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Spring Break in Vancouver 2011: Readers’ Choice Poll

Monday, March 7th, 2011 — 12:22pm PDT
Comments 121

Spring Break is just around the corner for many local schools and that may leave parents wondering what kind of activities they can get up to with their kids. I regularly feature parks, community events, and “tourist in your hometown” ideas and the following destinations come to mind:

The Britannia Mine Museum
Exploring the Harrison/Agassiz region
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler
The Museum of Anthropology
Stanley Park
Spending time in Steveston
Taking the ferry over to Gibsons Landing
Programs at the Vancouver Aquarium
Hiking around Lighthouse Park
The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
You may also check out my March 2011 event listings for specific programs and events

However, I’d love to know where my readers will be heading. Until Thursday, March 10th, you leave a comment below to nominate your favourite local spring break destinations. I will then compile all of the entries into a big list and readers may vote on their favourites until Thursday, March 17th.

All those who nominate a destination will be entered to win the following ‘staycation’ prize pack courtesy of Times Square Suites on Denman:

  • One night in a 1 bedroom suite at Times Square Suites featuring living/dining area with full kitchen, washer/dryer, queen size bed in master bedroom and pull out double sofabed in the living room. The living area has french doors leading to a stand up balcony to enjoy the energy of the West End. Includes wi-fi, membership to Denman Fitness and access to rooftop desk with gas BBQ. Suitable for a family, 2 adults and 2 children.
  • 4 passes to the Vancouver Aquarium
  • 2 for 1 coupons for the Stanley Park Ecology Centre walks
  • 2 for 1 coupons for Ciao Bella Restaurant
  • Fine print for the nomination contest: Subject to availability, must be redeemed for stay before June 15, 2011. Prize based on 2 adults and a maximum of 2 children under 12 years. Upgrades available for additional charge. Secure underground parking is available for $20.33 (including tax) per night.

    The nomination prize will be handed out when the voting round begins Friday, March 11th. Voting will close Friday, March 18th.

    Update Voting is now open and you may select up to 10 choices from the list below. All nominees are based on comment nominations on this post and one contributor will win the prize package when I also announce the “Top Ten” destinations.

    Update Voting is now closed. Winners will be announced shortly.

    Update The results are in. Here are the Top 10 Local Spring Break Destinations:

    Whistler (42%)
    North Vancouver (Grouse Mountain) (38%)
    Bowen Island (31%)
    Vancouver Island (Victoria) (21%)
    Vancouver Island (Tofino) (19%)
    Vancouver (Vancouver Aquarium) (17%)
    Sea to Sky (Paradise Valley, Alice Lake, Callaghan Valley) (15%)
    Harrison & Agassiz (Harrison Hot Springs) (13%,)
    Vancouver (Granville Island) (10%)
    Sunshine Coast (Dakota Ridge, Smugglers Cove) (10%)

    Please refer to the comments section to see the nomination if you are unfamiliar with any of the places that have been nominated.

    Update The nomination contest winner is Janice!

    Current contests on


    1. Marina says:

      Spring Break always seems to be a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery, so the Poco Trail or the Stanley Park Seawall would be at the top of my list.

    2. luc says:


    3. Celia says:

      Discover Dakota Ridge on the Sunshine Coast. Beat the crowds and explore 13km XC ski trails and 8km marked snowshoe trails. There is even a toboggan area for the kids. Family pass only $20/day. Scenic view of the North Shore Mountains, Mount Baker, and Vancouver Island from a forested winter wonderland.

    4. Jeannine says:


    5. Brittany says:

      Sunshine Coast!

    6. Linda says:

      kelowna for the view and the wine! ๐Ÿ™‚

    7. Tracey Flattes says:

      I would have to go with Tofino – such an amazingly beautiful place!

    8. Sea Ball says:

      I definitely will be Biking out to Lighthouse park and doing some hiking around. One of my favourite things to do!

    9. Karen says:

      We’re going to Victoria!

    10. val says:

      I nominate Fort Langley! Overlooked lovely little ‘burb.

    11. Lori says:

      Bowen Island

    12. Eve says:

      Taking the bikes, the kids and the dog on the free ferry to Barnston Island

    13. Michelle says:

      Programs at the new UBC Beaty Biodiversity Centre! Or any of the other museums on campus.

    14. Meghan says:

      My favorite staycation is walking along the waterfront in Steveston. We either treat ourselves to Pajo’s fish & chips or buy fresh seafood on the dock.

    15. liz says:

      Victoria in the summertime is amazing!

    16. Teresa says:

      Grouse Mountain

    17. Grace says:

      I don’t know how local this is, because if it includes vancouver island, then its the west coast trail! Absolutely peaceful and beautiful! If it’s strictly greater vancouver, then it has to be the grouse grind! Nothing better than working out a sweat and enjoy bcs greatness with the family!

    18. Ian says:

      Spending the day..and hopefully sunny at white rock while we dip our feet in the cold waters!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love it there! And the food is always great too!

    19. Steven says:

      This is a tough one…every place is so nice around here! But if I had to choose…if its strictly a place for the family with children…itd be Castle Fun Park at Abbotsford!! I remember when my son loved it!

    20. Emily says:

      Camping at camp capilano and walking the capilano bridge

    21. Yolanda says:

      TighNaMara in Parksville!

      Take the ferry over and relax in the spa grotto, take a walk on the beach, enjoy the superb food!!

      it’s a bit of a splurge but then you get to drive, ferry, and relax in the woods!

    22. Katie says:

      A day trip to Bowen Island

    23. Ennie says:


    24. Mae says:

      Within few hours to Vancouver, my top weekend getaways are Whistler, west coast of Vancouver Island, and Harrison Hot Springs.

    25. Tanya Kozak says:

      Galiano has glorious B&Bs that are perfect for a mini getaway. A few years ago I went to the Bellhouse Inn (visible to passing ferries) for a personal retreat. My stress drifted away with the tide.

    26. Gen says:

      Big White & tofino ๐Ÿ™‚

    27. Ana says:

      I hate the snow, so any place by the seaside is perfect. Yesterday we went to the Lighthouse Park and saw a beautiful bald eagle resting nearby!
      So, Lighthouse Park is my fave so far.

    28. Michael Kwan says:

      I don’t know how the trails would be around this time of year, but I had a great time horseback riding at Sea to Sky Stables in Paradise Valley, which is somewhere between Squamish and Whistler.

    29. Michael Kwan says:

      Bowen Island is pretty great too, especially as a day trip.

    30. Grace says:

      Whistler! always a good time there ๐Ÿ™‚

    31. Mitch says:

      I nominate the southern Gulf Islands as the perfect spring break destination.
      They all have their finer points but camping on Salt Spring brings
      back wonderful memories of times during my own youth.
      All the islands are but a short trip from Vancouver in miles
      yet a journey into a more relaxed time and pace.
      Relaxing for the parents and fun for the kids too.
      It’s about spending quality time with fily and creating
      wonderful memories too.
      For some it becomes a yearly tradition to look forward to
      and passed on through the generations.

    32. Dilara says:

      I love camping at Alice Lake and exploring all the hiking trails around there. It’s also a quick drive away from Whistler which is always a fun day trip destination.

    33. Gina says:


    34. Jim says:

      Victoria is a great place to relax and explore.

    35. Carol says:

      Driving all around on Vancouver Island. There are so many wonderful places there to explore.

    36. Murray A says:

      A trip either from Granville Island, first thing in the morning or from Horseshoe Bay over to beautiful Bowen Island.
      Walk through Crippen Park and then around Killarney Lake … through the Meadow up to ArtisanSquare where you can have a great lunch at Artisan Eats, the BEST Hot Chocolate in Metro Vancouver at Cocoa West, visit the 6 artist galleries and amazing shops before you head down to Village Square, through the Bowen Island Museum, the Orchard Cottages, stop for a cinnamon bun at the Village Baker or Sushi, Indian or mediterranean food in the Cove before heading home or to one of 30+ B&B’s on the island.

    37. Gary says:

      Grouse Mountain is always a fun day anytime of year!

    38. Vania says:

      It’s so hard to pick just one spot… but I can tell that I never get sick of Stanley Park! So much to explore! Fun for kids from 0-100. ๐Ÿ™‚

    39. Areta says:

      Tofino for the hiking and kayaking

    40. darcy says:

      If Vancouver Island is your destination…check out Telegraph Cove near Port McNeill.

    41. Lori M says:

      White Rock beach then dinner at Moby Dick’s (fun decor for kids) and then ice cream on the boardwalk.

    42. Cristina Lawrie says:

      I’d like to nominate: Exploring the Harrison/Agassiz region

      Very family friendly and economical!

    43. Sita says:

      I vote White Rock as a nice day trip to enjoy the walk and the beaches and the fresh gelato and also Granville Island.

    44. Meghan says:

      Spend some time in Deep Cove, North Van–hike to Quarry Rock for a beautiful view (continue along Baden Powell trail if desired!) or kayak out in the Cove. Stop by Honey’s Doughnuts after for the best donuts you will ever have.

    45. corey says:

      Well since I live in deep cove…I’d have to say definitly Panorama Park…come on down for Deep Cove Daze if you think you can hang with the DC loc’s….;)

    46. Christine says:

      White Rock Pier

    47. Sunhee says:

      Harrison Hot Springs!

    48. Erica says:

      I nominate Victoria as the perfect spring break destination! Beautiful place with lots to do ๐Ÿ™‚

    49. anne marie says:

      Sunshine Coast

    50. Iain says:

      Fort Langley.

    51. Jack says:

      Sunshine Coast – a getaway feeling once you’re on the ferry makes for easy travelling if you’re with kids. Lots to do and cheaper than Whistler

    52. Iain says:

      Fort Langley.

    53. Iain says:

      Fort Langley.

    54. Julia says:

      Definitely Whistler!

    55. Kai says:

      Uclulet/Tofino (or Bowen, never been to Bowen, always wanted to) love traveling on the water, really helps to make me feel that I’m getting away ๐Ÿ™‚

    56. Sonja says:

      Harrison Hot Springs, especially the Resort & Spa!

    57. Mary says:

      A trip to the beautiful Sunshine Coast is always a great way to spend Spring Break. With so many hiking and biking trails, not to mention, for the snow lovers, a trip up to Dakota Ridge, it’s the perfect getaway. Not to mention that it’s only a short 40min ferry ride from Vancouver.

    58. Sunshine Coast……where else can you ski by day and beach it by night! We have hiking trails, snowshoeing, fishing, kayaking, and
      great restaurants all in one place.

    59. Kathi says:

      The Sunshine Coast. It really is an amazing hidden gem. Fine restaurants; a fraction of city prices; fine places to stay overnight (a fraction of city prices too). Pay one way for the ferry, (it’s free going back to the city), fill up your tank (yep, cheaper than the city too). There are so many walk/hikes to spend your days exploring only to build up an appetite for dinner at said-so restaurants. A comment from “Celia”, mentions Dakota Ridge, snow too. It’s a win-win getaway.

    60. Aileen R says:

      My favorite staycation would have to be exploring the different shops and eating spots in Chinatown.

    61. Emma says:

      Tofino! or camping anywhere, really.

    62. Sasha says:

      I have a teenager and 2 little ones so I am one of those parents on the look for ideas and this is what I’ve come up with so far that might work for our family….

      – 20th March – St Patrick’s Parade Downtown
      – 20th March – Vancouver Giants Game, white spot have a great dinner, parking and tickets deal
      – Snow Tubing at cypress – great fun for teens and youngsters has they have a smaller slop for under 5’s
      – Castle Fun Park – Mini Golf, Go Karts, Arcade and Bummer cars
      – Spring Break Camp at HR Macmilian for grades 1-4
      – 24th March – The Big Sneeze – Improv Centre, Granville Island showings at 10am and 1pm and you can always make a day of visiting Granville Island too
      – 21st-27th March from noon – 4pm – Burnaby Village Museum are having a Teddy Bear Hunt

      Hope it helps other parents organize a happy and active couple of weeks.

      Good Luck!

    63. Jeanette says:

      Enjoy the scenery, the kayaking, the x-country skiing, and the views on the Sunshine Coast

    64. Holly says:

      Stanley Park there’s so much to explore, then hit the Vancouver Aquarium

    65. Alison says:

      Tofino, cosied up in a cabin with a fire going and the waves crashing outside. Beautiful!

    66. Kristina says:

      Whistler for sure!!

    67. Susan says:


    68. Rikushix says:

      Night skiing on Grouse! A perfect end to a Spring Break evening.

    69. Anna says:

      My family has been going to Harrison Resort for our spring break vacation. It’s a 90 minute drive from Vancouver and the resort provides many activities for the children.

    70. Sanaz says:

      Hiking around Lighthouse Park has got my vote!

    71. Piotr says:

      Youbou on Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island. A quiet and serene place with just as much small town charm as you can handle. Including the last bowling alley where pins are set by hand. It’s an old forrestry town where everyone knows your name.

    72. SUSAN says:

      Hornby Island cause it has so many good childhood memories for me!!!

    73. sue says:

      Rocky Mountaineer to Whistler !

    74. Donna L says:

      Saltspring island! So peaceful there ๐Ÿ™‚

    75. Haley says:

      Renting a boat from Sewell’s Marina. Nothing is better than packing a picnic lunch and getting out on the water to explore gorgeous Howe Sound.

    76. Gillian says:

      My vote would be for Stanley Park ( I would haved voted Parkville, Vancouver Island but it’s a too far for a ‘staycation’). So much to do in Stanley Park and its a short bus ride away, from the pitch and putt to the aquarium. Its very easy to spend the day in Stanley Park and forget you’re in the city. Too bad they closed the farmyard ๐Ÿ™

    77. Aidan says:

      I work in an out of school care and we always get going and visiting some of the best locations in Vancouver and the lower mainland. Everything from the Vancouver Aquarium, The Greater Vancouver Zoo, Science World, Capillano Suspension Bridge, Space Center, Swimming, not to mention the random and extra surprises along the way such as a scavenger hunt in Steveston. We even took a group of children once to learn how to do Curling, make balloon animals.

      All of those locations remind me of Spring Break for me, especially the child in me. Though I cannot forget camping. As I grew up camping, and heading over to the Gulf Islands for a week just to relax and unwind. This province has so many great places for families, and these places are all so accommodating of daycare groups.

    78. Kelly says:

      Definitely the Callaghan Country Lodge up in the Callaghan Valley! Spring skiing with a pre-ordered lunch at the top! It’s beautiful!

    79. Aidan says:

      Wow, a half thought in my above comment. We have taken the children to a workshop on how to make balloon animals, and other fun random things around the city. You just need to look and think outside the box to keep children entertained and having fun over Spring Break.

    80. Victor says:

      Light house park in west vancouver. It’s a great hike!!

    81. Sharon says:

      Callaghan Country Lodge – yeah!

    82. Karen says:

      The ski up to Callaghan Lodge is fantastic!! The ski down is fun!! Ski up for the day and enjoy a lunch or book an overnight stay. The best skiing is around solitude loop…beauty to take you breath away…just go!!

    83. DJ says:

      Callaghan, oh yeah!

    84. Rafaela says:

      Sandcut Beach (Vancouver Island)

    85. Kelsey says:


    86. Keith Stark says:

      Have to stay local with the kids this spring break. You have given us some great ideas of how to be “a tourist in your hometown.”

    87. Mark says:

      Cross Country skiing up to the Callaghan Lodge for a day/night trip is a great experience! The way down is plenty fun for sure..

    88. Lina says:

      Definitely the Callaghan Country Lodge up in the Callaghan Valley!

    89. Belinda says:

      Victoria Cherry Blossoms.

    90. Mika says:

      Steveston! Cute shops and restaurants and a beautiful walk along the river!

    91. Ben says:

      Skiing up to the Callaghan Lodge is definitely one of the best things to do out there. Book a overnight stay and enjoy the great hospitality and the outstanding food.

    92. How about hiking Smugglers Cove on the Sunshine Coast, picnic on the bluff then a visit to some local artist’s shops and galleries in Madeira Park or Roberts Creek with a great cup of organic coffee at Straight Coffee and to die for carrot cake at the Gumboot on your way back to the ferry or even better catch a 15 minute scenic flight to YVR on Tofino Air!

    93. Mel says:

      We absolutely love Harrison Hot Springs. There is plenty of outdoorsy activities for families and the small town charm of the village makes you feel like you are much farther away then you really are. We are huge fans of the local mom & pop shops and restaurants – not a fast food or major department store in sight! And the scenery – lake, mountains – truely stunning! A great get away without the ‘get away’!

    94. Hugo says:

      I nominate the Callaghan Lodge as the perfect spring break destination. Dream vacation!

    95. Harjit says:

      For those staying local like me – Riding bikes around the Sea-wall ๐Ÿ™‚

    96. Jodi says:


    97. Danielle Scott says:

      Whistler Mountain!

    98. Janice Cotter says:

      Favourite Spring Break trips with the kids – Victoria – Museums and galleries
      – Harrison Hot Springs.
      Favourite day trips – Sasamat Lake – building sandcastles in gumboots.
      Downtown day trips – Granville Island & VAG

    99. AH says:

      Harrison hot spring

    100. pete says:


    101. ari says:

      salt spring island

    102. nocal says:

      Good One.

    103. Sherri says:

      Kingfisher Spa Resort in the Courtenay-Comox area on the Island. It’s already booked for Spring Break. The package includes accomodations and ferry costs. A great deal!

    104. Colleen says:

      Tofino is our favourite,

      This year it will be visiting family in Richmond, heading into Steveston for sure and hitting the Vancouver Art Gallery ๐Ÿ™‚

    105. Laurel says:

      Bowen! An easy day trip.

    106. lynda says:

      victoria a trip down memory lane-perfect family fun ๐Ÿ™‚

    107. vincent says:


    108. oliver says:

      sunshine coast. so easy to get to. you cannot go wrong with a free ferry on the ride home.

    109. Florinda says:

      Best little getaway is Bowen Island.

      The perfect day:
      Walk around Killarney Lake, have lunch at Artisan Eats, the best coffee and chocolate ever at Cocoa West, brave the breathtaking kayaking off the west side, get amazing treatments and service at Heartstone Spa in the cove and finish it off with memorable meal at Blue Eyed Mary’s. Heaven – 20 minutes from Vancouver!

    110. Rebecca Bollwitt says:

      Thanks everyone. Please make sure you check the list and vote above.

    111. Erin says:

      The sunshine coast is my fav! Never overly busy and so much to do!

    112. Lee says:

      Texada Island up the Sunshine Coast – gorgeous place for outdoor activities and a small friendly community. Hike to a waterfall, kayak near seals. Beautiful B&B’s and fabulous camping (early for that) Consider moving there, many homes on market cheap, and school with one on one time for childrem!

    113. John says:

      whistler !

    114. Ally says:

      <3 whistler for sure!

    115. Tyler says:

      Rebecca, it said I could choose 5, but then when I clicked ‘Vote’ it said only 1. I’m confused! lol

      Anyway since this is my spring break, so far we have done Lighthouse Park. We’ll be doing Whistler on Thursday though.

    116. Kirsten H says:

      Grouse for sure

    117. Erika says:

      Having just returned from a few days at Whistler, it’s hard to switch gears and think of what we can do close to home for spring break. Kids are so busy these days, that I nominate “playing at home” as a top spring-break destination. They are having a blast reconnecting with toys and games that they don’t have time for on a daily basis. A trip to Edgemont Village for cinnamon buns mid-morning (and a coffee for mum!) is an inexpensive yet indulgent treat. I might have to add a trip to Deep Cove for doughnuts tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

    118. Perry McCulloch says:

      I voted for Granville Island which is a great place to visit on bikes and have lunch then shopping for the best freshest dinner ingredients possible. I will add that after dinner a hike to the top of Vancouver via the Grouse Grind for desert while watching the lights of the city twinkle on is a close second.

    119. faith L. says:

      I vote for the Vancouver Aquarium. I love that place and visit all the time!

    120. au says:

      Vancouver Island, Victoria is my vote. . .in fairness, there are lots of beautiful places to go in BC during spring break, right?

    121. Bonnie says:

      Up to the Sunshine Coast ๐Ÿ™‚ !

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