Street and sidewalk use for business and activities

Viva Vancouver on Robson St

The sidewalks in the central business districts of Vancouver are designed to be wide enough to allow enough room for walking traffic at the same time as local business and entertainment activity.

Some activities require permits. Other activities are allowed, as long as guidelines are followed to keep our streets enjoyable and safe for the public.

Explore streets and sidewalk uses

A permit is needed to busk on most city streets.

Busking and entertainment

Musicians, performance artists, and illustrators can showcase their talents on City streets and in parks.

Parklets create dynamic public seating areas and attract potential customers

Mini plazas converted from parking spaces

Enhance the street in front of your business or organization by creating a parklet for people to sit, relax, enjoy the city, and possibly become customers. Parklets are extended platforms over parking spaces that include benches, tables, chairs, and landscaping.

Patios like this one require a small patios permit.

Sidewalk patios for restaurants and cafés

Food and beverage businesses may provide seating for customers on the sidewalk directly outside their shop.

Businesses that install outdoor patio seating on their own property require a development services permit.

Apply for: 

Retailers require a produce and flower display permit for outdoor displays.

Merchandise displays along storefronts

Retail businesses can put out City-approved items in effective, eye-catching merchandise displays on the sidewalk beside storefronts.

Food trucks at Street Food City during Dine Out Vancouver. Street food carts are selected based on quality and diversity of food, and more. 

Street vending

The City encourages street vending – including food, original artwork, crafts, and flowers. Street vending can bring people together and create other ways for the public to have the convenience of street-level products.

Posters must be placed on poster cylinders provided by the City of Vancouver.

Posters, sandwich boards, and signs

Advertise events for free by hanging posters on the poster cylinders, installed on many lamp stands around the City. 

Businesses may place a sandwich board directly in front of their store on City property. 

A temporary special zone permit allows you to reserve restricted parking spaces for moving trucks or construction.

Temporary construction and moving

To temporarily close off a portion of a street (up to one block) for construction or moving, apply for a street use and occupancy permit.

Marketing and canvassing for charity

To market and canvass on City streets, you may need to apply for a Soliciting for Charity licence.

Organizations registered either provincially (Society Act Certificate) or federally (Canada Corporations Act - Part II) as a non-profit organization may apply for a Soliciting for Charity licence.

Political and religious activities

A free permit is required before you can place any structure or object (besides a table) that conveys political expression on a City street, or hold a religious street meeting.

Contact Street Activities

5th Floor
507 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Z 0B4

Monday to Friday
8:30am to 5pm

Mailing address
Engineering Services
320 - 507 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Z 0B4


Watch for VIVA Vancouver

Every summer, City planners partner with local artists, community groups, and business improvement associations to transform roads into people spaces.

Learn about upcoming street transformations.

Find out more