Community Recreation Strategy

Community recreation represents a wide range of amenities and experiences. It’s integral to providing people with opportunities to improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing, and to become more connected to each other and to their community.

The City has an existing robust and integrated system of indoor and outdoor facilities, amenities, and programs, which offer a variety of opportunities to residents.

In March 2020, Council endorsed the City’s Community Recreation Strategy - A Healthy City for All: The Role of Community Recreation. This represents Phase One of our Community Recreation Strategy and includes: 

  • A summary of the wide-ranging benefits of community recreation;
  • A current inventory of spaces and assets;
  • The vision and philosophical foundation for community recreation in the City; and
  • A decision-making framework to help prioritize significant community recreational projects in the City.

Future work will consider the provision of arts and cultural amenities and their benefits to community health and wellness.

The Community Recreation Strategy has been provided below, in sections for your convenience. The entire document, A Healthy City for All: The Role of Community Recreation is also available as a PDF download.

1 - Introduction

The City’s vision is to create a healthy city for all. Quality community recreation, comprised of the built and natural environment, programs, and services, inspires residents to be active and connected to their community throughout their life.

Benefits of Community Recreation

Community recreation represents a wide range of amenities and experiences, providing people with the opportunity to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing, and to become more connected to each other and their community.

Community recreation is essential to personal health and wellbeing and has been proven to reduce health care, social service and police/justice costs. Community recreation provides opportunities for positive and healthy behaviours. Parks and green spaces have a positive impact on individual wellness and on the natural environment. Community recreation is integral to providing opportunities for residents of all ages, ethnicities, abilities and interests to live happy, active and connected lives.

A Strategy for Community Recreation

Realizing the immense value of community recreation and wellness at the individual, community, and environmental level the City of North Vancouver is contemplating its approach to renewal, replacement and provision of community recreational amenities.

The community recreation strategy will provide a transparent and consistent approach to prioritizing investment in community recreation.

The first phase strives to achieve the following:

  • Highlight the wide ranging benefits of community recreation.
  • Establish a vision and philosophical foundation for community recreation in the City.
  • Map the current inventory of spaces and assets.
  • Create a four step process to help prioritize significant community recreation projects in the City.

Future work will explore arts and culture and their benefits to community health and wellness.

2 - Context

The City at a Glance

The City of North Vancouver is one of Canada’s most vibrant communities. This is due not only to its unique natural surroundings but also due to its dynamic public spaces and available community recreational opportunities. The City of North Vancouver has a population of 52,520 (2016 census profile) and is located on the north shore of Burrard Inlet. The City is neighbours with the Squamish Nation, District of North Vancouver and District of West Vancouver. With its blend of modern urban amenities, natural landscapes and a vision to be the healthiest small city in the world, the City of North Vancouver is a desirable community in which to live.

map of North Shore

Community Recreation in the City

recreation infographic part 1

recreation infographic part 2

In order to understand the importance and current status of community recreation, it is important to be aware of existing City planning efforts, broader recreational planning influences and the current service delivery system for community recreation.

Existing Local Planning

The City is developing and/or implementing a number of major strategies and plans that support and enhance the health and wellness of city residents including the following.

  • Official Community Plan
  • Wellbeing Strategy (in progress)
  • Parks Master Plan
  • Mobility Strategy
  • Walk CNV
  • Master Transportation Plan
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Cycling Network Plan
  • Child, Youth and Family Strategy (CNV4Me)
  • Dementia Friendly Strategy/Age Friendly City
  • North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission Strategic Plan
  • North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission Indoor Recreation

Facility Plan

In addition, Council’s Strategic Plan (2018-2022) sets the vision to be the “Healthiest Small City in the World,” and outlines priorities towards achieving Council’s vision as outlined below. Council’s Strategic Plan provides a solid foundation for community recreation planning.


Broader Planning Influences

When considering the future role of community recreation in the City it is important to understand and consider some broader planning influences relevant to community recreation. These influences come from within the recreation sector and beyond. At the foundation of community recreation is its direct and indirect benefit to residents throughout the City.

graphic of Council's strategic plan

3 - Community Recreation in the City

The City of North Vancouver is proud of its long-standing commitment to the provision of quality community recreation spaces, programs and services. This commitment has resulted in a comprehensive system of outdoor and indoor amenities, programs, services and events that provide opportunities for residents of all ages, ethnicities, abilities and interests to live healthy, active and connected lives.

The City provides an extensive system of outdoor community recreational spaces such as public plazas, active greenways, sport fields, playgrounds, passive parks, ecological corridors and outdoor sport courts. Providing a diverse range of public amenities with a focus on animating these spaces for the enjoyment of residents is an important component of meeting the recreation and wellness needs of the community.

Since 1970 the City of North Vancouver has partnered with the District of North Vancouver in the delivery of community recreation and culture services through the establishment of the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission (NVRC). The NVRC is overseen by a Commission comprised of Council members, citizen appointees, and a school board trustee. The Commission is mandated to plan and deliver municipal recreation and arts services to residents of both municipalities, including recommending and operating public recreation and culture facilities, approving culture, sport and recreation grants, managing the civic art programs, booking many public spaces, as well as hosting and supporting community and special events.

In addition to the City and NVRC, there are several not for profit organizations, community groups and private service providers (~40 within the City) who provide options for residents.

The North Vancouver School District also plays a role in supporting community recreation; partnering with the City on joint-use for sports fields and sports courts, and providing access to gymnasiums and other facilities to community groups. Lastly, school grounds are an important component in the network of publicly accessible open space.

4 - Community Recreation Inventory

The City of North Vancouver offers a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for recreation activity to occur. This integrated system has lots to offer both residents and visitors. (See Appendix A and B)

It is also important to note that recreation occurs outside the City boundaries at indoor and outdoor spaces. The maps below and on the following pages show the variety of community recreation opportunities throughout the City and surrounding area.

map of City recreation facilities


In 2019, Council adopted their Strategic Plan. In it, five key priorities have been identified to achieve the Vision to be The Healthiest Small City in the World. The following series of maps illustrate how the City’s indoor and outdoor recreation assets support Council’s Strategic Plan’s five priorities.

1. A City for People

A City for People is welcoming, inclusive, safe, accessible and supports the health and wellbeing of all.

2. Liveable City

A Liveable City leads the way in climate action and acts as a steward of the environment for future generations.

3. Vibrant City

A Vibrant City is where dynamic public spaces and places provide opportunities for connection and enable residents to engage with their community and celebrate their culture and history.

4. Connected City

A Connected City provides active and sustainable ways for people and goods to move to, from and within the City safely and efficiently.

5. Prosperous City

A Prosperous City supports a diverse economy by creating an environment where new and existing businesses can grow and thrive.

5 - Foundations

This section outlines the vision, principles and goals for community recreation in the City. These considerations, in conjunction with other strategic planning work, will help guide decisions on renewal, replacement and prioritization of significant community recreation amenities. The vision and principles are based on Council’s Strategic Plan and also share alignment with the Framework for Recreation in Canada.



The following principles explain how the City will approach decision making for, and provision of, community recreation.


The following goals articulate why the City invests in community recreation amenities and opportunities; they also explain the underlying intention for having publicly supported community recreation in the City. The community recreation goals are derived from the City’s Strategic Plan, broader planning influences (Social Determinants of Health, Benefits of Recreation and Framework for Recreation in Canada) and an understanding of the immense individual and community benefits derived from community recreation as a social good.

Community recreation in the City of North Vancouver is intended to:


6 - Making Decisions About Community Recreation Facilities and Spaces

Providing community recreation facilities and spaces is important but decisions related to updating and adding amenities can be difficult. The North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission has a mandate to make facility recommendations to the City (and District) and has done so through an Indoor Recreation Facility Plan. This Plan aims to support the City in contemplating future investment and effort related to new facility and space development.

The following steps outline the decision making process the City will use to determine potential facilities and spaces to offer, and how many of each. This involves evaluating how each type of facility or amenity contributes to the goals for community recreation, considers if we have the right amount and range and looks to prioritize amenities. Although the following approach is somewhat subjective, it does consider a variety of different indicators and criteria. It is important to note that further work will be required to consider where and when development occurs, and how complementary/compatible spaces or partnerships impact the sequencing of ranked amenities.

Step 1

The first step is for the City to determine whether or not consideration should proceed for new or enhanced community recreation facility or space. In order for an amenity to be considered, evidence must show significant contribution to meeting the goals for community recreation.


Step 2

The second step in making decisions about community recreation is determining if the City has the right range of amenities to meet the needs of residents. Looking at some demand indicators (listed below) the City will be able to determine whether there is a need for more, less or if there is the right amount of a certain type of facility or space. For a significant amenity to be considered further, evidence must be presented that an existing amenity should be enhanced or a new amenity pursued.

Although this step indicates whether more or less facilities or spaces are needed, there is still a requirement to analyze things further. For significant projects, a further examination of feasibility should be undertaken as part of this step to further inform a prioritization review and prior to major investment as part of Step 3 and 4.

Step 3

The third step in the decision making process is when an existing amenity is assessed as needing to be enhanced or a new amenity is contemplated. The following list of criteria can be used to prioritize amenities to help provide a ranked list. The list is meant to be a reference point to help allocate funds and establish a comparative timeline for the delivery of enhanced or new amenities.

Step 4


The last step in the process is to take action! Based on a summary of Step 1 and 2, and prioritization of Step 3, decisions will need to be made.

Going Forward

Successful implementation of this tool requires ongoing data collection. As new facilities are built, community preferences change, and use rates shift, the recommended amenity strategies / service levels and priority lists will change. The four step process should be revisited as new information becomes available. This four step process is like a cycle; it is never complete and requires ongoing upkeep to make sure the City is best meeting the community recreation needs of our residents and spending resources wisely. The goals for community recreation should also be reconfirmed with any future change with Council’s Strategic Plan.

It is important to note that although this tool provides rankings for different kinds of amenities that these rankings are still subject to refinement and further feasibility analysis. Some higher ranking amenities might not be developed or enhanced while some lower ranking amenities may be developed.

Appendix A - Indoor Community Recreation in the City

There are a number of public community recreation facilities available to city residents and visitors. Some of these indoor facilities are owned by the City of North Vancouver and some are owned by the District of North Vancouver. There are also not for profit and private service providers who offer options in individualized service areas.

City Facilities:

  • Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre
    • Ice arena, pool, water slide, 1m diving board, fitness spaces, multi-purpose rooms, youth centre, child care space, outdoor playground, café, Flicka Gymnastics (private rental within HJCRC)
  • Memorial Community Recreation Centre
    • Gymnasium, fitness rooms, multi-purpose rooms, community kitchen, arts and crafts room, kiln room, licensed preschool space, outdoor playground
  • Mickey McDougall Community Recreation Centre
    • Gymnasium, change rooms, multi-purpose rooms, community kitchen
  • John Braithwaite Community Centre
    • Family resource centre, seniors’ program spaces, multi-purpose rooms, commercial style kitchen, gymnasium, fitness spaces, arts and crafts studio, youth centre, children’s space, community offices, public access computer area, woodworking studio
  • Centennial Theatre
    • Auditorium, flyloft and catwalk system, sound booth, orchestra pit, performance studio, green room, concession and bar service, lobby, box office, wall gallery
  • North Shore Neighbourhood House
    • Multi-purpose rooms, gym, commercial kitchen, childcare
  • Public access to Pinnacle Pool

District Facilities:

  • Delbrook Community Recreation Centre
    • Pool, hot tub, steam room, gymnasium, squash/racquetball courts, fitness centre, multi-purpose rooms, meeting rooms, arts and crafts studio, pottery studio, youth centre, community kitchen, licensed preschool space, outdoor playground, coffee shop
  • Karen Magnussen Community Recreation Centre
    • Ice arena, wave pool, hot tub, therapy pool, steam room, fitness centre, multipurpose rooms, café
  • Ron Andrews Community Recreation Centre
    • Pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna, squash court, TRX studio, fitness centre, multi-purpose rooms, licensed preschool space, outdoor playground, preschool
  • Parkgate Community Centre
    • Family resource centre, seniors’ program space, multi-purpose rooms, commercial style kitchen, gymnasium, fitness centre, dance and aerobics room, sauna, arts and crafts studio, pottery studio, youth centre, outdoor skatebowl, outdoor playground
  • Lynn Valley Community Recreation Centre
    • Multi-purpose rooms, community kitchen, licensed preschool space, outdoor playground, field house, community garden
  • Lynn Valley Village Community Room
    • Multi-purpose room
  • Seylynn Community Recreation Centre
    • Gymnasium/multi-purpose room, licensed child care space, outdoor playground
  • North Vancouver Tennis Centre
    • 9 indoor tennis courts, 1 indoor training court, observation lounge, change rooms, meeting room
  • Public access to Canlan Ice Sports Arena

Appendix B - Outdoor Community Recreation in the City

The City of North Vancouver has an extensive and diverse variety of parks and public open spaces covering approximately 12% (145 hectares) of the City’s total area. This includes 56 parks and a 17 km network of greenways and trails that provide safe and accessible connections to major community destinations as well as opportunities to connect to nature. The system of parks and open space includes a wide range of natural and built infrastructure to support active and passive recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. The inventory of parks and public open spaces includes the following.

  • 23 city playgrounds (and 5 school district playgrounds)
  • 3 artificial turf fields
  • 6 grass sports fields
  • 3 ball diamonds
  • 4 all-weather fields with lights
  • 12 tennis courts
  • 4 pickleball courts
  • 4 basketball/multi-purpose
  • 2 spray parks
  • Pump track
  • Skatepark
  • Outdoor ice rink
  • 3 running tracks
  • Outdoor fitness circuit
  • 2 lawn bowling greens
  • 3 off-leash areas (3 more planned)
  • 80 hectares of forested natural areas
  • Approximately 8900 street trees

A Foundation for Community Recreation in the City

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