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

Burnaby sits immediately next to Vancouver, and offers plenty of fun things to see and do – including the delights of Deer Lake Park
Burnaby sits immediately next to Vancouver, and offers plenty of fun things to see and do – including the delights of Deer Lake Park | © Maria Janicki / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Hayley Simpson
Writer26 August 2020

The city of Burnaby, located directly to the east of Vancouver, is British Columbia’s third-largest city and easy to access thanks to public transport links from Vancouver. It’s well worth a visit, so be sure to check out these fun things to do in the city, which are perfect for the entire family.

Burnaby Village Museum

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Heritage General Store, Burnaby Village Museum, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
© Michael Wheatley / Alamy Stock Photo
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.

Metropolis at Metrotown

Shopping Mall
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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-storey 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, 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

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Burnaby has a Central Park named as a tribute to the wife of David Oppenheimer, Vancouver’s second mayor, as she was born in New York City. Burnaby’s version is a 90ha (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

Architectural Landmark
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Burnaby, Canada. 2nd Aug, 2014. People take a ride on a miniature train at Burnaby Central Railway in Burnaby, Canada, Aug. 2, 2014. To celebrate the British Columbia Society of Model Engineers' 85th anniversary, local miniature train enthusiasts held an
© Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo

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. It’s open on weekends, from Good Friday until Thanksgiving, and run by the British Columbia Society of Model Engineers, a non-profit organization. It’s a fun day out for the family, and people can even hold birthday parties at the railway.

Burnaby Mountain

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Burnaby Mountain has something for everyone. It’s where Simon Fraser University is located and is 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. There are 26 multi-use trails on Burnaby Mountain, perfect for beginners, advanced hikers and cyclists. It is also home to the Centennial Rose Garden and Horizons Restaurant.

Burnaby Art Gallery

Art Gallery
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The Burnaby Art Gallery dedicates itself to exhibiting “contemporary and historical art exhibits and events by local, regional, national and international artists,” according to the city of Burnaby’s website. The art gallery’s current exhibition, Myth/us, features artwork by senior secondary students who participated in the Burnaby Art Gallery’s Artist Apprenticeship Program in 2020. The Burnaby Art Gallery will feature more in-person exhibits from its reopening in September 2020, and also organizes public and school educational programs.

Deer Lake Park

Natural Feature
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Deer Lake Park, Burnaby, BC, Canada - december, 2019
© Irina Brester / Alamy Stock Photo

Deer Lake Park is where you can 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 the home of Deer Lake. There’s a small beach and a popular walking trail that takes you around the lake’s circumference, and during the summer you can rent rowboats, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats too.

Barnet Marine Park

Natural Feature, Park, Swimming Pool
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“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,” states the Burnaby city website. Barnet Marine Park has a sandy shore that can get very crowded with swimmers in the summertime, as it’s one of Vancouver’s best beaches. There are also walking trails and an off-leash dog area.

Attend an event in Burnaby Heights

Natural Feature
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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 including a Lunar New Year parade, the Giro di Burnaby bicycle race, Halloween on the Heights, Deck the Heights for Christmas and Hats Off Day, which is a big street party that’s great for families and features games, a parade and a lot of fun.

Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre

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Historical Japanese World War II internment camps exhibits at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in Burnaby, Vancouver, BC, Canada
© John Mitchell / Alamy Stock Photo

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 Broken Promises, which will focus on dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s. There is also Witness to Loss, which includes the entire English translation of an unpublished memoir by Japanese Canadian, Kishizo Kimura.

Anton’s Pasta Bar

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Located in Burnaby Heights, Anton’s Pasta Bar is Vancouver’s original pasta restaurant. It is also known for its long lines. Why do people line up for pasta at Anton’s? Two words: portion 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 asking for a to-go container (or the help of peckish friends), then you will receive a small gift to celebrate – a pen that says you ate your entire meal at Anton’s Pasta Bar. That’s a cool Vancouver souvenir.

These recommendations were updated on August 26, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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