North Vancouver
Credit: Hisakazu Watanabe

widgetThe waterfront city and district combine urban conveniences with easy access to the North Shore’s mountainous wilderness

North Vancouver is a community of communities. Bounded by the Capilano River to the west, the Coast Mountains to the north, Indian Arm to the east and Burrard Inlet to the south, it contains the City of North Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver, the Squamish Nation and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, one of whose most notable members was the late film actor Chief Dan George.

The oldest municipality is the District of North Vancouver (DNV), formed in 1891, with the section next to Burrard Inlet established as the separate City of North Vancouver (CNV) 16 years later. The DNV would like to reunite. In 1968, it held a referendum on the issue. District residents overwhelmingly favoured unification, but city residents were split 50/50, so the proposal didn’t go through. Now the district is trying again. This April, DNV councillors voted unanimously to send an open letter and survey to residents of both municipalities to get a sense of whether the time is right for amalgamation.

The city and the district share historical ties to the waterfront—the North Shore was only accessible by boat until the construction of the Second Narrows Bridge in 1925, followed by the Lions Gate Bridge (officially called First Narrows Bridge) in 1938. More than 450 vessels were built in shipyards now being redeveloped by the CNV into a public space for concerts, plays, farmers markets and festivals. The SeaBus, which takes 12 minutes to ferry commuters across the inlet to downtown Vancouver, docks nearby at Lonsdale Quay, a bustling tourist and shopping district. Besides a hotel, there’s a popular indoor market plus more than 80 shops, restaurants and services. Stores and eateries also line the main streets, Lonsdale Avenue and Marine Drive.

As its name suggests, the City of North Vancouver has an urban flavour. Its streets are laid out in a grid pattern, and in 2016, just 12 percent of its housing was single-family homes, with the rest higher-density residences. By contrast, up to 70 percent of housing in the District of North Vancouver is detached homes, though the DNV aims to change that to 55 percent with 45 percent attached units by 2030. The district also wants to provide more options to suit different residents’ ages, needs and incomes, plus alternatives to home ownership. Currently, only 18 percent of dwellings are rental.

Larger in area and population than the city, the District of North Vancouver encompasses mountains, creeks, canyons and waterfront. It has several town centres—Edgemont Village, Upper Lonsdale, Lynn Valley, Main Street, Parkgate and Deep Cove—but residents enjoy an outdoorsy lifestyle. Thanks to the area’s pricey single-family homes, however, retaining or attracting young people and families is a challenge, and businesses struggle to find workers. The official community plan aims to increase more affordable and diverse housing options to help more people move to or stay in the district.

The number of businesses operating in DNV increased almost 7 percent from 2011 to 2016. With two ski hills, tourism is a major industry, and Lions Gate Studios has helped raise the area’s profile with the production of films and TV shows, including the X-Files series.

CITY OF NORTH VANCOUVER

PeoplePEOPLE
Population: 53,605
Household age (0-45, 45-64, 64+): 39.4%, 37.1%, 23.5%
University grads: 34.2%
Average household income: $86,739
Average household income under 45: $86,441
Five-year income growth, 2012-17: 13.6%
Five-year population growth: 7.7%

HousingHOUSING
Average detached home price: $1,598,641
Average condominium price: $601,173
Average monthly rent for a two-bedroom: $1,584
Average annual household spending on shelter: $22,047

WorkWORK
Key industries: Health care and social services; retail; finance and insurance; professional, scientific and technical services; accommodation and food services; information and cultural industries; education; transportation and warehousing; manufacturing
Notable employers: BlueShore Financial; Insurance Corp. of British Columbia; Seaspan ULC
Regional unemployment: 4% (February)

BusinessBUSINESS
Total value of building permits issued in 2017: $248,366,474
Change from 2016: 60%
Average processing time for a building permit: Up to 10-12 weeks, depending on scope of project
Cost of a business licence: $111-$3,691
Business property tax rate: $8.20 per $1,000 of assessed value
Average office lease rate per sq. ft./year: $11-$32
Average retail lease rate: $28-$47

Quality of LifeQUALITY OF LIFE
Major post-secondary institutions: BCIT Marine Campus
Major recreational amenities: Lonsdale Quay; Polygon Gallery; Harry Jerome Recreation Centre; Centennial Theatre; Mosquito Creek Marina; Waterfront Park; North Shore Spirit Trail; Memorial Community Recreation Centre; Mickey McDougall Gym; Kings Mill Walk Park; Mahon Park; Ray Perreault Park; North Vancouver Tennis Centre; skate park; volleyball courts
Key annual events: Family Movie Nights in the Plaza; Summer Sessions (eight nights of live music); Shipyards Night Market; Fun City Festival; Rivers Day; Kids in the Hall; Celebrate the Season; Christmas Festival
Average annual household spending on recreation: $4,303
Residents who walk or bike to work: 7.9%

DISTRICT OF NORTH VANCOUVER

PeoplePEOPLE
Population: 91,984
Household age (0-45, 45-64, 64+): 24.4%, 44.7%, 30.9%
University grads: 41%
Average household income: $140,718 
Average household income under 45: $145,364
Five-year income growth, 2012-17: 13.4%
Five-year population growth: 5.6%

HousingHOUSING
Benchmark detached home price: $1,686,800*
Average condominium price: $580,700*
Average monthly rent for a two-bedroom: $1,757
Average annual household spending on shelter: $30,886

*total for North Vancouver City and District combined

WorkWORK
Key industries: Film production; tourism and recreation
Notable employers: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park; Capilano University; Grouse Mountain Resort LP; Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; Mt. Seymour Resorts Ltd.
Regional unemployment: 4% (February)

BusinessBUSINESS
Total value of building permits issued in 2017: $365,551,000
Change from 2016: 0.44%
Average processing time for a building permit: 12-16 weeks for new single family home; up to 6-8 months for more complex projects
Cost of a business licence: $146-$4,666
Business property tax rate: $8.15 per $1,000 of assessed value
Average office lease rate per sq. ft./year: $8-$35
Average retail lease rate: $27-$49

Quality of LifeQUALITY OF LIFE
Major post-secondary institutions: Capilano University
Major recreational amenities: Grouse Mountain; Mt. Seymour; Capilano River and Lynn Headwaters regional parks; Baden-Powell Trail; North Shore Winter Club; Delbrook Community Recreation Centre; Karen Magnussen Community Recreation Centre; Ron Andrews Community Recreation Centre; Parkgate Community Recreation Centre; outdoor tennis courts; soccer fields
Key annual events: Deep Cove Daze
Average annual household spending on recreation: $7,393
Residents who walk or bike to work: 3.3%


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