Oh Canada

Beach Life

This post first appeared on Happy Mummy’s blog.

Last week I returned from a work/ family holiday to Vancouver with the Husband and the Child so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts from our trip. I can’t promise much wisdom but I do mention banana hammocks and a tip on how to drink a beer in peace, which is basically the same thing.

  1. Cycling around Stanley Park is the only way to see it and is totally worth it even if it does leave you a bit sore ‘down there’. Want to relive those heady ‘ouchy’ post childbirth days? Well don’t ride a bike for many years then hire one for a morning and you’ll be almost there.
  1. There are Starbucks on literally EVERY corner – it’s like walking around a coffee-shop hall of mirrors. We found Gastown was the best place to find independent coffee shops with a bit more soul and a lot better selection of cake.
  1. Whilst all the restaurants we went to were really happy for us to bring the Child (even the one that turned out to be a lot posher than it looked from the outside. White linen tablecloths; dear God what have we done?), we didn’t find many that had a kid’s menu. As we found eating out generally quite expensive we didn’t really want to buy another adult meal for the Child to take three bites and smush the rest of it into the table, her hair, the waiter’s shoe. This resulted in me basically having to eat red pasta and chicken nuggets for 10 days so I could share with our fussy eater (did I say I was complaining?).
  1. Brunch is taken VERY seriously. We were not expecting to queue for brunch on a cloudy Monday morning but queue we did. Luckily we found the laid back and quirky Jam Café (jamcafes.com/vancouver/) which was totally worth the wait. They even had a kid’s menu which was a real bonus. Plus their Monday morning soundtrack was awesome.

Jam Cafe

  1. Science World (scienceworld.ca) is hands down the best interactive museum we have ever been to. The Husband is a scientist so is super critical of this type of thing but we were mightily impressed by the different ways they’d thought of engaging children beyond the ‘press this button’ idea. Yes, it is pricey but was totally worth it; our day there was one of the best of the holiday.
  1. Everywhere is so clean. We didn’t see any fast food wrappers, discarded chewing gum or piles of dog poo anywhere, which is impressive for a city that seemed to have more dogs than people.
  1. Geese breed like rabbits round those parts; we saw one ‘goose couple’ with 16 goslings. This idyllic image of bird family life was ruined a little bit when I commented on it to someone and they were like ‘yep, that’s why there’s so many eagles’. But still, CUTE!
  1. The seaplanes at Coal Harbour will keep your small people silently mesmerised for at least ten whole minutes which is totally long enough to neck a beer in the sun.
  1. Tanning is taken VERY seriously. We were at the beach one lunchtime and a man in a full suit strolled on over to the sand and stripped down to nothing but his Princess Conseula Banana Hammock in a nanosecond. It was like that scene in Full Monty but sadly with less Northern witty asides.
  1. The flight will be mind-numbingly dull at best and a horrific tantrum-fest at worst but really it’s the jetlag that will screw you over. But hey if anyone can survive on no sleep it’s parents and you can always write a blog post at 3am.

So now we’re well and truly back on home soil (and back to work – boo) it’s time to start planning our next holiday. Where has been your best family holiday or where are we best avoiding?


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  1. As a Canadian, I approve this message. Can’t say about the kid’a menu thing bc we alwayd end uo soemwhere w a kids menu, but we probably just don’t have classy taste. Red Robin, & The Old Spaghetti Factory (have lunch in a train car!) and there’s a restaurant called Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co that actually has a little pkay kitchen so your kids can do their thing and you can eat like an adult and converse like a real human!! So if you come back, try that. And i am glad you didn’t get chased by a goose… Those things are vicious! :

  2. I’ve only been to Toronto so far but Vancouver is high on my To Visit list – maybe with a bit of a mountainy road trip thrown in. And bears. (I am convinced Canada is full of bears waiting for me to spot them, although admittedly not in Toronto. Or Vancouver, I expect) I have done exactly that with the food ordering as well, which means some very plain choices at times. But a good tip on the coffee and cake! #citytripping

  3. Wander Mum

    Totally agree about the Starbucks! Remember being astonished at how many there were on each corner…and I went to Vancouver over 10 years ago so no doubt there are now more. Shame about the lack of kids meals…good job you like pasta and chicken nuggets! Thanks for sharing on #citytripping

  4. I’ve never been to Canada, though everyone else in my family have & all liked it! I’ve always heard Canada is very clean! My favourite thing about Canada is that where my sister went years ago to visit her student friend (somewhere in Ontario maybe?), the friend’s university had all its dorm buildings connected to the teaching buildings by underground tunnels. So they used to go to their lectures in pjs! #chucklemums

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