The recently updated Westminster Quay, now dubbed the River Market, is a hidden gem and a perfect day trip for families. Hop on the SkyTrain to New Westminster Station and get ready to rediscover the Royal City’s coolest urban destination.
1. Pier Park
This award-winning waterfront park is worth the trip by itself! Ride bikes along the boardwalk, explore the fishing pier, and build sandcastles on the urban beach. There are two playgrounds for tots, a concession, and lots of space to play on the outdoor beach volleyball and basketball courts. Relax in a hammock, watch tug boats drag log booms up the river, and enjoy the awesome views of the Fraser.
2. River Market
Hungry? The River Market is bursting with choices. Satisfy your craving for finger-licking southern BBQ from Re-Up, crispy oysters from Longtail Kitchen, or free-range organic rotisserie from Freebird Chicken Shack. Cruise through Donald’s Market or relax on the patio at Wild Rice Bistro (farm-fresh ingredients and Ocean Wise seafood make this spot a local favourite). Don’t forget dessert! Tre Galli Caffe serves homemade gelato, Italian espresso and kid-sized hot chocolates, or dig into a slice of Pamola Bakery & Deli’s renowned apple pie.
3.World’s Tallest Tin Soldier
Modelled after the soldiers of the Royal Engineers who founded New Westminster in the 1850-60s, the Guinness Book of World Record’s tallest tin soldier can’t be missed. Standing 9.75 meters tall and weighing 4540 kilograms, it was designed as a reminder to help those less fortunate. In its heart holds a time capsule that will be opened in 2025.
4) Workshops for Kids
Feeling adventurous? Drop in at the Vancouver Circus School’s preschool program or juggling and acrobatic classes! Music lovers can get their groove on at Music Box’s mini music class, while your little chef will love the River Critter’s baking class. Pottery workshops, soap making, dance and arts classes are also offered regularly. See the River Market events calendar for more info.
5. Fraser River Discovery Centre
The Discovery Centre has two floors of interactive exhibits, an archeological table for digging, and a hands-on Discovery Zone for kids to explore. While you’re there, meet a living dinosaur (the Fraser River white sturgeon) and learn about traditional Aboriginal fishing methods.
6. Shnoo and the Pachooch
No visit to the Quay is complete without stopping by this tiny toy store. Located in the River Market, you’ll find an impressive selection of treasures including Canadian-made gifts and DIY crafts for kids, as well as wooden toys, puppets, and stuffed animals from around the world.
Jeanine is a teacher, writer, and mom to two active and curious toddler boys. She has a passion for education and outdoor adventures. She loves to discover and share the best hidden parks, playgrounds, and beaches in Greater Vancouver. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her and her boys playing in the dirt or peeking under logs in the forest.