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>>> See more Vancouver family travel tips in Destinations


 Moms Around  the World:

      Vancouver, B.C., Canada

      Tips for planning your visit from a local mom in the know


  In this feature: Great Places to Go   Getting Around   Dining with Kids         Practical Tips   New Mom Culture


Snow falling in Vancouver, B.C. - Travels with Baby, all rights reserved.Vancouver, 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 Winter Olympics.


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 Wee 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 to Vancouver.


Great places to visit with kids in Vancouver

Q: 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 Kids 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 Science World.


One of the things we do in the warmer weather is hop on our double bike and ride the 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 days?

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 in Vancouver.

Tips for getting around Vancouver with babies and young children

Q: 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?

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.

Q: 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 option.

Eating around Vancouver with kids

Q: What restaurants do you recommend parents visit—or avoid—in Vancouver?

Shana: Kids appear to be welcome in most "not high end" restaurants. Some favourites of ours are: The White Spot, The Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, Little Nest, 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

Q: 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 visiting Vancouver?

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 Chinatown.

  • 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 Cafe 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 La Casa Gelato. Try one of their 138 homemade flavours!

Life for the "new mom" in Vancouver, B.C.

Q: 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?


Shana: Most mothers take the full year or share it with their partners who can take “parental leave”.

Shana, thanks so much for sharing your Vancouver photos and great information for parent travelers!


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More Vancouver, BC family travel tips:


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Eat in the easy (and gourmet) way on your family's Vancouver Vacation


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Moms Around the World: Insider tips for your family's visit to Vancouver


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