11 Great Things to See and Do in Burnaby, British Columbia

Burnaby Mountain | © Wootcrisp / Pixabay
Burnaby Mountain | © Wootcrisp / Pixabay
Burnaby is the city located directly to the east of Vancouver in the Greater Vancouver Area. The two cities’ border is a street aptly named Boundary Road. Burnaby is British Columbia’s third largest city, which is easy to access thanks to public transport links from Vancouver. It has a lot to offer both locals and visitors. Check out these fun things to do in the city, which are perfect for the entire family.

Burnaby Village Museum

Burnaby Village Museum is one of the top museums in the Greater Vancouver Area. It’s a little different from most museums, which is why it is popular with families—it is where history comes to life. Step back in time at the museum’s replicated tram-stop community. Visit the many businesses, such as the general store, school, barber shop, blacksmith, and print shop, and see costumed townsfolk do demonstrations. Kids will enjoy riding on the historic carousel. Burnaby Village Museum loves to celebrate holidays such as Halloween and Christmas too.

Inside the Village Museum © Ruth Hartnup / Flickr

Metropolis at Metrotown

Metropolis at Metrotown is British Columbia’s largest shopping mall, and the third largest in Canada. There are over 450 stores and services in the four-story shopping complex in Burnaby, which has an average of 27 million customers annually. Hudson’s Bay, Real Canadian Superstore, Forever 21, H&M, Old Navy, Winners, Sport Chek, Chapters, Zara, Cineplex Cinemas, Uniqlo, and Muji all call Metropolis at Metrotown home. It’s also located next door to the Metrotown Skytrain Station, so it is easily accessible from downtown Vancouver.

Central Park

Burnaby has a Central Park, just like New York City. It was named Central Park to honor the wife of Vancouver’s second mayor, as she was born in New York City. Burnaby’s version is a 90-hectare (222-acre) green space that’s home to a temperate rainforest ecosystem, an award-winning children’s playground, lots of walking trails, a mini-golf course, tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool, Swangard Stadium, and small duck ponds. It’s popular with residents and local television and film crews.

Burnaby Central Railway

This locale is another great Burnaby activity for children, and one that many locals don’t even know exists! Burnaby Central Railway is a miniature railway park where people of all ages can go for a ride on a miniature train. The railway is open on weekends, from Good Friday until Thanksgiving. The British Columbia Society of Model Engineers, a non-profit organization, runs it. It’s a fun day out for the family, and people can even hold their birthday party at the railway.

Burnaby Mountain

Burnaby Mountain has something for everyone. Firstly, it’s where Simon Fraser University is located. Secondly, it’s home to the Playground of the Gods, which has incredible views of Vancouver and North Vancouver. Bring a picnic and enjoy the sunset from this scenic spot. Thirdly, there are 26 multi-use trails on Burnaby Mountain, perfect for beginners, advanced hikers, and cyclists. Finally, it is also home to the Centennial Rose Garden and Horizons Restaurant.

Playground of the Gods up close © David Meurin / Flickr

Burnaby Art Gallery

The Burnaby Art Gallery dedicates itself to exhibiting “contemporary and historical art exhibits and events by local, regional, national, and international artists.” The art gallery’s current exhibition is showcasing the work of West Coast artist Sylvia Tait. In 2018, Burnaby Art Gallery will feature exhibits including Molly Lamb Bobak: Talk of the Town, and Julie McIntyre: Travel Stories. The art gallery also organizes public and school educational programs.

Deer Lake Park

Deer Lake Park is where visitors will find both the Burnaby Art Gallery and Burnaby Village Museum, as well as the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and Hart House Restaurant. But it is also where Deer Lake lies. There’s a small beach at Deer Lake and a popular walking trail that takes people around the entire lake’s circumference. During the summer, people can also rent rowboats, kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats to enjoy on Deer Lake.

Barnet Marine Park

“Whether you visit Barnet Marine Park for an early morning walk, an afternoon picnic with the family, or to watch the sunset, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Burrard Inlet alongside remnants of Barnet’s rich pioneering history.” Barnet Marine Park has a sandy shore that can be very busy with swimmers in the summertime, as it’s one of Vancouver’s best beaches. There’s also walking trails and an off-leash dog area.

Visit an event in Burnaby Heights

Burnaby Heights is a neighborhood located in northern Burnaby. While tourists don’t visit it all that much, it does host some excellent events throughout the year. They include a Lunar New Year parade, the Giro di Burnaby bicycle race, Halloween on the Heights, Light up the Heights for Christmas, and Hats Off Day. The latter is one big street party that’s great for families and features games, a parade, and a lot of fun.

The iconic Burnaby Heights sign © Sean Hagen / Flickr

Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre

The purpose of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre is to honor, preserve, and share Japanese culture and Japanese-Canadian history. Upcoming exhibitions include The Suitcase Project, which will focus on the 30th anniversary of the Japanese Canadian redress. There is also Beta Vulgaris: The Sugar Beet Projects, which is about the relationship between sugar and Japanese-Canadian history in Western Canada.

Anton’s Pasta Bar

Located in Burnaby Heights, Anton’s Pasta Bar is Vancouver’s original pasta bar. It is also known for its long lines. Why do people line up for pasta at Anton’s? Two words: serving sizes. The extensive lunch and dinner menus feature a range of pasta dishes that are reasonably priced and include enormous servings. If you can finish your meal without assistance and asking for a to-go container, then you will receive a small gift to celebrate your success—a pen that says you ate your entire meal at Anton’s Pasta Bar. That’s a cool Vancouver souvenir.