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.
Swimming, Skating, library, community centre, gym
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?