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North Vancouver’s Shipyards, Shipyard Commons and Shipbuilders’ Square

The Shipyards in North Vancouver

The Shipyards is a neighbourhood in the Lower Lonsdale District of North Vancouver. It’s home to Shipbuilders’ Square, the Pipe Shop and Shipyard Commons.

 


In this article you’ll find information about the following:

Shipbuilders’ Square | Shipyard Commons | Ice SkatingBurrard Dry Dock Pier | The Pipe Shop | Festivals & Events | History of the Area | Other Places of Interest | Hotels & Restaurants | Other Information


 

Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier

Pier 7 Restaurant

 

The Shipyards District

Located by the waterfront at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver, the Shipyards District is an interesting place to visit and walk around. Shipbuilders’ Square is where numerous community events take place including concerts in the summer. The Pipe Shop is a restored historic building that’s also used for events, as is Shipyard Commons which is a huge covered plaza.

The area is where you’ll find the Shipyards Night Market in the summer and free outdoor Ice Skating in winter. It’s also home to the Burrard Dry Dock Pier year-round. Within a five-minute walk there is also Lonsdale Quay, the Polygon Gallery, MONOVA: the Museum of North Vancouver and the SeaBus terminal. The Made in the 604 Artisan Market also takes place at the Pipe Shop on a number of weekends each year.

Below you’ll find information about these three venues, as well as the Burrard Dry Dock Pier. We also list a number of events that are held in the Shipyards each year.

 

North Vancouver's Shipyard Pals in the Shipyards District
Shipyard Pals on the Burrard Dry Dock Pier

 

North Vancouver’s Shipbuilders’ Square

Shipbuilders’ Square is what you might expect from its name. It’s a square in the middle of the Shipyards that’s used for events (like the Shipyards Night Market in the summer, or Shipyards Summer Sessions Concerts on Saturdays in July and August).

Located at 138 Victory Ship Way near the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue, Shipbuilders’ Square is bordered by the Tap & Barrel Restaurant, Pier 7 Restaurant, Pipe Shop and Shipyard Commons. There is an outdoor stage at Shipbuilders’ Square that’s used for live music events. In addition, there’s a wide open area and a giant restored shipbuilding crane in the middle.

 

Drinking Beer at the Shipyards
Enjoying a Beer in Shipbuilders’ Square

 

Alcohol in the Square

North Vancouver allows consumption of alcohol in a number of public spaces within the city. One of those places is Shipbuilders’ Square.

In Shipbuilders’ Square there are picnic tables and a few chairs set up for people to use. At the tables you can have a picnic, chat with your friends and enjoy adult refreshments that you can bring with you from home. You can also buy beer and other canned beverages to-go at a few places in the area.

Two other nearby places where you can drink alcohol in public are at Cates Deck (between the water and the Polygon Gallery) and at Waterfront Park (which is just a five-minute walk from Lonsdale Quay).

To learn about other places where you can consume alcohol in public see our article about North Vancouver Parks Where You Can Drink Alcohol. To learn about places that make their own adult beverages, click North Shore Craft Breweries.

 

The Lobby Restaurant

 

Beer Time at Cates Deck
Alcohol-Friendly Cates Deck

 

Shipyard Commons

Completed in the summer of 2019, the newest addition to the Shipyards is Shipyard Commons. Built to match the designs of the surrounding heritage buildings, it’s a massive outdoor yet covered structure with 20,000 square feet of event space. The facility also has underground parking.

In winter Shipyard Commons is home to the biggest outdoor Ice Skating rink in Metro Vancouver. And in the summer it has a free 8,000 square foot water park that’s open between around 10:00 am and 8:00 pm every day of the week.

 

Shipyards Night Market

 

Shipbuilders' Square at Night
Shipbuilders’ Square and Crane at Night

 

Ice Skating at Shipyard Commons

Measuring 12,000 square feet, the ice rink at Shipyard Commons is huge! Not only that, but it’s covered and the Skating is free!

Between early December and the end of March, the skating rink operates daily from around 1:00 pm until 8:00 pm every day except for Christmas Day (when it’s closed). Admission is free. Rental skates cost $7 for adults and $5 for children. Helmets and skating aids are available and free to use.

(Note: Skates can be rented up until half an hour before closing, while quantities last. Also, helmets are mandatory for children under 13 years old.)

For comparison, the Vancouver region’s other main outdoor covered ice rink is the one at Robson Square. The rink there is 6,000 square feet in area, so just half the size. Skating there, though is also free.

(Note: Ice cleaning takes place twice daily in the afternoon, at which time the rink is closed for between 30 and 45 minutes. The ice is also temperature-dependent. As a result, the facility may consequently close occasionally on days with warm weather.)

To learn more,  see our article about Shipyards Christmas Ice Skating.

 

Shipyard Commons Skating in Winter
Ice Skating at Shipyard Commons

 

Burrard Dry Dock Pier

The Burrard Dry Dock Pier, also known sometimes as just Shipbuilders’ Pier, is the giant structure that extends 700 feet out into Burrard Inlet. The original structure was built in 1925.

Major vessels, including naval ships, sometimes use Burrard Dry Dock Pier. Normally the pier is used by just everyday folks wanting a stroll, but occasionally visiting navy boats will tie up there during Fleet Week. When that happens, the public is welcome aboard for tours.

To learn more about the dock see our article about Shipbuilders’ Pier.

 

Reckless Shipyards E-Bikes

 


RECKLESS SHIPYARDS

Are you looking for a place to rent or buy electric bikes from? If you are, a good place to check out is Reckless Shipyards. Their customer service is great. We got one of our e-bikes from them and have been very happy so far!


 

Shipbuilders' Pier and Vancouver Skyline
Shipbuilders’ Pier

 

The Pipe Shop

The Pipe Shop is right beside Shipbuilders’ Square at 115 Victory Ship Way. It’s an attractive building that used to be where pipefitters worked during the area’s shipbuilding past.

Built in the 1940s, the Pipe Shop is 9,000 square feet in size and holds up to 360 people. Special events take place in the building including artisan markets and private receptions.

 

Shipyards Pipe Shop at Night
The Pipe Shop at Night

 

Jensen Signs

 

Festivals & Events

A number of North Vancouver events take place at the Shipyards, and a number of other ones happen nearby. The following festivals and events all occur within the Shipyards:

  • Bastille Day – a cultural event celebrating a national holiday in France in mid-July.
  • BC Cider Festival – an annual event featuring samples from more than 30 cideries at the Pipe Shop.
  • Brewhalla North Vancouver – a craft beer and music festival at the Shipyards.
  • CityFest – a youth-focused event that includes live music and skateboarding competitions in early May.
  • Fleet Week – Canadian Navy ships visit the Burrard Dry Dock Pier on a weekend in May. There are usually public tours, boat rides and displays to see.
  • Hong Kong Fair – a cultural celebration in May with live entertainment, market vendors, games and other family-friendly activities.
  • Summer Sessions Concerts – free live music on Saturdays in July and August in Shipbuilders’ Square.
  • Persian New Year – an event celebrating Norooz and Chaharshanbe Suri happens at the Pipe Shop in mid-March.
  • Polish Festival Vancouver – a cultural event celebrating Polish food, music and culture at the Shipyards in September.
  • Shipyards Festival – a large event featuring free live music and family-friendly activities at multiple venues in Lower Lonsdale in September.
  • Shipyards Christmas Festival – a community event celebrating the start of the Christmas season at the Shipyards at either the end of November or beginning of December.
  • The Shipyards Christmas Market – a winter holiday craft fair in the Pipe Shop in December.
  • Trail of Coffee – a one-day Latincouver event for coffee lovers at the Pipe Shop in April.
  • North Shore Artisan Market – a market that takes place on various dates at different times of the year at the Pipe Shop in the Shipyards District.
  • Vancouver’s North Shore Craft Beer Week – a week of beer-themed activities including an Oktoberfest-style Launch Party event at the Pipe Shop in November.

 

The Shipyards in North Vancouver

 

Other Events in the Area

Also taking place in Lower Lonsdale each year (so not at the Shipyards but very close by) are the following events:

 

Shipyards Festival Video

The following video is of the Shipyards Festival in 2019. As you’ll see, it’s a very fun and entertaining event.

 

 

History of the Area

North Vancouver has a rich maritime and shipping-related past, and still-standing shipbuilding cranes and restored buildings attest to this history. Between 1906 and 1992 Shipyards workers built over 450 vessels. Many of these were constructed during the First and Second World Wars.

In addition to naval ships and navy support vessels, lumber industry barges, ferry boats and even icebreakers have been built and repaired here, including the historic St. Roch which is today an exhibit at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Shipbuilding and repairs still happen in the area, but to a more limited degree. It’s hard to believe, but North Vancouver today is still also one of the largest container ports by tonnage in all of North America.

 

North Vancouver Shipyards in Snow
Shipyards in Winter

 

Other Places of Interest in the Area

Other attractions in North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale District, but not actually in the Shipyards, include the following:

  • Lonsdale Quay – a well-known indoor public market that’s open year-round.
  • MONOVA: the North Vancouver Museum – a really good museum about the history of the North Shore.
  • Polygon Gallery – an art gallery specializing in photographic art.

Across the water, just a 15-minute SeaBus ride away, is downtown Vancouver, Canada Place and the FlyOver Canada attraction.

 

Pinnacle Hotels

 

Pinnacle Hotel from Shipbuilders' Pier at Night
Pinnacle Hotel and the Shipyards at Night

 

Hotels & Restaurants

There are a number of hotels in the Shipyards District, and lots of really good restaurants too. The largest and most prominent hotel is the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier. We’ve stayed there and it was lovely! The view from our room was amazing! Other places to stay in the area include the Lonsdale Quay Hotel (which is older) and the Seaside Hotel (which is a smaller hotel, but modern and fairly new).

There are lots of nice restaurants in the Lower Lonsdale area, both in the Shipyards District and up Lonsdale Avenue. The Lobby at the Pinnacle Hotel is really nice, as is the Pier 7 Restaurant (the latter of which has one of the best waterfront views in the Lower Mainland). If you’re into chain restaurants, there is also the Tap & Barrel and JOEY.

 

Other Information

For more information about the ice skating at the Shipyards, click Shipyards Christmas Ice Skating or visit the City of North Vancouver‘s website.

To learn more about the Shipyards District, see the website of the Shipyards District Lower Lonsdale BIA.

To learn more about the area see our articles about North Vancouver, the North Shore and Lower Lonsdale.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: