Olympic Family Fun

Post by Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit in

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Vancouver 2010 Torch Relay - Montreal
What can the kids do too during the Games? YoYoMama lets us know

Are you ready for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games? Do you have all your events planned or your tickets booked for a getaway or are you hunkering down and staying close to home to avoid road closures and insane transit lineups? No matter what you’ve got planned we’ve compiled the only – to our knowledge – exhaustive list of everything kid-friendly that’s going to be happening around town. And lots of it is free!

From venues to cultural Olympiad events to public art and community centres we have emailed, called, searched and scoured the web for everything you need to know to make your life with little ones during the last two weeks of February easier. We have included as much information as we can, but trust us –and if your emails are anything to go by – it’s not easy to find and we’ll continue to fill in the blanks as we go so check back often.

It’s a long, long list, so be prepared. We’ve arranged it by type of event and chronologically and alphabetically within that.

And as with our infamous strike list from the summer of ‘07 we’ll be continually adding and updating this list so please email us if you know of something we’ve missed and bookmark this article on our site and check back for updates as we all navigate our way through what’s bound to be a crazy, fun, topsy turvy, one-of-a-kind time in Vancouver.

Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who’ll be in town with small kids during the games. We’ve worked hard and long to compile and curate this information and we’d love it to be useful to as many people as possible! You can use the list below to jump to any of the following sections:

Helpful Links:

  • The site CityCaucus.com has compiled the most useful list of free events around town we’ve found, we suggest you use it in conjunction with our list for your planning: www.citycaucus.com/2010free
  • Getting around and road closure info: www.vancouver2010.com
  • If you’re attending events here’s the official spectator’s guide: www.vancouver2010.com
  • From now until February 11th you can sign up for a digital souvenir of the Opening Ceremonies. It’s free and hopefully it’ll be fun: canadacode.vancouver2010.com
  • Here’s a list of all the public art that was commissioned just of the Olympics, though it will live on long after the Games. See what’s arty in your neighbourhood and then set out on an art scavenger hunt with your kids: olympichostcity.vancouver.ca

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Top Picks

LiveCity Yaletown
February 11th, 4:30 pm – 9 pm, February 12th, 11 am – 9 pm, February 13th – 27th, 11 am – 11 pm & February 28th, 11 am to 9 pm
This is one of our top picks for family friendly fun during the Olympics. Hosted at David Lam Park, LiveCity Yaletown will be hopping for two weeks plus. On Fridays through Sundays from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm they’ll feature family programming that’s kid appropriate. You’ll also be able to catch features of the days sporting events on the giant screen and live entertainment and medal presentations. It’s also the home of Vancouver House and here’s a link to their full schedule of events each day to help you plan your perambulations.

They’ll also be hosting nightly Laser Waterworks Show with a large pipe in False Creek steaming water as a backdrop for the lights. Details are still pending but we’ll keep you posted.

Robson Square Signature Celebration Site
GE Plaza is our other top pick for kids during the games. Kid-specific programming includes meeting the mascots and their friends daily at 1 pm, 3 pm and 6 pm as they dance, skate, sing and celebrate. CircusWest will also be performing daily at 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 5 pm and 6:30 pm. They also have a full slate of the best of BC’s children’s performers scheduled including Bobs & Lolo, Rick Scott and the Kerplunks.

  • Bobs & Lolo: Saturday, February 13th, Noon & Sunday, February 14th, 1 pm
  • Norman Foote: Saturday, February 13th, 1 pm & Sunday, February 28th, 1 pm
  • Will Stroet: Saturday, February 20th, 1 pm & Sunday, February 21st, Noon
  • Rick Scott: Sunday, February 21st, 1 pm
  • Chris Hamilton: Saturday, February 27th, Noon
  • The Kerplunks: Saturday, February 27th, 1 pm & Sunday, February 28th, Noon

Click here for the full entertainment schedule including the BC Spirit Showcase featuring local and multicultural performers, BC Street Jam featuring BC’s best street artists and more. You’ll also still be able to skate for free each day from Noon to 9 pm.

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Vancouver Torch Relay

The relay will be hitting Vancouver on Thursday, February 11th and Friday, February 12th. At 8 pm on the evening of the 11th, LiveCity Yaletown at David Lam Park will be hosting a free, family-focused Torch Relay celebration.

If you want to catch the torch in action here’s the Vancouver relay route including the exact times it will be at certain locations. And when we say exact we’re not kidding – it’ll be at City Hall at 2:13 pm on the 11th for example.

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One Off Events

Paint the Town Red Family Skate
Friday, February 5th, 6:30 pm – 8 pm, Kitsilano Ice Rink, 2690 Larch Street, Vancouver
There’ll be hot chocolate and fun family-friendly activities, plus you’ll receive $2 off your admission if you wear red: vancouver.ca

Sunset Community Centre Community Happenings Festival
Saturday, February 6th, 2 – 6 pm, Sunset Community Centre, 6810 Main Street, Vancouver
Featuring family-friendly activities such as arts & crafts, games, sports and cultural performances, these festivals are all about highlighting our commitment to sport, culture and sustainability: vancouver.ca

Paint the Town Red Family Skate
Saturday, February 6th, 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm, West End Ice Rink, 870 Denman Street,  Vancouver
There’ll be hot chocolate and fun family-friendly activities, plus you’ll receive $2 off your admission if you wear red: vancouver.ca

Paint the Town Red Family Skate
Sunday, February 7th, 3:45 pm – 5:30 pm, Kerrisdale Arena, 5670 East Boulevard, [0], Vancouver
There’ll be hot chocolate and fun family-friendly activities, plus you’ll receive $2 off your admission if you wear red: vancouver.ca

Paint the Town Red Family Skate
Tuesday, February 9th, 6 pm – 7:30 pm, Sunset Ice Rink, 404 East 51st Avenue,  Vancouver
There’ll be hot chocolate and fun family-friendly activities, plus you’ll receive $2 off your admission if you wear red: vancouver.ca

Paint the Town Red Family Skate
Wednesday, February 10th, 6 pm – 7:30 pm, Riley Park Ice Rink, 50 East 30 Avenue, Vancouver
There’ll be hot chocolate and fun family-friendly activities, plus you’ll receive $2 off your admission if you wear red: vancouver.ca

Make Your Own Torch: Light Up Your Community!
Thursday, February 11th, time TBA, Killarney Community Centre, 6260 Killarney Street, Vancouver
The City of Vancouver is running a series of free torch lantern making workshops to celebrate the Olympics and Paralympic torch relays: olympichostcity.vancouver.ca

Make Your Own Torch: Light Up Your Community!
Friday, February 12th, time TBA, Thunderbird Community Centre, 2311 Cassiar Street, Vancouver
The City of Vancouver is running a series of free torch lantern making workshops to celebrate the Olympics and Paralympic torch relays: olympichostcity.vancouver.ca

Kits Community Centre Community Happenings Festival
Saturday, March 6th, 2 – 6 pm, Kits  Community Centre, 2690 Larch Street, Vancouver
Featuring family-friendly activities like arts & crafts, games, sports and cultural performances, these festivals are all about highlighting our commitment to sport, culture and sustainability: vancouver.ca

Kits Community Centre  Community Happenings Festival
Sunday, March 21st, 2 – 6 pm, Killarney Community Centre, 6260 Killarney Street, Vancouver
Featuring family-friendly activities like arts & crafts, games, sports and cultural performances, these festivals are all about highlighting our commitment to sport, culture and sustainability: vancouver.ca

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Cultural Olympiad

The following Cultural Olympiad events struck us as the most family friendly. The Cultural Olympiad spans both the Olympic and Paralympic Games:

Art Under Foot
Sunday, February 1st – Sunday, February, 28th, 11 am – 4 pm, Sleep Country Canada, 756 Granville Street, Vancouver
Local artists Liz Calvin and Bruce Walther will be spearheading the daily design and production of more tile mosaics for our city’s sidewalks. Stop by to have your say in the designs and have your photo taken in a Bobsleigh: www.vancouver2010.com

Culture, Education, Sport and Ethics Program (CESEP)
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, Richmond City Hall, 8:15 am – 5 pm, 6911 No. 3 Road, Richmond
Kids of six to 18 from around the world have been engaging in dialogues about healthy sport and this display of their art including essays, poems, drawings and painting delve into the culture of sport and competition: www.vancouver2010.com

Sewing Our Traditions: Dolls of Canada’s North
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, Noon – 8 pm, Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond
This exhibit of hand-made dolls crafted by Inuit and First Nations artisans from Northern Canada reflect and record northern life, fashion and customs. The traditional art of doll making using hides and furs is passed down from generation to generation: www.vancouver2010.com

The Magical Theatrical Vending Machine
Richmond O-Zone: Saturday, February 13th, Sunday, February 14th & Monday, February 15th
Livecity Vancouver: Friday, February 19th, Saturday, February 20th &Sunday, February 21st
Surrey: Saturday, February 27th, Noon – 12:30 pm & 1 pm – 1:40 pm

From Slovakia’s Teatro Tatro comes a marvel-packed mobile stage where you can catch puppets, pantomimes and sketch comedy based on Olympic Sport: www.vancouver2010.com

Raven Stole the Sun
Winterruption Festival, Granville Island : Saturday, February 20th, 12:30 pm & Sunday, February 21st, 11 am and 12:30 pm
Talking Stick Festival, Britannia Community Centre: Monday, February 22nd, 2:15 pm

Red Sky Performance use theatre, dance and humour to tell this family-friendly tale of the mischievous Raven who tries to steal the sun, the moon and the stars: www.vancouver2010.com

Talking Stick Festival
February 21st – 28th, various times and locations including the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Brittania Community Centre Theatre, 1661 Napier Street, Vancouver and the Museum of Anthropology, 6393 N.W. Marine Drive, Vancouver
Theatre, storytelling, music, dance, performance and visual arts are the mediums used by these artists to give voice to the full spectrum of Aboriginal experience across  Canada: www.vancouver2010.com

François Houle – La valse d’Angele/Because She Hoped: French Canadian Folk Tales
Saturday, February 27th, 4:30 pm, Performance Works, 1218 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver
At this free event clarinetist François Houle will be drawing on the rich stories told at family gatherings by his French Catholic relatives to craft a musical narrative recollecting long ago nights of feasting, dancing and singing: www.vancouver2010.com

Water’s Edge
Friday, March 19th, 8 pm – 10 pm, Saturday, March 20th, 10 am – 10 pm & Sunday, March 21st, 10 am – 5 pm, Evergreen Cultural Centre, 1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
Jazz musician Brad Turner, the Elektra Women’s Choir, musica intima and the all-Canadian guitar jam join together to create Water’s Edge, a family-friendly festival of music and hands-on activities like a drum circle, lantern parade and singer-songwriter showcase the concludes the Cultural Olympiad 2010. Children under 10 are free when accompanied by an adult: www.vancouver2010.com

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Ongoing Events: Houses, Pavilions, Villages, Festivals and More

We have only included those venues that specify they have children’s events or programming available here. For a full listing of all these venues, most of which sound fun, check out the city caucus site.

BC Hydro PowerSmart Village
Wednesday, February 10th – Sunday, February 22nd, Sun to Thurs, 10 am – 8  pm, Friday & Saturday, 10 am- 10 pm, 333 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver
Celebrate the Games in a PowerSmart way with lots of fun such as dancing on a sustainable dance floor or creating an inspirational message on their digital expression wall. They’ll also have a display of First Nation carvings and chances to win Olympic tickets. Check out the Facebook App Power the Games that helps you save (energy) like a champion: www.bchydro.com

Irish House
Monday, February 8th – Sunday, February 28th, February 8th, 7 pm – 3 am, February 9th – 28th, Noon – 7pm (for family-friendly access),  620 Nelson Street, Vancouver
The Irish House will be hopping all day with family-friendly entertainment such as  Irish dancers, music and cultural exhibits. You can also catch local celebs like Red Robinson, Jim Byrnes and Dave Abbott there. Here’s their full schedule ina pdf: www.irishhouse.2010

January 22nd – February 28th, 700 block Granville Street 700 (between Georgia & Robson), Vancouver & Tuesday, February 9th – Sunday, February 28th, Richmond City Hall Plaza (Richmond O-Zone)
Let their be light at this visual celebration incorporating thousands of lanterns decorated by school age children and large commissioned lantern displays that celebrates both the Olympics and the Lunar New Year. We’re especially looking forward to the weekend of the 13th and 14th when they host the kid-friendly My Story My World, a  motion picture of the adventures of LunarFest mascot, Lulu and also the story of the Umbrella Girl. Here’s a link to their other programming: www.lunarfest.org

Olympic Line Streetcar
January 21st – March 21st, 7 days a week, 18 hours a day, Granville Island to Cambie Street, Vancouver
We must admit this almost made our top picks list as there’s just something very fun about riding the (free!) streetcar. It makes us wish the tracks extended farther and the cars weren’t going home to Belgium afterwards, but here’s hoping this is the future of transportation in Vancouver. It’s certainly the only way we plan to access Granville Island during the games as it eliminates all the hassles of parking, though we suspect it will be crowded: www2.bombardier.com

Park Royal Winter Carnival
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, Skating Canal Noon – 10 pm, Beverage Tent 4 pm – Midnight, The Village at Park Royal
Park Royal is setting up an outdoor skating rink – using synthetic ice that’s not subject to the whims of the weather – for the duration of the Games. Skating’s free and they’ll have limited skate rentals as well. They’ll also be broadcasting Olympic coverage on a big screen and hosting live entertainment from North Shore personalities like Adam Woodall Acoustic, Rachel Thom and more: www.shopparkroyal.com

The Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, 9 am – 10 pm, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver
This may be the closest you’re going to get to a gold medal, you can also check out the Mint’s world-famous million-dollar gold coin, learn how coins are made and they’ll be having childrens’ activities each day from 9:30 am to 6 pm: www.mint.ca

Russian Tall Ship
Ongoing from February 10th, Burrard Dry Dock, North Vancouver
As part of their promotion for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games the Russian tall ship, the Kruzenstern is coming to town. This four-masted Russian barque is one of the tallest sailing ships in the world and it will be open to public for tours and perhaps even short cruises. We’ll keep you posted. And if you’re wondering why Science World is closed it’s because it’s become the home to the Russians for the duration of the Olympics: www.vancouveraccess2010.com

Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, 10 am – 8 pm, Lynn Valley Village, North Vancouver

While the games are on, Lynn Valley Village is becoming an outdoor café and playground featuring a large screen outdoor TV to view the games, weekday educational activities from 10 am to 2 pm for school-aged kids and a craft area for younger children. They’ll have heated tents outdoors in case the weather’s inclement. The library will have displays of equipment used in Winter Games sports, while outdoors you’ll be able to try a playground version of curling, ski stimulators, hockey, biathlon and wobble boards while on the weekends there’ll be live entertainment throughout the day: www.lvca.ca

Vancouver Art Gallery
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, 10 am – 5 pm, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver
The Art Gallery will be open to the public for free during the Games. Current major exhibits include the Queen’s da Vinci drawings and BC visual art. Not sure an art gallery is a good venue for tots? Check out our guide to taking kids to museums and the like: www.vanartgallery.bc.ca

Vectorial Elevation Light Display
Thursday, February 4th – Sunday, February 28th, Dusk, English Bay
Robotic searchlights will create a quiet nightly canopy of light above and on English Bay featuring designs created by people around the world. The lights will move and create patterns from locations in Vanier Park and Sunset Beach that will be visible as far afield as Richmond and the peaks of Cypress and Grouse: www.alzado.net

West Vancouver Spirit Square
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th,  Sunday to Thursday, 9 am – 9 pm, Friday to Saturday, 9 am – 11:30 pm, 2121 Marine Drive, West Vancouver
West Van Community Centre will hosting the Spirit Square which will include a chance to watch the games live on a big screen, live entertainment in the evenings starting at 6 pm, a chance to take a self-guided tour of a scale model of the International Space Station thanks to the Canadian Space Agency, story telling elders and more from  performers from Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories and more. Click here for a full schedule including the Torch Relay on the 10th: westvancouver.ca

WinterFest at Lonsdale Quay
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th,  Lonsdale Quay Market, 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
Watch the games on the big screen, catch live concerts, cultural performances and street performers and for kids they have their newly renovated ballroom and animated play are with games and rides open daily from 9 am to 9 pm. There’ll also be face painting and ‘Q’ balloons daily from 11 am to 4 pm and guest appearances by Alice in Wonderland, the Mad-Hatter and BC Parks’ Jerry the Moose. Click here for a full PDF schedule of events:  www.lonsdalequay.com

Farther Afield:

Abbotsford Live Site
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, Thursdays & Fridays, 5 pm – 9 pm, Saturdays, Noon – 9 pm & Sundays, Noon – 7 pm, Abbotsford Recreation Centre, 34690 Old Yale Road, Abbotsford

Abbotsford will be celebrating with a night market, a telecast of the Gold Medal Hockey Game on a large screen in the main ice arena, community booths and demos, an inflatable fun zone, Olympic themed swims, skates and programs and lots more. For a full listing of all their events click here. It’s also where the Russian figure skaters will be practicing if you want to catch a little bit of that while you’re there: www.tourismabbotsford.ca

New Westminster Keeping the Dream Alive
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, Queensborough Community Centre, 920 Ewen Avenue, New Westminster
The Community Centre will be Olympic central with a chance to watch our athletes compete, learn about local athletes and more. Call 604.525.7388 for more details: www.nwpr.bc.ca

Richmond O-Zone
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, Monday – Friday, 3 pm – 11 pm, weekends, Noon – 5 pm, Richmond
Here’s where Richmond will officially be celebrating the Olympics. Check out huge ice sculptures, watch events on a massive high-def screen, enjoy outdoor skating, virtual reality (think bobsleigh rides), fireworks and heaps of bands such as Our Lady Peace, Bedouin Soundclash and more. Everything’s free, it’s all accessible via the Canada Line and there’s fun for everyone. Click here for their calendar: richmondzone.ca

Scandinavian Community Centre
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, 9am – Midnight, 6540 Thomas Street, Burnaby
The Community Centre will have several big screen TVs for prime Olympic viewing, daily programs, fully catered meals and more: scandinaviancentre.org

Surrey 2010 Olympic Celebration Site
Friday, February 12th – Sunday, February 28th, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 3 pm – 10 pm, Saturdays, 11 am – 11 pm, Sundays 11 am – 10 pm, Holland Park, SW Corner of King George Highway & Old Yale Road, Surrey
With a sliding zone, skating rink, curling zone, an interactive media display, crafts and storytelling for tots, the RCMP Musical Ride, agility dogs and more, this definitely promises to be a family fun zone. Click here for the full schedule: www.surrey2010.com

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Community Centres & Parks

At each Vancouver Community Centre and Neighbourhood House you’ll find a Community Living Room equipped with a 50″ plasma TV where locals can gather to catch the games. They’ll open on February 12th and some will re-open for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games from March 12th – 21st.

The following Community Centres will be affected by the Games. If you don’t see it on this list that means it’s business as usual:

  • Coal Harbour Community Centre: Closed from January 1st – March 31st, 2010.
  • False Creek Community Centre: No regular programming during Games, daycare and fitness centre to remain open, partial public access.
  • Hastings Community Centre: From February 13th to 27th access will be changed or limited, some program changes may occur and street access and parking will be impacted.
  • Riley Park Community Centre/Percy Noman Pool/Riley Rink: Access will be limited during February and March, some program changes may occur and the emphasis will be on drop-in activities.
  • Roundhouse Arts & Recreation Centre: All recreation programs will be closed from January 27th to March 3rd except for ticked Cultural Olympiad events.
  • Britannia Ice Rink: Closed from January 27th to March 5th. CC will remain open but parking will be reduced.
  • Killarney Ice Rink: Closed from January 15th to May but the CC and leisure pool will remain open with reduced parking.
  • Trout Lake Ice Rink: Closed from January 15th to May but the CC will remain open with reduced parking.
  • Hillcrest Park Fields: closed from December 2009 to June or July 2010. After the games they will be rehabilitated before reopening for public use.
  • Jericho Beach Park & Spanish Bank Park: Parking will be limited due to temporary RV Park but there will be full access to the park and beach.
  • Queen Elizabeth Park: In February and March parking will be reduced and limited but public access to the park is not restricted though some roads may be closed.
  • Stanley Park: All of the park including the children’s farmyard and the Aquarium will be open but the Park Drive exit onto the causeway northbound to the Lion’s Gate Bridge will be closed from February 4th – 28th.
  • Seawall: From early January to the end of March there will be some closures and rerouting around Games sites and venues. Southeast False Creek closed on January 4th, Convention Centre closed at the end of January, Westin Bayshore (upper seawall) will be cycling only. You can get all the details here.



Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit writes about parenting and children's activities on her website YoYoMama.ca

1 Comment

I am so excited about the games. This is the best information I've seen yet for families coming to B.C.
Chow Down Vancouver! That's what I'm talking about.

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