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We needed a bit of an escape from home since we didn’t have any big family vacation plans. We took the ferry to Vancouver on a Friday afternoon in July and came home on the Sunday afternoon.
Since we were only in Vancouver for a weekend, we had to plan our time wisely. Vancouver is a large city and we had to be strategic about where we went and the timing so nap time didn’t get compromised. On Saturday morning we started at Granville Island at the market. We roamed around before it got busy with other people. Co was able to run easily on the boardwalk.
Next we drove to Stanley Park. I could have stayed there all day – maybe next time we will. We went specifically for the train. It was reasonably priced and was actually more fun than I had anticipated. Co loved it. He sat in his own seat and the little train twisted through the giant, beautiful trees. After our ride we toured around the park on foot. We left the stroller in the car, but it would have been easy to get around with it. We happened on two different playgrounds that were both suitable for a toddler. The train was near the aquarium, but we decided to forgo it this trip. Instead, we walked to the south part of the park and discovered some artists with their work on display.
After a very full morning we took the car downtown. We parked at the Pacific Centre and took advantage of some shopping. There is a Disney store there, so be warned. Co fell asleep in the stroller so we crossed the street and went to the Vancouver Art Gallery. After quietly strolling him around and admiring the art, he woke and we enjoyed looking at some of the giant paintings together.
In the evening we headed back to our hotel to take advantage of a swim and then the Richmond Night Market. I think the market must have a theme every year. When we went there were 18 dinosaurs placed throughout. They moved and looked very real. The line to get in was insanely long. We arrived at 7 when the gates opened and waited 45 minutes to get to the gate. To avoid parking and traffic chaos the Sky Train would be the smartest way to get there. And since bedtime was so near it would have been smart to splurge on the Zoom Pass – $20 for seven visits and its transferrable.
We also visited False Creek (Hinge Park & Olympic Village Square). The giant birds in Olympic Village Square were such a fun playground while we waited to meet our friends for brunch. There were other kids roaming with their parents and it was a nice, open space to explore and people watch. The nearby park had all kinds of green space and water features. There was a nearby coffee shop for a restroom and drink. Plus, if you’re planning to go to the Science World its nearby.
Granville Island: Siegel’s Bagels; Edible Canada (brunch). All of this food was fantastic. We had a bucket list goal of eating at Edible Canada, which has always been packed when we’ve been there later in the day. They didn’t open until 9 a.m. and we needed something for Co, so we stopped for a freshly made bagel in the market. He shared it with us and it was so good. They had literally just come out of the fired oven. We sat by the windows overlooking the Burrard and Granville bridges; so scenic. After we ran around for a little and then got to Edible Canada as it opened its doors. The food there was DELICIOUS and worth the wait. They were great with Co, bringing him a booster seat, crayons and a kids menu. We actually turned their menus into an ad hoc race track, because I’d packed tinker toys for him.
Faubourg (lunch). OMG! Eat here. It’s a French-style bakery and the food was flipping delicious. We had a late lunch after the art gallery and Co had just woken up. They have lovely sandwiches and simple soups… all of which are an excuse to get to dessert.
BC Ferries Pacific Buffet (dinner). It’s easy and relaxing to stay there once you’ve eaten, especially on a busy travel day. Co made a friend at another table and they played quietly together while we looked out the window over the water at the islands.
We stayed in Richmond, BC at the Hotel at River Rock. The hotel itself was decent. They have a fantastic pool with a really good slide. That was the highlight of staying here. We wouldn’t stay there again though. The hotel is connected to a casino and as a result it doesn’t feel like a family-friendly place. If you’re a non-smoking family like we are, the overwhelming number of people smoking was also a frustration. Plus, this is the second time we’ve stayed there and each time there have been fire alarms. On this trip it was at 1 a.m. It’s too bad, because it’s conveniently connected to a Sky Train station and has fairly inexpensive parking.
We live on Vancouver Island, so we took the car on BC Ferries from Swartz Bay to Tsawwasen. Once we arrived we took a combination of our car and the Sky Train to get around. We relied on Google Maps for all of our travel and it didn’t let us down!