North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale is now home to the incredible Polygon Gallery, Vancouver’s biggest patio (at Tap & Barrel), and an eclectic range of festivals in The Pipe Shop at the Shipyards, all thanks to Lonsdale Quay Market, which was a once-industrial area that transformed into a bustling attraction.
Starting life as a carnival-style marketplace for the Expo ‘86 World Fair, Lonsdale Quay Market developed into the gateway to the North Shore.
It's filled with specialty shops and a serves as a venue for numerous events.
Non-Indigenous settlers came to the North Shore in the 1890s and created an industrial area around what is now the site of the market. In 1907, the City of North Vancouver became independent from Vancouver due to the increased industrial activity around the Lower Lonsdale area.
Things to Do
Lonsdale Quay Market is situated right next to the bus station and SeaBus terminal that connects the North Shore to downtown Vancouver. You’ll find a few eating places and coffee shops just outside the market, but if you walk right from the terminal, you’ll find one of the market entrances. It’s all indoors, so it makes an ideal place to grab lunch on a rainy day while you watch the water.
With more than 80 specialty shops and services, there’s something for everyone at Lonsdale Quay Market and shops. As well as being home to local sellers, you’ll also find an international food court, kids shops and play area, restaurants, Green Leaf Brewery Co, and a boutique hotel (Lonsdale Quay Hotel).
Head here on Friday evenings in the summer months (May to September) to experience the Shipyards Night Market. Held close to the Market, the Shipyards summer markets showcase local artisans and food producers (come for the food trucks, stay for the beer garden), accompanied by live music in the plaza.
What to Buy and Eat
The international food court serves up everything from pizza and poke to gourmet burgers, fried chicken, sushi, stir-fry, salads, and soups. Sizzling Wok is a favorite for Chinese food, Thaigo is a popular spot for spicy Thai food, and George’s Souvlaki usually has a a long line.
Grab some groceries from Lonsdale Green Grocer, or pick up pies from El Dorado Pies and Treats (also try a butter tart for a quintessential taste of Canada). If you have time for a relaxing break, stop at Japan Shiatsu for a quick Asian-style massage or get your hair cut at Joy Hair Studio; both can be found inside the Market.
Discover European writing instruments, leather accessories, and Swiss timepieces at Perks, or relax with aromatherapy products from Saje, a local wellness company. Other stores worth checking out include I Love Hats (you can guess what they sell) and Tulips Children’s Wear for little shoppers. Take home a memento from the Quay Souvenir Centre and try local brews at Green Leaf Brewing—the North Shore is renowned for its craft beer and here is a great place to start.
Next door to the Market, the Pipe Building often hosts craft markets and local maker fairs—look out for local distilleries such as Woods Co and Sons of Vancouver as they can often be found here giving out free samples, and their distilleries are nearby if you want to have a longer visit.
How to Visit
Lonsdale Quay is the terminus station for the SeaBus, which sails every 15 minutes across Burrard Inlet to Waterfront Station, which then connects to the entire SkyTrain transit system. Crossings take 12 minutes and are included in Zone 2 passes for the transit system. Step off the SeaBus, and turn right after the fare gates to reach the Market, or go straight on to catch a bus to Grouse Mountain and beyond.
If you’re driving you can have two hours free parking in the Market parkade (just enter your license number in the machines to get a ticket) or park for free on evenings (from 6 p.m.) and on the weekends in the ICBC parkade, which is adjacent to the Market on Rogers Avenue and Carrie Cates Court.
The Market is open seven days a week with the lower market level being open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and the upper retail level open between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. In summer months the Market is open until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (the restaurants and brewery stay open later).