Car Free Day Vancouver is Sunday, June 15th

Sunday, June 15th (Father’s Day) marks the 10th anniversary of Car Free Day Vancouver!

Celebrate with your neighbours at one or all of the festival sites: Commercial Drive, Main Street, West End and Kitsilano (Kits block parties take place Saturday, June 14th and Sunday, June 15th).

Car Free Day exhibits the vibrancy of Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods and draws on the creative energy of neighbours to remake local roadways as places of art, culture and sociability. The festival sites reclaim traffic thoroughfares as community-focused public spaces, allowing residents, artists, performers, artisans, non-profits and businesses to interact, engage and re-imagine spaces normally reserved for vehicle traffic.

Car Free Day began 10 years ago on Commercial Drive as a response to the provincial government’s Gateway Program, also known as the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project. The idea was to reclaim the streets and oppose highway expansion and more traffic. Today, we still believe that fewer cars equals more community. Car Free Day has expanded to four neighbourhoods and represents the next level in our evolution toward healthy communities, authentic cultural celebrations, and car-free streets. The four festival sites are 100% organized by local volunteers and each festival has a unique flavour.

2014 Festival Highlights

Commercial Drive – Sunday, June 15th, Noon-7pm from Venables to Grandview on The Drive: Roller disco, parading drummers, healing gardens, DJs spinning beats, and all your friends and neighbours hanging out.

Main Street – Sunday, June 15th, Noon-7pm from Broadway to 30th on Main Street: Mini-festivals, community-supported stages with dozens of bands, multiple kids zones, artisan markets, roller derby, skateboarding, parkour and more!

West End – Sunday, June 15th, Noon-6pm from Davie to Robson on Denman Street: Fun for young, old, families, couples and single folks, which includes acoustic music, a kids zone, non-profits, local politicians, artists and artisans.

Kitsilano – Saturday, June 14th and Sunday, June 15th: Block parties by and for local residents and their neighbours.

Car Free Day Vancouver

Photo credit: Roland Tanglao via Flickr

Get Involved

All festival sites are still in need of volunteers. Complete a volunteer application today!

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Kitsilano Performers

Are you an entertainer who would like to be part of the intimate Kitsilano block party vibe? Have you a hankering to share your music, spoken word, dance or other performance at one of the Kitsilano Block Parties happening Saturday and Sunday, June 18 & 19? You can make it happen by completing our Entertainer Application!

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Next Car Free Day Organizer Meetings 2014

Car Free Day 2014 is fast approaching! This year’s festival will be held on Sunday, June 15th. Car Free Day is entirely volunteer organized and run and we would love it if you could join the fun!

The next planning meetings are as follows. Everybody is welcome! Bring a friend or two – the more the merrier! No experience necessary.

Main Street Car Free Festival

Volunteer and Green Team Orientation
Date & Time: Sunday, June 8th, 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Location: Mount Pleasant Community Centre (1 Kingsway), 8th St. exit courtyard

All Organizers
Date & Time: Sunday, June 8th, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Location: Mount Pleasant Community Centre (1 Kingsway), Multipurpose Room 2

More Info:

West End Car Free Festival

  • Date & Time: Wednesday, May 7th, 7:00pm
  • Location: West End Community Centre (Denman Street), Meeting Room 2
  • More Info:

The Car Free Vancouver Society Team

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Drive Fest Consultations and Survey

What do you think Car Free Day Commercial Drive 2014 should look like? We want to hear from you! Drive Fest organizers are hosting in-person community consultations and a short online survey to get your feedback.

Car Free Day Commercial Drive (Drive Fest) is an annual event that takes place on Father’s Day. This year is the 10th anniversary of Drive Fest! Mark your calendar, the festival takes place June 15th.

We are proud to be a 100% volunteer run event, but running a festival in Vancouver is pricey. Last year’s Drive Fest expenses came to $27,000. Out of that amount our City bill was $20,000. Unfortunately the City bill for Drive Fest never decreases but goes up each year.

Take a moment to complete the online survey or meet us in person. We will be at Britannia Library (Commercial and Napier) in the Learning Resource Centre (lower level) on:

  • Sunday, February 23rd @ 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 26th @ 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Come by, have a coffee and meet Drive Fest volunteers. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Please submit your feedback before February 26th.

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A New Year Message From the Main Street Crew

Have a peaceful, self-propelled and convivial New Year from your friends and neighbours at Car Free Vancouver!  We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your community building work over the years. For those in a hurry and in need of inspiration, take a look at how another Car Free Vancouver supporter is helping remake her hood and how you can help:

French Quarter Parklet

On the other hand, the start of a New Year is a perfect opportunity to reflect upon the year(s) gone by and to look with hope to the future. In the best Car Free fashion let’s try a bit of both!

This is a big year for Car Free Vancouver as we are turning 10!!!!  Ten years of bringing communities together, of transforming pavement into passion, of inspiring us all to think beyond car culture.  Leading up to our Anniversary Car Free Day we will be offering up concrete, if that is not a misnomer, ways that Car Free has helped move our city into the future – starting with Main Street!

Of all our sites Main Street is unique. While the residents are passionate about their community, the neighbourhood is full of folks who walk, cycle and skateboard and small businesses have worked celebrate local food and goods, Main Street itself is one large, alienating piece of pavement. It is wider and noisier than Commercial Drive or Denman Street. Four lanes of traffic and two of parking make for an intimidating bike ride. There is no equivalent to Grandview Park on the Drive and only a few small patios to linger on. In short there has been, and remains, a dearth of public space.

Of course, on Car Free Day this all changes.  The roads close and kids skateboard down the middle. Neighbours come out to chat, have a bite to eat, stroll along, check each other out, and shoot the breeze as my old man used to say. Not one year has gone by when I haven’t met one of my neighbours who has said, “You won’t believe who I just saw, we should do this more often.”

Several years ago we started hosting a small chill out space on 22nd at Main. There is a coffee shop, a bakery and a wonderful chocolaterie at this corner and it seemed like a great space to put out some chairs and let people do what they want – which is usually to sit, chat and take a breather.

Anne-Geneviève Poitras from La Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France has always been a wonderful supporter and now she has spearheaded a project to create a parklet at this corner. She has worked for many months with the city and out of this has come an expedited process that others across Vancouver are making good use of (

But she has one idea that just might make this even better for the self-propelled among us.  A Bike bar!

Bike Bar

Ride up, pull that thermos and sandwich out of the pannier and you are all set. Of course you might be tempted by the chocolates and sweets nearby but make no mistake this is a public space, not a patio, open to anyone to use as they please.

Until we figure out how to have Car Free 24/7, we’ll have to rely on the ingenuity of good folks like Anne-Geneviève Poitras, so if you are fortunate enough to have a few spare toonies do consider donating to the kickstarter. In any case, do drop in and say thanks to a friend of Car Free and a supporter of her neighbourhood.

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You’re Invited to the Car Free Vancouver Society AGM – Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

The Car Free Vancouver Society’s (CFVS) annual general meeting will be held on Sunday, November 17th from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre (1 Kingsway) in the Multipurpose 2 Room. Please join us if you want to bring your energy, brawn and brains to the organization!

The CFVS is a motley crew of fun-loving, community-minded neighbours working together to expose local arts and entertainment to many neighbourhoods in Vancouver. We are recruiting new members to our Board and local festival organizing crews. No experience is necessary, just an interest in making Vancouver a fun and friendly city. If you have any knowledge of or interest in administration, social media or managing projects, we want your skills!

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM.

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Thank You!

To all of you who participated in and supported Car Free Vancouver Day 2013, many thanks! What a turn-out! We are grateful you for your presence, for bringing merriment to the festivals, and for being so generous with your creativity, time, gifts-in-kind and other donations. We couldn’t have done it without you.

We hope you had a fantastic day visiting the festival sites around the city. If you enjoyed Car Free Vancouver Day and would like to see it continue in the future, we strongly encourage you to tell the Mayor and Vancouver City Council (please copy us on your messages). Car Free Vancouver Day is 100% volunteer organized and run. Your support in the form of emails to the City and donations to the Car Free Vancouver Society have a huge impact and will help us bring back the festival next year, which will be our tenth anniversary!

We would love to hear from you if you want to see a Car Free Day in your neighbourhood next year or if you’re interested in joining the Car Free Vancouver Society’s organizing teams. Please contact us at:

Finally, a big thanks to all of you who snapped photos at our festival sites, and particularly to those of you who used a Creative Commons license that allows us to share your images. If you would like to show us your photos, we encourage you to join one or more of our Flickr groups:
Car Free Vancouver Day (all festivals)
Car Free Vancouver Day on Main Street
Car Free Vancouver Day in the West End
Car Free Vancouver Day on Commercial Drive

The Car Free Vancouver Society is active year-round so please keep in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter.

We wish all of you all the best this amazing summer!

The Car Free Vancouver Society

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Celebrate Car Free Day in Vancouver on Sunday, June 16th

What: Car Free Day!

When: Sunday, June 16th (Father’s Day)


  • Main Street, Broadway to 30th, noon-7:00 p.m.
  • Commercial Drive, Venables to North Grandview Hwy/Central Valley Greenway Bike Lane, noon-7:00 p.m.
  • Denman Street, Davie to Robson, noon-6:00 p.m.
  • Kitsilano block parties, noon-6:00 p.m. (Sat. June 15th & Sun. June 16th)
  • Semlin Street, Adanac to Venables, noon-6:00 p.m. (Sat. June 15th)

Who: You, us, your neighbours and friends and family!

Why: Because we believe less cars = more community, we believe in fun for free, and we believe in proactive community engagement!

Get there: Keep with the spirit of Car Free Day by walking, cycling, skateboarding or taking transit to festival sites. Please don’t drive! Get the TransLink re-routes for buses #3, 5, 6 & 20 (click on the ‘Transit Alerts’ tab and scroll to June 16th). Bike valet service will be available on Main Street (Main & 10th) and Commercial Drive (Commercial Drive & 2nd).

Car Free Day 2013 Poster

Want to ride your bicycle to all the street festivals on Sunday? Join the HUB Car Free Day group rides:

  • 2:00 p.m.: Meet at Denman & Davie, take a leisureley ride to Main Street (look for ride leader with yellow bike helmet)
  • 4:00 p.m.: Meet at Main & 10th, ride to Commercial Drive (look for ride leader with yellow bike helmet)

Participants will take in the beautiful sights of Vancouver and enjoy the freedom that bike-riding can offer!

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What is Car Free Day?

Joey Moore, Car Free Vancouver Society Board member, wrote a guest editorial today for Vancouver is Awesome in response to the question, “What the heck’s up with Car Free Day?” He states:

For me, nothing explains what Car Free Day is, better than that awkward, disorientating moment at the very beginning of the day when the barricades go up and the stream of cars and trucks is gone from the streets. While most adults still are glued to margins on the sidewalk, unsure of what to do, some less tamed child or youth will get on their skateboard, or simply run, right down the yellow-line. This simple, joyful act breaks the spell and the rest of us more disciplined folk spill onto the street.

At the core, this is what Car Free is about – rethinking what streets are and what they might be and allowing us to experience the truth of the Car Free slogan: Less Cars = More Community = Less Cars…

Read the full editorial on Vancouver is Awesome

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Congratulations to the Car Free Day Photo Contest Winner!

Erika Rathje is the Car Free Day photo contest winner. We thank Erika for sharing her photos to promote this year’s Car Free Day festivals. Here are her winning entries:

E Rathje Car Free Day Skateboarders

E Rathje Car Free Day Band

Car Free Vancouver Society Board member Tanya Otero also contributed some images to promote this year’s festivals:

T Otero Car Free Day Aww Yeah

T Otero Car Free Day Crowd

We encourage everyone to share these images with your friends and networks to promote Car Free Day on Sunday, June 16th (with neighbourhood block parties in Kitsilano and Grandview-Woodlands on Saturday, June 15th). Click the images to open them full-size, then right-click to save them to your computer.

Thank you to all the contest participants for your entries!

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