make Lower Lonsdale a fun place to live and visit, as well as relatively convenient to both get to and from.

North Van's Shipyard Commons Building
Shipyard Commons at the Shipyards

Places of Interest in Lower Lonsdale

Lower Lonsdale is home to a range of attractions and places of interest. Below is a list of some of what you’ll find within just a few minutes’ walk of the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue and the SeaBus terminal.

  • Lonsdale Quay – a large, upscale and world-famous indoor public market with retailers selling everything from handmade candies to wine, gelato, fresh produce, art, trendy clothing, toys and souvenirs. It operates year-round. On Saturdays between May and October a dozen or so additional vendors from the Lonsdale Quay Artisan Farmers Market also set up right outside.
  • The Shipyards – the original shipbuilding area of North Vancouver that today is home to restaurants and community events, plus the following four places of interest.
    • The Pipe Shop – a restored industrial building that can be rented for private functions and that hosts artisan markets and other indoor community events throughout the year. When no events are taking place, the Pipe Shop is empty.
    • Shipbuilders’ Pier – a long pier at the waterfront that people can walk along while they admire the views. It’s also where foreign naval vessels occasionally dock when visiting Vancouver.
    • Shipbuilders’ Square – an outdoor community plaza with a stage that’s used for North Vancouver’s Shipyards Night Market, concerts and a variety of community events at different times of the year.
    • Shipyard Commons – a massive new facility (completed in the second half of 2019) where free public ice skating takes place in the winter and community events happen in the summer and other times of the year.
  • Polygon Gallery – an art gallery that’s housed in one of the North Shore’s newest and most modern-looking buildings at 101 Carrie Cates Court. Admission is by donation.
  • Waterfront Park – a park with wide open lawns that is used for a number of festivals in the spring and summer. At the Esplanade Avenue-end of the park there is an enclosed off-leash dog area, and tucked away in the corner a small Japanese garden. At the waterfront end of the park there is the Spirit Trail (which is great for cycling and walking along) and stunning views of the Vancouver skyline.
  • John Braithwaite Community Centre – a small community and recreation facility at 145 West 1st Street with arts and indoor sports activities.
  • North Shore Bowl – a 16-lane 5-pin bowling alley that’s been running since the early 1960s at 141 West 3rd Street.
  • SeaBus Terminal – the terminal of the TransLink ferry service with connections to Vancouver’s Waterfront Station every 15 minutes or so (or every 30 minutes at non-peak times).
  • TransLink Bus Terminal – the bus terminal definitely isn’t an attraction or place of interest. It is, however, located right beside the SeaBus terminal and so convenient for getting to and from other destinations on the North Shore.

Tourist Information

If you need help finding things or have questions, there is a Tourist Information Booth in the Lonsdale Quay Public Market. It’s on the ground floor near the elevator at the end of the market farthest away from the waterfront.


North Vancouver Skating Rink
Shipyard Commons in Winter

Lower Lonsdale Restaurants and Bars

The Shipyards and Lower Lonsdale area is known for its selection of great restaurants. Just some of the ones that stand out include the following:

  • Anatoli Souvlaki – a Greek restaurant at #5 Lonsdale Avenue.
  • Boston Pizza – a popular pizza and sports bar-style chain restaurant at 88 Chesterfield Avenue (at the corner with Esplanade).
  • Burgoo – a restaurant specializing in comfort food (like soups and stews) at #3 Lonsdale Avenue.
  • Cheshire Cheese – a restaurant that serves seafood and British cuisine on the second floor of the Lonsdale Quay Public Market.
  • Earnest Ice Cream – a trendy and very popular ice cream shop at 127 West 1st Street.
  • Freshslice Pizza – the Lower Lonsdale location of this popular Metro Vancouver-based fast food chain is at 132 Esplanade West.
  • Gusto di Quattro – a highly-rated Italian restaurant at #1 Lonsdale Avenue.
  • Jägerhof Restaurant – a favourite restaurant serving German, Austrian, Swiss and South Tyrol cuisine at 71 Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver. The food is exceptional and they often have live entertainment on Friday and/or Saturday nights.
  • Joey Shipyards – the newest Lower Mainland location for the popular chain restaurant is located at 125 Victory Ship Way (on the east side of the new Shipyard Commons complex).
  • Lonsdale Quay Public Market – the food court at the indoor market has a good selection of unique and tasty places to eat. Popular places to check out at the market also include the Bowen Pizza Company, Soup Meister, Sushi Akebono and several others. For sweets there is also Olde World Confections.
  • The Lobby – the fairly upscale restaurant at the Pinnacle Hotel at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue.
  • Pier 7 – a restaurant with views of the water at 25 Wallace Mews Road (right in Shipbuilders’ Square).
  • Shipyards Coffee –  located at 123-156 Carrie Cates Court at Lonsdale Quay, this is a great coffee shop to meet friends at or to get a cup of java.
  • Sushi Bella – a Japanese restaurant at 152 Lonsdale Avenue.
  • Tap and Barrel – a large pub-style restaurant featuring dozens of craft beers on tap at #8 Lonsdale Avenue.
  • Thai House – a nice Thai restaurant at 116 West Esplanade Avenue.
  • Vaades – a tasty and reasonably-priced East Indian place at 149 West 3rd Street.
Lower Lonsdale Restaurants
Restaurants at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue

In addition to restaurants, Lower Lonsdale and the Shipyards District are home to a number of pubs and breweries including the following:

  • Beere Brewing Co. – a small craft brewery and tasting room at 312 East Esplanade (so about 1 km east of Lonsdale Quay).
  • Green Leaf Brewing Company – a craft beer brewery in the Lonsdale Quay Public Market (near the main entrance at the waterfront).
  • Sailor Hagar’s Brew Pub – a pub at 86 Semisch Avenue.
  • Tap & Barrel – at #8 Lonsdale Avenue at Shipbuilders’ Square, it’s in a restored ship-manufacturing building.
  • The Gull – a pub at 175 East 1st Street that has been recently renovated and hosts live music most weekends.

Lower Lonsdale Hotels

For a city the size of North Vancouver, and as attractive as the place is for tourists, it’s surprising how few hotels there are on Vancouver’s North Shore. Three of the nicest hotels in North Vancouver, however, all happen to be in the heart of Lower Lonsdale.

  • Lonsdale Quay Hotel – a boutique hotel right at the Lonsdale Quay Public Market.
  • Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier – a modern hotel at 138 Victory Ship Way.
  • Seaside Hotel – the area’s newest hotel, part of the Executive Hotels group and located at #130 125 Victory Ship Way (which is right beside Shipyard Commons and Joey Restaurant).
Polygon Gallery and Lower Lonsdale
The Polygon Gallery and Lower Lonsdale

Lower Lonsdale Festivals and Events

North Vancouver hosts some of the Lower Mainland’s largest and most popular festivals and events. Many of them take place right in Lower Lonsdale.

Below is a list of some of the main events that take place at various times of the year. Some of them attract just one or two thousand attendees over the course of a day, while some of them attract tens of thousands of people.

  • Shipyards Night Market – a large and free weekly night market that features local artisans, food trucks, a beer garden and live music at Shipbuilders’ Square on Friday evenings between May and September.
  • Canada Day at Waterfront Park – Canada Day is celebrated in North Vancouver on July 1st at Waterfront Park. It’s a free event that includes family-friendly activities and live entertainment.
  • Caribbean Days Festival – the Lower Mainland’s Caribbean community hosts a free 2-day festival showcasing Caribbean music, culture and food at Waterfront Park in late July. The festivities also include a colourful and lively parade down Lonsdale Avenue and along Esplanade.
  • Shipyards Summer Sessions Concerts – free live music takes place at Shipbuilders’ Square on Saturday evenings in July and August.
  • Pride at the Pier – a LBGQT-themed event at Shipbuilders’ Square in late July or early August.
  • Shipyards Festival – Lower Lonsdale hosts a great music festival and street party in September. The event features DJ music, live entertainment, an artisan market and lots of family-friendly activities.
  • Polish Festival – the North Shore’s Polish community hosts a free festival at the Shipyards in early September. It includes a few food vendors, live entertainment and a couple of thousand attendees.
  • Vancouver’s North Shore Craft Beer Week – a series of craft beer-related events at a variety of North Vancouver venues including the Tap and Barrel Restaurant and the Pipe Shop in October.
  • Shipyards Christmas Festival – North Vancouver celebrates the Christmas season with a market, live music and festive fun at Shipbuilders’ Square on a weekend in early December.

In addition to the above, Waterfront Park hosts the occasional car show and the Pipe Shop hosts artisan markets from time to time.

Lower Lonsdale at Christmas
Lower Lonsdale at Christmas

The Layout of Lower Lonsdale

Lower Lonsdale is a fairly compact neighbourhood. At its core are Lonsdale Quay and the SeaBus terminal. Arriving from downtown Vancouver, as you exit the SeaBus, the bus terminal is directly in front of you. To your right is the Lonsdale Quay Public Market and to your left, less than a 5-minute walk away, is Waterfront Park.

Lonsdale Quay stretches from the waterfront (by the SeaBus terminal) for about a block up to Carrie Cates Court (which is a tiny 2 block-long road).

To the east of Lonsdale Quay is the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue and the Tap and Barrel Restaurant. Between the Tap and Barrel and Lonsdale Quay is the Polygon Gallery, and on the other side of the Tap and Barrel is the Shipyards (where you’ll find Shipbuilders’ Square, the Pipe Shop, Shipyard Commons and the pier). The Shipyards is also where you’ll find the Shipyard Night Market and weekend concerts in the summer.

Lonsdale Avenue is one of a couple of major commercial roads in North Vancouver. It goes up the hill, for about three dozen blocks, kind of like a street you might see in San Francisco. At the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue and on side streets in the area are restaurants and retail stores.

One block north of Lonsdale Quay and Carrie Cates Court is Esplanade Avenue. Along it you’ll find restaurants, the Polygon Gallery and the Pinnacle Hotel.

North Vancouver Lower Lonsdale
Lower Lonsdale from Burrard Inlet

Tips & Advice

Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to the Lower Lonsdale area.

TIP #1: If coming from downtown Vancouver or anywhere connected to Waterfront Station via SkyTrain, take Public Transit. The SeaBus ride back and forth between Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay is inexpensive and convenient. On sunny days the view from the boat can also be quite spectacular.

TIP #2: In case you do need to drive, there is free on-street parking throughout the Lower Lonsdale area. In some cases it’s for up to a maximum of 2 hours, but in other spots it’s for up to just 60 minutes. On most streets in the area though, parking is free after 6 pm. For a map of pay-parking areas see the City of North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale Parking Map.

TIP #3: There is free underground parking for up to an hour or so at Lonsdale Quay for customers of the market. An additional hour can be purchased for around $3.

TIP #4: The Insurance Corporation of British Columba (ICBC) has its main offices in Lower Lonsdale. The parkade on tiny Rogers Avenue (between Carrie Cates Court and Esplanade) is reserved for ICBC staff and customers on weekdays during the day, but it’s free for the public daily after 6 pm and all day on weekends.

Other Information

For more information about the area click Lower Lonsdale the Shipyards District.

To learn more about the area check out any of the following: