Family Day Things To Do in the Vancouver Region
For almost a decade, families in BC have enjoyed a mid-winter three-day weekend, thanks to Family Day – which was first celebrated in 2013 – as a chance to spend a little extra time together. With kids out of school, and many workplaces closed, it’s an ideal opportunity to go exploring and have some fun. And even though this year the day will arrive under unusual and challenging circumstances, there’s no reason not to make the best of it while keeping local guidelines and restrictions in mind.
This year’s Family Day falls on Monday, February 15. Here are some ideas to get started on your planning for the weekend; be sure to double-check on potential closures or changes between now and then:
BACK IN TIME:
23433 Mavis Ave., Langley City: Head back to the 1800s and explore BC’s history at Fort Langley National Historic Site. Adjacent to the Fraser River, this historic site has both original and re-created buildings, equipment, supplies, and more from an era when fur traders and gold prospectors were living in the area. Visitors can also explore the Indigenous history of the region and learn more about life in the 19th century. Some areas of the fort may be closed due to covid restrictions; check out the website for updates.
1905 Ogden Ave, Vancouver: Though not open on the holiday Monday, the Maritime Museum is open through Saturday and Sunday and time slots can be booked ahead of time. If you have a kid with a love for pirate stories and seafaring adventures, the Vancouver Maritime Museum may be an ideal destination. The rotating exhibits are a chance to explore the maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic, including a model ship gallery and a full-sized reproduction of Captain Vancouver’s ship Discovery. Note that the Children’s Maritime Discovery Centre is currently being renovated, and Underwater World is the temporary area for children. The museum includes art, displays, models, and historical archives.
Virtual for 2021: This year’s Richmond Children’s Arts Festival moves online with a full day of programming and virtual events for children of all ages. The event is presented in partnership between the Richmond School District, Gateway Theatre, Richmond Art Gallery, and Richmond Public Library and is a great opportunity to have fun with art. All activities are free.
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver: Open throughout the long weekend, the Vancouver Art Gallery is a great choice for families in the downtown core. Considered one of North America’s leading art galleries thanks to its innovative exhibitions and broad offering of public programs, the gallery is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver. The gallery offers rotating exhibitions from the international circuit, as well as a focus on the accomplishment of First Nations artists and the art of the Asia-Pacific region. If you live in the Fraser Valley, consider a virtual visit, with their current Art At Home offering, with a variety of exhibits and events to access from home.
MAKE IT A MOUNTAIN DAY:
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver: Grouse Mountain is a favourite among skiers and day-trippers looking for a chance to snowshoe, hike, and more. With its unique gondola that takes visitors from the parking lot to the top of the mountain all year round, Grouse is a particularly popular spot in the winter but gets its share of tourists and locals throughout the seasons. Due to covid regulations, guests are currently required to reserve a Skyride gondola boarding time for travel up to the top of Grouse and back, through the Skyride Reservation System, and capacity on the Skyride will be reduced to less than 50%. For all the guidelines, check out the Grouse Mountain PureClean Winter Experience webpage.
6000 Cypress Bowl Road, West Vancouver: Cypress includes three peaks – Mt. Strachan, Black Mountain, and Hollyburn Mountain – with areas for downhill and nordic activities. There are opportunities to ski, snowboard, cross-country, tube, and snowshoe (even at night). Due to covid regulations, all purchases (lift tickets, equipment rental, ski school lessons, etc) must be purchased online in advance and all resort purchases are debit or credit card only. An outdoor dining area has been erected adjacent to Hollyburn Lodge for the season. Read the full details of current protocols on Cypress Mountain’s covid update page.
1700 Mount Seymour Road, North Vancouver: Along with skiing and snowboarding, Mount Seymour has great options for families with younger kids including a tube park with a custom tow to pull riders back to the top and a toboggan area where visitors can bring their own sled or buy a sledding mat once there for under $10. Due to covid regulations, season pass holders and guests will need to reserve a parking allocation and vehicles will be turned away without a reservation. Parking is first come first served on weekdays. The mountain is also introducing reservable four-hour time slots for both season pass holders and lift ticket purchasers on weekends and holidays. Tobogganing and snow-tubing are by reservation only this year. Check out their covid protocol page for details.
13750 88th Avenue, Surrey: Spring hasn’t sprung yet but the gardens and woods at Bear Creek Park are still a beautiful area to explore with both paved and gravel paths. Full of towering evergreens, the park is a natural delight in the heart of the city. There are also two large playgrounds (one for younger children, and one for older).
2375 Bedwell Bay Road, Belcarra: There’s plenty to discover at Belcarra Regional Park. Explore the beach, a path along the waterfront, brave a “float walk” that crosses Sasamat Lake, and check out the extensive paths through woods. It’s the best of both worlds with both beach and forest.
Boundary Bay Road, Delta: One of the region’s best views can be had at Centennial Beach at Boundary Bay Regional Park. Check the tide information and head out during low tide to explore the mudflats, then hit the nearby trails that extend along the dykes. The concession area is closed in winter but bathrooms should be open for the public during park hours.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
And if you’re staying close to home, you can still turn the holiday into an extra-special long weekend with a twist on the usual activities. Check out our guide for fun family ideas for long winter nights at home.