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The Local Guide for Active Urban Families

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snow november/december 2016 winter fun | family health | party guide

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families westcoast


• winter fun • family health • party guide

12 winter fun cover story

on our cover... Holiday season is here with winter chills and festive thrills!

Winter Fun Start to Ski Family fun on the slopes

Family Health Kids & Concussions Protect your little ones

Family Health Mouth Health Healthy teeth for life

Family Health Talk Time Mental health in children





Party Guide Best Birthday Party etiquette for parents

Winter Fun Winter Camping Exploring the chilly outdoors



24 mom westcoast

24 WCM Profile Kristi Gordon 27 Time Out

next issue jan/feb • education • fundraising • field trips 4

from the editor 6 From Our Family to Yours 7 Contests 8 Holiday Gift Guide 22 WCF News 28 Community Calendar 30 Last Look Walled Christmas Tree Instagram: @westcoastfamilies

November/December 2016


from our family to yours

families westcoast


aby It’s Cold Outside!

It’s official. Rain is falling, mittens are being worn, and a few snowflakes are sure to follow. November and December is a fantastic time to be in the Lower Mainland, while the rest of Canada is doused in thick layers of the white stuff! Our weather lets us choose when to hit the slopes with snow and when to pop open an umbrella and go for a mid season stroll. Call us crazy, but we love winter. It’s also holiday season, and we love to celebrate family, friends, and all that we are grateful for. Gift giving is just one of those ways we let others know we’re thinking of them, so we have the latest and greatest local products in our holiday gift guide (with more online!). This is also our family health issue, so we have a great feature on concussions in children, from the warning signs to healing tips and tricks. And health goes beyond the physical, so we have an excellent piece on mental health in children, from awareness to support for parents. And teeth need to be healthy too! Read all about managing your child’s mouth health in our dental feature. Party guide is here too! We have a great article on throwing the modern birthday party, with etiquette tips that all parents want. Gift bags or none? Invite parents to stay or send them home? We have the answers. This issue is full of information for families in the Lower Mainland, and we encourage you to check out our local advertisers who offer you great products and services and allow us to bring you great articles, tips and advice on raising your little ones. Happy Holidays from our family to yours.

Managing Editor Andrea Vance Assistant Editor Kelly S. Thompson 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

Assistant Editor

For submissions to our community calendars, please email To share your feedback, please email

readers choice awards WestCoast Families Readers’ Choice Awards is BACK!

Contributors Jennifer Bruyns, Krysta Furioso, Jodi Iverson, Emira Mears, Nic Enright-Morin, Kelly S. Thompson, Heidi Turner, Andrea Vance All contents copyrighted ©. Written permission from the publisher is required to reproduce, quote, reprint or copy any material from WestCoast Families Mailing address: 1215-C56 St. Box 18057 Delta, BC V4L 2M4 T 604 249 2866 | F 604 676 2802

Share YOUR favourite kids’ stores, activities, family hotspots, and more. Enter to WIN great prizes!

Head to for full details on all prizes and to cast your votes. Results will be published in the 2017 Annual Family Resource Guide. Voting closes November 30, 2016.



contests! Explore History There’s nothing better than getting in touch with the past, and during Lower Mainland winters, it helps when the history is nestled in the dry indoors! Bill Reid Gallery is a place for the whole family and pays homage to amazing Haida art and artists, with everything from totem poles to jewellery. We’re giving away a $25 gift shop credit and a season pass for the whole family, valued at over $100!

Deadline to enter: December 31, 2016 Enter at

Visit us online for new contests every issue!

Ride the Polar Rails Whether you cherished the book, the movie, or both, the Polar Express is coming back to the Lower Mainland for another season of holiday cheer. Wear your pajamas and listen to the tale while riding the rails and getting in the spirit with hot chocolate and a winter wonderland. We’re giving away a family four-pack of tickets, valued at over $120!

Deadline to enter: November 21, 2016 Enter at

November/December 2016


holiday gift guide for the baby

Flo Thermometer Check baby’s bath water, milk or body temperature, all with non-invasive technology. Simply hold the Flo within an inch of whatever temperature you want to measure…no need to wake baby! Best of all, it syncs with wireless apps to track family health. | $67

Dimpleskins Naturals A local Coquitlam mom who wanted natural and safe solutions started this stellar line of baby bath products. These salves come in handy tins, with formulas such as Boo Boo Goo and Bum Bum Balm, all made with chemical-free ingredients. | $13 and up

Parade and Company This playful children’s room décor makes any house shine while letting kids make their space their very own. With pillows, wall hangings, prints and more, children will love the design as much as parents. | $13 and up

Animal Journey This beautiful wooden sculpture pays homage to First Nations art, thanks to the beautiful design by Heilstuk artist Ben Houstie. The colourful design and quality workmanship will have baby learning shapes in no time! | $25


for the family Nine O’Clock Gun Hats These stylish baseball caps are direct from Canada, playing tribute to our heritage with stunning and simple hats that bring forth logos from forgotten Canadian sports teams. Add great cotton fabric and comfortable adjustments and these hats are the perfect gift.

Chocohappy Chocolates Your mouth will thank you for these tasty treats made right in Whistler. All handcrafted in small batches, these mouthwatering caramels and truffles will knock your taste buds into the holiday season with stylish cone packaging to boot. | $17

$40 and up

Varrick Golf Balls Get amazing distance from these spectacular golf balls that come in classic or bright colours, all high-performance for the perfect game. Best of all, these unique balls lend a bit of style to the tee.

Nuzzle Dog Collar Dogs need presents too! This lightweight tracking collar is comfortable for pets, comes in great colours and patterns and lets owners track their pet’s movement through GPS on iOS and Android devices. Plus it is subscription-free—so no extra costs. | $190 | $37 for 12

Animal Adoption Save endangered species by adopting a pet through the WWF, which highlights the 30 animals WWF-Canada has available for adoption. Give back to the world while saving animals, one at a time, and get a cute stuffed animal to boot. | $40

November/December 2016


holiday gift guide for the kids Invisible Cosmic Zebra Collection by Kitanie Books The workbooks will make a great gift for patients ages 12 through young adult, and caregivers/parents of children ages 6-11 who have an invisible illness. Colouring combined with education. | $25

Vex Bots These exciting, hands-on toys help kids explore STEM through interactive play that teaches them about science, technology, and so much more. These awesome construction kits, like the Zip Flyer and Snap Shot, are also tons of fun once fully constructed! | $18 and up

Yogibo Chair These amazing bean bag chairs up the comfort game, with pillows and pads that conform to your body in a wild variety of colours and designs. Kids will love the snuggly seats and fun monster designs and parents will cherish the durability and comfort. | $130 and up


Lego Dimensions This interactive game is fun for the whole family. With cool Lego characters and endless opportunities for creativity, kids can explore entire worlds while building and engaging online! Can be purchased for a variety of game consoles with awesome extension packs. | $110

for mom and dad Let Them Eat Dirt by MarieClaire Arrieta Ph.D and B. Brett Finlay Ph.D For parents who worry about every germ that enters their child’s body, this book is for them! Full of great information about microbes and the effect of these organisms in child development, parents will walk away with valuable insight into the joys of dirt. $20

AG Firewall Flatiron Spray Help your gift give back by buying amazing hair products that donate a part of proceeds to charity! This spray protects hair from heat and makes it so shiny, while 50 cents of every purchase goes to One Girl Can, which aids underprivileged girls in Africa. | $24

Phyrra Jewellery Originating in Vancouver, Phyrra offers stunning silver, bronze and gold jewellery for both men and women. This range of wax seal-inspired items has earrings, bracelets, (like the one featured here: great for dads!) necklaces and more, which is personal, stylish and a celebrity fave. | $155 and up

CinCin: Wood-Fired Cucina by Andrew Richardson On the occasion of their 25th anniversary comes the long-awaited cookbook from Vancouver’s famed CinCin Ristorante + Bar, with recipes specifically written for the home chef. Cook up a tasty treat with a local spin. | $38

November/December 2016


start to ski

family fun on the slopes By Nic Enright-Morin and Kelly S. Thompson


he family that plays together stays together, and lucky for us on the west coast, we have one of the best playgrounds in the world for winter sports.

There are countless benefits to taking up a winter sport as a family. On top of being fabulous for overall fitness, winter sports are excellent for the mind and reports show that people who engage in such activities find their overall wellbeing and mood improves. It’s also a fun way for families to experience a new adventure together and sneak in some travel. Families that travel together have the opportunity to feel much more connected and leave you with memories that last a lifetime. And to make it easy, most local mountains offer Play and Stay packages, where you can luxuriate at a resort after taking in the slopes. WestCoast Families has researched the most up-to-date information so that you and your family can hit the slopes stress-free this winter.

Lessons Most mountains offer ski and snowboarding lessons, which is imperative for newbies of all ages, since it saves frustration and injury. Often ski schools have separate lessons for the kids in the morning, so that the parents can get in some ski time of their own before everyone meets up in the afternoon—the perfect opportunity for the kids to show off their new skills. Grouse Mountain Ski Wee and Wee Riders - Children ages three to six will learn all the basics of skiing with confident instructors who cater to kids! Children will learn the skills in a fun environment, while meeting other kids at the same level in an area separated from the main hill traffic.

Whistler Blackcomb Snow School - Look no further than the infamous Snow School, where kids and adults alike can learn to ski and snowboard under a program regarded as one of the best in North America. The classes work around the learner’s ability level and offer low class ratios, complete with kids camps, multi-day lessons, day lessons and more. Their Lesson Pass program offers great discounts on continued classes rather than one-time teachings. They offer programs for kids starting at age three, and also adventure and holiday camps too. $195 and up Mount Seymour Ski and Snowboard School - Mount Seymour leaves no family member behind, with classes and camps for children and adults. Like the other mountains, children are separated according to their age and have the option to take part in spring camps, weekday camps and winter camps too. They have you covered for the holidays as well, and with a special focus on safety, kids will have fun while being safe. $120 and up Cypress Mountain Scooters and Adult Lessons - Cypress is a great hill to learn on, especially since it’s super easy to access. They run a great range of kids classes, camps and programs, as well as a great variety of lessons for adults. Their Scooter classes for kids under six are an excellent start, with well-trained staff on hand to teach the basics and beyond. $69/kids. $59/Youth, children & adults

$64 half day

Passes Ski Zone Camps - Not better, just bigger! Grouse has programs for kids in a range of levels, from Junior (5-6), Zone (7-12), Youth (13-28) and more. Kids are able to learn with children at similar ability levels while getting top-notch instruction from experts. $252 and up, five days


Season passes are easy to customize to your family’s preferences, whether it be night skiing, weekends or weekdays (when slopes tend to be quieter). Buying earlier is often better than waiting until later in the year. **Our prices listed are for a regular season pass.

Grouse Mountain


With 26 runs (five easy), Grouse has the least of all the local mountains in terms of runs but makes up for it in other family fun activities, including sleigh rides and snow limos. Grouse offers tons of customizing options when it comes to purchasing a pass, whether you want to use it for whole mountain access or just the lift, during the day or on the weekend…the choice is yours!

Everyone requires the basics, which include skis or snowboard, boots, helmet and clothing to keep you dry and warm. To cut down on costs, remember you may already have some items in your closet that can double as skiwear, or borrow from a family member. Or check out some of these options and check websites for times and dates as they change each year!

$825/adult, $725/students, $675/youth, $375/child, $40/tot. $2090/family pass. Mount Seymour With 39 runs (seven easy) and a host of other activities including snow tubing, Seymour has something for the whole family. They offer discounted group rates if you can find ten willing snow lovers, and great family and single pass options, and buying a season pass gets you one-day lift passes to some other local hills. $819/adult, $589/youth, $159/child, $29/tots. $2000/family pass.

The Turkey Sale Usually running in October, the Whistler Blackcomb Turkey Sale offers up to 50 per cent discounts on famous brands. Just visit the daylodge at the base of Blackcomb and snap up the deals. Season pass holders and locals get first dibs, but there’s lots for the whole family. Craigslist or Social Media You can pick up plenty of cheap gear on Craigslist or bidding sites on social media sites. Buyer beware and inspect for damage before buying or bidding.

Cypress Mountain With 59 runs (nine easy) Cypress mountain has the most runs out of the three north shore mountains. There are no other snow activities apart from snowshoeing at this mountain, however they do have 38 trails available for cross-country skiing. Their passes are offered at different levels; the G8, which is all-inclusive and restriction free, and the Silver, which limits certain times. There is a family discount, which differs depending on your pass choice. $700/adult G8, $299/child. Whistler Blackcomb Whistler is a large resort area, so of course, there are tons of options for buying passes that will suit the whole family. You can choose an unlimited or midweek pass or even one to last the duration of a vacation—15 days. And unique to this mountain, students who have graduated within the year can get a graduate pass at a great discounted rate. You can also get a parent pass that can exchange between two parents. Plus the Kids Club programs provide packages including ski passes, weekend lessons, meals, discounted lessons and more for one great rate.

Winter Extreme Ski and Swap PNE With over two million dollars in outerwear and ski and snowboard gear, you won’t regret a trip to this sale at the PNE grounds. Over 80 per cent off retail and tons of deals and your can consign your own stuff too! The food trucks help keep the shoppers happy too. Consignment Shops Places like Play It Again Sports and other shops often have great deals on gently used items. Most shops are diligent in their selection, so you’re still getting great quality clothing and equipment but at the fraction of the cost. So for an adventure you won’t forget, don those boots, strap on some skis and have fun with the whole family!

$1649/adult, $769/youth, $469/child, $15/tot. 10% discount for families. November/December 2016 13

family health

Kids and Concussions Protect your little ones by Emira Mears, PABC Director of Strategic Communications


n 2015, over 1,500 children were admitted to the ER at BC Children’s Hospital with either a concussion or a mild head injury. Children are more vulnerable to concussions because their brains are still developing, their heads are bigger in ratio to their bodies, and their necks are weaker. But with studies showing how important it is for children to take risks as part of their play, how can parents keep their kids safe without limiting their development? And if your child does get a concussion, how can you help them recover properly?

Prevention is the best medicine Laura Patrick, a physiotherapist and owner of Kids Physio Group, regularly works with children with concussions to aid their recovery. Patrick says the first step parents can take is to be preventative, starting with using the right equipment. “Make sure your kids have the proper equipment, whatever their sport. Kids should wear a helmet when riding their bikes, or playing hockey, or on the ski hill.” Maegan Mak, also a physiotherapist at Kids Physio, with significant experience with post concussion rehabilitation adds, “Keep in mind that helmets have a four-year lifespan. All helmets have a sticker with the expiry date on them. After four years, the foam in the helmet is not as protective and must be replaced.” Physical literacy—a combination of fundamental movement and sport skills and giving kids a foundation to explore different activities to keep them active—is another important factor in preventing concussions. “As well as being properly equipped, kids need to be physically literate when it comes to participating in sports. As a parent, it’s great to help our kids stretch their abilities but you also need to make sure you’re putting them into something they’re physically ready for,” says Patrick. Not sure if your kids are ready for a new level of sport? You can also get your child baseline tested


by a physiotherapist for balance, vision, vestibular systems, and neurology, in case the child sees injury down the road. And while hockey and football tend to get singled out as high concussionrisk sports, Mak says, “We see concussions from a wide variety of activities— soccer, hockey, playground injuries, or injuries from PE class. And females are more likely to get concussions than males, as they tend to have weaker necks.”

Communication Concussion prevention also requires communicating with your child. Mak suggests checking with your child after a match or game to see if they’ve experienced any awkward falls or hits, but you can’t always rely on your children’s feedback. “We can’t expect kids to hold themselves accountable. A lot of teenagers, or kids who are in high-level sport, may not disclose they have symptoms because they don’t want to miss a game. Coaches also need to know signs to look for so they don’t put kids back in the game,” says Patrick. Speaking of communication, it’s important to discuss concussion awareness with your child’s coaches. “A lot of the associations, like the Hockey Association

and the Soccer Association, are moving towards concussion education. Our profession has done education sessions for some of them and there’s been great progress there,” say Patrick. Most sports associations have access to concussion education but if they don’t, you can direct them to the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) online. Last spring, BC Children’s Hospital launched CATT, an evidence-based tool aimed at educators to help them prevent, recognize, and respond to concussions in the classroom, with great parent and coach resource sections as well.

Signs and symptoms What can parents do if they suspect their child has a concussion? According to CATT, symptoms of concussion can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and confusion. These may appear immediately, or hours or days after the injury occurred, as all concussions present differently. More serious complications can include brain damage, disability and death if not recognized immediately. Most concussions do resolve after about two weeks, but in about 15 per cent of cases have symptoms that linger, and the child experiences Post Concussion Syndrome. “Usually a child will go see their doctor after an injury and they’re told to rest and take time off of school and sport, and that’s usually enough for them to get better. But if they don’t improve and they have Post Concussion Syndrome, that’s when we see them. We’d look at balance, vestibular systems, and coordination and see where there’s a deficit and then work with them to get them back to their baseline,” explains Mak.

Local resources for concussions BrainStreams: Concussion Supporting the province of BC’s brain injury community. Parachute Education and social awareness for injury and to help keep Canadians safe. Concussion app and many online resources available. Concussion Toolkit for Medical Professionals Injury prevention education and how to help recovery. Online learning, assessment, and resources. Sport Concussion Library Online information for all audiences. Sports Concussions To help educate coaches, parents, and athletes about the dangers of concussions and the importance of proper management.

A physiotherapist may be able to help with concussion recovery even earlier, according to Patrick. “Even though the vast majority of kids will get better if they follow the basic home plan, it’s very difficult for a child to truly rest, especially with technology.” The most important thing to remember as a parent is that there are resources if your child gets a concussion or if you suspect they may have one. It’s important to visit your doctor or the ER as soon as possible, and to check CATT for information on exactly what to look for and what to do if you suspect your child is concussed. In addition, a physiotherapist can help your child’s recovery. Your child will need to be cleared by a physician before they can visit a physio, and if you’re not sure about your coverage, it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance provider before your appointment. For more information, visit

November/December 2016 15

family health

Mouth Health Steps to a life of healthy teeth by Kelly S. Thompson


trip to the dentist isn’t usually a favourite time of year. Between nervous time in the chair and unwieldy tools exploring your gums, the experience can be nerve-wracking, especially when it comes time to pay the bill. And if you have a family of littles, then the cost can be a fright, especially when it comes time for braces or other expenses that some insurance companies consider elective.

the brushing trend. “Role play can be very helpful—you can use a stuffed animal as a model to show your child how to brush teeth. Your child can practice brushing and then follow through with brushing his teeth.” Happy bear, happy little one! She also notes that music can help soothe children as they brush, especially those with special needs, and it can be turned into a fun game where each tooth must be cleaned before the tune stops. Musical chairs for your mouth!

But dentistry has come far since the archaic times of pulling out anything that hurts, and there are countless ways now offered to keep anxiety at bay and smooth out the experience for even the most nervous of patients. Unfortunately, costs are always on the rise, but there are steps you can take to keep your dental bill down while ensuring you and your family have happy and healthy teeth for a lifetime. In this article we’ll carve out the details for making a trip to the dentist easy on the anxiety and your pocketbook!

Next step to oral hygiene is flossing, and despite the latest online hype that flossing is going the way of the Dodo, the BC Dental Association asserts that this vital step in oral hygiene is an absolute must. “Careful daily brushing and flossing above and below the gum line along with limiting high sugar food and drinks remain simple but important steps to maintain your oral and overall health,” said the BC Dental Association in a written statement. Eating healthy also helps, with a diet that includes calcium and few sugary treats that wreak havoc on enamel.

Prevention is king An apple a day will keep the doctor away, as the saying goes. The same analogy can be applied to dental care, as after all, after we lose our baby teeth we only have one set to last a lifetime. Coincidentally, preventative action is also a huge factor in bringing down the cost and frequency of trips to the dentist chair, as a healthier mouth needs less expensive repair work like crowns, fillings, and extractions. As the first and most important step in oral hygiene, dentists recommend brushing twice a day with fluorinated toothpaste. And don’t skimp on the clock—two minutes is the time it takes to properly remove plaque that builds up in the mouth. Dr. Anita Gartner, a certified pediatric dentist with Tot 2 Teen Dental, has suggestions for how parents can get little ones into

Pretend patient No matter how diligent your daily dental care, a trip to the office is inevitable, which can make some people anxious, kids especially. Dr. Gartner notes that preparing your child for the appointment in advance can allay fears by teaching them what to expect. “The use of pictorial schedules from a board maker or pictures of the dental office and staff/dentist can help explain what will occur,” she said. From there, Dr. Gartner suggests parents bring their child in for a visit in which they simply observe the office and meet the staff, as a form of desensitization. It can help, in this case, to visit a pediatric dental office that is more inclined to offer these kinds of services, but when in doubt, just ask!

Local resources for dental health There are clinics throughout the Lower Mainland that provide free or reduced-fee services to low-income families. Below is a list of several in our area. (Check websites for details)

Portland Community Medical & Dental Clinic 12 Hastings Street East, Vancouver

Mid-Main Community Health Centre 3998 Main St, Vancouver

Vancouver Public Health Children’s Dental Program 210 - 1669 Broadway East, Vancouver

Abbotsford Food Bank Dental Clinic 33914 Essendene Avenue, Abbotsford

Strathcona Community Dental Clinic 601 Keefer Street, Vancouver

Pacific Oral Health Centre 300 - 15850 24 Avenue, Surrey

East Side Walk-In Dental Clinic 455 Hastings Street East, Vancouver


It also helps to ask your dentist to discuss your child’s treatment plan in advance. Knowing what is and isn’t covered by your insurance, and what alternative treatment methods are available, can help. For example, some patients aren’t aware that white fillings costs more than traditional metal ones, and insurance providers often don’t cover the difference, so it helps to be aware of what is and isn’t insured under your policy umbrella. Also, some children are empowered by knowing exactly what will happen in the dentist chair, and this can be anxiety relieving.

Insurance assurance The cost of dental care can be tough, but there is help to be had in British Columbia. Parents are highly advised—not only for their children, but themselves too—to obtain insurance, and make sure to read the fine print closely to ensure you know what is covered so there are no surprises. Also, through the BC Healthy Kids Program, low-income families are able to obtain reduced cost dental care for children of up to $1400 over a two year period. The money can go towards exams, X-rays, fillings, cleanings and more, with emergency treatment available to relieve pain, even if families go over the $1400 limit. For more information about local providers, tips of dental care and more, visit

November/December 2016 17

family health

Talk Time Mental health in children by Health Literacy Team, BC Children’s Hospital and Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre


ost parents are unaware that one in five children and youth in British Columbia experience mental health challenges that significantly interfere with daily living. Furthermore, in BC, over half of youth who need mental health support have not accessed appropriate resources and services. Supporting your child’s overall health, including mental health can leave many parents wondering what the signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge might be, and how to recognize these in their child. Mental health challenges and disorders have many different signs and symptoms, and can look very different for each person. These signs can impact how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. When symptoms are recognized early, the best way to prevent mental health challenges from getting worse is to seek professional help as soon as changes present themselves, which means open and honest family conversations about mental health. It is important to recognize that mental health challenges are common and there is no shame in reaching out to resources and support if needed. In fact, early identification of signs and symptoms and connecting youth to resources and support can enhance mental wellbeing, prevent experiences from getting worse, help to improve a child’s challenge in less time, and reduce negative impacts on self-esteem, relationships, educational achievements and working life. For parents, seeking education is a wonderful first step by using resources listed below and sharing that information with families and caregivers. It is also wise to familiarize with local available services in the journey to support children’s mental wellbeing. As families play a vital role in guiding and nurturing a child or youth’s mental health, shared information and resources can empower families to actively care for their mental health.

Signs and Symptoms Some common symptoms of a mental health challenge or disorder are: • Changes in mood • Changes in the way your child perceives things

• Obsessions • Fears • Feelings of anxiety (anxious thoughts, anxious body signs, anxious behaviours) On the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre website, there is a wealth of information on a number of common mental health challenges and disorders children and youth might experience, including signs/symptoms, how parents can know if their child might be experiencing this challenge, what can be done, and where to seek help.

Starting the conversation It can be hard to know how and when to talk to a child about their mental health, but making these conversations common check-ins (i.e. part of regular conversations from an early age) makes it easier for everyone. Remember that you do not need to be an expert on the topic. Just showing that you care about your little one and are open to having the conversation is the most important thing. Allowing your child the time and space to talk about how they are feeling is key—sometimes listening can be more impactful than talking. It can be useful to choose a time and place to have the discussion when your child feels secure and comfortable, and where there will not be any interruptions or distractions. Also, ensure you keep your voice calm and give your child space to talk about things they are struggling with emotionally.

Resources There are many local resources available to parents who are seeking support for their child or youth: • The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre is BC’s province-wide information source for children, youth and families who are experiencing mental health or substance use challenges. Individuals who contact the


Kelty Centre can receive information, resources, help navigating the mental health system, and one-on-one support from the Centre’s peer support workers. The Kelty Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm. You can contact the Centre by phone (604-875-2084), by email (, or by visiting in person at BC Children’s Hospital. • Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Society of BC is for those experiencing a crisis situation. Simply contact their hotline at any time. In addition to providing a crisis response, the Crisis Centre provides education and training that fosters resiliency and builds the capacity to respond to crisis and suicide in our communities. 604-872-3311 or toll free at 1-877-820-7444 • The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids’ Mental Health is a provincial organization that provides families with an opportunity to speak with other families who understand and may be able to offer support or advice on what has worked for them. The F.O.R.C.E. also provides families and professionals with information, tools, and tips on how to support and assist children with mental health difficulties. • Healthy Living Toolkit for Families includes information, resources, and tools to help children and youth with mental health challenges further develop healthy living habits. • Kids Help Phone is a free and anonymous 24/7 counselling and information service for young people who may have questions that relate to their emotional and mental health. This is a great number for children and youth to have programmed into their cellphones. 1-800-668-6868 • is a website designed to help youth and young adults in British Columbia check how they are feeling and quickly connect to mental health resources and support. The website includes information on stress, mood and anxiety, as well as self-check quizzes, tips for managing stress, and self-care resources. You can also get tips on how to talk to a friend or family member about how they are feeling. • Breathr is a fun app currently being developed that introduces mindfulness (i.e. an awareness of things happening around us right now – thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations).It offers young people the opportunity to learn about the benefits of mindfulness, and allows them to try short and simple mindfulness exercises and customize their own practise when they develop more familiarity. • Stresslr is a free online web app to help children ages 9-11 to learn about stress, understand how they react to stress, and develop healthy strategies to deal with stress.

Resources For more information on having mental health discussions, signs and symptoms, visit these resources. November/December 2016 19

best birthday

party etiquette for parents


by Heidi Turner

s there any activity that strikes as much fear in the heart of parents as that of planning a child’s birthday party? If you have friends who pride themselves on Martha Stewart-like capabilities, you may feel negligent if you haven’t picked out your theme, personalized invitations, and selected an artisanal birthday cake at least six months in advance, never mind deciding who to invite and what games to play. Rest easy, brave parent, because we have insights on some of your most pressing birthday party concerns. Grab a glass of wine, a notebook, a cozy chair, and read on. And take comfort that you’re not alone. A Google search of “children’s birthday party politics” netted more than 4.5 million results. These days, birthday parties are stressful for everyone, but they don’t have to be.

For Hosts Before you get started, breathe. Robin LeBlevec, franchise owner of event planning company Par-T-Perfect in Coquitlam, says parents push themselves too hard to impress other parents but children don’t necessarily care about having the fanciest cake or most expensive decorations. “Everybody wants to be better than the Joneses and the last party they were at,” LeBlevec says. “People put too much pressure on themselves. Kids want fun, period. We can be simple and have games and fun and silliness.”

Invitations Of all the birthday party decisions you face, this might be the one you lose the most sleep over. Hurt feelings, divided loyalties; the invitation process is more fraught with peril than a Game of Thrones wedding episode. There are no strict rules about whom you must invite to a child’s birthday party, but there are ways to be gracious. If you’re inviting almost an entire class,


invite the whole class. As for the parents? Make sure you state whether or not parents are welcome to stay, since unexpected guests leads to a lack of food, and you don’t want hungry partiers on your hand, adult or little ones alike! On top of that, parents who host are often scrambling to keep children in order to want to bother entertaining. So what is the best rule to follow? Juleen Boshart, mother to three boys ages 13, 11, and 9, says to invite your children’s friends and keep it on the more intimate side. “Invite the kids they like to be around and, more importantly, seem to like being around your child. There are some kids who literally get along with everyone and if you feel like it, invite them. My dad always said that if he wasn’t invited to a party he was fine with that, because why would he want to be somewhere he wasn’t wanted?”

Activities Parents can get bogged down with over-planning their child’s party. Don’t get stuck to your own agenda. Having a plan—and a back-up plan—is great, but if you notice the children enjoy something else, let them play. “One party at our place had all kinds of games planned, but we could not get those kids away from the water guns and light sabers to play our organized game,” Boshart says. “So instead of forcing them to stick to the activities we planned—and bought supplies for—we allowed the water gun battle to continue for two hours. The kids had a riot.” LeBlevec agrees, and says the best idea is to know when to stop. “Keep it short—three hours, maximum. Give them high-level fun, then send them home. If they go home wanting more, you’ve done your job well. If it’s too long, they start getting bored and that’s when their minds get them into trouble.”

Opening Presents


Undecided about whether to have your child open her presents at the party? This can be a boring time for young guests but the best part for the birthday kid. When in doubt, play it by ear. “It depends on the party,” Boshart says. “If the kids are having a great time and playing like crazy, I hate to interrupt that for presents. At the same time, a lot of kids are super excited about what they brought. They want to see their friend open their gift.”

Worried about ensuring every guest eats enough? Don’t fret. “Not all kids like to eat,” LeBlevec says. “Some kids love food but some won’t even eat at home and forcing them to eat isn’t the best plan. Do finger foods—bite sized foods that are fun and simple. Allow grazing. The kids won’t starve in the few hours they’re with you and at the very least, they’ll have some cake.”

Present openings can get hectic, however, so Boshart has a way to keep things calm and add education to the mix. “Have them give their presents in order of first name. That way things are a bit more calm and the children have to think about the alphabet, which automatically tones everything down.”

For Guests

If the children are having too much fun to interrupt, that’s okay, too. The point of a birthday party is for children to have a good time. If someone is upset that his gift wasn’t opened, Boshart recommends pulling that child aside and opening the present separately.

Goodie Bags Goodie bags are up to you, but if you do give them out don’t put live animals in them, like baby chicks (no joke. This has happened.). No one expects to go to a birthday party and leave with an added responsibility. Boshart says when she hands out goodie bags she includes items that reflect her child. For one son who is creative, Boshart includes bubble wands and sidewalk chalk. For another who loves Star Wars, she includes Star Wars puzzles and colouring sheets.

Not throwing the party? Is your child invited to one instead? Yay! Plans have been made and budgets set based on the RSVPs. If your child can’t go, tell the host. Pay attention to invitation details, too. The hosts have agreed to entertain your child for a set amount of time. Help them out by being punctual for both pick up and drop off. “I’m glad some people are type-A and are never late for anything—that’s fantastic for them,” Boshart says. “But I’m barely holding on by a thread and I’m not remotely close to ready early, because I’m a procrastinator. Come when the invitation says, not before.” And parents, don’t stay if adults aren’t explicitly invited. It can make the host’s house feel crowded and hectic. Whether attending or hosting a party, the etiquette rules these days are that there aren’t many. Do what works best for you, your child, and of course, your sanity. Above all, remember that birthday parties are supposed to be enjoyable. “Have giggles,” LeBlevec says. “Kids need to be active and have a good time together. Don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s always another birthday next year.”

November./December November/December 2016 21

wcf news

>> RBC Learn to Play Grant >> CLICK Program Being sick is tough for everyone, but especially so for children, who are used to being more active, engaged and of course, playing outdoors and with friends. For kids who experience regular hospital stays, staying connected with friends and family makes healing a trickier process and weighs heavily on the emotional aspect of wellness. Thankfully, Microsoft Canada, Children’s Miracle Network, and BC Children’s Hospital has launched the Child Life Interactive Computers for Kids (CLICK) program. CLICK is designed to improve the patient experience through the power of play and connectivity to the outside world, offering kids a chance to engage and connect through technology. “Thanks to Microsoft, the CLICK program now provides more of our patients the opportunity to remain connected to their interests, friends and family, as well as much needed distraction from the serious conditions that brought them to the hospital,” said Teri Nicholas, President and CEO of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. CLICK comes complete with Child Life Specialists who are available to teach children how to use the program so that no child’s health impacts their ability to remain connected to family, friends and the joys of childhood so they can focus on getting healthy.


For some kids, the opportunity to play is limited by finances, location and safe locations. Physical literacy is vital for children to develop appropriately and learn to live healthy lifestyles as adults. Answering the call is RBC and their Learn to Play grants, which support kids and youth in sport and recreation. The grants go towards teaching children to play through jumping, swimming, skating and more, mastering movement skills and building confidence while growing physical strength. The Britannia Community Services Centre is the latest recipient of a $9,450 grant, part of which will go to the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society’s Learn to Skate program, which will provide urban Aboriginal children, tweens, teens and youth with an opportunity to learn how to skate while also encouraging future participation in the sport. “By providing organizations with the funding and resources to teach kids basic skills, we’ve been able to empower them to feel confident and competent to move their bodies, engage in sport and create lifelong relationships with physical activity,” said Elio Antunes, President and CEO, ParticipACTION. Not only will kids benefit from the grant but so will the greater community as a whole. guidelines-and-eligibility/learn-to-play

>> Backback Buddies >> Konkussion Sports are vital to health and wellness, both physically and mentally and yet they can be rife with opportunity for injury. Even a simple fall can result in a knock to the head and we often interpret these symptoms as nothing, so we don’t go to the ER or Google symptoms. But there are endless horror stories of people who insisted they were fine but actually had acute head injuries. Head injuries are the leading cause of death and injury in people under 35. Also, youth and children sustain 30 per cent of concussions, which means prevention and treatment are vital to ensuring the safety of the future. Thankfully, Konkussion is a new hotline that has launched a dedicated 24/7 info line for Canadians. Dr. Neiland Jha, a renowned Toronto neurosurgeon, created the program, which provides counselling over the phone and is overseen by neurosurgeons and neurologists who can direct callers to resources, services and information. Also, by calling the hotline, patients can ask questions, assess symptoms and learn about the best treatment, preventing worse injury and saving lives.

We are so fortunate to live in an area with access to locally grown foods to maintain healthy and active lifestyles. But for some in poverty, access to nutritious food is far out of reach, meaning too many children are going hungry. With more than 20 per cent of BC children living below the poverty line, how can we expect them to concentrate in the classroom with growling bellies? Backpack Buddies looks to eradicate childhood hunger by providing a weekend worth of meals to those in need. This charity helps the Metro Vancouver area fill the weekend hunger gap by providing stocked backpacks for children to take home and share with their families, breaking the cycle of poverty. The program works with local partners and communities to distribute the backpacks through local schools. It was started in 2012 by mother and daughter duo, Joanne Griffiths and Emily-Anne King, and today they have helped deliver more than 8,000 backpacks in the 2015/2016 school year alone. Currently there are nine schools in the Lower Mainland who are part of the program, but you can help! Donate money, food, or time and be a part of the solution to child hunger.

November/December 2016 23

mom westcoast

Kristi Gordon

Weathering Storms by Kelly S. Thompson


he Lower Mainland lives and dies by the weather, and we experience a full range of torrential rains, sloppy snow and bone dry summers. No one knows this better than Kristi Gordon, senior meteorologist on Global News at 5, who gives the Vancouver area the daily need-to-know information on what to expect from relentless Mother Nature. Not one just to report on waves, Kristi isn’t afraid to make them, calling out online trolls who sent critical and hateful letters to her in 2015. In her roles as meteorologist, mother and wife, Kristi stands up for what she believes in and has become a mainstay in local homes with a click of the remote. Kristi was born and raised in White Rock and still calls the Lower Mainland home today. She stayed close to home for a time, earning a degree in Physical Geography and Atmospheric Science from the University of British Columbia. She then took off to explore the country she reported on, working all across Canada as an operational and on-air meteorologist and making a name for herself amongst some of the largest national networks. But when it came to setting down roots, Kristi returned to the west coast, a place she loves for many reasons, especially family, and of course, the impossibly appealing weather. “Wind, rain, snow or shine…we can always get outside,” she said of the area. Establishing herself back on the west coast and landing the post at Global, Kristi continues to carve a career from a stream of science she still finds interesting. “I love that each day my job is a combination of things—a bit of science nerdiness, a bit of computer graphics, a bit of collaboration with the news team, and a bit of on-air performance,” she said. When Kristi isn’t reporting on television, she takes to the radio airways on CKNW News Talk 980. “I love eliminating the pressures of hair, clothes and makeup,” said Kristi of the joys of radio. Here, Kristi can focus on the elements of her job that inspired her original passion for the work; physics and science, which she’s always been interested in. Her affable nature is part of why listeners and viewers tune in, with the weather delivered in a friendly and comprehensive manner that endears everyone to her expertise. 24 24

Inevitably, being a well-known media presence garners attention, both good and bad. In 2015 and pregnant with her second child, Kristi stood up against online and email trolls who wrote to the show about what they felt to be inappropriate fashion choices for an expectant mother, taking it further with atrocious comments that sparked hot online debate. Kristi admitted on air that the letters had the effect that the writers likely intended; to poke at the sensitive self-esteem of a changing pregnant body. In a live segment Kristi read from some of the letters she received, and simply for calling out their behaviour she made a pointed statement about feminism, bullying, and the right to make decisions about our own lives without the uninvited commentary of the public, who conveniently do so under the anonymity of the Internet. By speaking up, Kristi gave a voice to women everywhere who could relate to the insecurities of a body that is growing to accommodate a child, while also triumphantly emerging from the situation with grace and honour. The comments Kristi received only highlighted the reality that the media has often been considered a man’s world. “For many years, Claire Martin and I were the only female on-air meteorologists in the country,” said Kristi. “Sometimes, there are advantages to being in the minority but it can also be really tough.” In speaking out about an issue that made others uncomfortable, Kristi challenged the expectations we place on ourselves and on others. Her actions sparked an outpouring of support from her coworkers and the watching public who saw beyond her clothing choices. Thankfully, the debacle did nothing to dampen the joy that came when Kristi gave birth to her healthy second child, Braden, who is now one year old. Kristi and her husband, Paul, also have another son, Jordan, 5, and they now happily make their home in the Lower Mainland. The couple lives the true west coast family life, both of them avid snowboarders who have temporarily given way to skiing in order to teach their boys the joys of the snow hill. “We’ve switched to ‘two planking’ to help getting the kids onto the mountain but I look forward to getting back on the board,” she admitted. The family also enjoys exploring the rest of the Lower Mainland in whatever way possible, spending much of their time in the outdoors. “We love spending time playing in the sand at the beach, swimming in lakes, hiking/biking in the forest and skiing on the mountains.” Raising kids under intense media scheduling can be a difficult, but Kristi and Paul have risen to the challenge. Since she works from noon until eight in the evening, she is able to take her oldest son to school in the morning and spend quality time with the baby before heading to the news offices. “I get to miss the witching hour and dinner time, the most stressful time of day in my opinion. My poor husband,” joked Kristi. “But the downside is that I miss after school hugs, lessons, and Braden is already asleep when I get home.” Together the couple has found a way to ensure everyone has quality time together while exploring their professional goals at the same time. The joys of exploration also apply to the way Paul and Kristi raise their children, with a focus on learning through experiences, touch, and active participation. “We allow our kids to experience as much as possible. I try not to say no, allowing them to figure it out for themselves as much as possible,” Kristi said. “I am the mom who will give the kids scissors and let them eat food off the floor...within reason.” Her parenting attitude is instilling independence and making space for the boys to express their own interests.

“We allow our kids to experience as much as possible... I am the mom who will give the kids scissors and let them eat food off the floor...within reason.” A life in television and radio combined with a growing family doesn’t leave much time for personal pursuits. “Private interests?” said Kristi. “That means I have private time. Ha! I know I should carve out time for myself. The experts say it’s important but I haven’t figured out how to do that just yet.”While Kristi searches for the ever-elusive family/work balance, she and Paul concentrate on making their time together count by getting outdoors or indulging in their shared passion for wine. And when downtime becomes a necessity more than an indulgence, Kristi catches up on Survivor reruns and plays with her children. Whether in front of the television, sitting behind a radio microphone, or spending time with her family, Kristi proves time and again that hard work, dedication and love of family are the keys to her definition of success. The forecast for her future is nothing but sunny. You can follow Kristi on Twitter at @KGordonGlobalBC

November/December November/December 2016 2016 25 25

winter fun

Winter Camping 101 Exploring the chilly outdoors


amping is a beloved Canadian pastime, but booking a popular campsite during the peak summer months can be as challenging as catching rare Pokémon. For more and more families, a great alternative to enjoying camping is during the “off” season, when the air is crisp and the woods are lined with pristine layers of white snow. Add to the reasons that the low Canadian dollar makes planning for a tropical getaway out of reach for most families; winter camping is an affordable way to enjoy adventure outdoors, and time together with loved ones. There is a magical serenity that comes with disconnecting from technology and getting back to nature, no matter what season, but winter camping certainly has its unique benefits. “There’s something so completely Canadian about camping in the winter,” says Caitlyn Piton, National Youth Commissioner and Chair of the National Youth Network at Scouts Canada, who thoroughly enjoys the snow and winter activities. “From identifying animal prints in the snow to ice fishing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and building a snowman – the activities you can enjoy in the winter are only limited by your imagination. The best thing is, there are no bugs or mosquitoes to swat away!” From the novice camper to the seasoned adventurer, there are a variety of ways to enjoy winter camping for everyone: Glamping - Glamour camping or “glamping” is a global trend that offers the best of both worlds, allowing families to take in the serenity of nature while enjoying the luxuries of a home-away-from-home in a caravan, cabin or yurt. Consider bringing comforts from home to create your own glamping experience. Hot Tent Camping - For families seeking the more rustic experience, there’s hot tent camping. This is achieved by connecting a small stove to an external pipe, so that the temperature in the tent remains cozy and warm – to be able to gather and sing camp songs or tell ghost stories. For safety reasons, extinguish the stove before bedtime. The Quinzee - For the adventurous family that loves the outdoors, they may opt for the quinzee: a shelter made from snow. Building a quinzee is fairly simple but does take time to build safely by packing snow into a mound seven or eight feet high, and allowing the structure to settle, ideally overnight.


Safety First - Of course, above all, winter campers should exercise caution to make the experience not only fun, but safe too. “While winter camping can provide an incredible experience, safety is essential,” says Piton. “The best way to have an unforgettable winter adventure is to stay safe by following Scouts Canada’s motto of ‘being prepared’ for any scenario.” Scouts Canada offers six survival tips to ensure your next winter camping experience is a blast for all the right reasons: 1. Check the weather forecast While snow can provide a stunning backdrop and is a lot of fun, it can also be dangerous. Check the forecast ahead of time and avoid venturing out if there is a warning of heavy snowfall or an extreme cold alert. Weather can go from cool to dangerously cold very quickly, especially when the sun is setting. 2. Be cotton-free! Cotton easily soaks up and holds on to cold moisture, so wear wool or synthetic materials that have water-repelling qualities to stay warm and dry. Purchase a quality pair of boots, parka and snow pants. 3. Think like an onion Onions have layers! Layering is important. Having the ability to get in and out of layers easily will help regulate body temperature and avoid sweating. Any exposed skin – not just the head – results in a loss of body heat. 4. Stay hydrated Trekking through the snow can expend loads of energy and although you may not feel thirsty, it’s important to drink water. Avoid caffeine as it dehydrates and stick to de-caffeinated or herbal hot drinks to keep warm. Dehydration leads to greater risk of hypothermia. 5. Be aware of surroundings Camping in the winter requires greater caution than in other seasons. Heavy snow and icicles can fall from branches above, and hazards may be hidden under the layers of snow on the ground. Be cautious near ice and running water. 6. Prepare for any scenario Always bring along a daypack with emergency supplies when venturing out on any winter activity. Pack essentials like a first aid kit, dry layers, whistle, emergency blanket, snacks and water. Scout Tip: store your water bottle upside down in the winter. Water always freezes from the top; so when you are ready for a drink, the frozen water will be opposite to the spout. For more information and tips visit


Kid-free Events for Mom & Dad! St. Thomas Aquinas Christmas Craft Fair St Thomas Aquinas High School, North Vancouver November 6, 10am–4pm Enjoy this pop-up style market held annually as a fundraiser for the high school in North Vancouver while enjoying the community tradition for shopping, door prizes, raffles, baked goods, lunch and Christmas cheer.

West Coast Christmas Show Tradex Abbotsford November 18-20, check website for times Find your holiday gifts, fancy foods, decor ideas and handmade artisan products. There is fun for the kids in Santa’s Workshop and wander through a Christmas fantasy of decorated trees set up by charities. $6.00 604.372.4772

Little Women Abbotsford Arts Centre November 11-19, 7:30pm Experience the classic story anew as you follow the childhood adventures of the March sisters. Humour, insight, and pathos abound in this endearing re-telling of the classic novel.

Hillcrest Elementary Shopping Night Hillcrest Elementary, Surrey November 24, 3-8pm From handmade treats, clothing, accessories and home décor to jewellery, health & beauty products and Christmas crafts. There will be a raffle & 50/50 tickets, a concession and bake sale at this free event! 604.575.1359

Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market Abbotsford Tradex November 12, 9am-4pm & 13, 10am-4pm Come find one-of-a-kind treasures at the vintage market. $5 Adults one day pass; $8 Adults 2-day pass, 12 & under are free. 604.861.6997 | Burnaby Beer Fest Spacekraft, Burnaby November 12, 2:30pm A celebration of craft beer, delicious food, and community! Join the excitement of finding a new favorite among the many local craft beers while sampling tasty food from local food vendors. Must be 19+. 604.292.3903 Christmas at Hycroft UWC of Vancouver at Hycroft November 17-20 Inside you’ll find three floors decked in seasonal splendour, and a variety of unique boutiques, crafters and over 25 local artisans. Outside, enjoy entertainment, vendors, and delicious food. VSO Symphonic Encounters Open Rehearsal: Best of Broadway Orpheum Theater November 18, 11am – 2pm VSO’s open rehearsal program takes you behind the scenes to discover what it takes for the musicians, conductors, and production team to prepare for a world class concert. 604.684.9100 |

Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair 2016 November 26, 10am–5pm Get all your Christmas shopping done at once! Everything from handmade knits to woodwork to food and yummy treats- it’s all here! Tickets are $5 at the door. The 2016 Vancouver Christmas Market Jack Poole Plaza, Canada Place Nov 26-Dec 30, 11am-9pm Combining colourful décor, authentic gifts, savoury food & drink, and family entertainment, the yuletide celebration creates the perfect atmosphere to mingle with friends & family, take in a quick drink after work, and observe a wide variety of cultural activities and entertainment.

Heart to Home Holiday Market Surrey Arts Centre November 26 & 27 The Studio Theatre will be transformed into a fun and festive market featuring fine art and handmade crafts by renowned local artists. There will be live demos so you can see the artists in action! Toque: Western Front’s Annual Fundraiser & Craft Fair December 2-4 Western Front, Vancouver This year’s fair is a showcase of 25+ local artists and designers with wares ranging from textiles, ceramics and jewellery, to books, bags and candles. There will be prizes for those who join or renew their membership to the Western Front. Admission by donation. 604.876.9343 Goh Ballet presents: The Nutcracker The Centre for Performing Arts, Vancouver December 15-20 This heart-warming production is sure to delight audiences of all ages with more than 200 glittering costumes, dramatic sets and valuable lessons – all danced to Tchaikovsky’s memorable score performed live by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. Visit for more family friendly events in October! To have your event included in the WestCoast Families community calendar, please email your details to Go to to see more local and community family events in your area.

Coming in the next issue of WCF

Education • Field Trips • Fundraising

The Local Guide for Active Urban Families

Call or email today to book your ad spot 604-249-2866 November/December 2016 27

community Miniature Train Rides 39645 Government Rd, Squamish Ongoing Come ride the rails at the home of the famous Royal Hudson Steam Locomotive. Take a ride on the “Mini-Rail,” a large 1/8” scale miniature railway to see the park.

Surrey Tree Lighting Festival Surrey City Hall November 19 Join Frosty and Santa as they light the Christmas tree and kick off the holiday season at this free family event. Free concerts, sleigh rides, food and fun activities all day long.

Discover Rays Vancouver Aquarium Ongoing until December 31, 10am-5pm Featuring an interactive touch pool, Discover Rays gives you the rare opportunity to experience firsthand these gentle fishes as they glide beneath the water’s surface, delighting and surprising with their curiosity.

Heritage Christmas Burnaby Village Museum November 19-January 2 The holiday experience begins the moment you arrive! Festive lighting and decorations greet you at the entrance of the village to give you a small glimpse of the spectacular display of history and lights waiting inside.

34th Annual Model Train Show PNE Forum, Hastings and Renfrew Streets, Vancouver November 5, 10am-6pm & November 6, 10am-5pm Check out the operating trains, dioramas, models, LEGO & miniature train rides. There will also be activities for children and vendors on site.

Surrey Fusion Festival Holland Park, Surrey November 19 Featuring 70 performances on four stages over two days. This is a free family event. While at the park, visit over 30 cultural pavilions and experience cuisine from around the world.

Fall Mason Beekeeping Burnaby Lake Nature House November 6, 10am Help harvest mason bee cocoons and prepare the bee house for spring. This is a free event for the whole family! 604.432.6359 |

Disney on Ice Pacific Coliseum at the PNE November 23-27 Enter the dazzling world of Disney magic LIVE ON ICE! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favourite Disney stories including Cars, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story and Frozen.

Remembrance Day 2016 Japanese Canadian War Memorial, Stanley Park November 11, 10:40am Following the ceremony at the reception, a plaque will be unveiled commemorating Japanese Canadian Soldiers of the First World War and the Fight to Win the Vote as an event of national historic significance.


Fan Expo Vancouver Convention Centre November 11-13 Get an autograph or photo with your favourite guest and the inside scoop about your movies & TV shows at the celebrity panels! Watch professional comic artists battle it out in the Sketch Duels, & learn from the “How To”workshops and find cool gifts.

Enchant Christmas Light Maze and Market First and Crowe St., Vancouver November 24-December 31 Imagine exploring over 55,000 sq ft of brilliantly lit sculptures as you wind your way through the maze-like world of lights. Enchant also has a market with local vendors for holiday shopping, and several food trucks. Canyon Lights Capilano Suspension Bridge Park November 24-January 8, 11am–9pm daily This annual holiday tradition is a must-see holiday event for all ages. You will be dazzled by thousands of magical lights twinkling across the Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk and throughout the park. Christmas at FlyOver Canada Canada Place, Vancouver November 24–January 02, 10am–9pm FlyOver Canada will transform into a magical winter wonderland this Christmas season. Guests will have fun helping Santa search for his missing elves during an exhilarating flight across Canada and on to the North Pole. Adults, $21.95, children $14.95. Dunbar’s 34th Annual Holiday Craft Fair Dunbar Community Centre November 26, 10am-5pm 140 local artisans, over 2,000 visitors, locally made crafts and prepared foods, entertainment and door prizes. All ages welcome! Tickets are $5 at the door. Free for children under 12 years old. specialevents/holiday-craft-fair/ Gingerbread House Decorating West Point Grey Community Centre November 26, 11:30am-1:30pm Bring the family and spend a Saturday morning decorating your very own Gingerbread house while enjoying holiday treats and music. The fee includes one gingerbread house and all supplies. Pre-registration and parent participation required. $15 604.25.78140

calendar Maan Farms Christmas Market Maan Farms, Abbotsford November 26-27 Yummy homemade fudge, hot apple cider and free wine tastings. 40+ local gift vendors/artisans, kitchen & in-store specials, entertainment and Christmas hay wagon rides, Polar Express West Coast Railway Heritage Park, Squamish Weekends only, November 26-December 18 Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies. Passengers are entertained by a reading of the Polar Express and upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa greets guests and each child will receive their own sleigh bell—just like the movie! A Charlie Brown Christmas Carousel Theatre, Granville Island November 27-December 28 Good grief! The cherished holiday classic comes to the stage in a lively musical adaption, complete with a live jazz trio. Recommended for age 3+ and their families, with special all ages performances for the whole family. The 32nd Annual JCC Jewish Book Festival Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver & Other Lower Mainland Venues November 27–December 1 The festival is jam-packed with inspiring and entertaining literary events, including unique meet-the-author opportunities, readings and panel discussions, a book club event, screenwriting workshop, multimedia events and two onsite bookstores. Japanese Banner Flag Making Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, Burnaby November 27, 12-4pm This is a free, drop-in program for families, inspired by gallery exhibits and seasonal Japanese events. There will be Japanese traditional toys to play with as well as teaching origami. Create your original Nobori; a Japanese banner flag. 604.777.7000 |

2016 Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting! Robson Square December 2, 5:30-7:30pm Watch four magnificent holiday trees, one of which is 50 feet tall, come alive with hope and light at this free family-friendly event featuring live entertainment and music, a visit from Santa, free cookies and hot chocolate, local food trucks and fun activities for kids! VSO Tiny Tots: Holiday Hooray! Vancouver Playhouse December 2, 10 & 11:30am The VSO Tiny Tots concert features professional musicians and music educators Let Your Music Shine with Lisa and Linda in their own musical presentations for the little ones, from toddlers to age five. tiny-tots/ Christmas in Leigh Square (Christmas Kickoff) Leigh Square Community Arts Village, Port Coquitlam December 3, 12noon-5pm It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Leigh Square offers a number of festive and artistic opportunities for the community this holiday season. 604.927.PLAY (7529) | Winter Family Ball Fairmont Hotel Vancouver December 4, 4:30-10pm This evening includes a champagne reception, silent auction, family photos, a festive meal, entertainment for both parents and children and a DJ to dance the night away. Christmas Open House Burnaby Lake Nature House December 4, 11am–2pm Drop in to the Nature House to enjoy crafts and complimentary refreshments, or join a guided nature walk. Drop in anytime and admission is free! 604.520.6442 | events

Christmas Carol Sing-along Minnekhada Lodge, Coquitlam December 4, 1-4pm An afternoon of festive fun including sing-alongs in front of a Yule log and a visit from Santa. This is a free event. Drop in anytime. Pancakes with Santa Krause Berry Farms December 11, 9-11am Enjoy the Annual Pancake Breakfast with live music, Creative Lime face painting, Lego master Robin Sather, and Christmas elves & Santa to visit the kids, hear their wishes, and hand out candy canes. First come first served. Breakfast with Santa Aberthau Mansion, West Point Grey Community Centre December 10-11 There will be a deluxe pancake breakfast catered, arts and crafts, entertainment and a visit with Santa, himself. This event is an annual sell out so please purchase your tickets for both children and adults in advance to ensure your seat. $10/person. 604.257.8140 Heritage Holiday at the Fort The Fort, Fort Langley December 17-January 2 Daily Escape the holiday bustle and make memories with your family and friends at the fort! Enjoy a traditional holiday atmosphere, crafts, and children’s activities. Regular admission fees apply; free for annual pass holders. 604.513.4777 |

FOR MORE amazing events, visit us at and check out our events calendar and listing pages.

November/December 2016 29

last look Walled Christmas Tree by Jodi Iverson

you’ll need: • Washi tape or push pins • Yarn or ribbon • Decorating items (ribbons, stickers, ornaments, reusable adhesive putty, etc.)

make it! • Pick of stretch of empty wall and choose a size of tree • Using Washi tape or push pins, create a tree pattern on the wall • Loop decorations and attach with tape or adhesive putty • Don’t forget a star or angel on top • Let your imagination fly! Tip: You can even turn this into an advent calendar! Simply

choose a bunch of small items, put in numbered paper bags and tape up on the wall. Easy!

did you know? • Europeans used to hang their Christmas trees from the ceiling. • Christmas tress first appeared in the 1500s, but there is controversy over which country first made them popular. • North America produces more than 36 million Christmas trees each year.


Any Danish and Small Brewed Coffee $ 69*


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©2016 McDonald’s

plus tax

Exciting NEW On-Par Science Mini Golf and Extreme Makeover of our Imagine-Air Exhibit!

November/December 2016  

Winter Fun, Family Health and Party Guide!

November/December 2016  

Winter Fun, Family Health and Party Guide!