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Posted by on Mar 12, 2009 in Uncategorized | 20 comments


I am strongly considering blowing my literary prize money on month long trip with family to Vancouver this August. But is there enough there to keep a 4 year old and 10 year old happy? Any advice appreciated…

I have a possible house swap in the pipeline.


  1. Vancouver is possibly the most wonderful city on God’s green earth (if you’ll excuse the expression [grin]). You won’t have any trouble finding anything for the kids to do, especially if they like outdoor pursuits.

  2. I know nothing of Vancouver, but with kids aged 13 to newborn, I know that those boys will be able to create fun if you give them a stick.

  3. A lovely city with a nice park with totem poles and other stuff, mountains, the sea, whale watching, the rivers, the lakes, nice people, good food, day trip to the USA, great coffee, chinese food, Harrison lake……..Biggest problem Stephen: When you get back, you’ll sit around the kitchen table for days (weeks) talking about moving there.

  4. I took my kids to Vancouver when they were both 8 (a girl and boy). Vancouver is a very cool place, and fun for kids of all ages. There’s a big zoo and park they’ll enjoy. You could take a boat to Victoria, drive up to Whittier and have fun on ski-lift and hiking. Or just stay in the city, hanging out and eating great food. Our kids had a lot of fun.

  5. Thanks for all the advice – I think we have to go…

  6. I think Vancouver is a great city. My parents used to take us there all the time when I was a boy. (Grew up in the Pacific NW)Butchart Gardens Vancouver island, that rotating restaraunt in Vancouver. The steam clock in Gas Town. My daughter is 4 and I wouldn’t have any qualms taking her up there.

  7. Dinner on me if you make it down to Seattle from Vancouver. Matching children available (7 & 4), plus UW Phil department contact if you

  8. Thanks Faust – of course – rotating restaurant!David – I might well take you up on the generous offer, thanks. Let’s see if I can sort it out…

  9. Whups! I have 3 girls and 4 boys myself. The girls are a pair of 8’s and a 5, so their interests are somewhat varied. They are all about the prettiness of nature, but not fans of the icky factor, lol.Good luck on the trip!

  10. Stephen, that would be a trip of a lifetime for you guys. I promise you that your girls will have a blast. Go for it.There is a movie that was just released in Canada called “One Week” – If you get the chance, check it out – a great primer for your trip.Also, if you are going to be staying long enough to embark on a road trip, try to get over to Alberta which is the province neighbouring BC to the east. The Banff and Jasper National Parks hold some of the most pristine wilderness in the world. I took my 8 year old daughter camping there last summer and we had the time of our lives.

  11. I’ve never been to Vancouver or that side of Canada, but I spent 6 weeks in Montreal in the summer of 2001 and loved it.I’ve always wanted to go back and see more. Regards, Paul.

  12. I’ve lived in Vancouver all my life, and it has its charms, but few have any to do with the city. Really, it’s a bit of a cultural backwater. The best thing about Vancouver is its proximity to nature. It’s on the ocean. You can be in the woods in less than an hour. The city itself is dullsville, though, unless you want to spend your days shopping for all the same stuff you can get in any other North American city. A previous commenter’s reference to the Butchar Gardens and the Gastown Steam Clock made me cringe. Besides the fact that Butchart is nowhere near the city of Vancouver (45 minute drive to the ferry terminal, 1.5 hours on the ferry, 40 minutes additional driving) they want $28 bucks a person to get in. And the steam clock is surely one of the most overrated tourist attractions going. Its only appealing characteristic is that since it’s on the street, it’s free.

  13. The great thing about a house exchange is that you can establish a free base and roam around. My wife and I have talked about doing that with the kids for years. Everyone that I have ever spoken to who has intercontinental house swapped has raved about it.

  14. I’ve lived in Vancouver since ’91.Within 30 minutes of downtown you can sail, ski, or be on the edge of the back country wilderness with lots of day hikes.There’s a big aquarium with belugas, dolphins and extensive exhibits of west coast and south American fish and (smaller) wildlife), a science museum, planetarium, west coast Indian anthropological museum, maritime museum, parks, pools, beaches, two major universities and big beautiful mountains.Whatever kind of food you like to eat, we seem to have excellent choices (and apparently one of the top 5 sushi restaurants in the world).The theater here hardly compares to London…. but it is the place if you want to experience sea and mountains.Be aware this is a temperate rainforest climate, and it rains a lot over the winter months.

  15. You won’t regret it. I’m Canadians and I live in the prairies and everytime I go to Vancouver for business or holidays I’ve always enjoyed it. I’d almost put a guarantee on it if it were possible to guarantee such a thing.

  16. Stephen,You’ll love it, especially as a man with a keen eye for a beautiful photo. There’s plenty to do, especially in August. My advice would be to rent a car and just drive up into the mountains, to Whistler and beyond. The natural beauty never gets old, and it just goes on and on. There’s also a great ferry service across to Vancouver Island, which as Faust pointed out, is home to Butchart Gardens. If you’re willing to part with several hundred dollars, you can get a seaplane from the harbor in Vancouver up to the glacier. I haven’t done it yet, but it’s on the list. In short, a week in Vancouver could be the healthiest of your life. Plus, maybe you’ll find Sasquatch.

  17. I am thinking a month. The seaplane is excellent idea – if I can afford it. I think driving into countryside is way to go but then I have to find accom for family so cost escalates quickly.Anyway – we’re going!

  18. Ah, Vancouver is stunning. Good that you’re going!Give me a shout if you do come to Seattle.

  19. We’ve done a long weekend in Vancouver nearly every November since our child was 2 years old. We found lots of great activities for kids (mostly indoor, since November is pretty cold and damp). Science World kept our young one occupied for whole weekends at a time, along with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the Maritime Museum, and the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. To make a full month of it, you’d have to add in lots of outdoor time and/or day trips to (the many fabulous) sights outside Vancouver, in B.C. and Washington State.

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