Destination Overview: Vancouver, British Columbia

Last month, we took a short trip to Vancouver – My Mom, Three-year-old daughter, Taylor, and myself. We flew direct from Winnipeg With WestJet. As always their service was fantastic and they were very helpful and supportive of us using the car seat on the plane. My next blog post will be about traveling with a car seat, which is rarely an easy feat.

Our trip was short, but jammed full with excitement to keep the three of us entertained. Of course, Taylor’s schedule was amok, but there was enough to keep us busy for her to forget about being grumpy. Here’s a breakdown of the venues we used and my review.

Holiday Inn – North Vancouver

Coming from Winnipeg, I’m always surprised by the cost hotels in major cities. We paid well over $200 per night, but it was well worth it. The room was spacious and clean, the service exemplary, and the amenities reminded me of the four stars at home.

The hotel was equipped with a pool and fitness area, that included a sauna and hot tub, which made for a happy Taylor. The hotel had several dining options within walking distance and was located in the same parking lot as a spa and liquor store. Getting to and from the hotel was easy, as it was located just off one of the main drags.

Taylor had gotten sick on the bed one night, and without question, the front desk came in with a fresh set of bedding and made the bed.

I highly recommend this hotel for families.

Richmond Night Market

This was recommended to me by a few friends who hadn’t been in years. Apparently, it has changed significantly over the pass 10 years, going from artisan-focused to mass-production trinkets. We went for opening at 7:00 PM on a Saturday night. The line up to get in was quite long, but we were approached by a couple who had bought express passes which allow you to pay less and skip the line. You can buy these passes as you walk towards the entrance.

The market boasted a large food court, which is probably the big draw. Because it was so crowded, and we had a little one in a stroller, we didn’t even touch the tip of the food court and ate at the booths closest to the entrance. We enjoyed corn-on-the-cob, shrimp skewers, and a rainbow unicorn ice cream dessert. All of which was delicious, but over priced. We paid over $60 for the three of us to eat.

A lot of the vendor booths had products were Asian-inspired and cute to look at, but mostly over priced. They also had some hilarious pop culture items, such as Trump socks and Kenye t-shirts. We did buy a cute pink bunny keychain, which is ultra soft, but it fell a part before we got back to Winnipeg.

Personally, I think this would have been better for a date night or a group of friends. Bringing a young child was unnecessarily stressful. I had return later that night with my cousin, as I had lost my wallet. We walked around and aside from the fact I was freaking out looking for my wallet, I did enjoy the atmosphere much more without a child.

Stanley Park & Vancouver Aquarium

I have been to many world-renowned parks – Central Park, Hawaii Volcano National Park,  and Luxembourg Garden, Park to name a few – but this was my favourite. The temperate rain forest was by far the most beautiful and very well preserved. We started our adventure with a ride on the mini-train, which gave us an introduction to the wild life and eco system. The ride was about 10 minutes long.

We also wandered through the park and viewed many of the great sites from the Women in a Wet Suit statue to the lighthouse. We finished the afternoon at the splash pad after a few hours at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Taylor loved the aquarium, as sea animals seem to be a huge interest for her. She ran from display to display, excited to see the beautiful colours and large sea creatures. It was hard to keep up with her. However, once outdoors, the excitement slowed down. The show times were not posted and the layout was kind of hard to follow. We did see the sea lions, otters, and dolphins. This was a wonderful experience. I wish Taylor’s attention span was a little longer so we could have spent more time learning about the majestic sea animals.

Whistler 

A short two-hour drive on the Sea to Sky Highway takes you to the tourist town of Whistler in the mountains. It is best known for skiing during the winter months but has recently started to attract tourists throughout the year. Unfortunately, because we had activities already planned, I didn’t get to explore much. What I did see though was charming and inviting. I’ll have to return on another trip.

Out first activity included the longest zipline in Canada and USA, the Sasquatch. Over 2 kms long with speeds reaching 120 km/hour, it was a sure thrill. Of course, Taylor could not partake in the activity, so I had to go with my extended family. My Mom on the other hand took Taylor for the day to explore the sites and splash pads. Our zipline was hosted by Caleb from ZipTrek and included two gondola from Whistler Village with spectacular views. Our group aged from 10 years to 85. That’s right, my grandma’s cousin rocked the zipline with us.

Our second activity included bungee jumping. I have done this before, but within a building. This was my first outdoor bungee and I opted to jump with an ankle harness while the other jumped with the waist harness. What a thrill! And, like ZipTrek, the staff at Whistler Bungee were wonderful and safety-driven. They double checked all harnesses and equipment before jumping.

I recommend both ZipTrek and Bungee Whistler for adrenaline sports, for adults, of course.  Make sure you have a sitter for the young ones

Although we did much more, these were the highlights and noteworthy experiences of the trip. Vancouver is the perfect destination for a quick trip with the family.