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March/April 2017


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Break Time! With March comes the excitement for parents and kids who are looking forward to a week off to welcome spring. Children are excited to explore camps and activities while parents welcome the chance to embrace a little family time. WestCoast Families has you covered with what to do and where to go this time of year. Check out our Spring Break guide to keep you entertained no matter your interests. March also welcomes our annual Sleepaway Camp guide! Before you know it, summer will be here and if you don’t act now, you might find yourself having missed some booking deadlines to get your child into a camp of their choice. We have tons of information and listings to help you pick the perfect camp based on location, your child’s interests, and more. And in this special issue, you’ll find our annual Family Travel and Adventure Guide. Tug out this insert and keep it with you whenever you want to plan your next family getaway. Also, don’t miss our monthly Last Look! We’re excited this month to feature our Keep-in-Touch Kit, designed to help your kids stay connected with school, camp and travel buddies long once the fun is over. Help them go analog with cards, stamps and decorations to connect, no matter the distance. As always, we hope you enjoy this issue and value our amazing advertisers, who help us to bring you all this local information each and every month. Managing Editor Andrea Vance Assistant Editor Kelly S. Thompson Contributing Editor Jodi Iverson Art Director & Layout Krysta Furioso Administration Jennifer Bruyns

Assistant Editor Accounts Receivable & Payable Jennifer Brule

wcf presents Advertising 604.249.2866 Published by National Families Network Publisher: Andrea Vance

15th Annual Early Years Festival Saturday April 8, 2017 Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre 13458 - 107A Avenue For distribution inquiries, please email For submissions to our community calendars, please email To share your feedback, please email Contributors Jennifer Bruyns, Krysta Furioso, Jodi Iverson,

Healthy Family Expo Sunday, March 26th, 9am-5pm Vancouver Convention Centre (East Building) – 999 Canada Place Way *use code WCF241 for 2-for-1 admission online!

See pages 18-21 in this issue for the Healthy Family Expo guide!

Claire Newell, Kay Protheroe, Angela Santoro, Kelly S. Thompson, Andrea Vance All contents copyrighted ©. Written permission from the publisher is required to reproduce, quote, reprint or copy any material from WestCoast Families Mailing address: 1215-C56 St. Box 18057 Delta, BC V4L 2M4 T 604 249 2866 | F 604 676 2802



Visit us online for new contests every issue!

Ride the Rails! Family Camping Getaway What’s better than camping? Experiencing it as a family! Check out Camp Elphinstone in the Howe Sound and explore archery, climbing, rope courses, kayaking and so much more. We’re giving away a four-day, YMCA Family Camp getaway for two adults and two children, valued at over $600! With hiking and swimming, campfires and more, the whole family will have a blast in the great outdoors with three nutritious meals a day and accommodations in cozy cabins or lodges. * Please note that camp dates are from August 30-September 2.

All aboard with Thomas the Train, who is coming back to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish with the Friendship Tour, Day Out With Thomas. Meet Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt while riding the rails before taking a spin in the bounce castle and watching a wild magic show. We’re giving away three family four-packs of tickets, so enter today for a chance to explore and engage with Thomas and all his friends. That’s a value of over $100 per family pack of tickets! Deadline to enter: April 30, 2017. Learn more and enter at

Deadline to enter: May 31, 2017. Enter at

March/April 2017


westcoast finds

Britax Parkway Booster Seat

Pillow Fight Factory Play Date Card

Safety is always top priority when it comes to little ones, and Britax’s Parkway Booster is the cream of the crop. It’s super comfortable, but designed to compress in an accident to lower the centre of gravity, ensuring your child is safe and comfy. It’s also super simple to install with just a few clicks.

Made right in Vancouver, these fun cards are like a business card for kids! Let them play grown-up by handing out their very own information card, complete with cute designs and illustrations. Kids can connect, email, and get in touch with one another the old-fashioned way! Plus, all card orders come with a mini 3x3 inch tooth fairy pillow with a perfect pouch for lost teeth. | $200 | $40


Consonant Skincare Travel Kit There’s nothing worse than travelling without your favourite products, stuck with the poor-quality mini bottles doled out at hotels. Thankfully, Consonant Skincare has this handy kit chock full with their bestselling and award-winning goodies: face wash, hand cream, face cream, body lotion and lip conditioner. Pick from one of three scents (or scent free!) to make the most of carry-on baggage with all the necessities tucked in an organic cotton bag. | $75

Summer Infant 3Dtote Convenience Stroller This stroller is great for on-the-go, with more room for you and baby’s things than you could ever imagine! There’s a huge basket for carrying shopping and other items, and it comes with a cup holder, which is super convenient. There’s also safety brakes on wheels and it’s super easy to setup and take down, with a handy carrying strap, which is great for travel. | $130

Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Travelling with baby? Then you have to have this ingenious portable baby playpen, complete with a handy overhead cover that acts like an umbrella to protect your child from the sun in outdoor play. It’s nice and big, but folds up small, making it a perfect companion for travel, road trips, and days at the beach. | $90

March/April 2017



camp guide

Summer will be here before you know it, and many sleepaway camps book up early. We’ve gathered details on our favourite camps to share with you! Check out all the amazing sleepaway camps in this issue and online at

asking the experts

local camps give their best advice for young campers Tim Larson Camp Squeah

Craig Douglas Timberline Ranch

What is the campers’ favourite evening activity at your camp?

What is the campers’ favourite evening activity at your camp?

Our evening Chapel in the Sky tradition, winding up the ridge to the amphitheater style seating, looking over the valley and the stars and the mountains with a campfire and music playing.

Kids absolutely LOVE campfires every evening at Timberline Ranch! Such a great time to sing and see a skit and listen to staff share their stories.

What is the most unique thing at your camp? We are a camp that utilizes the centralized model of counselling. Our cabin leaders sole responsibility is to be with and support, befriend, care for and encourage the campers 24 hours a day during the camp. Cabin counsellors are not working the kitchen or activity leading. Their sole responsibility is the children in their care. Another unique thing here is Cage Ball—an activity I’ve only ever seen at Camp Squeah.


What makes families choose your camp? I think people choose Timberline at first because of the great reputation, established over 56 years, and the fun activities, but they seem to keep coming back because of the great staff, the amazing food, and a community that feels like their second home.

What is the most unique thing at your camp? Timberline Ranch is the most popular horse Ranch in BC! Our horse activities are very high quality, and some things, like “hoof-ball,” are pretty unusual!

Lisa Stiver YMCA Camp Elphinstone

What is the most unique thing at your camp? YMCA Camp Elphinstone provides opportunities for both Canadian and International campers and staff to live and play together at camp. With close to 20 nations represented, it’s an amazing opportunity to make friends from around the world.

How do you help first time campers? We have staff always ready to answer questions by phone, e-mail or in person. We provide opportunities for families to come and visit camp and on Healthy Kids Day, our Annual Open House, they can experience all that we have to offer. We also offer a mini camp, for our younger participants, to try it out for three nights, allowing a short stay.

What’s new at your camp this year? New programs this year will include Rocks and Ropes and Advanced Sailing Camp Programs for further skill development.

Camp Artaban

What unique traditions do you have? Opening and closing ceremonies are a special time for new and old campers alike. New campers are given woodchips to add to the first campfire, symbolizing their role in keeping camp going; old campers are given candles symbolizing the light of camp that they bring with them each time they come. At the end of their camp, all campers have a candle at the closing ceremonies. We have a beautiful open-air chapel set in the forest, and sometimes we relocate to the end of the wharf for an evening of Rock the Dock.

How do you inspire new friendships between campers? There are, at most, eight children of the same age and gender in a cabin. To encourage bonding, at the beginning of camp, campers create a banner and a cheer or song, which is unique to their cabin during the week. Counsellors lead cabin talks and ice breakers and provide many opportunities for social interaction. During their time at camp, there are many opportunities for interaction with others who share similar interests. Counsellors help foster these friendships, which can often last a lifetime.  >>>Continued on page 14

March/April 2017


camp 2017

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• sports camps Aspengrove Equestrian Academy


Treeline Summer Camps


Island Escapades

Salt Spring Island

SLS Summer Rugby Academy

Shawnigan Lake

Timberline Ranch

Maple Ridge

Webbs Holiday Acres


specialized camps BC Family French Camp

Salmon Arm, Chetwynd, Nanaimo

Camp Goodtimes

Vancouver & Maple Ridge

Easter Seal Camps

Shawnigan, Winfield, Squamish

Eureka camp Society

Gibsons & Lone Butte

Tamwood Camp

Whistler & Vancouver


Cowichan Lake

Venture Academy Summer Program


Zajac Ranch


outdoor adventure camps Camp Grafton

Shuswap Lake

Camp Jubilee

Indian Arm, Mt Seymour

Camp Potlatch - Boys and Girls Club

Howe Sound

Camp Pringle

Shawnigan Lake

Camp Summit


Camp Thunderbird - YMCA


Evans Lake Summer Camp


Fireside Adventures

Multiple locations, BC


Gambier Island


Port Moody

Strathcona WYLD Camp

Strathcona Provincial Park

YMCA Camps

Gibsons & Kamloops


guide listings

•• part 1: sleepaway camps

Advertisers listed in red

religious/spiritual camps Camp Artaban

North Vancouver

Camp Bow-Isle

Bowen Island

Camp Douglas

Roberts Creek, Sunshine Coast

Camp Fircom

Gambier Island

Camp Firwood (Bellingham)

Bellingham, WA

Camp Hatikvah

Lake Country

Camp Homewood

Quadra Island

Camp Imadene

Mesachie Lake, Vancouver Island

Camp Luther


Camp Mackenzie

Mabel Lake

Camp Miriam

Gabriola Island

Camp Qwanoes


Camp Squeah

Fraser Canyon

Camp Tulahead


Gardom Lake


Green Bay Bible Camp

West Kelowna



Keats Camps

Keats Island

Camp Owaissi


Pioneer Pacific Inter-Varsity Camps

Thetis Island

Salvation Army Camp Sunrise


Stillwood Camp

Lindell Beach

Sunnybrae Bible Camp

Shuswap Lake

arts & technology camps Camp Narnia

Nanoose Bay

Centre for Digital Media


Comox Valley Youth Music Centre


Debate Camp Canada


Digital Media Academy

UBC Campus

Film & Television School

Galiano Island

Guitar Workshop Plus

Vancouver March/April 2017 13

2017 camp guide

more from “asking the experts”

Scott Bayley Camp Qwanoes

What’s new at your camp this year?

Where do you find your best camp counsellors?

At Qwanoes, there’s always new adventure and always more fun! We’re adding the Airwalk Village to our Challenge Course...defy gravity as you stretch, balance and

We welcome staff from throughout BC, across Canada and around the world! Each summer we welcome staff from about 12 countries and they all join together in unity to create an unforgettable week for our campers. Many of our staff have completed one or all of our four levels of leadership programs. All staff are carefully screened with an application process that includes multiple references, an interview, and a criminal record check. Our staff can’t wait to share a week with our campers and make it one that lasts forever!


brave your way through what may seem like endless, interconnected challenges. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Aqua Park, we’re expanding it and adding the Igloo, Moonwalk, and the Qube. Put your investigative skills to the test, show off your shrewdness and see if you and your friends will either crack under the pressure...or break free before it’s too late in our new Captain-Q’s Escape Room!



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emories made together, last a lifetime”. Here on the west coast, we love our adventures – whether it’s a weekend in Whistler, a ferry ride to Victoria, a week in the sunny Okanagan, a flight to a sunny beach or an international adventure full of history and intrigue. We are adventurers and we love to explore – finding that perfect spot to take a deep breath and soak it all in. And when we can do that with our family by our side, it’s so much better. Welcome to the fourth annual Family Travel & Adventure Guide, published by WestCoast Families. This year we’ve partnered again with Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets to provide you with so much inspiration for the year ahead. Use this guide to spark your imagination and kick-start your plans to make memories for years to come. Want more ideas? Head to to our Family Travel & Adventure online guide where you’ll find even more encouragement to make your dreams a reality.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart”.

Publisher & Managing Editor, Andrea Vance Assistant Editor, Kelly S. Thompson

Publisher & Managing Editor

Contributing Editor, Jodi Iverson Art Director & Layout, Krysta Furioso


Administration, Jennifer Bruyns Accounts Receivable & Payable, Jennifer Brule Advertising, Contributor, Claire Newell


Cuba for Families Sunny and Social

Europe with Little Ones the best family-friendly European hotspots



Caribbean-Family Style! The sunniest hotspots


Cover Yourself! Claire’s checklist for international travel

US Destinations Unique USA Destinations for kids

is a travel expert, author and a recognized authority on the travel industry in North America for more than 24 years. Claire is the official Travel Expert for Global News, CKNW radio and the best selling author of Travel Best Bets. She has appeared multiple times on major US networks including NBC’s Today Show, Fox News and CNN. She has written articles for Success, Professional Woman, Reader’s Digest and Today’s Parent. Claire has been a media spokesperson for many companies including Disney, Hilton Hotels, CHASE, TD, and Bridgestone.

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tips, resources, and valuable information for local internationaland family travel and fun!

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europe with little ones the best family-friendly european hotspots by Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets

Europe is a great choice for a family vacation. A lot of parents think Europe is off-limits for family vacations, reasoning that children can’t possibly appreciate the history, art and cuisine that the continent has to offer. Trust me—it definitely can be done right and everyone will have a great time. Although the initial flight from Vancouver is on the longer side, once you are there, it’s super easy to get from country to country by train or air. A passport is required and the required validity varies between three to six months beyond your expected stay. Canadians don’t need a visa for almost all of the European countries with the exception of Turkey. This can be obtained online prior to arrival, or you can simply get one when you arrive. Eastern Europe is definitely increasing in popularity and we are seeing more and more people eager to visit cities that haven’t been as popular in the past. Here are some of my top picks for top destinations in Europe for 2017.

Budapest Budapest, Hungary is a gorgeous city nestled in the heart of Eastern Europe. It is scenic, youthful and stylish, with top-notch classical music, steamy thermal baths and buzzing nightlife. With a dramatic past as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it’s rich with history, culture, stunning architecture, and an exciting variety of year-round family activities. Some great options are the Budapest Zoo, which is home to a beautiful Art Nouveau Elephant House, or Aquaworld, a large indoor water park with its own “Kids’ World,” complete with slides and a playhouse. For a learning experience, take your family to the Palace of Miracles, a unique interactive exhibition designed for


travel & adventure guide

kids; the Museum of Transport, with its old trains, motorcycles and cars; the Hungarian Railway Museum for a ride on a vintage railcar; and the Hungarian Natural History Museum to explore one of its many exhibits. There are children’s playgrounds all over Budapest and the best is in the Millenaris Park. The beautifully landscaped Kopaszi-gát is another great place for kids with playgrounds, a sandy beach, and many kid-friendly restaurants.

Paris This is the perfect city to show your kids some culture and history. Keep in mind there is only so many museums and monuments that the little ones can handle without rolling their eyes and dragging their feet, but the Louvre is a must see. You probably won’t get through the entire place so stick to the hits. Pick out a few paintings and sculptures in advance, learn their history, discuss them with your kids, and then seek them out when you’re there. Kids also love the Eiffel Tower. My advice is to take the stairs to the second level (as far as they go) for a shorter line and then take the elevator to the very top. The views can’t be beat and at nighttime, it’s gorgeous, with a beautiful strobe light show that is absolutely breathtaking. Also not to be missed is the Paris by Mouyh Food Tour, which kids and adults will absolutely love. They are so much fun and while they’re not designed with families in mind, if your kids are into trying new things it’s a great introduction into the local food and culture. The main food stops are chocolate, cheese, and pastries. So what’s not to like?

Prague Prague is located in the heart of Europe and is a great place for families to discover the charms of the city’s Old Town and New Town, as well as its historic Jewish Quarter. Whether you choose to visit during the flower-filled spring and summer months or during the festive Christmas Market period, Prague is a city with limitless offerings for families. Prague Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site is the perfect place to go exploring. At more than 70,000 metres squared, it’s one of the largest castle complexes in the world. In Prague’s Old Town Square there is an amazing medieval Astronomical Clock, which will enamour children, even those who can’t tell time—thanks to the clock’s golden, shifting gadgets. To spend some time near the beautiful Vltava River, head to Charles Bridge. Kids love racing up the two towers at either end for a bird’s eye view of the city. Prague is also famous for its marionette shows. Make sure to let your children pick out marionette souvenirs. They come in countless characters—from animals and dragons to Harry Potter and Pinocchio. The city is also home to a planetarium, the largest waterpark in central Europe, and a zoo.

London What is there not to love about London? Any time is a great time to visit this English city. There are so many incredible indoor museums and exhibits that even the less crowded winter months are a wonderful time to see the sights. Kids will absolutely love Harrods’ Toy Kingdom, complete with a big top, candy store, enchanted forest and alien space pods. And we Muggles can’t miss the Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio. The two-hour private tour of Harry Potter’s London is simply magic. Shrek’s Adventure is a great time too. Getting around in London is half of the fun and kids will love using the Tube. The trains come quickly and speed through the underground tunnel system, so it’s definitely a cool experience for us West Coast Canadians. The bright red double-decker buses are also something to marvel at. I definitely recommend doing a hop-on-hop-off tour around the city—it’s a really cool way to see London. If it isn’t raining, kids will love sitting on the second level, which is open air. Usually, a free river cruise from Westminster to the Tower of London is included in the price of the ticket.

Barcelona Barcelona has a creative, playful spirit that kids will soak up when you travel to the city. Gaudi’s fantastical houses and architectural creations—like tiled mosaics in the shape of dragons and chimneys with faces— are timeless marvels of imagination. Barcelona is also an old city and in Roman times it was called Barcino. And wherever you go to Barcelona with kids, whether it’s running along on the ramparts of the Montjuic castle, riding in a cable car across the harbour, or just playing in the sand, the blue Mediterranean is always at your feet. Park Güell is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Gaudi’s most well known works of art. It will leave you feeling like you stepped through the looking glass into Wonderland. You can’t leave Barcelona without taking a stroll down Las Ramblas, the city’s most famous series of streets. Your kids won’t know where to look as you pass by artists, buskers, mimes, and vendors. Barcelona has some great beaches, so if you’re visiting the city in the summer, a beach day with the family is a must-do.

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Caribbean—Family Style! The sunniest hotspots by Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets


ooking for sun, sand, and surf? Look no further than a sunny Caribbean destination that promises fun for the whole family. With great kids’ clubs, tons of food selections and a variety of activities and excursions, everyone will return home happy and rested!

Turks and Caicos Turks and Caicos has all you could possibly want in a Caribbean vacation. Gorgeous beaches and water perfect for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. Grand Turk is the capital and the main historic area, while Cockburn Town is the centrepiece of the island, with Colonial style buildings and ruins, along with The Turks and Caicos National Museum. Also not to be missed is Providenciales, which is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches and has been ranked “Best Beach” by Condé Nast magazine. In the area, Grace Bay has Princess Alexandra Marine Park, home to dolphins and the world’s first conch farm, which kids will adore. Some fun activities with kids include taking a boat cruise, iguana spotting, snorkelling and horseback riding. Where to stay… Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa This property has a 45,000 square-foot waterpark, a 19-kilometre beach, and endless activities for all ages, featuring Sesame Street™ characters, the Xbox Play Lounge, and a teen disco. Blue Haven Resort Although this property is not an all-inclusive, it does include breakfast. Families love this property for its one, two, and three-bedroom suites, kids’ club and babysitting services. It’s also located on a gorgeous beach with calm waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Dominican Republic Dominican Republic is the second largest and arguably the most diverse Caribbean country.


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Photo Courtesy of Beaches Resorts

It’s located just two hours from Miami and is well known for warm weather and welcoming people. Punta Cana is renowned for its dazzling, powdery white sand beaches and is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Puerta Plata is on the Atlantic side, so the water is better for watersports rather than novice swimmers. The sand is coarser than the beaches of Punta Cana but is still stunning, with crystal blue water lining the shores. Kids will love ziplining or visiting one of the local surf camps. The more adventurous can take a dune buggy tour or even go caving and rappelling in a local underwater river.

Where to stay… Nickelodeon Hotel This Karisma Property merges elegance and family fun. There are a huge variety of Nickelodeon activities for kids, and adults will love the gourmet food and activities, like Spanish lessons, yoga, aqua aerobics, dancing and cooking classes. Hard Rock Hotel People often think that this property is not necessarily for kids–they’re wrong! The pool area and beach have family lounges and cabanas that are perfect for playing in the sun. There are daily activities for the kids plus Rock Star Mini-Golf, an arcade centre, and a massive climbing wall.

Jamaica Miles of untouched coastline, cascading waterfalls, reggae music and friendly people—these are just some of the highlights of Jamaica. If it’s perfectly white, sandy beaches you are after, Montego Bay is your ideal destination. This region is home to many of the island’s amazing resorts. But if hitting the stores is more your style, Ocho Rios is a shoppers dream come true. You will find tiny stalls with local vendors selling trinkets, as well as bigger stores with world-class brands. As a family trip, be sure not to miss Dunns River Falls, AquaSol Watersports Theme Park, the Bob Marley Museum and a horseback riding tour. Where to stay… Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Hotel The Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Hotel always seems to make the top ten list of Caribbean resorts. It is surrounded by gorgeous beaches and beautiful gardens. There is a kids-only pool and a fun kids’ club with organized games the little ones and teens will love.

Where to stay… Disney Cruise Line Disney cruises are just about as kid-friendly as a cruise line can get! There are Broadway-quality live performances, fireworks at sea, deck parties and screenings of the newest Disney movies in 3D. Kids will love the thrilling “water coaster,” AquaDuck. Royal Caribbean Royal Caribbean definitely impresses kids and adults with some of their incredible amenities. Feel like you are skydiving on-board with the RipCord by iFLY® simulator, or ascend 300 feet above the ship in the North StarSM observation capsule. Royal Caribbean is partnered with DreamWorks, so you will see characters from Shrek and Kung Fu Panda wandering around on-board.

Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf & Waterpark Resort Beaches Ocho Rios is fantastic for kids. There is a huge action-adventure waterpark onsite with thrilling waterslides the whole family will love. Little gamers will enjoy the Xbox Play Lounge Game Garage and toddlers will be dazzled by the Sesame Street™-themed kids club.

Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Caribbean Cruise A Caribbean cruise is a great way to see several islands during one trip. The best part?—You only unpack once! Most mainstream cruise lines are super kid-friendly nowadays, and seem to get crazier and crazier amenities every year and for those nervous about being on the water, these ships are huge. Besides incredible kids’ clubs with a huge variety of activities, ships now have giant waterslides, rock climbing walls, surf simulators, skating rinks, and more. My advice is to do your research and find out not just what cruise line but what ship you want to be on. travel & adventure guide



travel &adventure

cuba for families sunny and social By Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets

What to Expect Cuba is an eye-opening destination for any traveller, but especially so for children, who will discover a way of life without the tablets, technology, and shopping that so many of us take for granted. Since Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic relations in July 2015, I expect to see some major North American influence take effect. Restored trade will lead to a “newer” Cuba, so to speak. I recommend going sooner than later so that you can experience how this beautiful place has been preserved without outside influence. What Cuba lacks in “typical” attractions for kids, it makes up for with its rich history and culture. The key for holiday planning is to ignore standard entertainment schedules and think outside the box. In general, hotels in Cuba are family-friendly, whether you are staying in a boutique hotel in Havana or an all-inclusive on the beach, and all the big brand, all-inclusive properties are available in Cuba. Although you won’t be


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immersing yourself 100 per cent into the Cuban culture, the kids will love swimming in the pool and devouring the treats at the buffets. The only consistent complaint I have heard about Cuba is the lack in variety of cuisine. This, of course, is directly related to the trade embargo that the country faced for so many years. There are very little fruit and vegetables available and dishes tend to be quite bland with a lack of spices. If you aren’t picky, you will be fine. Staples include rice, beans, and a variety of meats. It’s the culture of Cuba that is its biggest attraction. The people are warm and welcoming and the streets are safe, with very little traffic. Kids can take part in the many dancing and drumming classes in the cities and explore some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Every provincial city in Cuba has a baseball stadium selling tickets for next to nothing. This is a great activity to do as a family. Ice cream is also a major part of the Cuban culture and the shops are usually full of local families sharing tables and socializing.

Where to Go

What to Bring


If you’re travelling with babies and young children, the best rule of thumb is to bring all the stuff you will need. Local supplies are generally scarce and shouldn’t be relied upon, especially in the smaller towns. Essentials will include diapers, formula, baby food, wet wipes, and pediatric medicines.

Varadero has some of the most spectacular beaches and a variety of amazing hotels to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood to simply lounge by the pool or explore the miles and miles of white sand beaches, you’re sure to get your fill of fun in the sun. Havana Get ready to step back into the 1950s. In Havana, the streets are full of vintage cars, news is received via radio, and produce is transported in from outer regions by wheelbarrow. The colonial architecture and colourful buildings photo by Moyen Brebn painted in pastels are fascinating to look at. The people are friendly and helpful and the whole family will love exploring the local markets and restaurants. Cayo Coco/Cayo Guillermo Cayo Coco is a paradise of tropical vegetation, beautiful white-sand beaches and a coral reef. This is a great place for snorkelling and swimming. To the west of Cayo Coco is Gayo Guillermo, home to the highest sand dune in the Caribbean. Apparently, it was once a favourite hangout of Ernest Hemingway. There are many great resorts in the area as well. Holguin Holguin is probably most famous for Cuban music. It is the perfect destination for dancing and enjoying the nightlife and the whole family will love the vibe. The weather is ideal and Cubans are said to say that Holguin only has two seasons: summer, where temperatures rise above 30, and winter, where it stays around 25 degrees Celsius. Santa Clara Santa Clara is a tiny island just over 13 kilometres long and a little over two kilometres wide. The incredible beaches here are stunning and this spot is the perfect blend of land and sea, flora and fauna, making it the perfect location for exploring as a family, snorkelling, and scuba diving.

For older kids you might want to bring some multivitamins and snacks, like granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, and other healthy options. Download any games, books, or entertainment you require before you go. Internet isn’t great in Cuba, as can be expected. Because the food tends to be on the bland side, you might want to bring some essentials in your checked luggage. Things like ketchup, hot sauce, salad dressing, soy sauce, and spices may come in handy. And last but not least, brand name clothing is hard to come by in Cuba. I usually recommend bringing a bag of clothing your family was going to donate and give it to the hotel staff. It is usually greatly appreciated.


travel &adventure guide

Don’t forget to head to head to our website for our online Family Travel & Adventure Guide, where you’ll find more inspiration and ideas, plus live links to great family adventures! travel-and-adventure

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Cover Yourself! Claire’s checklist for international travel by Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets


Claire and family in

ravelling internationally brings a specific set of challenges to travellers well beyond that of any domestic trip within Canada. Documentation, licensing, insurance, healthcare and bill payments at home are all important considerations. Here’s my checklist with travelling anywhere outside of Canada to ensure a problemfree international trip.


Check for country specific entry/exit requirements, including visas, country warnings and advisories. The Canadian Government’s website,, is a great place to learn detailed information about each county’s entry, exit, and visa requirements for Canadians. On the site, travellers can find detailed information about each country’s safety and security problems, too. Also, check their “alerts and warnings” page for the current, most up-to-date specific warnings and alerts about countries throughout the world. Register each trip. Register all international trips free of charge on The service allows Canadians travelling abroad to enroll their trip details online. The information entered is available to the appropriate Canadian Embassies and Consulates in case of emergency. They use it to call, text, and send you email alerts in case of local or family emergencies or possible evacuations. Make sure your passport has six-month validity. Many countries around the word require visitors’ passports to be valid for at least six months, either when they enter or leave their country. Renew your passport at least eight or nine months before its expiration, just to be safe. See if you need an International Drivers Permit. If you plan to drive in a foreign country, be aware that many countries don’t recognize Canadian driver’s licenses without an accompanying international driver’s permit. Do your research first. Have copies of all your travel documents available in case they are lost or stolen. In years past, savvy international travellers carried multiple printed copies of all their travel documents, passports, tickets, itinerary, wallet contents, etc., and left a copy with a friend or relative at home in case the documents were lost or stolen. Today, instead of printed copies, I recommend keeping them in password protected Adobe PDF files on your smartphone and tablet, plus another saved on an online data storage service, like iCloud.

10 travel & adventure guide

Obtain necessary vaccinations and fill all prescriptions. Check for any vaccines, medicines, and advice page for the destination you are travelling to. Also, speak with your physician about vaccinations and medication for your trip and fill any prescriptions you’ll need for your journey. Have a complete supply, plus some extra medication for the full duration of your trip and be sure to keep them in their original containers to prove validity. Bring copies of every prescription and proof of every vaccination you have for your trip. Investigate travel and health insurance. You may need to obtain health insurance for your trip. Check any work and credit card coverage you may have to determine where you need some added protection. If not, don’t leave the country without emergency travel medical coverage at a minimum. I never travel internationally without comprehensive travel insurance, including health coverage. Don’t wreck a trip with massive medical bills for a small accident.

Manage your credit cards and ATM card for international travel. If you don’t have one, get a credit card that won’t charge you high fees for international use. Make sure your ATM card will work internationally so you’ll be able to obtain local currency quickly and easily. Before you leave, call your credit card company to give them your trip’s destinations to prevent fraud and problems using it while away. Bring cash from home and some local cash if you’re not flying into a major airport. Too many people forget to bring emergency cash for their return home. If you’re flying into a small airport at your destination, it may be difficult to

obtain local cash there, so bring it from home. Otherwise, it is generally easy and inexpensive to obtain local currency at bank-based ATMs, at various locations, while travelling. Contact your smartphone cellular provider for international travel. Your smartphone can be your best friend in an emergency or if you’re lost walking in a big city, so make sure you won’t break the bank using it. Without an international data plan and perhaps a calling plan, you can rack up high charges quickly. Alternately, consider purchasing or renting a local cellphone or SIM at your destination.

Be prepared to use local electricity to power/ charge your electronics. Bring the correct plug adapters necessary to use local power at your destinations. Ensure your devices can handle the voltage at your destinations or bring a transformer. I hope that this checklist makes your next trip outside of Canada a smooth journey. Just keep in mind that even more planning may be necessary for your specific trip, particularly if it’s off the beaten path. That said, an experienced travel agent can be an invaluable resource to help you plan every detail of your next trip.

Unique •USA• Destinations for Kids

by Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets

New York City New York City offers great parks, museums, restaurants and toy stores across the five boroughs. What could be more NYC than seeing the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and taking a bike tour through Central Park? Take the Staten Island Ferry to see the city skyline, or go see a kid-friendly Broadway show. The Children’s Museum in Manhattan has tons of cool interactive exhibitions and kids will go nuts over Toys “R” Us’ massive flagship store in Times Square. Explore any of the many family favourite restaurants, like ramen, themed diners, high tea cafés and kid-friendly bars. For a sugar rush. visit Dylan’s Candy Bar, which is Candyland come to life, with a giant lollipop tree, and over 7,000 confections.

San Diego

Las Vegas

San Diego is a top-notch tourist destination for families. It is home to world-renowned tourist attractions and museums, so you’ll never run out of things to do with the kids. Even with more than 110 kilometres of picturesque beaches, San Diego maintains a “small town” atmosphere that makes a family vacation feel manageable. Most importantly, there are plenty of things to do in San Diego that you’ll enjoy no matter how young or old you are! Attractions like Seaworld, Legoland, San Diego Zoo and Belmont Park Seaside amusement park are sure to impress. Seaport Village is the perfect place to round out your San Diego experience, with seaside shops, restaurants, and outdoor entertainment the whole family will love.

Vegas might not seem kid friendly, but it is! Little ones will love the Tournament of Kings (one of Las Vegas’last dinner shows), where you are transported to King Arthur’s court and encouraged to eat with your hands! The Stratosphere Hotel has four thrill rides on its roof and Circus Circus has its own theme park and the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a must-see, with over 2000 animals and a Touch Pool experience. Those little gamers will love GameWorks, which sports over 250 games in a massive venue. Some great hotel options are the Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, Luxor and the Mirage. Do a little research and see what each has to offer. Plus a major bonus is that it’s a super short, direct flight from Vancouver and rates are almost always quite cheap.

travel & adventure guide


wcf news >> 4 BC Principals Make the Grade

>> Anti-Bullying with viaSport

We’ve all had a principal who touched our lives and helped to shepherd us into bright futures. Principals have a lot to deal with, including budgeting, bureaucracy, and the pressures of shaping young minds in conjunction with teachers. Thankfully, several Canadian principals are receiving their due with the Learning Partnership, who recently announced their list of 40 top education leaders in their search for Canada’s Outstanding Principals of 2017. The celebration is in its 13th year and seeks to recognize principals who go above and beyond the call of duty by engaging in their community and with their students while finding unique solutions to complicated problems. A gala held in February honoured the top contenders in Toronto. Best news of all is that four BC principals made the shortlist; Alida Privett of Mar Jok Elementary School in the Okanagan, Jacqueline Taylor of Ellison Elementary School in Vernon, Michael Franklin of GROW Alternate Education Centre in Williams Lake, and Angelo Morelli of École K. B. Woodward in Surrey. The winners also benefit from an exclusive five-day executive leadership training program at one of Canada’s top business schools, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, introducing them to leadership and management practices. The greatest honour is that all winners were nominated by their colleagues, proving that education impacts us all.

Engaging in sport is vital for children and adults, keeping us active and connecting us with our community and other sport lovers. viaSport has been at the forefront of promoting amateur sport in BC, and their new province-wide program aims to erase bullying from any and all playing fields. Bullying anywhere can result in a child no longer wanting to participate or engage, withdrawing from something they may love and setting back both physical and mental health. A recent viaSport survey showed that 94 per cent of sport organizations across B.C. believe bullying in sport is a critical issue. That’s why these organizations, along with the support of BC’s top athletes, professional sport leaders and the provincial government are aligning. viaSport and the Government of British Columbia are encouraging all provincial sport organizations to sign a Declaration of Commitment to erase bullying in sport throughout BC. “Sport is a powerful catalyst for personal growth and community pride; those participating in sport, at any level, should feel safe and encouraged,” says Sheila Bouman, viaSport CEO. “On behalf of the 73 provincial sport organizations viaSport funds, and the 670,000 B.C. members these organizations represent, we are determined to ensure a safe, welcoming and positive sport culture and environment for all British Columbians.” Encourage your local sport organization to sign the pledge and offer happy, positive fitness environments for all.

>> Terry Fox Exhibit at Royal BC Museum Few Canadians are as iconic as Terry Fox. He set the stage for cancer awareness while sporting pride in his nation during his run across the country. The Royal BC Museum, in support of Canada’s 150th birthday, is Terry Fox- A visitor explores the launching a new exhibit, Running to the Marathon of Hope events using Heart of Canada, which opens April 12, an interactive touchscreen map in 2017, precisely 37 years from the day Terry the exhibition Terry Fox – Running dipped his prosthetic leg in the ocean in to the Heart of Canada. Canadian Museum of History Newfoundland. “Terry Fox lives in the hearts and minds of many people in Canada and indeed around the world,”said Prof. Jack Lohman, CEO of the Royal BC Museum. “These very personal items will evoke much emotion and respect, inspiring all of us and the good work that flows from it.” Terry Fox ran an incredible 5,373 kilometres, and his journey will be immortalized at the museum until October. The exhibit will offer unique insight into Terry’s life through his journals, the van that followed him during his run, and photographs and mementos. Learn more about the day-to-day operations of the run and look at the impressive impact he had on our nation and the world. Not to be missed are the touching cards and letters of support Terry received during his trip. Use the hashtag #RBCMTerryFox to get involved in the conversation. And it doesn’t stop there. Since Terry’s journey connected all of us with the importance of family, there is an extra exhibit titled Family, Bonds and Belonging. Explore our connections with one another in this exciting and engaging experience.

>> Sara’s Shore Cleanup For some, the environment is a passing interest, but for Sara Bauman, it is not only what she loves, but what drives her choices and creativity. Sara has been an avid environmentalist since the ripe age of three. “Balloons are bad,”she said to store clerks who were giving away balloons. “Don’t you know after they deflate they end up in the ocean and hurt animals?” 10 years later, her passion for cleaning up the oceans has only continued. This year, Sara is training for her Bat Mitzvah, the ritual marking a girl’s passage from childhood to adulthood in the Jewish religion. Aside from intense Hebrew and Judiac studies, she has to plan, organize, and execute a community service close to her heart. Naturally, the oceans call and she is cleaning up her favourite Vancouver Beach where she spends many summer days. Join her and her crew clean up Kits Beach and help to celebrate Sara’s fourth beach clean up. The event takes place on April 23rd, from 10am until noon, starting at 1499 Arbutus Street. Meet at the playground and prepare to get to work! Don’t worry about getting dirty either, because tongs, garbage bags, and gloves are all provided. So join the shore cleanup to keep our oceans safe and healthy while supporting Sara in her path to adulthood. March/April 2017 15

After the seemingly endless winter, spring has sprung! The kids will soon be set loose for two weeks and parents across Greater Vancouver are looking for fun, local ways to keep the kids occupied. We have compiled some terrific options for March Break to suit kids who camp and the whole family. Evergreen Cultural Centre

break by Jodi Iverson

CircusWest Run away to the circus! CircusWest presents a week-long camp featuring all the favourite circus skills like unicycle, juggling, trapeze, trampoline, and acrobatics. On the final afternoon, the camp culminates with a onehour show, where the campers present their new skills for friends and family!

From stage to studio, Evergreen Cultural Centre is a great choice to inspire your artistic camper. Offering quality week-long camps for artists ages six-16, there’s also tons of excitement at the Spring Break Festival, with three different shows. Remember, Evergreen Cultural centre is easily accessible by the new Evergreen SkyTrain that stops right at their front door!

Europa Language School Espanol? Sí! Did you know bilingual children have been shown to have better critical thinking skills, which can result in better academic performance? Europa Language School offers your camper the opportunity to have fun as they learn and practise the Spanish language and culture at their beautiful new Coquitlam campus.

Burnaby 8 Rinks


Have a future Canuck or Whitecap in your house? 8 Rinks Hockey and Multi Sport camps feature professional instruction and the opportunity to hone budding athletic skills in a fun and active environment.

New kid on the block, TumbleTown offers two weeks of half or full day camps for little gymnasts aged three to eight. Expect gymnastics-based days including story, arts and crafts, games, free play and more!

Jump Gymnastics Jump Gymnastics is a leader in children’s physical literacy and offers full day spring break camps in a positive and safe environment for kids ages three to seven in both their North Vancouver and Yaletown locations. Camps include fundamental movement skills in the gym, cooking, crafts, stories, and outings!


Burnaby Village Museum “History Comes to Life” for campers at Burnaby Village Museum! This year they are offering 12 days of fun, featuring heritage games, arts and crafts, vintage toys, free carousel rides and more.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery In celebration of Canadas 150th anniversary, visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site in Steveston for free during Spring Break. There are fun activities like crafts, games, and machine demos for kids of all ages! Pick up a Parks Canada Xplorer activity booklet and learn more about Canada’s west coast fishing industry!

Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics Join Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics for two weeks of gymnastics day camps including gymnastics skills building and various themed activities. They offer camps for all ages, toddler to teen. Full and half days available with a before and after care camp option as well! Kids will love the tumbling and physical fun.

See our full list at

March/April 2017 17

Be healthy Be happy! We’ll see you at the 2017 Healthy Family Expo! Small steps and simple solutions for busy families by Angela Santoro & Kay Protheroe, co-producers of the 4th annual Healthy Family Expo at the Vancouver Convention Centre on March 26th, 2017 As busy parents, it often seems impossible to eat well and get enough exercise with limited budget and time. To make this manageable in 2017, we are choosing to aim for quality. We want the food we eat to be the most nutritious it can be (even chocolate!) and we want our exercise to feel like play. This way, we will feel great and have a happy heart as we push through the family schedule that is often overwhelming!


Superfoods Pack Important Nutrition –As parents, we worry about giving our kids the very best start in life. This can be a large stressor on busy parents who are already trying to juggle home, work, and kids’ schedules. A major trend this year is superfoods. By packing high-density nutrition into the foods that we eat, we are not only assured the healthiest diet, but we also create a bit of wiggle room just in case schedules gets the better of us and we need to grab something quick and easy once in a while. We understand—life happens! There are many superfoods out there but these are the key ones you can learn more about and taste at the Healthy Family Expo on March 26th: goji berries, salmon, haskap berries, seaweed, chia, maca, kefir and hemp. Come sample and shop for these and hundreds of other healthy products at the Expo on March 26th!

Find the Fun in Fitness – Our bodies are made to move! Families can bond over shared movement much more than screen time. The key is to find a way of moving that fills you with energy and brings out the fun in fitness. Kids know that play is the most important aspect of physical activity, and we should all take cues from them. If you make a game out of physical activity and your family has fun, you won’t even notice you’re getting exercise! A great way to shake things up is to try something new, like rock climbing. Kids from three years old right up to adults will enjoy the challenge of this new activity, which uses balance, strength, flexibility, and creativity. Climb Base5 brings a 30-foot climbing wall to the Healthy Family Expo, so come and try it as a family. Also at the Expo, meet the Sportball team, who teaches ball skills that will bring family fun to a court near you. The Pedalheads are masters at teaching the skills and safety awareness that kids need to be responsible bikers and instill a passion for biking. The Healthy Family Expo also makes it easy for families to have a laugh and work up a sweat in the Active Kid Zone, with a giant inflatable hamster ball track, Springfree trampolines, Heroheads obstacle course, TumbleTown gymnastics area and the Vancouver Tumblebus.

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What you need to know to make the most of your day at the Healthy Family Expo: • Buy 2-for-1 tickets online to save money and time using promo code WCF241 • Buy tickets BEFORE March 23rd at midnight to be entered to win a Springfree trampoline • Be one of the first 200 adults through the door to get a free adult pass to Science World • Be one of the first 500 adults through the door get a loaded gift bag full of healthy samples • Plan for your kids to meet Daniel Tiger, Super WHY!, Scout & Bookaboo from CBC Kids • Check the stage schedule online to catch Bobs & Lolo, Jessie Farrell, Science World on the Road, DANCEPL3Y, seed planting, and ninja and tumbling demos • Sample hundreds of healthy, tasty treats in the Whole Foods Market Zone and London Drugs Health Zone and bring cash to take advantage of showshopping specials (ATMs onsite) • Check out the Healthy Baby Zone presented by West Coast Kids and visit the Seventh Generation Baby Feeding & Changing Lounge, stocked with samples of Free & Clear diapers and wipes • If you bring a stroller, park it in the Stroller Parking while you play! • Be sure to enter to win the $15,000 grand prize showcase, including a Springfree Trampoline and a one-year lease on a Toyota Prius c • Don’t miss the Vancouver Aquarium AquaVan and BC Hydro in the Green Living Zone • Have your family photo taken at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park booth to enter the WestCoast Families magazine cover contest • Follow Healthy Family Expo on Facebook for tons of giveaways before the show! Learn more and get your tickets at


Expo Highlights

Don’t forget to stop by these exhibitors to learn more at the 2017 Healthy Family Expo: Timber Child Beautiful wooden plates and baby toys made in Penticton. Forte Spreads Healthy, delicious spreads in a wide range of flavours. Bois Bites Safe and healthy baby items from a family-run, BC business.

Vancouver Pediatric and Family Wellness Chiropractor Comprehensive and caring chiropractic care for little ones and the entire family. Montessori Mes Petits Academy Caring, dedicated preschool for positive learning and growth. Tot 2 Teen Dental Full service dental care for all children.

Medela Breastfeeding solutions and products for the health of your baby. Toyota Safe, reliable, cutting edge vehicles that can cater to the whole family. Kidsworld Events and activities for Summer 2017

Come join WestCoast Families at the Healthy Family Expo on March 26. This year we’re partnering with Capilano Suspension Bridge Park to present the 2017 cover contest. Your family could win an adventure package, including a day at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, a professional photography session, and your family’s photo on the cover of WestCoast Familie! Visit us at the show to take your photo and enter.


resource guide Coming April 2017! Business Profiles, Local Listings, Best in the West winners, and more. Book your ad spot today | 604-249-2866

March/April 2017 21

wcf advertising partners These businesses help make WestCoast Families possible. Visit them and tell them you saw their ad in WestCoast Families!

KidsWorld Mabel’s Labels McDonald’s

BC Family French Camp

Camp Squeah

Millennium Learning

Brandi Mollica Photography

Centre for Digital Media


Britannia Mine Museum


Phoenix Gym

Burnaby 8 Rinks

Core Education Fine Arts

Pollock Clinics

Burnaby Neighbourhood House

Europa Language School

Timberline Ranch

Burnaby Village Museum

Evergreen Cultural Centre

Tom Lee Music

Camp Artaban

Green Baby Bible Camp


Camp Fircom

Gulf of Georgia Cannery

West Coast Railway Association

Camp Luther

Jump Gymnastics


Camp Qwanoes

Kid Approved

Zajac Ranch



Kid-free Events for Mom & Dad! The Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show Vancouver Convention Centre East, 999 Canada Place March 4-5, 11 am–8 pm Get amazing pre-season deals on the best outdoor gear and travel experiences at this exciting, two-day event featuring hundreds of exhibitors. Discover hiking, running/triathlons, camping, kayaking, canoeing, and adventure travel, plus seminars from seasoned travellers and experts. $14. TEDx StanleyPark Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton Street at Georgia March 4, 8:30am-6pm High-impact talks address a diverse range of humanity’s tough challenges and offer practical and optimistic solutions. These talks inspire, stimulate and activate thoughtful optimists with open minds and big hearts to move the needle toward a better world.

After Hours Vancouver Aquarium March 16, 6-10pm Grab a beer or glass of wine and enjoy exploring the aquarium after dark in a fun and social atmosphere without the kids! 19+ event. Photo ID required for entry. Tickets must be purchased prior to attending. Members: $23. Non-members: $31. Prices include tax

I am Woman- Hear me Laff! Surrey Arts Centre March 9, 8pm You’ll be howling with laughter at this gathering of “herlarious” stand-up comics who prove that women “got it” when it comes to big laughs. Right on the heels of International Women’s Day, this collection of comely comedians will give you a shot of comedy! Tickets start at $25.

Aeriosa March 30, 12noon Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver Bringing together the athleticism of rock climbing and the grace and artistry of dance, Aeriosa uses rope rigging systems to create unique, threedimensional performances that re-interpret gravity, unlock new movement possibilities, and inspire audiences. 604.606.6400 |

Coquitlam Craft Beer Festival Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club, 3251 Plateau Blvd., Coquitlam Mar 9 & 10, 7-9:30pm The event showcases craft brews from over 30 breweries, matched with delicious beer-friendly fare provided by ten of the best local restaurants and caterers. Tickets for each evening for $55 (+GST) per person.

3rd Annual Vancouver World Music Festival Various venues throughout Vancouver April 6-8 This festival is about bringing people together to honour cultural diversity and celebrate the things that unite us instead of divide us. In a world where current politics incite hate and racism, come together and praise different cultures. $25 per night or $45 for a weekend pass

March/April 2017 23

community Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat The Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island Until March 26 The Cat and his Hat appears one rainy day and turns The Boy, Sally and the Fish’s world upside down. Recommended for ages 3-8 with select all ages performances and a relaxed performance for families and children with autism. Festival du Bois Mackin Park, Coquitlam March 3-5 Festival-goers can wander the expansive park site to gain new insights in Maillardville and its history, watch ice carvers in action, participate in fun activities, shop, and indulge their taste buds with delicious tourtière, maple taffy on snow, homemade poutine and other fare. Busytown! The Musical Jules Verne Theatre, Vancouver March 4 & 5 Vancouver Performing Stars is excited to present Busytown! the Musical, based on the book, What Do People Do All Day, by Richard Scarry. The bestselling book is being brought to life by 40 young performers (ages 7-12) in a comical and a fun-for-the-whole-family production. Adults, $20 for adults. Children under 12, $12. 800.838.3006 | Healthy Kids Preschool Fair Cameron Recreation Complex, Burnaby March 7, 9:30am-12noon Parents with preschoolers can come and take part in free activities including art, music and dance! Free. An Irish Afternoon Mackin House, Coquitlam March 11 Join in for a celebration of Irish culture, heritage, and the Irish Canadians who helped shape our nation. There will be several presentations by local influential people, followed by Irish musical performances. 604.516.6151


Girls Can Fly2 2017 Abbotsford Airport March 11-12, 9am-5:30pm This event is fun, hands-on and completely free to ensure there are no barriers to participation. One of the unique attractions is the free flights for female first-time fliers. The event is open to the public with no registration required only for eligible females to fly.

Sensory Hour! Sky Zone, Surrey March 13, 20 & 27, 6-8pm Sensory Hour is a unique program run for guests with special needs and their family to enjoy the fun at this indoor trampoline park together! The music is turned down to accommodate sensory needs, with specially trained staff to work with guests.

Reptile Show Richmond Nature Park March 11-12, 11am-4pm Meet snakes, lizards and geckos at this show presented by the West Coast Society for the Protection and Conservation of Reptiles.

Celtic Fest Surrey Museum March 18 Be entertained by captivating Celtic music, as well as dancing, history and crafts.

VSO Kids’ Koncerts Orpheum Theatre March 12, 2pm Maestro Bramwell Tovey dons the inspector hat to investigate the instruments of a symphony orchestra, in a fun and educational concert centred on Saint -Saëns’s famous Carnival of the Animals. Appropriate for children 4-11. 604.876.3434 |

PlayDome BC Place, Vancouver March 22-26 PlayDome features more than 45 rides and attractions, plus your favourite carnival snacks and games, all under one roof! All of your favourite rides and attractions have returned, so be sure to take a spin on the Tornado, experience weightlessness on the Alien Abduction and soar into the sky with the Mini Jets. Fun for the whole family! Children under 2 years old admitted free. Please check website for hours of operation.

Family Sunday Surrey Art Gallery March 12, 12noon-4pm Engage in activities that respond to the exhibitions, including hands-on art-making workshops in a range of mediums, an art explorer game in the Gallery, and an interactive performance in the Studio Theatre. Free. 604.501.5566 | Mabee Baby Family Dance March 12, 12-3pm Hidden City Records, Vancouver Get out of the house for some fun and dancing as a family. There will also be complimentary snacks and refreshments, and a toy swap from 12-1pm and the Spring 2017 collection from Mabee Baby. Earlybird Tickets $5 each or $15 for four-pack, Advance Tickets $10 each or $30 for four pack.

The Lost Fleet Exhibit Vancouver Maritime Museum March 24 onwards Come learn about the history of JapaneseCanadian fishermen, which is inextricably linked to the history of Vancouver. Vancouver was a gateway in the Pacific for all immigrants looking to forge a brighter future for themselves. Japan Fair Brockton School March 25, 1-4:30 pm This free family event is an opportunity to experience Japanese culture first hand. Visitors will be able to take part in many cultural activities including dancing, calligraphy, tea ceremony, origami, games, prizes and much more.

calendar Healthy Family Expo Vancouver Convention Centre East March 26, 9am-5pm A fun-filled day of small steps & simple solutions to eco-friendly, healthy, active living with over 200 exhibitors. Free child admission for kids ages 0-16. Bobs and LoLo will be there as well! Fire & Ice Show Skier’s Plaza, Whistler Village April 2, 6:30pm (7:30pm beginning March 12) Enjoy this legendary, free, all-ages night of entertainment. Whistler’s top skiers and riders (including Whistler Blackcomb Ski School instructors) spin and twist through a burning hoop. Dress warmly, grab a hot chocolate and prepare to be amazed! Peppa Pig’s Big Splash Queen Elizabeth Theatre April 7, 6pm The fun-filled show brings the hit TV series to life on stage, giving families the opportunity to engage with their favourite characters like never before for in an unforgettable live theater experience. 1.855.985.5000 | Early Years Festival Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre April 8, 10am-3pm This festival is perfect for children ages 0-6, or for parents or guardians expecting a new addition to their family. Connect with community members and learn about how to provide children with a healthy and active lifestyle. Easter Chocolate Making Mackin House, Coquitlam April 8, 12noon-1:30pm (ages 4-8) or 1:303:30pm (ages 8-14) Easter bunnies and eggs galore with suckers to decorate and Rocky Road to fill your baskets! An introduction to chocolate making with an emphasis on Easter goodies. Registration required. Event is by donation. 604.516.6151 |

The Banquet of Champions Vancouver Convention Centre April 12 Join other sport enthusiasts for an evening of celebration and recognition to honour the 2017 inductees into the BC Sports Hall of Fame. Miniature Train Rides Burnaby Railway, 120 N Willingdon Confederation Park April 14-October 9, 11am-5pm, Sat/Sun/ Holidays, Easter to Thanksgiving Book your birthday parties and private functions now. Over 3 km of track, so come ride the rails! 604.291.0922 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver April 15, 7:30pm This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! 1.855.985.5000 | Old Fashioned Easter Historic Stewart Farm April 15, 11am-3pm This free, all-ages event is ideal for making memories and taking beautiful photos with activities, including DIY rabbit ears & bunny Olympic competitions! 604.592.6956 | Easter Fair Surrey Museum April 15, 11am-4pm Local animal rescue groups will be onsite teaching children and their parents about respectful treatment and care for animals. Families can get up close and personal with rescue animals, from rabbits to cats and dogs to birds.

BCRC Reptile Expo 2017 Abbotsford Exhibition Park April 22-23, 10am-5pm BC’s largest reptile show is coming to the Ag Rec Building. Featuring breeders, suppliers of equipment and feed and educational information. Adults $6, Children $4, Family $12 and children 4yrs and under are free. Earth Day Pilgrimage and Art Contest Awards Delta Nature Reserve April 23, 2-4pm Gather your families & pay homage to Mother Nature with a relaxing walk through nature. Listen to peaceful sounds of the flute, drums, and spiritual singing. Buy wildlife-themed t-shirts and books. Enjoy free Cobs treats, and DeDutch coffee. Admission is free. Sara’s Shore Cleanup April 23, 10am-noon Kits Beach, 1499 Arbutus Street. Meet at the playground. Bring your energy and join the shore cleanup to keep our oceans safe and healthy. Tongs, garbage bags and gloves provided. Port Moody Daffodil Dash Rocky Point Park April 30 This Daffodil Month, add a spring to your step with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Dash - a 1k walk and 5k run (and don’t forget the mini dash for the kids!) that raises funds for cancer research and prevention as well as support for people living with the disease right now.

To have your event included in the WestCoast Families community calendar, please email your details to

FOR MORE amazing Spring events, go to and check out our events calendar and listing pages. March/April 2017 25

last look The keep-intouch kit

by Jodi Iverson

Whether we are travelling as a family or sending the kids to off camp, they never fail to make new friends along the way. These shared experiences can bond our littles with their new friends, but once they part, how can we encourage and support their new friendships without resorting to more time on a screen? This may be tough to remember, but before the Internet, we wrote letters to keep in touch. Who remembers having a shoebox of handwritten letters and notes tucked under their bed? Creating a “Keep in Touch Kit” will help children to nurture their new friendships while developing their writing skills and getting crafty with design.

materials • • • • • • •

Envelopes Stationary Pens Stickers & other decorative items Stamps Address book Calling cards with contact info that can be shared with new friends (check our Cool Finds this month!) • Container or pouch for supplies

make it! While any white envelope and paper will do, it’s also fun to go shopping for new goodies and stationary to source new treasures for kids to add to their kits. Take time selecting paper and accoutrements that suit your child’s personality at art supply stores and dollar stores too. Consider going online for writing prompts and simple instructions on how to write a friendly letter and fill in the address block. Then get to decorating and making each letter as unique as the individual sending it.


try this! Make a couple mini kits for your children to give to new friends as parting gifts. Consider items like paper, a pencil, an eraser, and stickers. Remember to pre-address the envelopes! “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead” -Mark Twain



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Life Like No Other

WestCoast Families March/April  

Sleepaway camps, Spring Break and the Annual Family Travel and Adventure Guide!

WestCoast Families March/April  

Sleepaway camps, Spring Break and the Annual Family Travel and Adventure Guide!