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 while snowballing in popularity and attracting. Clearly, car-free days were an idea whose time had come.
The first annual Car-Free Vancouver Day, happened on Sunday June 15, 2008 and ushered in the next phase in this bold experiment. 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.
Since then, the festivals have been going strong by staying true to their grassroots, inclusive, and family friendly ideals. Last year, the festivals welcomed approximately 400,000 attendees, 700 volunteers, and over 500 artists and artisans. This year, we're continuing the tradition with as much gusto as ever, still firm in the belief that fewer cars equals more community.