Two municipalities in the Metro Vancouver region use the name North Vancouver. They are the City of North Vancouver with approximately 48,000 residents, and the District of North Vancouver with more than 84,000 residents. The City and District are separate entities with their own mayor, council and operations departments. They share several core services, including the North Vancouver Recreation Commission, the North Vancouver School District, and the North Vancouver detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. These two municipalities and the District of West Vancouver are referred to as the North Shore.
The differences between both municipalities are readily apparent to their residents. Most Metro Vancouver residents do not distinguish between them and refer to both as North Vancouver. The same is true for commercial advertising and many government departments, including Canada Post. There have been several proposals of merging the two municipalities, but none have progressed beyond the concept stage.
There are physical and social differences between the two municipalities. The District of North Vancouver is the larger of the two, and is bounded by the Capilano River to the west, Indian Arm to the east, Burrard Inlet to the south, and the North Shore Mountains to the north. It sprawls in an east-west direction across the mountain slopes, and is known for its frequent rain, rugged terrain, and steep and winding roadways. The District primarily consists of single-family residential housing and has an industrial base along the shoreline of Burrard Inlet. It has a lower population density and no clearly defined downtown. The District has several commercial areas such as Edgemont Village and Lynn Valley that serve as community hubs.
The City of North Vancouver has an urban feel and is surrounded to the east, north, and west by the District. It has the majority of the North Shore’s commercial operations, high-rise buildings, and rental properties. The City, along with the District, has industrial sites along the shoreline that are being converted to residential and commercial areas. It also has the Lonsdale Quay Market and the northern terminal for the SeaBus transit ferry to Vancouver. The City’s Central and Lower Lonsdale neighbourhoods are known as the “downtown” of the North Shore.
Capilano River Regional Park
The Capilano River Regional Park is located in the District of North Vancouver. It encompasses most of the upstream areas of the Capilano River below the Cleveland Dam, and has an eight kilometre (five mile) hiking trail that runs from Capilano Lake to Ambleside Park in the District of West Vancouver. The area north of the dam surrounding Capilano Lake is closed to the public as it is a Greater Vancouver Regional District watershed. The hiking trail is one of the most pleasant in the area and offers countless opportunities to view wildlife in its natural habitat. The Capilano River is a popular location to spot salmon in September.
Cleveland Dam and Capilano Lake
The Cleveland Dam sits atop the Capilano River Regional Park blocking Capilano Lake. The lake is a watershed that supplies approximately 40 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s fresh drinking water. The area is a local favourite because of its spectacular views of The Lions, Capilano Lake, and Grouse Mountain gondola. Bring a picnic lunch and spend a relaxing afternoon birdwatching while taking in the stunning view.
Spend the day on Grouse Mountain and enjoy breathtaking views and all that this four season tourist destination has to offer. Located only 15 minutes from Vancouver, it is a top attraction receiving more than 1.2 million visitors annually. Grouse Mountain is open daily from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM 365 days a year.
Summer activities include the Birds in Motion and Lumberjack shows, heli and hiking tours, paragliding, ziplines, summer camps, the Theatre in the Sky, wildlife refuge and a 2.9 kilometre hiking trail known as the Grouse Grind. Winter comes alive at Grouse Mountain with skiers and snowboarders hitting the slopes. The variety of trails gives all levels of skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to ski while enjoying magnificent views of Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean. The mountain’s many winter activities include ice skating, skiing, sleigh rides, snowboarding, snowshoeing and the snow-limo.