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family travel tips in
Around the World:
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
planning your visit from a local mom in
this feature: Great Places to Go
Dining with Kids
New Mom Culture
British Columbia is the largest metropolitan area in
western Canada, and is the third largest city in the
nation. It's also commonly ranked in the top 10 most
liveable cities in the world, and in 2009 The
Economist magazine ranked Vancouver
the #1 Most Liveable City in the world, leading
Vienna (#2) and Melbourne (#3) among others. Add to that
Vancouver's proximity to world-class skiing and it's
easy to see how it won the honor of hosting the 2010
Shana Cherry, a local mom
and lifetime "Vancouverite," claims that Vancouver is
also the most beautiful city in the world. She is mom to
a 6 ½-year-old boy and is co-founder of Canada’s
Travel baby gear rental agencies, with branches
serving Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto. In addition,
she has worked as a child and adolescent therapist for
the past 20 years. Shana was kind enough to share her
insights on parenting in this "most liveable city," and
offer her insider tips for other parents planning travel
Great places to visit with kids in Vancouver
Shana, let’s start with some of your favorite places to
go with your own child in Vancouver?
Shana: My little boy loves going to
Granville Island. We visit the
Market there and go to the food market for cheese
bagels and smartie cookies and anything else that
tickles our fancy that day! He also loves the
Vancouver Aquarium and
One of the things we do in
the warmer weather is hop on our double bike and ride
sea wall that takes us all around
Stanley Park. In the warm weather there is also a
wonderful train park in Burnaby called
Confederation Park, where you can actually ride on
the miniature trains. Across from there is an awesome
water park. Between the two places we generally spend
the day out there.
Q: But as home to the Winter Olympics this year, we
can be sure the weather isn’t always sunny and warm in
Vancouver. How do you fill your time on rainy or snowy
Shana: When the weather is rainy the
Macmillan Planetarium is a great place. There is
also a place called
Cliffhanger which is an indoor rock climbing “gym”
and it's lots of fun. Ice skating, indoors, at a variety
of rinks is also a great way to spend a rainy afternoon
Tips for getting around
Vancouver with babies and young children
Would you recommend public transportation for those of
us who might be visiting Vancouver with young children?
Shana: Skytrain and buses are fine ways to travel
with babies. It's always easiest to have a light,
compact stroller as you will typically need to close it
up when you get on a bus although closing a stroller
isn't necessary on the Skytrain.
Here is the link to the
transit authority in Vancouver. You can find lots of
information on that site that includes transit schedules
and trip planning information.
Q: What is the best way to get around with babies and
young children, if not by public transportation?
Shana: In the nice weather it's great to walk in
Vancouver so a good stroller would be necessary.
Q: Are taxis practical or
reasonable in your area? Do you recommend renting a car?
Shana: Taxis are
quite expensive and renting a car is always a nice
option. Here is a link to a
family friendly car rental company.
What are the car seat laws in Vancouver?
Shana: All children until their first birthday
must be in a rear-facing seat that is suitable for their
weight. Once they have their first birthday, children
can be turned to face forward although it is recommended
to keep them rear-facing as long as possible because
it's the safest way to travel. From age 1 - 4 years or
until they reach 40 pounds, they can ride in a
forward-facing seat. Children who are 4 – 9 years or at
least 40 pounds can ride in a booster seat until they
reach 9 years of age or 4 feet 9 inches tall. Full back
boosters are for cars that don't have headrests in the
back and half-back boosters are for cars that have
headrests in the back seat. In Vancouver, car seats are
not mandatory in taxis, although that isn't a safe
Eating around Vancouver with kids
Q: What restaurants do you recommend parents visit—or
Shana: Kids appear to be welcome in most "not
high end" restaurants. Some favourites of ours are:
The Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company,
The University Golf Course,
Finest at Sea (best fish and chips) and
Go Fish (outdoor best fish and chips). It's always a
good idea to bring a toy or some drawing supplies to
keep the kids entertained!
Practical tips for visiting
Vancouver with babies, toddlers, and young children
Where can parents plan to shop for diapers, baby food,
and baby medicines while visiting?
Shana: London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, Babies R
Us. For organic supplies, try Capers, Whole Foods,
Choices and the Real Canadian Superstore.
Q: What other advice would you give to parents
Shana: I would say that they should research
Vancouver online before they come. There are great
resources that they can find if they "Google" words or
ideas of interest,
Tourism Vancouver is one of them. Overall:
Downtown is a wonderful area, as is
Grouse Mountain is a definite must see. The view is spectacular,
the ride up is fun and they may even see the grizzly bears that
are in an enclosed area but are free to roam.
If moms like to shop there are great
stores on Main and Commercial Streets as well as 4th Ave.
If they like coffee then the best coffee
place around is
Artigiano. There are numerous locations around the City.
If ice cream is a family favourite then
a trip to Vancouver is incomplete without a stop at
Casa Gelato. Try one of their 138 homemade flavours!
Life for the "new mom" in
Has raising children in Vancouver changed very much
since you were a child?
Shana: The world was a safer place when I was a
child and my mom says that she would leave us in our
strollers outside of the store while she went in. A
child might be taken away by a social worker if that
happened here now!
Q: Is it common to see mothers breastfeeding in
public in Vancouver, and do you have any advice for
nursing mothers who will be visiting?
Shana: Mothers breastfeed anywhere. Generally,
they have something covering their feeding child. I
think there are always people who will be “offended” and
think that mother shouldn't do that in public, but really
that is their problem!
Q: Are mothers allowed a “maternity leave” by the
government or private businesses?
Moms have a year of maternity leave, which is wonderful and
a good reason to live in Canada!
Q: Is it more common for
new mothers to work or to stay home?
Most mothers take the full
year or share it with their partners who can take
Shana, thanks so much for sharing your Vancouver photos and great
information for parent travelers!
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