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City vs District. What are the two North Vancouver’s?

Leo Wilk PREC, Real Estate, Vancouver, North Vancouver

City vs District. What are the two North Vancouver’s?

Confused? Most of us are. There’s only one North Vancouver isn’t there? Nope. There’s the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. This distinction has been around for over 100 years. The city was incorporated in 1907 and the district in 1891.

What’s what

Well today, the City of North Vancouver is surrounded on three sides by the district. The city stretches as far North as 29th Street, South to the water, East to Brooksbank and West to Mackay. The rest of “North Vancouver” belongs to the District. To those who know the area well, describe the city as the most populated area, and more city like; versus the district has more single-family homes and a more suburb feel. As you can see in the photo’s below, the city takes up a much smaller footprint than the district does.

The History

When the District was originally incorporated, in encompassed the land from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove. After an economic boom of industry, in the now Lower Lonsdale area, saw the separation of district and city. The shipyards were the main source of economic activity, with Burrard Dry Dock and Versatile Pacific Shipyards being the major forces. Many of the original buildings actual still exist today. Finally, in 1912, West Vancouver decided to separate and become its own district.


In current times, you might think it seems a bit silly to have 2 different municipalities in such a close area. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Talks of amalgamation have actually been happening since 1968. More recently, on April 16th of this year, councilors from both the city and the district voted unanimously to look at potentially amalgamating the two municipalities. The councilors noted that amalgamation could really help traffic and community planning to move ahead. Especially with the ever-pressing issue of congestion on the North Shore.


What does this mean for you?

If you’re looking to sell your home in North Vancouver, it doesn’t mean much. The rules surrounding selling are pretty standard across all of the GVRD. However, what you do want to look at is the zoning. These can be especially critical if you’re wanting to advertise that your home has the potential for a secondary dwelling, for example, a laneway house. With separate bylaws and permits, it is important to know where your home resides because the rules will differ. As a buyer, the same goes. If you’re just looking to purchase a home for the purpose of living there and nothing else, go right ahead. But if you’re looking at a property with the thought of renovating or completing demolishing, you may want to take a look at the different bylaws. Just to be safe, make sure you talk with your realtor and get them to give you the rundown.


If you have any more questions about North Vancouver or are looking to sell your home, please don’t hesitate to contact me.



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