Sorry no credit, just found it!
I think it’s because I’m getting old, but my wife tells me I’ve always been like this. I find I’m like one of those grumpy old men in those TD commercials. A lot of things bother me and I like to complain about them. So I’m going to periodically share something that bugs me.
My first complaint is when people crossing the street use the ramp part of the curb and block my path when I am pushing a stroller. These people have perfectly functioning legs and are capable of managing that dangerous 6 inch drop. Granted, before I had kids I may have done the same thing, and if I did I should be ashamed. It’s almost the equivalent of not offering your seat on the bus to an elderly person.
My toddler is a morning person. I, fortunately for my wife, am also a morning person! My son’s internal clock wakes him up consistently at 6:10 am; that’s when he comes running into our bed looking for the iPad. Occasionally, I would get up with him at 6:30 am to start the day. But what is open early in Vancouver? I usually combine our early outing with errands so that I have a sense of a weekend accomplishment with some playtime. The following is a list that I have compiled of things to do early in the morning in Vancouver:
Food shopping – get ahead of the weekend crowd and get your food shopping done. Superstore (Marine Drive), Save-on-Foods (Cambie) and Whole Foods (Cambie) are all open at 6 am. My son loves Superstore as they give your kid a free cookie – that always gives O a smile. The other place where O loves is Whole Foods, where they have a children’s play area. Its a good place to grab some porridge or some breakfast and let your kid play. At this time, there’s not that many other kids around to steal toys from your child. Most of the other fathers and mothers at this time are quite chilled and relaxed, and you can just relax and watch your kids play. You may also be able to find the rocketship shopping buggy at Save-on-Foods that your child may enjoy.
Home Improvement Shopping – I found out the hard way that Home Depot Stores at Terminal and Cambie does not open until 7am, so don’t go too early! But again, this is a good time to browse through the store when its quiet. Get the plumbing supplies or lighting that you want to use over the weekend. Home Depot has a huge sports car shopping cart which is fun, however its annoying to drive. Unfortunately, if you are looking for Canadian Rona on Kingsway, it doesn’t open until 8 am on weekends.
Swimming – Hillcrest Recreation Centre opens at 6 am for a morning water play.
Again, its not crowded. No wait for change rooms, plenty of parking and lots of room in the pool and family hot tub area. During the Winter, the Vancouver Farmer’s Market starts at 10 am at the parking area of Nat Bailey Stadium, so after your swim, you can grab some groceries, then go home!
Catch the Action at Burrard Inlet – Go down to Coal Harbour or the outside area of the Vancouver Convention Centre. Can’t beat the view on a sunny day where you can see the snow capped mountains, boats, the ports, & floating gas stations! You may even catch a float plane or two! The city metered parking doesn’t start until 9 am, so you’ll always find plenty of parking! Other nice areas when sunny are the local city beach spots: Jericho Beach, Ambleside Park in West Vancouver and Stanley Park (however pay parking at Stanely Park starts at 7 am in winter and 8 am in summer).
Skytrain/Seabus: An inexpensive outing cost about $2.50 for an hour and a half of travel. Hop on board the skytrain to Waterfront station; then hop on board the Seabus to cross Burrard Inlet to Lonsdale Quay. Lonsdale opens at 9 am. There’s also a nice park and at Waterfront Park and you get to see nice views of the city.
Vancouver Playgrounds – Go to the Kitsilano Beach Playground. Again quiet with lots of parking. Once past 10 am, the Kits Beach Playground gets quiet crowded. The Douglas Park Playground is also a large playground for toddlers and older kids. If you are the first ones there, make sure you bring a towel and wipe up the morning dew, unless you want your kid to have wet pants!
Recycle – Go to the Vancouver South Transfer Station, Recycling Depot and Yard Trimmings Drop off, 377 West Kent Avenue. Have excess cardboard that won’t fit your bluebin? Make a morning trip to recycle! Opens at 8 am on the weekends and holidays; 5:30 am during weekdays.
Updated – Ice Skating. During the winter, go ice skating at Robson Square. Skating starts at 9:00 am. The public skating is free, however ice skates and helmet rentals are a few bucks. I recently took my 2.5 year old for his first skate! He loved it, and had a big smile on his face the whole time. Unfortunately my back started to hurt as I’m stooped over for a long time holding my son up. ”The ice is very slippery,” he says!
Where ever you go, its bound to be quiet which allows you go at your leisurely and stressfree pace. Make sure you pack some a bottle of water, diapers and wipes, snacks, and go explore with your little ones early in the morning! Enjoy Vancouver at its best! Good morning Vancouver!
Any other suggestions?
It’s the old age question when you start a family – move to the “burbs” for a big yard and white picket fence, or stay in the city to be close to the action. We chose to stay in the city for a variety of reasons I’ll get into below. Let me stress that this is what works best for my family, and I can completely understand why it may not appeal to others. Both my wife and I both grew up in Vancouver, and both our parents and siblings live in Vancouver as well, so there were many advantages to making some sacrifices to stay close.
It’s not how big it is …
Unless you are loaded, buying a decent detached home that doesn’t need major work is a pipe dream in Vancouver. However, I am neither a handyman nor a fan of doing yard work, so a townhouse works well for us. Sure we don’t have a yard for the kids to run around (although we do have a generous sized patio), but there are great parks blocks away and community centres nearby for programs and activities. It seems these days kids would rather watch TV, surf, or play video games when they are at home, rather than play outside anyway. Having a smaller place is almost a blessing as it forces us to get out with the kids and do things. To me, a bigger place just means more stuff, more cleaning, and more chores to keep us trapped inside.
This is one of the major reasons we chose to live where we do. There are so many great places we can walk to from our place, not to mention run to the grocery store or pharmacy a few blocks away. There are many weekends where we may not even use the car at all. We spend many a summer day at the famous Granville Island or at the many neighbourhood markets. We are also close to great places like Science World and the Vancouver Aquarium which is a short drive or transit ride away.
Vancouver businesses are thankfully starting to cater to the many young families living in the heart of the city with kid friendly places like Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Little Nest, etc. While the suburbs can have similar little neighbourhoods as well, I think there are fewer options.
I’ll admit I am a bit spoiled here. My office is a 10 minute walk from my place! Better yet, my eldest goes to a daycare about 3 blocks from work. The big advantage here is that we can get by on just one car, which is not only a huge savings, but better for the environment and gets me a little exercise, which this guy could really use. I would never trade for a big house if it meant spending over an hour on the road each day. That is less time to enjoy that house with my family. Here is a great illustration about the cost of commuting.
Click image to enlarge
Via: Streamline Refinance
Luckily for me and the wife, we were on the same page and it was an easy decision. We are city folk. There are obviously pros and cons to both, but for our lifestyle, there wasn’t much of a debate. I know the burbs have many similar amenities and quaint neighbourhoods, but in my humble opinion Vancouver just seems to have more options, many within reach without having to cross a bridge, or even without having to get into the car.
Did you pick the urban or suburban life, and why?
It all started in 2002 – a year before our wedding when I asked my wife to marry me. We both knew that we would be spending lots and lots of money for the wedding, so we decided to apply together for our first joint credit card – CIBC’s Aeroplan Points Visa card. They high annual fee was a killer – $170 per year ($120 for the primary card, and $50 for additional cards)! But we still thought it was worth it as we were excited to start our life together earning free travel points faster!
Every year, the $170 annual charge gets hidden in our total credit card bill, so you don’t actually notice. We go out for gas, we charge; we go out shopping, we charge; we go out to eat, we charge! We try to charge everything!
We had great times with our Aeroplan points…
- Return trip for one from Melbourne, Australia to Hawaii;
- Return trip for two from Vancouver to San Francisco
- Return trip for two from Vancouver to London, UK
- Return trip for two from Vancouver to Chicago
- One way trip for two from Shanghai to Vancouver
- One week stay in New York City – Manhattan 4 star
- A few one night stays in Seattle
- My most recent acquisition Breville Barista Express (BES860XL) http://www.breville.ca/beverages/espresso/the-barista-express.html
As you can see, I do believe that we have put our cards into good use, with the traveling and now espresso maker! But if you look at the total annual charges – that’s $1700 for the last ten years! Yes – too expensive!
For the last six months, I’ve been cheating on my Aeroplan card – I’ve been using my new Costco Amex Rebate Credit Card, where I have already accumulated a Costco rebate of $300!
I finally made the phone call to CIBC Visa last week to ask for my separation! Our ten year relationship ended with a five minute phone call. They didn’t even attempt to waive my annual fee to keep me. I felt so unwanted.
When I make myself a latte in the mornings I still think of the great times that my CIBC Aeroplan Visa had together, but life goes on… time for a new purchase at Costco!