When my adorable niece Kaiya was just 18-months old, I was working at a children’s bookstore in Toronto and stumbled across a beautifully illustrated alphabet book by Per-Henrik Gürth. The book, ABC of Toronto, takes you on a journey to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and activities, from A (Art Gallery of Ontario) to Z (Zoo). We started going on adventures and ‘checking off’ each activity in her book. To date, we’ve completed 21 and have five to go.
When I moved to Vancouver two and a half years ago, Kaiya suggested we make our own ABC of Vancouver book/list when she came to visit out west. So, when Kaiya and her little brother Kieran came to visit, we got to work. I’m happy to report that we completed every activity (except for one) in just one week. Kaiya was a little squeamish on trying sushi.
So, grab your kiddos and go on these 26 little adventures in Vancouver this summer!
Exploring Vancouver from A to Z
A is for aquabus, a little bus on the water! It will take you to Granville Island, Science World and more.
B is for beaches! Spend a day in the sand. Jericho, Kitsilano and English Bay are popular choices.
C is for Commercial Drive, a funky neighbourhood with an old movie theatre, cute coffee shops and more!
D is for doughnuts – there are plenty local favourites. Savour your sweet tooth at Cartems, Lucky’s or Honey’s.
E is for eggs and toast at Bon’s, Auntie J’s favourite place for breakfast. Breakfast is only $3!
F is for fish – Vancouver is known for its great seafood and sushi.
Grouse Mountain Photo credit: grousemountain.com
G is for Grouse Mountain – it has a beautiful view of Vancouver from the top. Take the gondola or hike up – an 853-metre climb!
H is for heritage houses – there are many that are over 100 years old! Spot one with a City of Vancouver plaque explaining its history.
I is for islands, there are over 40,000 of them along the coast of British Columbia. Can you spot one from the shore in Vancouver?
J is for John Deighton, a.k.a. “Gassy Jack.” Gastown – the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver – was named after him. Check out the steam clock in Gastown, a popular attraction.
K is for Kaiya and Kieran spotting the mountains surrounding Vancouver!
Tip: You can just change my niece and nephew’s names to ‘kids’!
L is for the Lookout Tower or as Kaiya would say: “Vancouver’s CN Tower.”
M is for Mount Pleasant, Auntie J’s neighbourhood. Point out some of the big murals along Main Street.
N is for new friends! Talk to someone new and meet some friends! You never know what stories they’ll have and who you’ll discover.
Olympic Cauldron Photo credit: Crystal McNab
O is for the Olympic Cauldron, from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Close by you’ll also spot the Digital Orca, a sculpture by a famous Vancouver artist.
P is for park, Stanley Park. In 2014 it was voted the best park in the entire world! In the park, there is an aquarium, hiking trails, First Nations totem poles and more.
Q is for quesadillas (and tacos! and burritos!) at Sal y Limon, the best Mexican restaurant in Vancouver.
R is for riding your bike! The weather never gets too cold in Vancouver, so you can ride your bicycle all year long.
S is for the ships coming into harbour at Canada Place along the waterfront.
Trout Lake Photo credit: Marty McNab
T is for Trout Lake, a place where family and friends hang out. Check out the dog park, baseball diamonds, kids playgrounds and outdoor concerts.
U is for the University of British Columbia, which has plenty of fun things to do – from the Museum of Anthropology to the TreeWalk and more!
W is for water – the ocean surrounds the city.
X is for XOXO (hugs and kisses) to Auntie J, your favourite person in Vancouver.
Tip: Replace my name with yours, so your kiddo showers you with affection! (Okay, so this isn’t really an adventure. But it’s always fun to be showered with kid kisses!)
YVR airport Photo credit: Crystal McNab
Y is for YVR airport, where your airplane will arrive.
Z is for zoom, zoom! Take a ride on Vancouver’s SkyTrain, SeaBus or city bus.