The North Shore is made up of several communities, each of which has its own small-town spirit, civic pride and unique characteristics.
One trip to Deep Cove and you’ll always want to go back. A simple drive down Gallant Avenue gives way to the sheltered, calm harbour vista that is the area’s signature view. You can paddle out of the cove and into Indian Arm, or simply sit on the beach and gaze.
Deep Cove is largely residential, but its commercial core is the twoblock stretch of Gallant Avenue, where galleries and a local theatre vie for attention alongside unique boutiques and quaint bistros. A little west of the cove itself, evidence of waterfront industry can be seen from Cates Park, which has both a beach and heavily wooded trail.
North Vancouver’s past and present meet up on Lonsdale Avenue. At the foot of this busy street you’ll find shipbuilding and where the working tugboats live.
The Pier is a breathtaking venue located on the City’s historic Versatile Shipyards site. Anchored by the 700-foot long Burrard Dry Dock Pier and smaller floating St. Roch Dock, the Pier offers spectacular 360-degree views of the North Shore and Vancouver skylines.
This is where you can also find the new Pinnacle Hotel at The Pier. Farther up the avenue are modern boutiques, specialty food shops, galleries, restaurants of every description and antique stores.
Lower Lonsdale is North Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, steeped in history and bursting with shops, restaurants, cafés and pubs that truly capture the unique spirit of the North Shore. The area extends four blocks up Lonsdale Avenue and two blocks east and west, but its heart is at Lonsdale Quay. The Quay has more than 60 fresh market vendors selling everything from fresh West Coast seafood to handmade chocolates, and more than 90 shops. It is also where you’ll find the SeaBus ferry to Vancouver and bus terminal. Walk along the pathway to the west - you’ll find the kid-friendly Waterfront Park.
For those interested in the arts, the Presentation House Arts Centre on Chesterfield Avenue is an art gallery, a museum, a playhouse and one of Lower Lonsdale’s best-kept secrets.
Just north of Main Street in North Vancouver is Park & Tilford Shopping Mall and Gardens. This European-style garden contains eight themed areas on 2.8 acres of land. Bridges, hanging baskets and a Japanese garden make this one of North Vancouver’s most tranquil corners. Admission is free. Adjacent to the mall is North Shore Film Studios - where filming too place for some of the Scary Movie series and X Files television series.
Here’s a spot that invites you to park your car and wander. The pretty village of Edgemont is only a few blocks long, but its relaxed ambience lures visitors from all over the North Shore. Its cosy coffee shops and restaurants beckon you to sit down and enjoy a freshly made piece of pie or a warm cinnamon bun.
During July and August, you can catch the summer live concert series on Friday evenings. Even if you have only a few minutes before a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Salmon Hatchery or after huffing and puffing up the Grouse Grind, Edgemont Village is worth a quick visit.
One of West Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, Ambleside has pleasures too numerous to mention. Its long strip of beach is ideal for family picnics, sporting activities, swimming and just plain lounging around.
Stretching between Ambleside and Dundarave is the popular Seawall, favoured by walkers and joggers. Both Ambleside and Dundarave are ideal for diners who like to look out at the water, with a variety of restaurants and patios to choose from.
At night, the Lions Gate Bridge is distinguished by its elegant strings of white lights. You might also get to see a cruise ship head out to sea.
Nestled between the mountains and the open ocean is the pretty seaside village of Dundarave in West Vancouver. With its old-fashioned lamps, beautifully tailored boulevard and hanging flower baskets, it is one of the North Shore’s most picturesque communities.
Take a walk to the waterfront to find a scenic beach and a playground for the children. Walk out to the end of the pier, which marks the site of the original ferry boat landing, once used by loggers and weekend adventurers. Enjoy the prospect of Lions Gate Bridge on your left and the ships coming into the port from your right.
Defying the usual English spelling guidelines, Caulfeild does indeed put its “e” before its “i.” We can blame the aberration on Sir Francis William Caulfeild, who established the community of Caulfeild Cove in 1898. Lighthouse Park is one of the community’s most appealing destinations. Its forest trails lead to enormous boulders which tumble down to the Pacific and offer one of West Vancouver’s most splendid views. The park also contains the Point Atkinson Lighthouse.
Horseshoe Bay is the western bookend of the North Shore and the site of the BC Ferries terminal. But many come to Horseshoe Bay just for the view. In addition to the ferries chugging in and out, there are boats here at Sewell’s Marina that has been owned by the same family for three generations. Why not rent a boat yourself?
Try your hand at fishing or just enjoy the magnificent surroundings while bouncing along the waves. There’s also a nice playground for kids. One favourite activity is getting fish and chips or an oyster burger from one of the take-out restaurants and eating it in the park overlooking the water. Another is buying an ice-cream cone and wandering along the pier.