West Vancouver [dead link] is a suburban area of Vancouver's North Shore in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It has a few good parks, excellent hikes and some of the most expensive property in Canada.
West Vancouver is mainly a residential district as it has no manufacturing industry by law. Many of its residents commute to downtown Vancouver, work at home, or are retired. It is home to some very large expensive houses, most with views of Vancouver Island, English Bay, and/or Howe Sound. West Van (as the locals call it) is Canada's wealthiest municipality (followed by its neighbor, North Vancouver). Together with the District of North Vancouver and City of North Vancouver, it is part of a local regional grouping referred to as the North Shore municipalities, or simply "The North Shore".
The main entry points to West Vancouver are Highway 1 (Trans Canada Highway) from North Vancouver or by Highway 99 across the Lion's Gate Bridge from Vancouver. Visitors travelling south on Highway 99 from Squamish or Whistler will arrive in the North Shore just above Horseshoe Bay.
The TransLink bus system connects West Vancouver with the rest of the TransLink system in Vancouver and its suburbs. Travelling to/from North Vancouver costs $3.05 for a standard adult fare (as of July 2021). Crossing the harbour means crossing a fare zone boundary so a ticket to/from Vancouver, Burnaby or Richmond will cost $4.35 and a ticket to/from Surrey will cost $5.90.
BC Ferries has a ferry terminal in Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver) with three routes servicing it, including one from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The ferry terminal connects directly to Highway 1 and the Translink bus system (routes 250, 257, 259 and C12).
West Vancouver is served by the Blue Bus. It is one of two bus companies in the Greater Vancouver region operating under contract for TransLink, and transfer is free between the Blue Buses and other TransLink buses.
- 1 Lighthouse Park, Beacon Lane (follow Marine Dr west from Dundarave, turn left onto Beacon Lane and follow it to the park parking lot), ☏ (for information about recreation programs and facility rentals). Open daily 6AM-10:30PM. Trails wind over and around huge glacial boulders and old-growth forest, some leading down to various beaches with views of Vancouver. The main trail from the parking are leads to the Point Atkinson lighthouse for which the park is named (entry not permitted though). There are picnic facilities (no fires permitted), bathrooms, and in season wildlife lectures. A great place for families with kids. You can take your dog, but he must be leashed between May and September to avoid disturbing seasonal wildlife. This is a popular hiking spot, so trails tend to be fairly busy. Free.
- 2 Cypress Falls Park, at the end of Woodgreen Pl (take exit 4 from Hwy 1 and head east on Westport Dr; it becomes Woodgreen Dr, turn right shortly after at Woodgreen Pl).
- 3 Whytecliff Park, Marine Dr.
- 1 Ambleside Beach, Argyle Ave, east of 13th St. Probably the nicest sandy beach on the North Shore. It is a common place to come for a walk or to hang out on the beach. Has a nice view of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge.
- 2 Dundarave Beach, foot of 25th St. A small pleasant beach on the west end of the sea wall. The pier provides views of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge. It is a popular place to have a picnic in the summer.
- 3 Cypress Mountain, top of Cypress Bowl Rd (exit 8 from Hwy 1). Cypress is usually open from 9AM to 4PM throughout the season, with night skiing (closes at 10PM) starting in early/mid Dec and extending until March. The downhill area is spread across two mountains and has the largest vertical of the North Shore skifields with a good mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced runs. There is a cross-country and tubing area around Hollyburn Mountain. Full day Downhill tickets are $46 (adult), $39 (youth), $23 (seniors) and $20 (child). There is an extra premium over the Christmas period and discounts for evening (4PM) and night (7PM) skiing. Full day Cross country tickets are $17 (adult), $13 (youth), $11 (seniors) and $10 (child). Evening tickets (after 3PM) are discounted.
- 4 West Vancouver Sea Wall. A mostly paved walkway along the ocean that runs between Ambleside Park and Dundarave Village. It's very popular in the summer and on nice weekends.
- Coho Festival [formerly dead link] (September)
- 1 Park Royal Mall, 752 Marine Dr (Marine Dr at Taylor Way), ☏ . Open every day. A major shopping mall on the north and south sides of Marine Drive with indoor and outdoor shopping sections and restaurants. Anchor tenants include: The Bay, London Drugs, Super Value, Sport Chek, Coast Mountain Sports, Linens & Things, Home Depot, Old Navy, Whole Foods.
- 1 The Beach House, 150 25th St (at the Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver), ☏ . Another North Shore restaurant that specializes in seafood. The view of Vancouver harbour is fabulous. Mains $30-40.
- 2 The Boathouse, 6695 Nelson Ave (on the waterfront in Horseshoe Bay), ☏ . Built out over the water in Horseshoe Bay, this restaurant has a large seafood selection including a variety of fresh fish, oysters and Atlantic lobsters. If fish isn't your thing, there are a number of steaks and a large wine menu. There is also an outdoor patio to enjoy the sunny days. Mains $15-40, appetizers $7-12.
- 3 Carmelo's, 1448 Marine Dr (Ambleside), ☏ , fax: . Serves a variety of pasta, meat and pizza dishes. Mains $12-30, appetizers $6-15.
- 4 Salmon House on the Hill, 2229 Folkestone Way (Exit #10 off Hwy #1 in West Vancouver), ☏ . Set on a hill overlooking the entrance to Vancouver harbour, you can enjoy both your food and your view while you eat. Salmon (in various styles) is the signature dish, but there are plenty of other options on the menu. Mains $25-35, appetizers $8-15 (the restaurant will also offer periodic specials where you can get a three course dinner for $30-35, it's usually advertised in local papers).
- 5 Zen Japanese Restaurant, 101-2232 Marine Dr, ☏ . M-Th noon-9:15PM, F-Sa noon-9:30PM, Su noon-9PM. A broad menu of Japanese food styles — sushi, sashimi, robata, plus fusion, and westcoast cuisine — executed with creativity and flair. Bright attractive dining room, with patio seating available on fine days. Lots of seafood, of course, but also a respectable choice of vegetarian dishes. Dinner $25-35/person.
- Square Rigger Pub ("The Rigger" ,"West Vancouver's dirty secret"), 1425 Marine Drive, V7T 1B9, ☏ . 11AM-midnight. An almost secret locals hang out, it has a very warm and casual atmosphere. Billiards table, Foosball, darts, and ping-pong are available for entertainment. There are "pull tab" lottery machines, keno, & video black jack for the gambler in you. Bar tenders have great taste in music, and along with several TV's $5-10 a drink depending on brand & size.
- 1 Capilano R.V. Park, 295 Tomahawk Ave (from the Lions Gate Bridge, head east on Marine Drive, turn right onto Capilano Rd and follow the signs), ☏ . Campground and RV park set between the Capilano River and the Lions Gate Bridge. It has a swimming pool, laundromat, showers, Internet connection and other amenities.
- 2 Horseshoe Bay Motel, 6588 Royal Ave, Horseshoe Bay, ☏ , toll-free: . 23 rooms with a mix of one queen, one king and two queen-sized beds. Free wifi is available. Location is excellent if catching an early morning ferry to Vancouver Island or the Sunshine Coast. $128-158.
Vancouver Island is a 1 hr 35 min ferry ride away via BC Ferries and the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. Arriving in Nanaimo, you can head down island to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, or across the island to Tofino, where you can go whale-watching, surf and storm-watch. Other ferry destinations from Horseshoe Bay are Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast.
Northward on Hwy 99 takes you through the Sea to Sky region, which offers varied outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, rock climbing and camping. It also takes you to the resort area of Whistler, with its nightlife, fine dining and a wide variety of activities that will keep you busy regardless of what season it is.
|Routes through West Vancouver|
|Victoria ← Nanaimo ← ferry ←||W E||→ North Vancouver → Vancouver|
|Whistler ← Lions Bay-Britannia Beach ←||N S||→ Vancouver → Seattle|
|Powell River ← Gibsons ← ferry ←||N S||→ END|