The Playground: Cates Park


Welcome to The Playground, a place for Vancouver families. I’m always on the lookout for fun stuff to do, so if there’s something happening that you think I should know about, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Along Dollarton Highway in Deep Cove is one of my favourite parks in the Lower Mainland – Cates Park.  It’s got the perfect balance of everything you would want in a park – easy beach access, lots of greenspace, forest trails, a sweet playground and some hidden treasures.  Sadie and I spent a foggy winter morning at Cates to enjoy some sun, fresh air and exploring.

One of the first things I like to do at Cates is head to the beach.  A stone’s throw away from the parking lot, it’s really accessible and kid friendly.  Lots of rocks for skipping, logs for climbing and sand for digging.  The shoreline is that large but it’s enough and there is some seating through out so you can stare out a the passing boats in the Indian Arm.

After some quality beach time we like to head out on a mini forest walk (perfect for little legs) along the Malcolm Lowry Trail to Mini Cates.  The entrance to the trail is just east of the large plaground, near the washrooms.  The tree lined trail takes you along the shoreline with a few stairs along the way to take you down to the beach.  This walk is great for kids – it’s not too long, lots of nature to explore and there is quite the reward at the end…

A beach front playground!  Mini Cates is tucked away at the end of the Malcolm Lowry Walk and deep in a residential subdivision.  I like the quiet, Sadie likes the swings.


Right next to the playground at Little Cates is the remains of the old Dollar Mill that once stood at the site before WWII.  The cement structure is a great place for a game of tag – just watch for the low ceilings!  It’s easy to get transported to another time here.


Tips for visiting Cates Park:

  • To get there take the first exit off the Second Narrows bridge and ftravel along the Dollarton Highway towards Deep Cove.  There is a big sign for Cates Park on the right-hand side of the road past Ravenwoods.
  • There is lots of free parking.
  • There is a concession during the summer for snacks and a number of picnic areas which can be reserved via the city.
  • The boat launch is open year-round for boats and kayaks.
  • Dogs are permitted on leash, year round, on the upper trail east and west of the entrance road only.
  • There is a First Nation canoe on display and a totem pole by the canoe.