Vancouver and Whistler with Kids
On March 19th, Sara ( Mom), me (Grandma), Eddie (6), Jules(4) and Nicholas(9 mos.) flew from Pittsburgh to Vancouver. Grandpa(GPA) left from New York and arrived just after we did. The trip with a stop over in Toronto was an experience with three kids. I have to say they were pretty well behaved. It's just a pain with the wheelies and going through customs and security twice. The 5 hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver was long. Nicholas didn't sleep but he was good. After we met up with GPA, we took a cab to the hotel.
The Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel was nice and the view from the room was spectacular. We could see the mountains and the planes constantly taking off. Sara was upset because she had requested connecting rooms, a refrigerator for the breast milk, and the pack and play. She had requested all three things months in advance so it was really frustrating having to show our “uglies” to get what had been promised. It was 9 o'clock New York/Pittsburgh time and the kids were tired and hungry. We ordered pizza while Sara argued with the staff and by the next afternoon all was settled.
Our first morning we met the concierge , Alex . She was wonderful. I cannot praise her enough. We signed up for the hop on hop off bus which took off right in front of our hotel and the driver graciously returned us to the front door each evening. We got the advertised family rate for two days for the entire week. When Sara joined us the last day, they generously let her ride for free with us. Alex did the negotiation with the company. She checked our memberships at the zoo and art museums to see if there was reciprosity and offered wonderful suggestions.
Our first day we went to Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium. It was a school break in Vancouver so every kid's venue was packed. We had to tear the kids out of the park to go to the aquarium. We ate lunch right at the orca whale poolside. We were in great seats for lunch and for the whale show.
When we got back to the hotel around 4:30, we went to the pool . Nicholas did not like the water but the other two were happy. It was a great pool- very kid friendly!
Dinner was a challenge because the kids were tired and we didn't want to go far. We walked and found a food court but the kids were so tired , they didn't really eat very much.
The next morning we went over our plans with Alex. This woman was so kind, knowledgeable and went far beyond her job description. We decided to go to Granville Island. I had promised the kids they could shop for a toy and candy at the kids’ market. They loved all the shops and so did I. There was a play area and we let them go in while we had bubble tea. We had lunch right there because it was so friendly. We visited a few galleries. One was a wool shop where one woman was working her loom and another was making a tapestry. I was alittle nervous in the pottery gallery but the kids were very good and so was the owner. We visited the Elizabeth Carr College and strolled around. Eventually we went to the public market and had to eat again because everything looked so good. When we came out we started to the bus just as it began to hail. There was an awning where we waited for the bus so we were ok. Back at the hotel we went for a swim and then we took a cab to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. The atmosphere was good but the food was terrible. Both kids wanted spaghetti with clam sauce. It was awful.The cab driver pretended not to know where Gastown was (It was the stop before ours on the hop on hop off bus!) I told him to plug it in his GPS but he said it wasn’t working. I hate experiences like that!
The next day we walked around Canada Place . We took pictures at the Lego orca and the Olympic torch site. Then we took the seabus to Lonsdale Quay. It was a beautiful ride and we had a snack in the public market. The kids played in the play area and we bought some more candy.It was a highlight of the six year old’s experience. He used my camera and loves to take shots of all kids of boats and equipment so he was thrilled.
Bach on the mainland, we took the sky train to the Tulus Science Center. We got in for free and went in the members’ entrance because we are members of the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.It was packed but they had several shows the kids enjoyed and lunch was good.
On Friday, Sara’s conference was over so she came with us. Alex called and arranged it so that Sara could join us on the hop on hop off bus. We went to the Vancouver Library which the kids loved. We walked down Robson and had lunch at Japa Dog. It was so good. Then we hoped back on the bus and went to the Olympic Sports Center. The kids had lots of fun and we got some great pictures. We were going to go to the Art Gallery but Sara thought they would enjoy the sports center better.Then we went back to the hotel went for a swim. Later, we took a cab to a Chinese Restaurant. It was good but the kids were very tired again.
Saturday morning was beautiful so we walked around Canada Place and the harbor park. We later went back to the hotel for our last swim. At noon Dad arrived with our rental suburban and we were off to Whistler.
Our condo at Whistler (Wood Run) was a great location. Thanks to advice I received from fodorites, we food shopped on the left hand side of the road about a half an hour ride before Whistler Village. We spent over $400 but I can’t imagine how much it would have cost in the village.
Dad, mom, and Eddie and Julia skied , the baby and I played in the condo. I was a little frustrated with the kitchen supplies. We have rented many houses on VBRO. Usually they have some basic spices and adequate pots but this was was poorly equipped. How do you not have a griddle of some sort? Again, there was no pack and play so we had to call a rental company. It was a good location to the slopes and had a great heated pool which the kids loved. It was Julia (age 4)’s first experience skiing. The first day she took lessons and the other days she went with mom. She did great even after it snowed. We stayed from Saturday to Friday.
On Friday we rode back to the Vancouver airport, returned the car and grandma and Grandpa said goodbye. They went home and we took the skytrain to the bus, to the Ferry and arrived in Victoria in no time. The connections were great.
I will post another travel log about Victoria and Seattle. I cannot thank all my fodors advisors , especially Robyn,enough for all their help. The trip was great.
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Vancouver and Whistler with Kids