Jane’s Walk: Free guided walks connecting you with your community
When and Where: Saturday/Sunday, May 4-5, various times and locations (see the schedules here!)
What: One of the reasons I started this blog was a chance to connect with the community of parents in East Van. Although this is the first I’ve heard of “Jane’s Walk” –an annual event to connect people with their neighbours and the places they live– it sounds like exactly what we all need to make connections in a city as large and diverse as Vancouver. The wide variety of topics also makes this a great way to learn about where you live for both kids and adults. Jane’s Walk is in honour of the ideas of Jane Jacobs, an urbanist committed to building cities that are crafted with the input of the local community as opposed to a car-centered approach. The walks are held each year as an opportunity for people to meet their neighbours and talk about what matters to them while walking. Volunteers lead the walks, and there are many to choose from including a guided yoga walk, an architectural tour, nature tours that offer a view of Kits from the perspective of a bee, and many more.
Follow the link to check out all the walks being offered in Vancouver (and New Westminster) this coming weekend. You can choose one based on location or theme, such as “The Nature Lover”, “The Fun & the Furious”, “The Architectural Enthusiast”, “The Aesthete”… Walks are held internationally and you can search out walks in Finland, Argentina or Australia for fun too if you like. 🙂
Vancouver Youth Week – Free Performances for all ages
Where: Village Plaza, On Athletes Way & Manitoba Street (Music), Downtown Skate Plaza, Under the viaducts between Quebec and Union Streets (Skate performances)
What: Vancouver’s Youth Week is for the older kid crowd with great activities for youth aged 10 – 18 including sports, learning to race a dragon boat, stilt walking, a “race around the world” competition, a mural project and more. But just because it’s for youth, doesn’t mean that there aren’t some good family-friendly performances that younger kids and adults might enjoy too. The Youth Week Main Stage will feature youth performances from 11:30 – 3:00 pm in the Olympic Village. If you have a little one that can’t peel their eyes away from the skateboarders at the park, then you can also take in a skate performance between 1:00 – 4:00 pm near Chinatown. If you have older kids or friends who have a teen, pass the word along. There’s lots to do and you can see the full list of activities here.
There will also be a Youth Week Block Party and a 5K walk/run in Burnaby, including a barbecue, slam poetry, open mike, street art in the park, and interactive games. See the Burnaby Youth Week Block Party info site here.
ExplorAsian Opening Ceremonies: Free tea-tasting, garden visit and Chinatown tours
Where: Chinatown along Pender St. (see details below)
What: This event isn’t specifically for kids, but any families with Asian heritage or an interest in Asian culture might find the Chinatown exhibits and tours interesting. You can visit the Classical Chinese Garden, which is fun for everyone to explore, and older kids might really enjoy the tea ceremony at Jane’s Teahouse. Even if you just take your family for the self-guided walking tour of Chinatown, it’s always fun to check out the shops and pick up a steamed bun for a snack. Check out more information and look ahead to many other events for Asian Heritage Month on the ExplorAsian site.
Free Comic Book Day – Get a free comic from participating stores
Where: Click here to find a list of participating comic book shops in Vancouver.
What: Come into a participating comic book shop, leave with a free comic book. Really. Though your little ones might be too young for comic book reading, there are some comics for young kids on the list of free comics for 2013, including Sesame Street, Disney Fairies and Pippi Longstocking. You can always just talk about the pictures or use it for a collage art project if they’re a little too young to appreciate a free comic book.
Swap Meet at the Jewish Community Centre: Second-hand clothing etc. sale
Where: 950 W 41st Ave., Vancouver
What: Swap meets are an affordable way to buy or sell gently used kids clothing, toys, etc. This is the first one held at the Jewish Community Centre, but in general, I’ve found them to be the best, and certainly cheapest, way to find second-hand clothes. If you have items to sell, you can rent a table. Click here for contact details and more information.
Bellies to Babies Celebration – Shopping* and Service Provider Info for Parents (*definitely more than $5!)
When: Sunday May 5, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Where: Croatian Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial Drive
What: I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention the Bellies to Babies event, since some of you have probably heard of it and might be wondering what it’s all about. You can enter by donation (go early if you want to avoid a massive line-up), but frankly, my experience attending last Fall wasn’t one that I’d bother repeating. Although I’m sure there are some great products there, my budget doesn’t include shelling out big bucks for kids’ clothes, furniture, photo shoots or accessories. I spent the entire time filling out my personal information to win baby-related goods at all the vendors (bring your own pen if you do go!) but most of the products weren’t things I was actually interested in or that I’ve found necessary to parenthood. I did get a cute pair of free baby socks when I waited to have a free chiropractic consultation– apparently, I need chiropractic services although I feel fine. I had my baby in a carrier (Monita wasn’t even walking then), and I shudder to think how long it would have taken to navigate the aisles of vendors with a stroller. I didn’t stay to check out the talks, so perhaps that’s the worthwhile part of the event? If you go, please comment to let us all know if it was worthwhile for you! You can also use it as a chance to recycle your old car seat safely, courtesy of UsedVancouver.com.
A little further afield…
Surrey’s Environmental Extravaganza – Free Family Activities
When and Where: Various locations and times in Surrey. See this huge list of events for details.
What: For the next month, Surrey is hosting several events each week as part of their Environmental Extravaganza. For example, in the first week in May you can plant a tree or buy a discounted tree for your own yard on Arbour Day (May 4), kids can learn about bugs in the hands-on workshop: “Good Bug, Bad Bug” at the Historic Stewart Farm, and kids can even learn how to fish at Green Timber Urban Forest Park (equipment provided but pre-registration required). Check out the full list of all events here. All the events are free and family-friendly. The Surrey libraries are also hosting free “Once Upon an Acorn” storytimes with environmental themes.
Discovery Day at the Surrey Nature Centre
Where: Surrey Nature Centre, 14225 Green Timbers Way, Surrey, BC
What: Although not a part of the Environmental Extravaganza events, this Discovery Day is a chance for you to explore the Surrey Nature Centre’s heritage exhibit, create an “eco-craft” and take a self-guided tour using the interactive “Exploration Boxes and Discovery Backpacks”. A nature guide will get you started, then you can take your time exploring and maybe have a picnic on your own. For more information, contact the Nature Centre at 604-502-6065 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Noon’s Creek Fingerling Festival – Salmon release, Bobs & Lolo in concert and family activities
When: Saturday, May 4, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Where: Noons Creek Hatchery and Port Moody Recreation Centre, 300 Ioco Rd., Port Moody, BC
What: Kids can get to know the salmon life cycle by helping release 40,000 young chum salmon on their way to the Pacific Ocean from the Noon’s Creek Hatchery. There will be 80 different exhibitors at the festival in the Port Moody Recreation Centre Ice Rink too, including Mike the Reptile Guy, OWL Rehabilitation Society, Young Naturalists, Wildlife Rescue Association of BC, Burns Bog Conservation Society and many more. You can check out the full list of exhibitors and information about the event on the Fingerling Festival site. Bobs & Lolo, the ever popular children’s music duo from Vancouver, will be giving a free concert at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. There will also be other children’s activities including games, nature puzzles and arts and crafts. Sounds like a lot of environmental fun in one place…
Artisan Farmer’s Markets: Fresh food and Entertainment
When and Where: Saturday May 4 (River District: 10 am – 3pm, Lonsdale Quay: 10 am – 3 pm, Burnaby Market: 9am – 2pm) and Sunday May 5th (Ambleside: 10 am – 3 pm) See the links below for exact locations.
What: Farmer’s Markets are a great way to pick up local, organic products and crafts. They also have a fun, festive atmosphere, with musical entertainment provided and sometimes extra activities for kids. It’s awesome to teach kids where food comes from and the value of eating good ol’ fashioned food (as opposed to something that arrives parceled up in a box and loaded with preservatives). The River District Farmer’s Market begins this week, while some of the other Vancouver Farmer’s Markets will begin next week (check out the Eat Local website for more details). However, three different locations around the Lower Mainland are also having a market this weekend. Look here at the Artisan Farmer’s Market page for more details including location, vendors and an entertainment schedule!