It’s legal to drink alcohol in some public spaces in the City and District of North Vancouver, with most locations being in different parks.
This is a fairly new phenomenon in British Columbia.
Until recently, municipal bylaws throughout the province prohibited people from drinking beer, wine and other booze outdoors in public. The only exceptions were bar and restaurant patios, licensed beer gardens, campsites, private property and a few other places under certain circumstances. Parts of BC have now, however, suddenly become much more daring and liberated!
Where Can You Drink Alcohol in North Vancouver?
The City of North Vancouver is an innovative municipality. It was the first in British Columbia to implement relaxed new rules around the consumption of adult beverages. Since June 2020, public consumption of alcohol is permitted at eight different parks and public spaces in the city. See further below for exact locations.
Note: The City of North Vancouver allows people to drink in some public places, but not all, and not 24 hours a day. It was the first local government in BC to permit the drinking of alcohol on a permanent basis in designated parks. A few other municipalities have since followed.
As of July 2021, the District of North Vancouver permits the consumption of alcohol in 14 select parks. Although having the same “North Vancouver” name, the City and District are two separate municipalities with their own sets of rules and bylaws.
Why the Change?
As mentioned above, up until the summer of 2020, except on special occasions and with appropriate event licenses, it was illegal to drink alcohol outdoors in most public places (other than on bar and restaurant patios). That began to change in BC with COVID-19.
People have had to spend more time outdoors due to the pandemic. The government has been encouraging people to gather with friends and family outside in parks and other outdoor spaces instead of inside. This has been because the virus spreads more easily in enclosed spaces.
The City of North Vancouver hoped that their new alcohol-friendly bylaws would allow people to gather in more socially-distanced capacities. They also hoped that it would encourage people to purchase their beverages from local establishments.
The pilot project ran from June 22nd until October 15th in 2020. It was so successful and popular that the city’s Mayor and Council made the initiative permanent. Since then, other municipalities around the Lower Mainland have followed suit, such as the District of North Vancouver, which is set to run a similar project in select locations beginning July 26.
If you drink, do so responsibly (and don’t drink and drive). And as much as you can, support local wineries and breweries by drinking local brews! There are some great ones!
Alcohol Friendly Parks in the City of North Vancouver
Public consumption of alcohol is now legal from 11 am until dusk seven days a week in select North Vancouver parks and plazas.
The eight areas where folks can consume alcohol legally include the following:
- Grand Boulevard Park – the green space on Grand Boulevard in the area between East 13th Street and East 19th Street.
- Kings Mill Walk Park – the eastern section of the park between Harbourside Place and Fell Avenue (so east of the dog park).
- Mahon Park – the area west of the track behind the Fen Burdett bleachers.
- Ray Perrault Park – just in the northwest corner of the park at East 15th Street and Moody Avenue not far from Grand Boulevard.
- Shipbuilders’ Square – the plaza area in front of the Pipe Shop on the east side of the Tap and Barrel Restaurant in Lower Lonsdale. (Note: Shipyards Live takes place on select Fridays and Saturdays in August and September of 2021. On those days there is live music, but also a beer garden, during which time you can only drink alcohol in the area that you have purchased from the beer garden.)
- Victoria Park – only on the west side of the park near Lonsdale Avenue and West Keith Road.
- Waterfront Park – most of the park near Lonsdale Quay, on both the north and south sides of the train tracks (but not at the playground or on the paved walking path areas).
- Cates Deck – right on the waterfront in front of the Polygon Gallery in Lower Lonsdale. (Note: On select Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the summer of 2021 there is a beer garden at Cates Deck. On those days, when the beer garden is set up, you can only drink alcohol in the area that you purchase from the beer garden.)
You can take your own alcohol to all of the above venues between 11 am and dusk, except for at Cates Deck. That location has certain restrictions in the summer. From June until September there is a beer garden there from Thursdays to Sundays. When it’s operating, you have to buy its beverages.
The Cates Deck beer garden’s hours of operation in the summer of 2021 are Thursdays and Fridays from 4 pm until 10 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 pm until 10 pm.
As of the end of July 2021, the only other parks on the North Shore where you can drink alcohol in public are select locations in the District of North Vancouver (listed below) and Millennium Park in West Vancouver.
Alcohol Friendly Parks in the District of North Vancouver
The District of North Vancouver recently passed a motion to allow legal alcohol consumption in 14 parks. Keep in mind, however, that one more vote is needed on July 26 before this is officially put in place, but you can comfortably enjoy booze afterwards!
This pilot project is scheduled to last until the fall, at which point district staff will reconvene and decide if this new law should continue. The hours of legal alcohol consumption are presumably the same as the ones in the City of North Vancouver, but exact details are yet to be confirmed. The parks all have signs that indicate where visitors can drink.
- Eldon Park – a peaceful area between Sunset Boulevard and Ruby Avenue. Eldon Park includes a playground and tennis courts.
- Sowden Park – the field beside MacKay Avenue and West 24th Street that can host baseball games.
- Carisbrooke Park – a popular place for kids to visit. Carisbrooke Park is close to Upper Lonsdale Preschool and has a playground.
- Princess Park – the forest beside Wellington Dr and Osborne Road East. Princess Park is massive and offers mountain biking trails.
- Kilmer Park – small area between Lynn Valley Road and Dempsey Road that includes a playground.
- Kirkstone Park – a flat green space on the edge of Kirkstone Road and Rufus Drive. Kirkstone Park has a skatepark and basketball court.
- Arborlynn Park – very small area just north of Arborlynn Dr and Appin Road that includes a playground.
- Bridgman Park – a large natural space south of the Trans-Canada Highway and on the edge of Lynn Creek.
- Seylynn Park – right across from Bridgman Park. Also located south of the Trans-Canada Highway and on the other side of Lynn Creek.
- Garibaldi Park – this area is right on the edge of Garibaldi Drive and Ruckle Court. Don’t confuse it with Garibaldi Provincial Park!
- McCartney Creek Park – a large field that often hosts soccer games, McCartney Creek Park is found beside Northlands Drive and Larkhall Crescent.
- Panorama Park – located in Deep Cove on the edge of the water.
- Deep Cove Park – located in Deep Cove as well, beside Rockcliff Road and Raeburn Street.
- Strathcona Lookout Park – a small beach in Deep Cove off the side of Strathcona Road.
Where Exactly is North Vancouver?
The City of North Vancouver is on the north side of Burrard Inlet from downtown Vancouver. It’s the community at the base of the mountains that’s bordered by Burrard Inlet to the south, MacKay Road in the west and 29th Street to the north. It also includes parts of the North Shore east of Lynn Creek. Of the three municipalities on the North Shore, the City is the most urban.
On the other hand, the District of North Vancouver is much larger and includes pretty much everything else between West Vancouver and Deep Cove. However, when talking about the region, most people just refer to both places collectively as North Vancouver.
Note: You can’t drink in all North Shore parks and public venues – only at certain ones and during specific times. Wherever you drink, do so responsibly (and only if you’re 19+)!
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- North Vancouver
- North Shore Craft Beer Week
- Vancouver’s North Shore
- Lower Mainland Beers and Breweries
- Lower Mainland Wineries
- Metro Vancouver Parks and Nature
- Vancouver’s Best Night Clubs
- Vancouver on a Budget