Vancouver Beaches: Cates Park, Deep Cove, Buntzen Lake

Beach Times

After shining the spotlight on a handful of 604 Neighbourhoods I’m turning the focus of my weekly series onto waterfronts and seaside recreational areas in Vancouver, just in time for summer. Today’s Vancouver Beaches series follows Burrard Inlet as rounds the corner into Indian Arm, featuring a handful of beaches you’ll find in North Vancouver (and Anmore) along the way.


It’s such a wonderful feeling to sit out on a Vancouver beach, sinking your toes into the sand and looking westward, catching rays as the sun sails down toward the Salish Sea for another perfect sunset. However, when you sit out at Cates Park and Deep Cove, which face south and east respectively, your views change but they’re no less refreshing — perhaps they’re even more so.

Waves gently lap at the sand and rock covered beaches while views consist of lush, evergreen-covered mountains. These two North Vancouver beaches are peaceful escapes that make you feel like you’ve traveled up the coast of British Columbia when in fact you’re just a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver.

Cates Park

Location: Cates Park is located in the heart of Tsleil-Waututh territory and its ancestral name is Whey-Ah-Whichen, which means “faces the wind”. This 20 hectare recreational area can be found around the 4000 block of Dollarton Highway in North Vancouver.

Beach Times

Features: Cates Park is North Vancouver’s largest seaside park, offering waterfront trails, playgrounds, beaches, tennis courts, changerooms/washrooms, picnic shelters, a concession and free parking.

View from Cates

One of Cates’ unique features is the integration of a First Nations cultural elements into the park’s landscape such as a collection of totem poles and a canoe which is on display.

Enjoy the carvings during your visit or plan an outing with the Whey-Ah-Wichen / Cates Park Paddling Centre. They host Coast Salish Canoe Tours and Walking Rainforest Tours and a new salmon spawning tour from mid-August to October.

Cates Park is also home to a the Cates Park Summer Concert Series from July 6th until August 24th, 2013. These free outdoor shows showcase local bands and performers. Compilation CDs featuring the summer’s acts are available for purchase by donation with proceeds going back to the performers who play the concert series for free. When you’re hungry you can grab a snack from Wally’s Burgers at the concession which is open daily.

Deep Cove

Location: You can reach the community of Deep Cove by heading east on Mount Seymour Parkway or Dollarton Highway, then turning north onto Deep Cove Road. When the road ends, you’re there! Panorama Park at the very end of the line is the main recreation area in this quiet seaside village.

Deep Cove

Sailboat Trip up Indian Arm

Features: Panorama Park in Deep Cove has gravelly shores, a grassy hill perfect for picnic and beach blankets, and washroom amenities. My favourite attraction in Deep Cove (aside from the theatre) is Deep Cove Kayak Centre where you can rent stand-up paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks. There is a shop just up the hill along with a rental centre right at the beach where you can take lessons and rent equipment by the hour.

Deep Cove

Deep Cove Kayaking

The free summer Concerts in the Cove music series is happening Friday nights from July 12th to August 16th, 2013 in Panorama Park from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. After a long day in the sun or in / on the water it’s a great way to wind down and soak up the beautiful scenery.

Stand-up Paddle Boarding - Deep Cove

School group out for a morning hike

If you follow active locals on Instagram (the popular mobile photo sharing service) you’ll probably see quite a few images from Quarry Rock. This popular hike takes you up to a lookout point high above Deep Cove, offering views of Burrard Inlet and the community below.

Bonus: Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake is in the Village of Anmore, which is accessed via Port Moody although it runs parallel with Indian Arm, tucked along the side of Eagle Mountain.

Photo credit: GoToVan on Flickr

This BC Hydro Reservoir is 4.8km long and covers 182 hectares. There are picnic shelters, grassy play areas, canoe rentals, and trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Dogs are allowed in designated areas. Swimming is a popular activity however there are no lifeguards on duty at Buntzen Lake.

Buntzen Lake - Summmer 09

Photo credit: Frankenmedia on Flickr

Located about 30km from Vancouver, it’s a favourite day-trip destination for locals who love to picnic at a freshwater lake and hike around to find some pretty spectacular panoramic views of the region.

Buntzen Lake - Summmer 09

Photo credit: footloosiety on Flickr

If you have some favourite “Vancouver Beaches” feel free to drop a note in the comments. I have a nice selection queued up over the coming weeks but would love to hear some feedback as well. Remember to always be sun smart and drink plenty of water when you’re out and about this season!

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