The park also connects to the Spirit Trail which runs along the waterfront, from the Shipyards District all the way to West Vancouver. Why else is Waterfront Park so popular, and even famous? It was one of the first parks in British Columbia where you can drink alcohol in public (subject to certain times and restrictions).
CANADA DAY IN 2022
Up until the age of COVID, North Vancouver’s main Canada Day festivities have been at Waterfront Park. In 2022, however, the celebrations happen a couple of blocks to the east of the park, at various venues in and around the Shipyards.
To learn about what’s happening on July 1st in 2022, click Canada Day at the Shipyards.
North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park
Located in the Lower Lonsdale area of North Vancouver, Waterfront Park features beautiful views of Burrard Inlet and the City of Vancouver. The park is just a 15-minute SeaBus ride from downtown Vancouver. Other Public Transit Options, including a variety of bus routes, are easily accessible close by via Lonsdale Quay and its transit loop.
The park has a dock, large grassy area, playground and collection of local art. Public washrooms are available. There is also a Japanese garden and a great off-leash dog area. The garden is in the northwest corner of the park just off Esplanade Avenue, and the dog park is also in that area.
The area of Waterfront Park was originally a sawmill in the 1800s. When the mill closed, the place redeveloped and turned into a park. Waterfront Park officially opened in 1985, just in time for Expo ’86.
Alcohol at Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park is one of about eight parks and other outdoor public venues where you can drink alcohol in the City of North Vancouver. You can bring your own booze. You don’t have to buy it there. Other venues where you can do that include Shipbuilders’ Square and Cates Deck near Lonsdale Quay (both of which are just a 5-minute walk from Waterfront Park).
For the full list of North Shore places where you take take your own booze and drink it in public, see our article about North Vancouver Parks Where You Can Consume Alcohol.
Note: To drink alcohol legally in BC you have to be at least 19 years of age. If and when you drink, do so responsibly and don’t drink and drive!
Public Art at Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park is home to a collection of art pieces honouring the history and culture of the area. There are three main pieces currently within the park.
The biggest and most noticeable piece of art is called Cathedral. It’s made of large metal beams bent and arranged to look like the outlines of the local mountains. Although it’s tempting (especially for younger children), the city asks visitors not to climb on the artwork.
Another notable piece of art along the waterfront is a large stone statue. The piece is called Harubang. South Korea donated it to the community.
The park is also home to two Welcome Figures carved by a Squamish Nation artist. The two figures represent a grandfather and grandmother welcoming visitors to the Great Trail. Both figures can be found in the First Nations Theme Pavilion at the southwest corner of the park.
Not far from the First Nations Theme Pavilion is also a Sailor’s Memorial. The memorial is designed like a compass with plaques and signs describing the history of the area. The memorial commemorates the sailors lost in the North Atlantic during World War II.
A number of festivals and events take place at Waterfront Park each year. Most of them take place during the summer months. Some of the biggest events include the following:
- Canada Day Celebrations – North Vancouver’s Canada Day festivities on July 1st.
- Caribbean Days – a cultural festival in July. (Note: This event used to happen in Waterfront Park until it moved to Coquitlam in 2022.)
- Philippine Days – a cultural event in June.
For more details about the park visit the City of North Vancouver‘s website.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Parks and Nature
- Vancouver in the Summer
- Outdoor Recreation in the Lower Mainland
- Lower Lonsdale
- North Vancouver