To nurture and grow car-free spaces and culture in collaboration with local communities.
In 2005, the Commercial Drive Festival launched the first community- driven Car-Free Festival in Vancouver as a response to the provincial government’s Gateway Program, also known as the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project. Organizers also wanted to create a community festival at a time when there were few such events in the city. The Festival was wholly volunteer-organized and presented, involving over 30 core organizers and 300 volunteers. It was an enormous success, bringing over 25,000 people out to celebrate the community and party in the street.
After that, the Festival happened in 2006 and twice in the summer of 2007, snowballing in popularity and attracting up to 40,000 people per day. Clearly, car-free days were an idea whose time had come.
The first annual Car-Free Vancouver Day, on Sunday June 15, 2008 ushered in the next phase in this bold experiment that had been gradually happening in Vancouver for many years. It took the car-free meme to the whole city, and represented the next level in our evolution toward healthy communities, authentic cultural celebrations, and car-free streets. On that day, FOUR communities presented their own Car-Free Festivals: Kitsilano, West End, Main Street, and Commercial Drive. Each Festival was envisioned and organized by the local core organizers, and each had a unique flavour.
This year we’re doing it all again!
Keep watching our website for more details on the individual Festivals. And then, choose your Festival and get involved! You can be an organizer, a pod-head, a spontaneous participant, or a day-of volunteer (for an hour or two, or for the whole day) — whatever turns you on. You don’t necessarily need to volunteer where you live — and of course, you are free to rove from Fest to Fest throughout the city, and get a taste of different neighbourhood celebrations. You will meet great people, have lots of fun, and become part of the future of our magical city.
The City of Vancouver, both staff and elected officials, has been enormously supportive of this initiative, and continues to encourage us to create the city of our dreams. We thank them for their vision and support.
Car Free Vancouver is on Facebook and on Twitter @CarFreeYVR. You can also connect with some of the festivals on Twitter: @CarFreeDrveFest @CarFreeMain and @CarFreeWestEnd. Use hashtags #CFDrive #CFKits #CFMain #CFWest when tweeting about your Car-Free neighbourhood.