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The Local Guide for Active Urban Families

from our family to yours

happy holidays!

nov/dec 2012

winter fun • party guide

mom Michelle Gentis westcoast

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November/December 2012


families westcoast


• winter family fun • holiday gift guide • party time! Holiday Gift Guide Great Finds for the Whole Family

Holiday Gift Guide Giftless Giving




Winter Familiy Fun Fun Winter Family Events

Party Time! Pary Ideas Make your next party special

WCF Feature Archiving and Organizing Digital Photos




Travel Azul Beach Hotel Culture, Climate & Charisma on the Mayan Riviera


top story

winter fun

on our cover...

The kids from the WestCoast Families team: River, Camryn, Emma, Willow, Olivia, and Clementine. From our families to yours, wishing you all the best of winter fun and holiday cheer! Photographed by Bopomo Pictures | Hats provided by Bird on a Wire Creations

32 mom westcoast

32 WCM Profile Michell Gentis 34 WCM Feature The Ladies of Best of Bridge 35 WCM Events

Winter Family Fun Winter Weekends Don’t let the cold weather keep you home


from the editor 6 Publisher’s Note 6 Contests 7 WestCoast Finds 10 Modern Home Ec 22 WCF News 24 Geekology Holiday Playlist 28 Readers’ Choice Awards Results 36 Community Calendar 38 Last Look Holiday Crackers

next issue jan/feb Education! 4

November/December 2012


publisher’s note


inter is arriving on the great west coast and skiing, boarding, tubing, and other fun in the snow and cold. It’s a great time for a family weekend getaway to enjoy the crisp outdoor fresh air so we’ve sourced out some of the most fun you can have within just a few hours of the city. Can’t get away for the whole weekend? No problem, we’re also bringing you a full list of local events and attractions throughout the holiday season.

For many, this IS the most wonderful time of year. A time of celebrating friends and family, putting up bright lights and shopping for the perfect gift. To help you along, we’ve found some of the best ideas for everyone in the family in our Holiday Gift Guide. And to plan the perfect party, check out our ideas for great kids celebrations – indoors and out! For some this is also a time of financial and emotional strain. That means it’s also an opportunity for us to show kids the importance of caring for others. The holiday season has endless opportunities to help those families in our communities and organizations around the world. In this issue we’ve found some unique ideas for giftless giving to save you some shopping time, and do a little good in the world. Get out there and enjoy all that our amazing communities have to offer, and don’t forget the mitts and hats!


Visit us online for new contests every issue! WIN a sweet afternoon with Strawberry Shortcake and friends in Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat! WIN four tickets to see Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat! at 1 pm, January 26, at the Centre for Performing Arts. Get ready for a berry, berry good time with the most spirited red-haired girl, Strawberry Shortcake! This winter, the iconic sweetheart makes her theatrical debut in Koba Entertainment’s all-new musical production. Strawberry Shortcake and her best friends Orange Blossom, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Torte, Plum Pudding, and Cherry Jam will spread their contagious optimism with fans throughout western Canada and prove that little girls can do berry big things! To double the fun, Koba Entertainment is bringing together Strawberry Shortcake and the wackiest siblings on television, the Doodlebops, for the first time ever in one spectacular show! Package includes a special meet and greet. Value $147

Enter at Deadline to Enter: December 31, 2012

WIN four tickets to the festive Polar Express holiday train experience in Squamish! WIN four tickets to the festive Polar Express holiday train experience in Squamish! Kick off your holiday season on Canada’s only Polar Express at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park, 39645 Government Road, Squamish. Children and adults alike will enjoy the fun-filled 50-minute train ride with hot chocolate, cookies, stories & Christmas carols. Visit the North Pole with Santa & Mrs. Claus, see what goes on in Santa’s workshop, write letters to Santa, hear music & so much more! Kids, don’t forget to wear your pajamas! The Polar Express runs on Saturday and Sunday, on December 1 and 2, and December 8 and 9, and departure times are 10am, 12pm, 2pm & 4pm. Value $96

Enter at Deadline to Enter: November 30, 2012


families westcoast Managing Editor Andrea Vance Editor Stephanie MacDonald Contributing Editor Jodi Iverson Art Director & Layout Krysta Furioso Administration Jennifer Bruyns Accounts Receivable & Payable Jennifer Brule Advertising 604.249.2866 Published by National Families Network Publisher: Andrea Vance For distribution inquiries, please email For submissions to our community calendars, please email To share your feedback, please email Contributors Jodi Iverson, Krysta Furioso, Stephanie MacDonald, Hilary Jones Kristy Hill, Jennifer Bruyns Racquel Foran, Darcie Brown Nicola Enright Morin WestCoast Families is an independent, regional parenting publication. Published nine times per year in British Columbia, Canada. Total circulation: 50,000. All contents copyrighted ©. Written permission from the publisher is required to reproduce, quote, reprint or copy any material from WestCoast Families For editorial submissions queries, please view the guidelines on our website. Mailing address: 1215-C56 St. Box 18057 Delta, BC V4L 2M4 T 604 249 2866 | F 604 676 2802

WestCoast Families is proud to have been selected as a mom-friendly employer for the 2010 Progressive Employers of Canada List. And congratulations to our fellow inductees!

westcoast finds: party picks Etsy Invitations – boarding pass


All aboard the birthday flight! Camille Creatives adorable party invitations will have all your guests happily anticipating your little one’s big day. Fully customizable, you just email your photo and information and your invitations will be designed and sent back as digital files which you can then print out on your home printer or at your favourite photo-lab.

Naturebag - over 20 fun and engaging outdoor nature activities in a bag! With all the fun and exciting activities in the Naturebag, you and your children can go outside and discover the wonders of nature. Go on a scavenger hunt, walk with bugs, hug a tree, make dough imprints, look closely at the patterns in a leaf, try some wild weaving and so much more!

$15 at

$35 at

Gift It Green Wrapping Unwrapping presents is fun, no doubt about it, and so is seeing all those brightly coloured gifts waiting under the tree. But seeing all the wasted paper after everything has been opened can be a bit of a downer, so get the best of both worlds with Gift It Green’s reusable fabric gift boxes. Bright, modern and eco-chic, these gift boxes just beg to be gifted forward, and can you imagine how much time, tape and ribbon you’ll save!

$14-$18 at

Molecule-R This is definitely an excuse to throw a cocktail party! Learn how to deconstruct your favorite cocktails and serve your Mojitos in a large bubble that will explode in your mouth, bite into a layered martini or add a touch of airy lime foam to your tequila shots! This “do it yourself” molecular mixology kit allows you to recreate the atmosphere of the most trendy and modern lounges in the comfort of your home! This allencompassing kit includes five pre-measured food additives, three specialized molecular tools as well as a 30-recipe DVD that will facilitate the creation of your futuristic concoctions.

$59 on

November/December 2012



Azul Beach Hotel Culture, Climate & Charisma on the Mayan Riviera By Jodi Iverson


ovember is arguably not Vancouver’s finest month. This month, the skies and pavement seem to match shades and our rain boots and umbrellas get a workout. It is about this time I start dreaming of getaways to warmer climates. As my reality is not that of a freewheeling singleton, shopping for impromptu vacation juicy beach reads takes a backseat to planning and preparing a family of four for a week away from home. With direct flights now available from Vancouver to Cancun, we visited the Mayan Riviera. Stretching nearly 140 kilometres, it is an uncluttered ecoplayground boasting a wide range of family friendly resorts to suit any budget. Featuring Mayan ruins, cenotes, gorgeous beaches and the second-largest barrier coral reef in the world, there are plenty of activities to keep every member of your family happy. In my single days I relished throwing swimsuits and sundresses into my carry on and avoiding checked luggage all together. These days it is all about the art of magically making five steamer trunks worth of stuff fit into two adultsized suitcases and two smaller, kid-friendly cases. Apparently I am not that magical. So you can imagine my relief when I discovered some hotels provide much of the gear necessary for traveling with children.

We were fortunate to find the Azul Beach Hotel; a family-friendly, boutiquestyle property located 15 minutes from the airport, in the charming fishing village of Puerto Morelos. After an easy five-and-a-half hour flight we arrived at the hotel. We were greeted with a welcome cocktail (virgin versions for the kiddos) and a special toy lending menu for the kids to choose from–nice touch! Check-in was a breeze, literally, as a warm tropical wind blew through the open lobby that faces the sea. We had no trouble settling into our fully equipped family room where, thanks to the Pack & Play program, all the gear we needed was waiting for us. They have it all–strollers, cribs; even adorable, tiny, baby spa robes! The majority of our days were filled with family beach time where we enjoyed the friendly Beach Butler service, part of Azul’s gourmet inclusive concept.


Picnics, magazines, beach toys, sunscreen and more, delivered right to your private canopied beach bed! Our favorite beach amenities included painting ceramics, kayaking and beach parties. Kids can also spend time at the Azulitos Play House: think daycare meets day camp with activities for kids including education on the Mayan culture, which we liked. This gives the adults time to enjoy some of the delicious ceviche at our favorite restaurant, Chil, or sample one of thirty different tequilas at Agavero Lounge. Dining at Azul Beach lived up to their Epicurean promises. Whether dining with the family or utilizing the resort’s nanny service for a date night you will have no trouble finding a delicious meal at one of the five restaurants. Or if you feel like staying in, borrow a movie and enjoy 24-hour room service! I was especially impressed by the fact that the produce served is grown locally at a sister property in their 100,000-square-foot greenhouse! On several recommendations we left the property and travelled about 30 minutes to visit the sustainable, all-inclusive park, Xel-Ha. This natural aquarium

park is the perfect adventure for an active family. The park offers a huge variety of water activities. Our favorites were snorkeling down the mangrove river, the zip lines and jumping off cliffs. We had a delicious lunch buffet (and great margaritas!) at the onsite restaurant where we enjoyed Mayan-style fare. You can spend the whole day here, and I recommend you do! We also visited the famed 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen. This bustling market is full of touristy treasures to bring home, including, surprisingly, a Canucks poncho! There are a couple of art galleries along the way with beautiful onyx and textiles, and you can try venturing off the main street for some more authentic finds. With its rich culture, plethora of natural beauty, and welcoming nature, the Mayan Riviera is a great option for Vancouver families looking for a tropical getaway. We only scratched the surface and are already dreaming of another week in the sun. After all, it is November. For more info, visit or

visit us online

November/December 2012


modern home-ec get your knit on

By Hilary Jones

For some, just the word “knitting” conjures up an image of the classic little old lady in the rocking chair. Today, that image couldn’t be further from reality. Knitting has changed so much in the last decade. “New yarns, fantastic patterns, young designers and the internet has turned fibre arts into something relevant, accessible, and popular” says Anna, a long-time knitter and owner of Baaad Anna’s Yarn Store on East Hastings in Vancouver. The store’s official slogan, “Not your Mama’s Yarn

Store” says it all. “We also love that a new sort of community has been formed, bringing people together around a new culture.” Gone are the days of knitting for necessity. Today’s knitters have a freedom that our centuriesold ancestors did not. Today, we knit for art. We knit to have something unique in our wardrobe. We do it for the love of all things handmade. For some, it’s therapy; it’s something to do with our busy hands in a world that never seems to slow down. Knitting has also become a social activity. By joining a knitting group you can look forward to sitting and knitting and sharing stories and occasionally, a few deep secrets. Says Anna, “My son is now an avid knitter, and has taught many of his friends. I’m proud of him of course, but mostly I am just pleased to have yet another knitting buddy”.

Beginner Neck Warmer Pattern

What We Love About Knitting... “Knitting for me is a creative and practical outlet. I am able to knit things I want to have and give to other people, while practicing a sort of moving meditation; it covers all the bases!” - Gina

What you’ll need

“It’s something fun to do when it’s late at night” - Emma, age 7

• 100gm of chunky weight yarn

“Knitting is something I can do to help relax after a busy day. Seeing my project come to life is really cathartic for me! I also love knitting with my daughter and seeing how proud she is as the yarn turns into fabric.” - Jodi


“I love knitting because you can make neat things and you can make presents for people on holidays, like Christmas” - Oscar, age 7

• Cast on 75 stitches • Row 1: Knit all stitches • Row 2: Purl all stitches

“You can give people a present without buying anything” - Theo, age 7

Knitting Supplies

• 6mm needles

• Continue alternating Rows 1 & 2 until your neck warmer measures 15” from the beginning • Cast off • Sew seam using “mattress stitch.”

Baaad Anna’s Yarn Store 2667 East Hastings St., Vancouver 604-255-2577

Urban Yarns 4437 West 10 Ave., Vancouver 604-228-1122

Three Bags Full Knit Shop
 4458 Main St., Vancouver 604-874-9665

Urban Yarns 3111 Highland Blvd., North Vancouver 604-984-2214

Bird on a Wire Creations 2535 Main St., Vancouver 604-874-7415

Wool is Not Enough 77 East Cordova, Vancouver 778-549-5696

Hilary Jones teaches many of the knitting and crochet classes at Baaad Anna's Yarn Store on East Hastings in Vancouver.


November/December 2012


holiday gift guide find that special something for





Olloclip Lens When you got your iPhone, you thought you were so cool, didn’t you? Now that everyone and their dog has one, it’s time to step up your game. The Olloclip lens for iPhone 4 gives you a fisheye, wide-angle, and macro lens all in one funky accessory that makes it look like your phone is wearing a monocle. It’s a well-known fact that everything and everyone looks more sophisticated with a monocle.

$70 at

Tassimo T55 We know it is fun to wait and wait for that first morning cup that miraculously transforms you from a cranky morning cretin into Cheery McCheerfulson. Oh wait, that is not fun. With the Tassimo T55 from Bosch, your perfect, customized morning coffee takes under a minute! The T55 reads a bar code on your beverage disc, so even if you are a groggy morning fumbler you will always have the perfect coffee to save the day and get you on your way.

From $158 at Best Buy, Canadian Tire, Future Shop, The Bay, Sears, London Drugs and Walmart

Glerups A partner with cold feet is always a bad thing, both literally and figuratively. Get your loved one a pair of Glerups, and he or she will love you forever, or at least their feet will. Cozy, cute, and warm, Glerups come in slipper, shoe and boot versions for men, women and kids, too! And since there’s a fine line between “cozy” and “sweaty”, it’s nice that Glerups are made with all-natural, breathable, and self-cleaning wool in a variety of vibrant and natural colours.

$90 at Walrus on Cambie St. and Twigg and Hottie

Kimochi’s Being a kid is an emotional time, and sometimes there are so many feelings it’s hard to keep track of them all. When it all gets too confusing, there are adorable stuffies from Kimochi to help your kid sort through their emotions. Each cuddly Kimochi comes with a set of nine plushy emotions like “cranky”, “curious”, “excited”, and “scared”, giving kids the opportunity choose which one to put in their Kimochi’s tummy when they are feeling a certain way. All bets are on “happy” and “grateful” when this present gets unwrapped.

$25 on

Pathfinder’s Robotic Arm Giving your child the gift of learning can never compete with the gift of video games–or so you may think. Pathfinders Design + Technology’s model Robotic Arm Kit is easy, fun to put together in a couple of hours, and provides many more hours of enjoyment! Designed and made in Victoria, BC, this kit is also an engaging way to learn about robotics, levers, fluid dynamics and engineering–but you don’t have to tell your kid that! Drop in to the Kaleidoscope Science Store at Science World for this, and many other adventures in education that will inspire and entertain a child’s natural curiosity and imagination.

$24 at Kaleidoscope Science Store at Telus Science World

Nomad Brush for the iPad What if you could actually create art on your iPad? Touch screens are traditionally activated by your fingers, and while finger painting is awesome when you are three, it lacks a certain finesse, which is why most artists tend to use paintbrushes. Now there is Nomad Brush – actually a paintbrush for your iPad. With a dual tip for both fine and broad brushstrokes, the Nomad Brush gives you a more natural creative experience, whether you are a serious graphic designer or just enjoy drawing hilarious Mussolini moustaches on all your Facebook friends. You can even encourage your little Picasso with a Nomad Play Brush, designed especially for little hands.

$35 at

Sun Sniper Camera Strap Regardless of whether you’re capturing an image of a rare black jaguar deep in the Amazon or the somewhat less-elusive gigantic mouse in red pants at Disneyland: when you need your camera handy, the best way to carry it is with the Sun Sniper Camera strap. This strap, which conveniently screws into your camera’s tripod socket, reduces the weight on your back, absorbs jolts, and makes carrying your camera easy and comfortable, whether you’re creeping through the jungle or intrepidly venturing into the Happiest Place on Earth.

$67 at


gDiapers Joy to the World Set No matter how you celebrate, there’s always a reason for joy. gDiapers cute and comfy gPants (reusable cotton diaper covers) just got festive with gJoy. A merry green waistband, a playful candy cane stripe, and the signature ‘g’ on the bum make a cheery holiday sentiment. Limited edition. For use with biodegradable disposable diaper inserts. Available at

From $48.00 for the set on

CHI Hair Dryer It’s a sad fact that most of us mortals are resigned to spending at least a few minutes a day wrangling a bed head, taming the frizzies, or fluffing stringy, limp, or lank locks. Whatever type of hair you have, the low EMF Chi hair dryer has a touch screen, and is made with ceramic, Ionic and Infrared technology that results in less frizz, more shine, and a 40 percent reduction in drying time. As a gift, this dryer will help the recipient get out the door faster, looking even better than they usually do, and who wouldn’t want that?

$150 at Aura Hair Salon, Vogue Hair Studio, and Sunflower Hair Salon in Vancouver, and Hairven Salon in North Vancouver

Coleman Propane Coffeemaker Give the boot to gritty cowboy coffee on your next camping trip! Never again endure smoky sludge in the name of your morning caffeine fix when you acquire a Coleman Propane Coffeemaker. The perfect gift for someone outdoorsy, and also for those who are reluctant to venture more than two kilometres from the nearest Starbucks, the ten-cup carafe is made from stainless steel, and one propane cylinder will power the machine for over four hours. Perfect for the construction site too!

$95 at Sears and Outdoor Supply Stores

I Am Here Neighbourhood Play Mat It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood when your kids can drive their toy trucks and racecars all over a giant map of where you live. Just send in your address, and a custom-created I Am Here custom play mat can teach your kids about maps while they learn about the streets in your area, all while they have fun. These mats are washable vinyl, and can be easily rolled up when playtime is over.

Small: $29 Large: $64

Oversight Game from Griddly Games

Fold n Go Barn When your little farmer is on the go, make sure they have the cute and convenient Fold & Go Barn from the folks at Melissa and Doug. The sturdy barn packs up in a flash, and comes with seven realistic farm animals and a folding corral. A perfect present for kids under three!

Just get four in a row. That’s all you need to do, but just when you think you’re on the way to victory against your opponent – whooops! Your crafty nemesis catches on and slides your carefully tended row over–and your ambitions are cruelly thwarted. Oversight is a mindchallenging game that is equally fun for anyone seven to seventy and beyond, and is especially great because it can be played on many different levels. Give your family game closet a boost with this or any of the other clever and entertaining games from local company Griddly Games.

$50 at

$20 at Granville Island Toy Company and other independent toy stores

reading corner Divergent and Insurgent

The Stone Hatchlings

By Veronica Roth

By Sarah Tsiang, illustrated by Qin Leng

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

When Abby finds two warm, round stones in the backyard, she “adopts” them, pretending they’re unhatched birds. She lovingly builds them a cozy nest and watches over them constantly until one day she imagines that with a crick and a crack, the stones hatch to reveal two gray chicks. With a flourish of her paintbrush, Abby colors the birds yellow, blue, and green, and proceeds to take excellent care of them. 

Then the make-believe birds stop singing. Soon they also stop eating, and when they start to lose their feathers Abby realizes it is time to let them go. She waves goodbye as they fly off. But every morning, two new birds appear at the window and sing to Abby.

Katherine Tegan Books, $15, trade paperback

Annick Press, $9.95 softcover, $19.95 Hardcover

For more book recommendations, go to the Book Corner at November/December 2012 13

holiday gift guide

Plan Toys Wooden Baby Walker with Blocks Made out of solid wood, Plan Toys Baby Walker helps baby get from A to B on two feet, while also bringing along their blocks (or any of their favourite things). This walker helps improve coordination and balance, and the handle can be adjusted to fit your child’s changing height. All Plan toys are made with natural rubberwood recycled from rubber trees no longer able to produce latex. Non-toxic, water-based dyes provide the vibrant colors that will stimulate your baby’s imagination while they get their exercise.

Global Mothers Stuffie Monkey Loose Button Beauty Box Subscription Getting a package in the mail makes it feel like your birthday, so why not get the ladies in your life a present that can give them that special feeling every month? With Loose Button’s Luxebox beauty box, you can spend a small quarterly fee and have boxes of fun beauty, fragrance, hair and makeup samples sent right to their door. Perfect for the woman who has everything! $24 every three months at

Who can resist a playful little monkey just ready for a cuddle? You can feel even better when you purchase these sweet stuffies from the Global Mothers website, as the organization builds trading alliances that support grassroots economic development projects in developing nations around the world. Go online to www. to learn about the wide variety of gorgeous handmade toys, jewellery, and art made by talented artisans around the world, or support the organization even further by hosting a Global Mothers party at your home. $23 at

$70 at

Tegu Blocks Sprayground Pouches We all know that an iPad is a big expense, and no matter how careful your kid is, things do get bumped. Give your teen peace of mind, and an extra layer of cool with a Sprayground iPad or laptop case. Sprayground pouches have been worn by the likes of Willow and Jaden Smith, and come in many funky urban styles, including the nametag and the old-fashioned Gameboy. Save yourself the headache of a broken computer and your kid the pain of trying to come up with some inventive and fault-free explanation of how it got broken, with Sprayground pouches. $35 at


Blocks are super fun, but gravity and destructive little sisters tend to have a negative effect on your incredible towering towers. That’s why it’s so hard to understand that someone didn’t invent Tego magnetic wooden blocks sooner. These are wooden blocks that stick together to make shapes, buildings, figures, and even cars and trucks (when you add the optional wheels). When you go to their online store, Tegu also gives you the option to donate to send a child to school for a month or a week, or plant three or 12 dozen trees, which would make your gift that much more meaningful. The Explorer Set of Blocks $110 at

Ivivva All About the ’Tude Wrap This cool little wrap can take your active girl from the schoolyard to the dance studio to the ice rink in style. Ivivva is Lululemon Athletica’s movement-inspired apparel line for active girls, and is designed to support movement-intensive activities such as yoga, dance, gymnastics, figure skating, and field sports. Ivivva uses similar fabrics, technical design features, and the exciting colours for which Lululemon is known. You’re sure to be rewarded with a happy girl if you wrap up this wrap under the tree this year. $58 at

giftless giving for the holidays


n the name of tidier children’s rooms, family bonding, and environmental awareness, consider adopting a less materialism-heavy giving scheme this holiday. Here are some great options that are light on the planet, but still give the traditional warm feelings of holiday giving.

Give experiences – this is the best gift you can give, because when you buy an experience for the family you get to appreciate their happiness when they open the card, and you get to share the experience again with the most important people in your life. Some examples of experiences your family will love:

Cultural activities Tickets to see some theatre! Upcoming family-friendly Arts Club shows include White Christmas, 2 Pianos 4 Hands, the musical Dreamgirls and The 39 Steps is on tour. At The Cultch, The Christmas Carol Project, and dance performance Gravity of Center, are something to look forward to. If your child loves dance, go to see Swan Lake at Ballet BC, and the whole family will love Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna. You’ll be giving (and having) a fun night out, and you’re also supporting the arts. Tickets to a concert: you know what your kid has on their iPod, so surprise them with tickets to one of their favourite artists or bands. (If it’s Lady Gaga, lucky you! If said band is horrendous or The Wiggles you are under no obligation to go yourself – hey, you came up with the awesome idea already!) Season’s tickets: Season’s Passes to the Vancouver Aquarium, Science World, Museum of Anthropology, Maplewood Farm, any local ski hill, to The Vancouver Giants or the Whitecaps… will save you money in the long run, but they also confer special benefits on the recipients they wouldn’t normally get. Yoga: seriously - there isn’t a person on your list that wouldn’t love and benefit from a yoga membership – even Grandpa. Yoga for everyone!

Give as a Family Setting aside a portion of your usual holiday budget to give to those less fortunate can give your family a wonderful opportunity to sit down together and discuss what causes are really meaningful to each person, and why. With younger kids, donating money can seem too abstract, so go with organizations that provide something concrete to a defined person or group. According to your child’s interests, let them each choose a program that they think is a good cause. Some good examples are Ronald McDonald House, which accepts donations for linens, toys, electronics and many other

things for its children’s hospice operation; through Oxfam Canada you can buy an impoverished family a goat, chicken, or plant a garden; through Free the Children’s Holiday Wishing Well for the World you can provide a well for a community; you can adopt a snowy owl through the World Wildlife Fund; buy vaccines and soccer balls for a village through Unicef, or you can sponsor a child through World Vision Canada, SOS Children’s Villages, or through any number of other organizations. This type of giving lasts all year and has the added benefit of making the world a better place! When you are looking for material presents for under the tree (and of course you want something to unwrap!), there are many organizations that offer beautiful products that also support people in developing nations. If the World Were a Village by David Smith is a wonderful book for kids aged seven to 12, that describes in simple terms how the population of the world lives, by describing the world as if it were a village of one hundred people. Free the Children’s sister organization Me to We has beautiful and affordable handmade presents like the Water Rafiki. One chain purchased equals one year of clean water for one person. Each one is unique and handmade with love by Maasai mamas in Kenya. Global Mothers online shop features hundreds of “Products with a Purpose” – toys, jewellery, and clothing items made by skilled artisans and with profits going directly back into the communities that made them. There are dozens of organizations, like Ten Thousand Villages stores, that support free trade and foster cultural awareness, so use this holiday as an opportunity to spend your money where you are helping make positive changes in the lives of people in other parts of the world while at the same time putting a smile on the faces closest to you.

Resources Ronald McDonald House Oxfam Canada Free the Children and Me to We World Wildlife Fund Canada Unicef World Vision Canada SOS Children’s Villages

November/December 2012 15



e e k w e r n e ds t 2

Photo: Tourism Whistler /Steve Rogers

2 Sleigh Ride Through Whistler 5 43

1 hr 50 minutes from Vancouver


Stay at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler www.fairmont. com


If you’re from Vancouver, you’ve most likely spent the weekend at Whistler. This time, make it extra special for your family and go on a horse drawn sleigh ride together! You’ll start at The Chalet at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club with a hot beverage around an outdoor fire pit. A cutter sleigh, led by Clydesdale-Percheron horses, will then take you on a tour through the Whistler wilderness, all while tucked in under warm blankets. What a great way to snuggle with your children! Upon your return from your snuggly sleigh ride, dine-in and spend the night at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and rest up for your next day of skiing, snowboarding or playing in the snow!

3 Snowshoeing in Mount Seymour 1

Unplug at Mount Baker 1hr 40 minutes from Vancouver Stay at The Logs at Canyon Creek Weather you’re a seasoned skier or brand new on the slopes, you’ll love the conditions on Mount Baker. Less than one hour from the US border crossing, with extreme terrain, a lot of snow, and various amenities, Mt. Baker is a great winter destination for the weekend. After you’ve skied to your heart’s content, cozy up in a log cabin at the Logs at Canyon Creek in the foothills of Mount Baker. Spend quality time with your family as you unplug from all your gadgets, as there is no television, telephone, or Internet at the log cabins. Bring out the board games!


50 minutes from Vancouver Stay at Holiday Inn on Seymour Parkway Not a skiing family? Go snowshoeing at Mount Seymour! Experience the beauty of the snow through trails and tours through the forest. For the adventurous Mommies and Daddies, Mount Seymour provides Baby and Me Guided Tours for parents who want to snowshoe with their babies! Parents must be able to carry their babies for at least 90 minutes in their own back or front baby carrier. Change tables are available before and after snowshoeing. If your have children too old to be carried, Mount Seymour has snowshoes for toddlers as young as three years old! When you’re ready to rest your feet, relax at the Three Peaks Lodge; grab some dinner at The Rock Chute Inn and head to bed at the Holiday Inn just down the street.

4 Mountaintop Ice Skating on Grouse Mountain 45 minutes from Vancouver Stay at Pinnacle on the Pier Hotel You haven’t truly experienced a Canadian winter until you’ve been ice-skating on an outdoor pond. After a day spent on Grouse Mountain skiing, snowboarding, or tubing, grab some skates and head to the mountaintop for a glide on Grouse Mountain’s 8,000 square foot ice skating pond for a one of a kind experience. The Ice Skating Pond is right by the Peak Chalet, perfect for skating off your dinner and dessert. Skate rentals are available for all sizes at the Fireside Hut. Access to the skating pond is always complimentary with your Grouse Mountain Admission, Membership, Winter Pass, or Lift Ticket. When ready to rest and warm up your sore buttocks (from falling) and your frozen nose, spend the night at the Pinnacle on the Pier Hotel in North Vancouver.

5 Tubing and Sliding at Cypress Mountain 40 minutes from Vancouver Stay at Best Western Capilano Inn West Vancouver If you want to get away for the weekend, but don’t want to go very far, head to Cypress Mountain. Spend your weekend tubing down the mountain! It’s supersized tobogganing! If your children are too small for tubing, Cypress Mountain has a gentle sliding area. You can bring your own sled with you or purchase a crazy carpet. This area has a gentle slope designed for children aged three to five years and is small enough for them to walk up and slide down on their own. After you’ve climbed up and down the hill for the one hundredth time, rest up for another day on the hillside after dinner at the Hollyburn Lodge and a night at the Pinnacle on the Pier Hotel.

6 Skiing at Hemlock Mountain, then hit the Hot Springs 2.5 hrs from Vancouver Stay at Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa If you are looking for an alternative to the busier mountains, Hemlock Mountain may be the perfect escape for you and your family. Hemlock is a smaller ski resort offering wellgroomed runs with fantastic views. There are three chairlifts, 35 runs and programs for children as young as two. After your skiing adventures at Hemlock, head to the cozy town of Harrison and spend the night at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa. The steamy, outdoor hot springs are perfect for warming up your toes after a day in the snow. And you won’t have a problem getting your picky three-year-old to eat –all the choices in the world are available at their buffets, offered for both dinner and breakfast. November/December 2012 17

fun winter

Rogers Santa Clause Parade Georgia and Howe Streets, Vancouver December 2, 1pm The parade will start at West Georgia and Broughton, travel east along West Georgia, turn south on Howe and finish at Howe and Davie. Line up along designated route to see decorated floats, performers and entertainers and all the festive fanfare you can imagine! Come out and join in on the family fun pre-parade festivities and enjoy live entertainment on the main stage, Decorate a Gingerbread Man, Write a Letter to Santa and much more from 10:30am to 1:00pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Canyon Lights Capilano Suspension Bridge Park December 1-January 5 Holiday activities from 4–9pm, park is open 10am–9pm daily A must-see holiday event for all ages, park guests will be dazzled by the sight of hundreds of thousands of lights glittering throughout the rainforest, across the Bridge and on the Cliffwalk. There will also be a scavenger hunt for children, gingerbread cookie decorating, glass blowing demonstrations, and sing-a-long carols. Price: $65.00 for a family or $31.95 for adults, $12 for children (6-12) 604.985.7474 | Christmas in the Park and Santa Claus Parade Memorial Peace Park December 1, 4-8pm Take part in the many fun activities for children of all ages. At 6pm watch one of the only night time Christmas Parades in North America! Bring a lawn chair, warm clothes, a mug for free hot chocolate and a camera to take photos of Santa. Festival of Trees Four Seasons Hotel & Pacific Centre Mall November 21, - January 1 The Festival of Trees will transform the lobby of the hotel and the corridors of the mall into a vision of beautifully decorated trees, with the goal of raising much-needed funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. The Festival continues to bring together a vast array of generous sponsors, both business and individual, from Vancouver in what has become a much anticipated holiday tradition and the unofficial beginning of Christmas. Heritage Christmas Burnaby Village Museum November 24 - December 14, 12noon-4:30pm Experience Christmas traditions from the past: sparkling decorations, the smell of pine and cedar, and sounds of carollers remind visitors of their own Christmas memories. Free gate admission. 604.297.4565 |

Christmas in the Country Kilby Historic Site December 8 & 9 Kick off the holiday season a little early at Kilby Historic Site. There will be crafts for both adults and kids. Santa will also be making a special appearance, so bring your cameras. The Kilby Gift Shop is a great place to get some early Christmas shopping done, offering one-of-a-kind local wares, crafts, homemade jams and jellies and local artists and authors. The restaurant is serving a full course Ham or Turkey Dinner for $15.95 (by reservation). White Christmas: The Musical Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage November 29–December 23 The beloved holiday favourite that has brought joy to more than 72,000 audience members is back! Make your days merry and bright by warming to this unforgettable musical about love and friendship. Based on the classic film, this tap-dancing delight brims with tunes—including “Blue Skies,” “Sisters,” and the ever-popular “White Christmas”—that will fill you with the spirit of the season. Winterfest Canlan Burnaby 8 Rinks November 18- January 2 The skating rink will transform into a winter wonderland with live Christmas trees, festive lights, decorations and traditional holiday seasonal music to complete the festive skating decor.

Festival of Lights VanDusen Gardens December 7–January 1, 4:30-9pm A magical experience for the whole family with 1.4 million twinkling lights. Highlights include the Dancing Lights on Livingstone Lake, Gingerbread Wood and Candy Cane Lane. Evenings prior to Christmas also feature Community Choirs on the Deck and Santa in his Living Room. In the Heather Garden, be sure to support the MakeA-Wish Foundation by lighting a candle at the Candle Shrine.

MORE CONTENT ONLINE! For more great Winter Fun events, go to


A Pitt Meadows Christmas Pitt Meadows Spirit Square December 7, 6-8pm Join the Pitt Meadows Community Foundation as they kick off the Christmas Season! Watch a performance of carolers, take pictures in front of the giant snow sculpture and even sit on Santa’s lap! Christmas Tree Farm Alder Acres November-24-25, 9am-4pm & December 1-23, 9am-4pm Choose and cut your perfect Christmas tree with saws provided or choose from fresh cut trees in the yard. $4 farm admission included with the purchase of tree. Play with the animals, sit by the fire and sip hot chocolate–go green, lug a mug for your hot chocolate! 604.888.4483 | North Pole Express Pacific Central Station - VIA Rail Dec 6, 8, & 9 13, 15, & 16 20, 22 & 23, 4-7:30pm The ‘North Pole Express’ is a thrilling half-hour event based on the children’s story, ‘The Polar Express’ by Chris Van Allsburg. You will be seated in a 1930’s, fully renovated train car at VIA Rail’s Pacific Central Station to experience a scene from that story. You will be served a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy a Christmas Magic Show by Matthew Johnson. Upon departing, you will receive a souvenir ticket to remember to ‘Believe’. Peak of Christmas Grouse Mountain November 24-December 24 Go to Santa’s Workshop and meet Santa or go Outdoor Ice Skating atop the magical 8,000 square foot skating pond. Visit a real reindeer and learn reindeer facts from the Wildlife Rangers. Experience Mountaintop Sleigh Rides or from 9:30am-9pm every hour on the half hour; watch fun family Christmas movies on the big screen in the mountaintop theatre. Family Day in the Country Krause Berry Farms December 2, 11am-2pm Enjoy face painting, write letters to Santa, and decorate gingerbread cookies while listening to live music! Weather permitting there will also be horse-drawn carriage rides.

Christmas Vintage Market 23514 105 Ave, Maple Ridge November 16, 5-9pm & 17, 9am-4pm If you love all things olde, shabby chic, country farmhouse, handmade, and vintage, then this will be an event you don’t want to miss! Admission is $5 for both days and children 12 and under are free! Partial proceeds go to the Maple Ridge Christmas Hamper. Free Parking. Christmas Train Bear Creek Park December 8- January 1, 10am-4pm Ride the train through the magic Christmas forest display and Santa’s Golden Reindeer tunnel exhibit. Adults $6.50; children$6 604.501.1232 | Nutcracker Queen Elizabeth Theatre December 14-16, 7:30pm & 15 & 16, 2pm Ballet BC is proud to present Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Nutcracker with three evening performances and two matinees. Tickets start at $30.25 Polar Express December 1-2 & 8-9 West Coast Railway Heritage Park, Squamish Enjoy a 60 minute train ride, a story read aloud, hot chocolate and cookie, Christmas music and carol, Santa’s workshop, Mr and Mrs Claus and more! It’s a Wonderful Life Granville Island Stage November 26–December 29 “Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” In this holiday favourite, George Bailey’s guardian angel swoops in to remind him that faith, hope, and family, make life truly wonderful. Returning for a fifth year, this production has delighted over 66,000 audience members! Bright Nights in Stanley Park Stanley Park November 28-January 2 See more than 2 million twinkling lights as they transform the forest, train and children’s farmyard area in the middle of the city’s wondrous Stanley Park. Enjoy entertainment, dozens of delightful animated displays and more! Winter Ice Palace Cloverdale Arena December 22–January 6 The Cloverdale Arena will be transformed into the Winter Ice Palace again over the winter break. Come and join in the fun. This is a very popular event that the whole family can enjoy. Admission is $4 per person, skate rentals additional. And yes, they will be open Christmas Day and New Years Day. 604.502.6410 |

families westcoast

2012 choice readers

November/December 2012 19

party ideas One of the best things about Greater Vancouver and the surrounding regions is that there is always something fun to do, no matter what the weather. So if your little one has a birthday this winter, maybe a picnic isn’t such a great idea, but there are lots of great places to throw a party even when it is wet and cold outside. Here are some good ideas for both indoor and outdoor kids’ parties that happen in the less sunny times of the year.

Indoor Parties 6 Pack Indoor Beach Richmond 6 Pack Indoor Beach has conver ted an 18,000 square foot facility into a sand lover’s paradise. Gather friends for a game of beach volleyball, tugo-war, or sand castle building. Whether it’s 12 kids for a birthday, 50 teenagers for a Sweet Sixteen, or 150 soccer players from a community league, 6 Pack has a party package to fit your needs—you can even have a sleepover! Birthday party packages start at $150 for 2 hours; sleepovers cost $60 per person and require a minimum of 25 people.

Fun World Playcentre Surrey Slides, ball pits, climbing walls, and climbing nets should keep the little monkeys busy while older kids can enjoy laser tag, bumper cars, and arcade games. The Marina Café offers all the party meal favourites including pizza and hotdogs, but they offer healthy fruits and veggies too. Open seven days a week, party packages range from $13 to $30.

Kinder Café Port Coquitlam Kinder Café is the perfect place for a toddler tea or baby bash. This 3,000 square foot open-concept space is a safe environment for children ages 6 and under to explore, play, and socialize, all while mom keeps an eye out from the chic café space. Kinder Café will take care of everything except the birthday cake. Party packages start at $149 for seven children.


4Cats Arts Studio Surrey

Cliffhanger Climbing Centre Vancouver

People of all ages can appreciate the fun of splatter painting, which is just one reason why 4Cats is a great place to host a party. Enter the studio and watch your kids become Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock or Van Gogh. It is a place where space aliens and dragons come to life frompaint and clay, and creativity is encouraged. Like their slogan says: “Art is good.” It is also good that party prices start at a reasonable $185 for ten people and everyone goes home with a piece of original art.

There’s nothing more fun than “hanging out” with friends, especially if you actually get to hang from things! Cliffhanger Climbing Centre is the perfect place to do just that. Their Vancouver location has 15,000 square feet of climbing terrain and 40-foothigh walls, and is suitable for everyone from amateurs to experts. The fun and challenge of rock climbing make it a perfect party activity for anyone over the age of seven. Two-hour “vertical” birthday parties can be booked for a maximum of 12 people at a cost of $22/person.

Limegirl If you are looking for a luxurious party idea with a twist, that will come straight to your house, then you better give Limegirl a call. They will turn your house into a custom spa and treat your party girl and her guests to manicures, pedicures, and mini makeovers. Want to add a sweet treat? Party guests can make spa candy – not for eating but for bath and body. Bookings are 1 ½ to 3 hours long and range in price from $275 to $345 for eight girls.

The Hungry Oven North Vancouver The Hungry Oven incorporates kids’ cooking classes into their birthday parties. Party goers first cook food from one of several themed birthday menus and then they get to sit down and enjoy the delicious meal they have created. And, when the party is over the Hungry Oven cleans up the mess. Birthday parties can be booked for groups of 10 to 15 children at a cost of $45 per child.

Castle Fun Park Abbotsford The giant castle on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway is hard to miss; it practically shouts fun! Within the property there truly is something for everyone regardless of age. Batting cages, bumper cars, go karts, three mini-golf courses, a shooting gallery, target hockey, indoor driving range, soccer goal kick, and more than 160 arcade games all add up to endless hours of entertainment. Groups and birthday parties can reserve party times with prices ranging from $12.50 to $25 per person.

Outdoor Options Mount Seymour Celebrating a birthday in the winter does not have to mean staying indoors. Add a thrill to your celebration with some tubing or tobogganing at Mount Seymour. Tubes are provided for zooming down one of four lanes and a rope tow pulls you back up again making it easy for young and old. The toboggan park is a “bring you’re your own slide” area where people can also play in the snow. No need to worry about your cake and presents while you are having fun because they will stay safe and dry inside the cozy yurt that is available for party rentals at $37/hr. It can accommodate up to 50 people and is conveniently situated between the toboggan and tubing hills. Contact Mount Seymour for group tobogganing and tubing rates.

Grouse Mountain Nothing says winter like an outdoor skating pond. Soaring over the city skyline, Grouse Mountain not only offers one of the only outdoor skating ponds in southern BC, it is also a great place to enjoy everything winter has to offer. In addition to skating, you can enjoy “snow-limo” and sleigh rides, not to mention the skiing and snowshoeing. Skating and some other activities are included with the cost of each Skyride pass which ranges in price from $13.95 for children under 12, to $39.95 for adults. You can plan a party inside the Peak Chalet just steps away from the skating rink or contact Grouse Mountain to customize a package.

Stanley Park Ecology Society Anytime is a good time to visit Stanley Park, but celebrating a birthday in the park only makes the visit better. A birthday celebration with the Stanley Park Ecology Society includes a guided walking tour of the park with hands-on activities and plenty of opportunity to explore and discover the natural treasures hidden in the wetlands and forests. The party then moves inside to Stanley Park’s historic Dining Pavilion where you can have your gift exchange and birthday cake. Parties can be customized to a favourite animal or activity, so don’t be afraid to ask. Up to 15 children can attend for $210.

WildPlay Maple Ridge If swinging from trees and zipping across forest terrain sounds appealing, then WildPlay is your kind of adventure. Parties for children between the ages of seven and 13 can spend their time trying to conquer the Monkido Ariel Adventure: a series of suspended obstacle games. Kids swing, climb, and zip line through the course of more than 60 games anywhere from six to 60 feet above ground. Although not open regular hours November through February, groups of 15 or more can still make reservations. $199.90 for 10 kids. Older kids can book a party too; contact Wild Play for group rates.

O T A C C A T S studios ams at r g o r p music

604-421-3753 4663 E. Hastings Street, Burnaby

Classes for all ages & interests Preschool Piano • Music Together Guitar • Drums • Voice • Piano Contemporary & Classical

November/December 2012 21

wcf news >> Canada’s Grade 4 and 5 Students Can Ski and Snowboard Free Across Canada It’s Canada’s best ski and snowboard deal... and for the first time, it’s accessible across the country. The Canadian Ski Council’s SnowPass provides FREE skiing and snowboarding for Canadian kids in Grade 4 and Grade 5. New this winter, kids can use their SnowPass at participating ski areas anywhere in Canada. “This is so exciting for us,” explains Patrick Arkeveld, Canadian Ski Council (CSC) President and CEO. “In the past, SnowPass holders could only use it in the region in which they lived. Now they can use it anywhere. Which means, if they live in Ontario and are vacationing in Quebec, Alberta or B.C., they can ski or ride free there, too.” How It Works: The Canadian Ski Council’s SnowPass gives kids in grades 4 and 5 (born in 2002 or 2003) up to three free coupons for lift tickets at each participating ski area... all for a onetime administration fee of $29.95, including taxes. There are 149 participating ski areas across the country. Applying is easy: Online applications are now available at In November, SnowPass applications will also be distributed inside Sport Chek stores across Canada. Once an application is complete, a SnowPass will be sent straight to you starting mid-November. The SnowPass season starts December 1, 2012. Now in its 16th year, the CSC’s SnowPass program has given more than 500,000 Canadian kids opportunities to ski or snowboard free. This season, the CSC is pleased to work with its 2012/2013 sponsors: Sport Chek, Ripzone and Powder Room. For more information, visit

>> National Science Teachers Association and Toshiba Launch ExploraVision 2013 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision, the world’s largest K-12 science and technology competition is now accepting entries for 2013. Students research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing inventions that could exist in 20 years. As the program has evolved over the past two decades, it continues to encourage excellence and motivate students in STEM disciplines. In addition to providing students with the opportunity to win money they can use for college tuition, the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program gives educators a valuable tool for helping motivate students to excel in science. As a testament to its value in schools, the program has become so popular among teachers that many across the U.S. and Canada now include it as part of their regular science curriculum. Since the program’s inception in 1992, more than 300,000 students have submitted projects. This year, the teacher who submits the most eligible team projects in each grade category will receive a Toshiba tablet, and the school that submits the most eligible projects will receive $1,000 worth of Toshiba technology. Teachers can learn more about ExploraVision and how to use it as a tool in the classroom through a series of Web seminars at The NSTA Learning Center Webseminar.aspx . For more information or an application for 2013, visit The deadline is January 31, 2013.


>> Majority of Canadian youth spend an hour or less outside each day A new survey conducted on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation shows that 70 per cent of youth spend about an hour or less outside each day. The Foundation released the key findings of the survey on their website in October. Over 660 Canadian youth from across the country took the on-line survey this past spring. Nearly half of the youth surveyed between the ages of thirteen and twenty feel they don’t have enough time to join programs that get them out into nature. They say school, work, and other chores make it difficult for them to take part in outdoor programs. The findings highlight the need for parents and teachers to encourage young people to spend more time outside. There is now a huge gap between the amount of screen time young people are getting with the amount of time spent outside. For instance, an American survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found young people spend an average of seven and a half hours a day on entertainment media. The Foundation’s recent survey also highlights the important role parents and families play in getting younger teens to spend time outside. The younger they were, the more likely they were to spend time with their families in nature. To encourage families to spend more time outside the David Suzuki Foundation has created Back to school? Get back outside! The four week challenge asks families to do four outdoor activities that have them explore their neighborhoods and their connections to nature.

>> The Health & Safety Watch team is very excited to announce the availability of the first HSW mobile app The Health and Safety Watch iPhone app is the only all-hazards, multi-jurisdictional, real-time health and safety information resource for your iPhone. Led by public health experts, HSW delivers personalized information on Canadian advisories, recalls, and warnings; giving you the information you need to make safe and informed choices for yourself and your family. The HSW iPhone app brings you all the same valuable health and safety information as the HSW website, with the additional feature that when location services are enabled, Events are ranked by distance to your specific location. Using lists, maps, search capabilities, ranking algorithms, and your location, the HSW application helps you find health and safety information on a variety of topics most important to you: Food Products, Consumer Products, Health Products, Public Health, Water, and Environment. You can also use the HSW application to find and review local public health inspection results. Starting with Toronto, Ontario and expanding to other communities soon, use the current inspection status of restaurants and other food premises to help plan your day.

For more information, visit

November/December 2012 23


download and get down by Jodi Iverson

Overplayed holiday music seems to be a polarizing topic. Either you love it or, well, not so much. But what better to help you though the short daylight hours and hustle of the season than that magic moment when you have loaded all your parcels into the trunk, collapsed into your seat, and turn on your music? We have curated a list of our lesser known faves to help you enjoy the season. 1. “I Wish it Was Christmas Today” by Julian Casablancas This Ramonesesque ditty by the frontman of The Strokes is pure silly fun, the perfect pop song recipe. “I don’t care what the neighbours say, Christmas time is near.”

2. “Christmas Blues” by LCD Soundsystem

7. “Auld Lang Syne” by Chris Bathgate This stripped down; folky version is a welcome way to bring in the New Year.

Because sometimes the wallet lightening season calls for the blues.

3. “Father Christmas” by The Kinks PG Alert! This is an adult’s only song involving Santa. Hey, we are all a little punk sometimes.

4. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by F&@#ed up Speaking of PG alerts…don’t let the questionably named Toronto group scare you away. This 2009 remake includes vocals from a plethora of indie superstars. All money raised from this version was split amongst three Canadian charities, including Vancouver’s DTES Power of Women Group.

5. “All I Wonderful Christmas Is You” by Summer Camp Putting a fresh spin on a couple of classics, Summer Camp mixes Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” with Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time.” I don’t know much about this band but their cover of The Waitresses “Christmas Wrapping,” is awesome too!

6. “Christmas in Hollis” by Run DMC Classic 80’s. This song samples Clarence Carter’s ‘Back Door Santa’, ‘Frosty the Snowman’, ‘Jingle Bells’, and ‘Joy to the World’.


8. “Got Something For You” by Best Coast & Wavves I heard this collaboration while shopping a couple years ago and was hooked. Jingle bells and harmonies get me every time!

9. “It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop” by Frightened Rabbit A charming holiday song sung in a charming Scottish brogue. Nuff said.

10.“Christmas Don’t Be Late” by Catwalk (Alvin & the Chipmunks Cover) Truth be told, I have a soft spot for the original warbly Alvin vocals, but this is a good alternative for those of you who don’t.

Overplayed Fave that almost made the list: “Mele Kalikimaka” by Bing Crosby Who doesn’t love a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song? For me this song is pure National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Picture Clarke Griswold dealing with cousin Eddie and suddenly your house full of relatives is looking great!

November/December 2012 25

wcf feature

Forever Memories Safeguarding & Organizing Your Digital Photo Albums By Darcie Brown


ith digital photography, we all take a ton of pictures, and this is great; but it also means managing the files becomes an increasingly daunting task. Often people just download their pictures to their computer and let them sit there. Digital files are a fragile medium, which makes them more vulnerable to catastrophic loss and deterioration than traditional media such as paper. So your digital photos require active management to safeguard them. So let’s break down a simple workflow for managing your personal photos. Identify where your digital photos are. Take a moment to figure out where your files are. Some typical locations are: memory cards, your computer, portable hard drives, CDs, DVDs, the internet and thumb drives. With new pictures, download them as soon as possible to avoid misplacing them. Once you have them downloaded to a minimum of two locations and viewed them to check there are no errors, you can format your card in your camera. Decide which pictures are most important to you. One of the blessings and curses of digital photography is that it is easy to take many pictures whenever you pick up your camera. We used to shoot, at the most, a roll of 24 photos at an event; we now can walk away with hundreds. So take some time to narrow down your most important images. You may have many or just a few. I personally believe that less is more and encourage you to keep only the best ones. Organize your most important photos. Start by creating folders to group your images in. We organize our personal photographs by date. Each year has its own folder and then the subfolders are a date with a short description of what the photographs are of. For example, we would name a folder “2012_06_25 – Justina’s 5th Birthday” for the folder that holds Justina’s birthday photographs taken on June 25, 2012. Give the files you’ve selected descriptive names. As long as you’re consistent and your method allows you to find photographs, you can create your own system.


Make prints of your photographs. If I held a pile of prints in one hand and a hard drive in another then dropped them both, the prints are going to fare much better than the hard drive. Paper is a stable method to preserve photos. I suggest sending your favorite photos to print every month or so. You can make digital albums as well which you can design and print through companies such as Blurb, iBook, Snapfish and many more. Make multiple digital copies and store them in different places. Since all hard drives will eventually fail and disks will inevitably degrade, you should store your files in multiple locations. The Library of Congress’s Prints & Photographs Division recommends using the 3-2-1 rule: 3 copies, 2 different types of mediums and 1 copy in a location other than where you live. Maintain your digital files. Check your photos at least once a year to make sure you can read them. Digital technology is rapidly developing so as programs are updated, retrieval and playback technologies can become obsolete in a matter of years. It wasn’t too long ago that we were using floppy disks to store data, which are inaccessible to the average person now. For the same reason, we also suggest that you create new media copies every five years, or when necessary, to avoid data loss. This will help to protect you from losing your photographs through digital obsolescence. Darcie Brown of Revival Arts partners with her husband, Jason, to provide innovative, artsy portraiture and beautiful home décor displays. Their hard drives and albums are full of inspiring photographs of their three children.

families westcoast

2012 choice readers

November/December 2012 27

families readers westcoast


is excited for the return of the 4th annual

Best Infant/Toddler/Child Music Program Music With Marnie Music Together Tie: Music for Young Children / Mother Goose

Best Pediatric Dentist/Dental Clinic Child’s Play PDG Monarch Dentistry

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Best Family Optometrist or Optometry Clinic Complete Eye Care Dr. Megan Rees Pacific Eye Doctors Best Beauty/Health Spa Spa Utopia Absolute Spa Skoah

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Best Children’s Dance Program Arts Umbrella Kerrisdale Community Centre n/a

Best Local Daytrip Whistler Tie: Grouse Mountain / Stanley Park

Best Children’s Performing Arts Program Arts Umbrella Carousel Theatre Shadbolt Centre

Best Vacation Destination Outside of BC Hawaii Disneyland Oregon Coast

Best Children’s Visual Art Program 4 Cats Arts Umbrella ArtSpace

Best Family Ski Area/Mountain/Resort Whistler Grouse Mountain Big White

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Best Family Photographer Bopomo Tie: Meagan Baker Photography / Revival Arts

Best Ladies Fitness Program/Facility She’s Fit Curves Fitness World

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Best Family Fitness Centre YMCA/YWCA Hillcrest Comm Centre Fitness World Best Home Party Business Partylite Tie: Silpada / Stella and dot / Tupperware

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Best Online Parenting/Family Resource Best Women’s/Mom’s Entrepreneur Network or Support group MomCafe EMom Now Lulu Ladies


Best Family Campground or Camping Destination Manning Park Tie: Alice Lake / Cultus Lake


Best Children’s Hair Salon Melonheads Great Clips Tie: Fintastics / Hair Loft / Mom Spa

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Best Travel Agency/Resource Flight Centre BCAA Tie: Marlin Travel / Campbell Travel

Best Kid’s Party Venue Science World 4 cats Tie: Go Bananas / Little Gym / Phoenix Gymnastics

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Best Party Supply Store Party Bazaar Dollar Store Dollarama Best Children’s Entertainer/Performer Music with Marnie Raffi Bobs and Lolo Best Birthday Cakes/Bakery/Treats Dairy Queen Safeway Tie: Cupcakes / Butter / Fratelli’s

Best Sleepover Camp Tie: YMCA Camp Elphinstone Camp Squeah Sasamat Outdoor

Best Learning/Tutoring Centre Tie: Kumon / Sylvan / Oxford

Best Local Family Attraction Vancouver Aquarium Science World PNE/Playland

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Best Children’s Live Theatre Company Carousel Theatre Waterfront theatre Stagecoach Best Annual Baby/Family Show/Event Baby & Family Fair PNE Vancouver International Children’s Festival

you spoke...

we listened!

Of course, We know our readers are the smartest people out there. So it’s time again to harvest this wealth of knowledge and experience in our Annual Reader’s Choice Awards! Read on to discover what you have chosen as the best of the best in and around town.







Best Children’s Clothing Store Children’s Place Tie: Carters-Oshkosh / Gymboree

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Best Family Restaurant White Spot Boston Pizza Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Best Maternity Clothing Store Thyme Motherhood Old Navy Best Adults Consignment/Vintage Store Value Village Salvation Army Front & Co Best Kids Consignment/Vintage Store Wee Ones Reruns Value Village Boomers & Echoes Best Kids Shoe Store Panda Payless Tomatoes

Best Children’s Day Camp Science World Pedalheads YMCA

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Best Baby Equipment Store TJ’s The Kiddies Store Babies R Us Baby’s World Best Family Bike Shop Caps Different Bikes John Henry’s

Best Grocery Store Real Canadian Superstore Save-On-Foods Tie: Safeway / Thrifty’s

Best Pizza Panago Pizza Hut Fresh Slice

Best Children’s Furniture Store Ikea Pottery Barn Kids TJ’s The Kiddies Store

Best Vacation Destination Within BC Whistler Tofino Harrison Hot Springs

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Best Natural/Organic Foods Store Whole Foods Choices Market Famous Foods

Best Grocery Delivery Service Spud Thrifty’s Tie: IGA / Stongs

Best Children’s Bookstore Kidsbooks Chapters Indigo

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Best Swimming Program Aquaventures Hillcrest Community Centre YMCA

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Best Children’s Gymnastics Program Phoenix Gymnastics Jump! Gymnastics UBC Gymnastics

Best Activity-Play Centre Go Bananas Kerrisdale Play Palace The Great Escape

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Best Midwife or Doula Services Mother Me The Midwifery Group Pomegranate Midwifery

•• • •• •

Best Nanny Agency Nannies on Call Susan’s Nannies Nooks & Nannies

Best Location to Pick up WestCoast Families Magazine Libraries Safeway Science World

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November/December November/December 2012 2012 29 29

i’m raising my family...



n this day and age, one wouldn’t think that choosing a vegetarian diet would be anything really noteworthy. After all, green is in, and eating vegetarian is most definitely green. It’s good for our bodies, it’s good for the planet. However, rarely do a few weeks go by where our family doesn’t find ourselves explaining, and yes, at times defending, our dietary choices. With all of the diets that one encounters today (gluten-free, raw, low-calorie, lowcarb, the list goes on), it does at times seem like ours is one of the simpler ones. No meat, simple as that. Not a lot of ingredient reading, calorie counting or trips to the specialty food shop. However simple it may seem to us, there are always those who view our choice as radical in a way that the other diets are not. According to Wikipedia, as of 2003, 4% of Canadians ate vegetarian diets. Of those, the top reason given for steering clear of meat was, predictably, health. Yes, eating vegetarian is a very healthy option, but there are myriad other reasons why an individual or family might choose to avoid meat. In our family, the reasons are mixed. My partner and I were both on the veg path years before we met and started a family. When we were teenagers in the 80s and 90s, there was a trend toward vegetarianism and we both ended up being surrounded by friends who were also avoiding meat. My reasons were mainly animal-rights based, whereas my partner would tell you that he felt that avoiding meat was a simple way for him to do a bit of good in the world - for the earth, for animals, for his body. When we had a child, there was never any question that she would be vegetarian as well. We had already spent the greater part of our lives as healthy vegetarians, and knew there was no reason we couldn’t have a healthy vegetarian child. When our daughter began eating solid foods, we faced the same challenges that most parents face–figuring out what your kid likes and doesn’t like. The fact that meat wasn’t an option for our child didn’t really pose a problem for us, as we hadn’t considered it an option for ourselves in many years. We fed her well-rounded meals including lots of grains and greens, fruits and veggies, and occasionally tofu in various forms. Before long, it became obvious that our daughter was a fruit and veggie fanatic, much as I was as a child. As long as it was colourful and crunchy and raw, she would eat it all day long. On top of the fact that none of us eat meat, I myself am a vegan, meaning I don’t eat any dairy products or eggs. Our family have therefore always been fans of non-dairy alternatives to things like yoghurt, milk, and cheese. Our daughter has rice, soy, or almond milk in her cereal, and is a fan of coconut ice cream. Having been born into a meat-free environment meant that our daughter was largely unaware that meat even existed until she was about two years old. She began to notice new things on other people’s plates, and in the grocery store. As


By Krysta Furioso

she had become a fan of veggie bacon as a toddler, she noticed that other people’s bacon looked slightly different. One day when she was about two-anda-half, we were in a grocery store passing through the low meat freezers where the ham and turkey are kept. Our daughter had always been full of questions, so I wasn’t surprised when she went over to the freezer, pointed at a ham and asked, “What’s that pink stuff?” Pink being her favourite colour, I wondered where this conversation would end up. I told her it was ham. “What’s ham?” she asked, unsatisfied with my abstract response. I took a deep breath, and decided to do what I had always known I would do when this moment came. I told her the truth. “It’s part of a pig that people eat.” I’ll never forget her face changing from curiosity to a look of complete ridicule. She laughed her little girl laugh and said, “Mama, people don’t eat pigs! That’s silly!” I may as well have told her that people eat doors or sidewalks. I could see her struggling to work out how pigs were not only the lovable creatures in her storybooks and nursery rhymes, but they were also food. And chickens too! And cows! So our conversation continued with her coming to find out a lot more about meat, and about humans, and about the world around her. She has become a lover of animals herself, and I won’t deny that I’ve played a role in that. Passing on your values is something we sometimes can’t avoid as parents. We’ve taught her to respect all life, respect the earth, and of course, to respect other people and the choices they make. Making sure that she gets enough iron and protein is only half the battle as she gets older and faces the world where what she eats and doesn’t eat often sets her apart from her peers. We’ve been lucky in that she’s always had at least one other vegetarian child in her class, all the way back to preschool. As a grade one student, I’m happy to report that she has never come home upset about another child treating her differently because she’s vegetarian. When she’s asked about it, she faces the question with confidence, and even a bit of pride. She doesn’t judge the kids that bring ham sandwiches to school, and I think that’s my biggest relief. She gets that we don’t eat meat, but that some of her friends do, and some of her friends don’t celebrate Halloween, and others have two moms. It’s a rainbow world, and she’s part of a generation where acceptance and tolerance are essential. As she gets older, maybe she’ll get curious. Maybe she’ll get sick of veggie bacon. We’ll see. For now, this is our path, and we’re happy to be on it, healthy and happy. You take a risk when you’re honest with your kids about complicated topics, but my daughter has shown me again and again that she can handle the truth–and that she deserves it.

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November/December 2012 31




hink of an inspiring woman. In truth, you’re probably thinking of someone like Oprah, a larger-than-life figure, with a TV show and a wealth of philanthropic endeavours under her belt. But in real life, truly inspiring people don’t need to have a TV show or millions of adoring fans. But they do give life their all, no matter what cards they’ve been dealt. One such person is Michelle Gentis, a single mom living in Vancouver. She not only takes care of her physically disabled son, Joshua, but she devotes her life to making sure that he’s as happy and engaged as any other eleven-year-old. And it has not been an easy road for Michelle. A single mom since Josh was one (around the time they realized he had a brain disorder, causing severe physical disabilities), she found herself navigating the daunting world of specialists, therapists and doctors appointments all on her own. But even though she admits it’s been


Michelle Gentis Marathon Mom By Nic Enright-Morin | Spread photo by Dylan Doubt

hard, “No parent signs up for this and there’s many times that you grieve alone,” Michelle decided to take Joshua’s disability and turn it into a positive, “I decided when Josh was young that I didn’t just want to survive this, I wanted to overcome it and make something great of it.” And make something great of it they have. Josh may be confined to a wheelchair and need constant one-on-one care, but Michelle has made sure that her son is not sitting on the sidelines of life. In June 2008, Michelle and Josh ran their first half-marathon together, something she says was a defining moment in their lives, “Something magical happened. When all the other runners and on-lookers cheered Josh on…and everyone needs to be cheered on. We both had a great time and it was a wonderful experience.” It

“I want my life to count for something. I want my life to make a difference. Not just for my son but for other people.” was also the catalyst for Michelle beginning ‘Team Joshua,’a charitable foundation devoted to helping kids with disabilities reach their full potential, and to help their families overcome the challenges in their everyday lives. Yet running is not something Michelle does just for her son, it is also her salvation in times of stress. In fact, sports are instrumental in her life, and as well as being a dedicated runner, Michelle is also a keen tennis player and loves to ski in the winter. Originally from Holland, Michelle says a supportive family, a wealth of good friends and a devout Christian faith are what help her through the rough days. She also says she’s vigilant about carving out ‘me’ time, as her sanity is imperative to everyone’s happiness. “Part of my time for myself is running and if I do not take care of myself then I cannot take care of my son. The best thing I can give Josh is for me to be happy.” When Michelle speaks of her life and all she wants to achieve, even though she has a soft voice, her determination is palpable. You can sense that she is an ambitious woman who will strive to attain her goals, no matter what obstacles

are in her path. “I want my life to count for something. I want my life to make a difference. Not just for my son but for other people.” Michelle might not have the notoriety of Oprah, but she has the same drive and is a woman intent on making sure her’s is a life well lived. But behind her strength is vulnerability, which she is not used to expressing, although she is learning to. “I’ve had to learn to ask for help because I was so fiercely independent, until I was brought to my knees many, many times, because you just can’t do it alone.” But in reality, Michelle is anything but alone. For she and Josh are so close, and their lives are so intertwined that it is impossible to unravel them. Although Josh has faced so many adversities in his short life, Michelle is resolute that their lives will not be just another sad story. She is already victorious. For when she describes her son, just like any other mom, her voice brims with pride and joy, “Josh is a people person, he’s very clever and very aware, we call him curious Josh.” Currently Michelle and Josh are training to qualify for the next Boston marathon. You can find out more about there story at November/December 2012 33

wcm feature

A Great Meal is in the Cards The Ladies of the Best of Bridge

By Stephanie MacDonald


he year was 1975, the place was a cottage near Calgary. Eight friends are gathered for a regular getaway to laugh, eat, and play bridge. But they also have a little more ambition than just that. Since one of the highlights of their decade-old bridge group has always been the delicious food they shared, they make a decision to put together a modest little cookbook. We wanted to make enough money to do our next bridge weekend in Vancouver”, says Mary Halpin, one of the original eight. “That was our ‘mission statement’, though we didn’t know it was called that at the time”. That modest little cookbook, titled Best of Bridge, was a runaway success, and the group went on to form a very successful partnership resulting in six more books and sales of over 3.2 million copies, and a special place in Canadian publishing history. We sat down with Mary and Sally Vaughan-Johnston, who has taken over the writing reigns of the operation since the ladies began easing into retirement a few years ago. WestCoast Families: How do you think the books have evolved over time? Mary: As new stores opened, there are many more ingredients available to the average person, and as people started to travel, they became used to eating more varied flavours. We worked with what we had at the time, and as we traveled and broadened our tastes, this happens in the books as well. Sally: People used to joke about the cookbooks being subtitled “The Three M Cookbook” because we used a lot of mushroom soup, mayonnaise and

marshmallows, which really reflected the trends in the 1970’s. We’ve continued to evolve from mushroom soup to chipotle peppers. WCF: What are your parameters for including a recipe in your books? Mary: It’s pretty simple really, if you can’t find an ingredient in your average Calgary supermarket, it doesn’t go in the book. These change all the time, as stores react to demand for something, so a recipe that calls for champagne vinegar or something, if it doesn’t make it into one book, five years later is perfectly fine to include. Sally: And we’ve continued to do that. Edmonton is a more limited market than Vancouver, but if I can’t get it in Edmonton at a normal supermarket, it doesn’t go in. WCF: You have a brand new book out, the Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook. Is this a new direction? Mary: It is the first single-subject cookbook we have done. Though the recipes are all Sally’s, all of the original ladies tested and approved every dish in the book. Sally: A lot of people have misconceptions about slow cooking. They think you can just throw in a bunch of separate ingredients and a couple hours later they’ll pull out something good to eat, or they think that everything that comes out tasting the same. But the while there are some tricks to getting it right, the slow cooker can do perfect fondues, can bake wonderful side dishes, soups and puddings. The slow cooker is perfect for leaving out on the table while you’re entertaining, and effortless entertaining is how Best of Bridge got started!


Children’s Kingdom Montessori Centre Preschool & Kindergarten Register Now! September and January Enrollment Mandarin, Art & Music classes are included 4720 Elgin St. Vancouver (near Knight & 31st Ave.)

Tel : (604) 872-8898

The Children’s Party Specialists Face painting, balloon animals, arts and crafts, and more.

604-318-1261 • 34

momevents westcoast

Adult Events for the Hip Mom Around Town! Rockin for Research Hyatt Regency November 3 Enjoy a gourmet meal and live and silent auctions. Finish your incredible evening by dancing and rockin’ the night away to exciting entertainment while you help raise money to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes. 604.320.1937 | M.I.M. Tradeshow Delta Burnaby Hotel, Casino and Conference Centre, Burnaby November 4, 10am This is an inspirational and empowering event where moms can connect with business opportunities face to face, providing a variety of workshops and keynote speakers, to educate on the latest in business information and inspire you to take the next step in your business! Stay for the fashion show and lifestyle alley where you can get pampered by pros. Circle Craft Christmas Market Vancouver Convention Centre November 7-11, Wednesday-Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 10am-5pm Watch artists produce their work and enjoy live demonstrations of pottery throwing, weaving, jewellery making, and more! New this year- a fashion show!

22nd Annual Vancouver Health Show Vancouver Convention Centre November 10-11 The Health Shows provide new, reliable and practical diet, supplement, exercise and lifestyle tips that promote healthier living. Enjoy tasty food, learn about cutting-edge health products, services and fitness techniques, relax with a bodywork treatment, shop with special event pricing, and discover the latest trends. The Lake Telus Studio Theatre- Chan Centre for the Performing Arts November 14 & 15, 8pm The Turning Point Ensemble celebrates the centenary of Barbara Pentland with the first professional public performance (60 years after its composition!) of her 1952 one-act opera The Lake. 604-733-9023 | Hopscotch Festival PNE Forum November 16-17, 6-10pm Last year’s festival was the greatest so far. It showcased world class products including Scotch and other Whiskies, Premium and Craft Beer from around the globe, and ultra-premium spirits and so much more. This year, Master Classes and Satellite Events are being planned to make this year’s festival even better. This year will show case more brands, more speakers, and more events, so get ready!

Starry Night Granville Island Stage November 10, 8pm (doors open 7pm) A cavalcade of performers will tantalize, delight, and amuse at the 27th anniversary production of Starry Night. This successful fundraiser offers a whirlwind experience of musical variety that will bring the audience to their feet! Tickets $39

21st Century Flea Market Croatian Cultural Centre November 18, 10am-3pm 175 tables of bargains on deluxe 20th century junque! Retro furnishings, antiques, toys, jewelry, china & glass, records, sports items, silverware, paintings & prints, collectibles & much, more. Plus Drop-In Appraisals All Day. General Admission $5 at door.

Vancouver Private School Expo The Westin Bayshore November 11, 10:30am-12noon & 12noon- 4pm Canada’s largest private school expo provides information seminars about choosing the best school, how to pay for private school, as well as an opportunity to meet top PS -12 schools. Register now and get 50% off admission tickets.

Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Vancouver Aquarium November 21, 7pm Twelve of the city’s top chefs will go head-to-head for the title of 2012 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in this culinary battle. The competing chefs will create delectable chowders paired with craft beer. Guests will vote on their favourite and a winner will be crowned.

Visit for more family friendly events in June! To have your event included in the WestCoast Families community calendar, please email your details to:

Amaluna Concord Pacific Place November 23- December 30 Cirque Du Soleil’ Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. See the enchanting costumes and beautiful set as well as the always entertaining show only Cirque Du Soleil can provide! Tickets start at $33 Vancouver Christmas Market Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza November 24-December 24 Celebrate the rich and unique German culture! The Vancouver Christmas Market is a showcase of traditional German crafts, delicious food, and entertainment for all ages. Adults (13+ years): $5 General Admission $2 Monday to Friday 11am-4pm and Child (0-6 years): Free Waiting Child Information Session AFABC office, 200-7342 Winston St, Burnaby November 27, 7–9pm Come and learn about BC’s Waiting Children including who the children are, why and how do they come into care, their special placement needs, the Waiting Child program adoption process, and key issues for families. Cost is free, but please pre-register. West Coast Christmas Show + Marketplace Tradex, Abbotsford November 30 & December 1 & 2 This show brings together holiday decor, gifts, food, personal services, festive seminars, and celebrity stage presentations under one roof. Bloom Market Presents: A Handmade Holiday Fort Langley Community Hall December 1, 10am-6pm & 2, 11am-5pm Shop for unique handmade gifts from over 40 of BC’s top artisans. Food, music and holiday fun! Admission $3 (kids under 12 free). Free Parking. 604.616.3903 | TOQUE 303 East 8th Avenue, Vancouver December 7, 6-10pm, Reception night! December 8, 11am-4pm TOQUE is one of Western Front’s annual craft sale and fundraiser. Eco-friendly blocks, cards, felted slippers, and wonderful books and a raffle. 604.876.9343 | Got Craft? Croatian Cultural Centre December 8-9, 10am-5pm One-of-a-kind items in a casual environment at Vancouver’s largest indie craft fair! First 50 people through the door each day get a swag bag. Admission is $3

November/December 2012 35

community Baby & Family Fair Pacific National Exhibition November 3-4, check website for times This show offers an extensive selection of exhibitors, seminars, and hands-on demonstrations on the latest information, innovations, products and services for expecting and families with young children.

The Belly, Baby and Tot Show PoCo Inn and Suites November 4, 10am-4pm Come out for a great event for the expecting, new and parents of toddlers! Kids activity play centre, kids fashion show, and get a professional photo of your growing belly, baby, toddler or a family shot! Plus Tykes Bikes mini trial course, Cars for Dads, Shop for the latest products and services in your community, and so much more! $3 admission at the door, proceeds go towards Basics for Babies!

Family Fun Day Burnaby Heritage Museum November 4, 11am-3pm On Family Fun Day, Burnaby Heritage Museum welcomes families with kids of all ages. Free face painting, balloon art, crafts, carousel rides, hot dogs, and drinks for all attendees. Cost is free, but please pre-register. Reggio-Based Preschool Open House Vancouver Hebrew Academy November 7, 1:30-2:45pm This fully redesigned preschool program is for children ages 3 and 4 and runs from 8:3012:30am Monday through Friday. The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children is centered around several fundamental values about how young children learn. 604.266.1245


Diwali West End Community Centre November 7, 4:30-6:30pm Celebrate Diwali, an ancient South Asian Festival and participate in activities including; Storytelling, Diya Painting, Mehndi, and Dance Workshops. Free event. All ages welcome. Culture Babes 51 E Pender Street, Chinatown November 9, 10am Visit the Rennie Collection to see the Scottish artist Andrew Grassie exhibition with your toddler in tow. The Rennie is a private gallery, showing the personal art collection of Bob Rennie and is only open for scheduled tours. Tickets are $10 per adult and tots are free. Max and Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite Bell Performing Arts Centre Surrey & The Centre In Vancouver For Performing Arts November 9 & 10 These children’s favorites will be performing in Surrey November 9 at 3:30 & 6:30 and in Vancouver November 10 at 1pm. The Bright Lights of Broadway! Orpheum November 16 & 17, 8pm Called a “mega-talent,” and “one of the best voices on Broadway,” Tony-award winning singing sensation Debbie Gravitte performs a collection of some of the greatest-ever Broadway songs. 604.876.3434 | Will’s Jams The Rio Theatre November 17, 10:30am Join children’s entertainer Will Stroet and his Backyard Band for a live concert, a series of videos featuring Will’s favourite songs about sports, vegetables, colours, and animals from his highly-acclaimed albums Walk ‘n’ Roll and My Backyard. Tickets are $10 each (1 yr and under free)

Semiahmoo Trail Elementary School Christmas Fair 3040-145A Street, Surrey November 17, 11am-4pm A wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit and do your Christmas shopping! Great selection of handmade and home-based business products to choose from. Face painting, activities, and child minding for the kids. Kids Swap Meet Cloverdale Fairgrounds November 17, 9am–12:30pm Take advantage of this excellent opportunity to buy or sell new & used infant to teen items. Vendors selling everything from maternity items, clothing for all ages, toys, video games, furniture, strollers, bikes, sports equipment and more. 604.588.9919 Toy & Product Fair The Coast Hotel & Convention Centre November 21, 1-7pm This fair provides unique and innovative gifts for children of all ages and abilities. Admission & child minding by donation. Have your picture taken, and you may be chosen to have your child on the cover of WestCoast Families - plus additional prizes available! Santa Arrives at Brentwood Town Centre Brentwood Town Centre, London Drugs Court November 17, 11am Join in for an interactive show where Santa’s Toymakers need your help, to not only finish their important tasks, but to welcome Santa into the shopping centre! There will be music, dancing, and treats for everyone.

calendar Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival Kilby Historic Site November 17 & 18, 2pm The Vancouver Zoo will be on site with their Birds of Prey, the Bear Aware folks and Cliff Jury from Wild Birds Unlimited will speak, and as always, crafts for the kids. Disney on Ice Presents- Dare to Dream Pacific Coliseum November 21-25, various times All your favourite princesses take to the ice in a spectacular finale at the ultimate Disney Princess event of a lifetime! Experience the beauty, sparkle, and spirit when Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream comes to Vancouver! 604.757.0345 | | www. Cirque de la Symphonie Orpheum November 24, 8pm & 25, 2pm This thrilling, high-wire production is a mix of light classics and film scores performed by the orchestra. You will marvel at the astonishing talents of these world class athletes and artists, in the most unique and spectacular Symphony experience you can imagine! Cherie Smith Jewish Book Festival Jewish Community Centre November 24-29 The week is packed with innovative literary events including unique meet-the-author opportunities, literary readings and panel discussions, a foodie event, the annual bookclub event, writing and self-publishing workshops, children’s authors, film-screenings, and two onsite bookstores – new and used, open throughout the week. This Festival offers something of interest for every age group and every literary taste. 604.257.5111|

2nd Annual Elsie Roy Green Christmas Toy Sale & Swap Roundhouse Community Centre Exhibition Hall December 1, 10am-12noon Who says Christmas can’t be green? Would you like to reduce packaging, keep unused toys out of our landfills, save money, reduce clutter, teach your children to be conscious consumers all while supporting Elsie Roy Elementary? Admission is $3/adult or $5/family Osprey Village 5th Annual Tree Lighting December 2, 6:30pm There will be carols, crafts, warm beverages and the lighting of the tree. Even Santa will be there to enjoy the festivities. A Christmas Carol - Monster Theatre Centennial Theatre December 2, 2pm The Dickens classic as you have never seen it! Using puppetry, masks, original songs, physical comedy, and good old-fashioned storytelling, bookish Ryan and clownish Tara awaken young minds to the literary classics in a way that will inspire kids to dive into the books themselves. Age 5 and up. 604.984.4484 | 17th Annual Seasonal Celebration Shadbolt Centre for the Arts December 6, 5:30-6:30pm Celebrate with music, dance and interactive family activities. 604.291.6864

Brunch with Santa Cameron Recreation Complex December 8, 11am-12:30pm Join Santa, Mrs. Claus and your hosts from the Cameron Seniors’ Society for a hearty pancake brunch, crafts, sing-along and special surprises 604.297.4456 Winter Solstice – Where is this going on? December 21, 6:30-9:30pm Winter Solstice family fun night to celebrate the longest day of the year! Bring your instruments and your lanterns and join in our walking lantern procession and musical parade to watch the fire show! Winter Wonderland, a Family Sleepover Vancouver Aquarium December 29 Bring the family along for a sleepover for a special Winter Wonderland. Learn about the marine mammals before going to bed with the Beluga Whales in the underwater viewing gallery. Night snack and breakfast provided. For children over 6 years and Adults. Price: $93, Member cost $77. Pre-registration required. 604.659.3552 | Christmas Carnival Coal Harbour Community Centre December 8, 10am-12noon Journey with your children to meet Santa through a magical winter wonderland where holiday games and holiday crafts await each stop along the way. Pre-registration is recommended. Parent participation is required. Drop-in admission $6/child (age2-7) 604.718.8222 |

Visit for more family friendly events in June! To have your event included in the WestCoast Families community calendar, please email your details to:

If you’d like WestCoast Families magazine delivered to your event free of charge, please email your request to November/December 2012 37

last look Make it Snappy!

Reusable Party Cracker DIY By Jodi Iverson

Party crackers are fun for any occasion, but the prizes are often lackluster and they produce a lot of waste. DIY reusable crackers are an easy and fun craft project for the whole family! You can keep them basic for a kids party or use beautiful fabrics for a more formal affair. Try this project and let us know how it turns out, we want to see your pics!


make it!

• Fabric – try felt, cloth napkins, or remnants from old projects, etc. • Paper roll • Ribbon or string • Cracker filing items of your choicewooden toys, chocolates, flower seeds, Be creative! • Paper snappers -available at craft stores or online • Sissors • Glue gun

Step 1 Slide snapper inside paper roll Step 2 Add cracker filling – wooden toys, chocolates, flower seeds, mini bottles for the adults- Be creative! Step 3 Wrap cracker in fabric and secure with ribbon Step 4 Decorate crackers Step 5 Reuse!

did you know? 38

• Party crackers were invented in London in 1847 • The largest cracker ever made was built by school children & parent helpers and measured 63.1 Metres long & 4 Metres in diameter!

We’re currently building a new, bigger Ronald McDonald HouseŽ BC to surround more sick children with the love and support of their parents and siblings. Find out how you can help at

WestCoast Families Nov|Dec issue  

The November|December 2012 issue of WestCoast Families magazine, including our Holiday Gift Guide, Winter Family Fun, and Party Features.

WestCoast Families Nov|Dec issue  

The November|December 2012 issue of WestCoast Families magazine, including our Holiday Gift Guide, Winter Family Fun, and Party Features.