Canada with Kids: Family Destination GuideEverything you need to know about travelling to Canada with your family
Canada With Kids: Table of Contents
Canada with Kids: A Family Road Trip in British Columbia, from Vancouver to Tofino (coming soon!)
Canada with Kids: 10 Things to do in Whistler in the Summer (coming soon!)
Family Hotel Review: The Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, Vancouver Island
Family Hotel Review: Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Hotel Resort & Spa, Vancouver Island
Family Hotel Review: Lodging Ovations Evolution, Whistler
Family Hotel Review: L’Hermitage Hotel Vancouver
Family Hotel Review: The Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver
Canada with Kids: Your Essential Packing List for Winter in Québec (coming soon!)
Family Hotel Review: The Hilton Québec
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Canada: Why You’ll Love It
We’re fast falling in love with Canada and it’s become one of our favourite destinations for a family holiday. So far we’ve ticked British Columbia and Quebec off our lists but there’s still so much we want to see, both in these states and beyond.
It’s hard to describe just how beautiful British Columbia is. This, Canada’s westernmost state, is simply stunning with one of the most awe-inspiring natural landscapes in the world. Majestic mountains, rugged coastlines, ancient forests and crystal clear lakes are seemingly everywhere.
Locals live within arms reach of the spectacular wilderness; even in Vancouver, the state’s biggest city, you can be on the ski slopes within half-an-hour of leaving work. And when you’re not experiencing the great outdoors, there are tempting restaurants, cool boutiques and some incredible coffee shops to enjoy.
The Gulf Islands, each with a distinct personality, are definitely worth a stop along your travels, if only to enjoy hopping on and off the ferries. On Vancouver Island you’ll find Victoria, the state’s capital that is small but vibrant – you can’t help but fall in love with the water taxis that criss-cross the picturesque Inner Harbour. And then there’s Tofino, the increasingly-popular (almost) most westerly point of Canada home to great surfing, dramatic storm-watching, beautiful hotels, a delicious dining scene and some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the whole of BC.
On the other side of the country is Quebec, home to Quebec City (one of the prettiest cities I have ever been to), Montreal and more. We visited for La Carnaval de Quebec and had a truly wonderful time – we can’t wait to go back!
Canada: Why The Kids Will Love It
If you’re looking for a destination where kids can unplug and spend all their days outside, then Canada is the place to do it.
Vancouver City has much to offer including famous Stanley Park, a 1,000-acre green oasis, home to walking and biking trails, stunning views and the incredible Vancouver Aquarium. Summer in Whistler is for hiking, cycling and kayaking and taking the Peak 2 Peak Gondola – you may even spot a bear below you! The Family Adventure Zone in Whistler Village will keep kids of all ages happy. And in the winter? Well, then it’s all about the snow.
Kids can learn to surf in Tofino, on Vancouver Island, or spend their days searching for emerald green sea anemones and giant starfish in the rock pools instead. There are walking trails galore and whale- and bear watching tours aplenty. Catch a water taxi in Victoria and visit colourful Fishermen’s Wharf before exploring all things creepy and crawly at the Victoria Bug Zoo.
In Quebec, the winter carnival is the largest winter festival in the world and a fantastic destination for children. Sure, it’s cold but the locals embrace winter in Quebec and once you learn to do the same, you really will have a brilliant time.
Canada With Kids: When To Go
The best times to visit Vancouver are from March to May and from September to November when the weather is mild and hotel rooms can be found at bargain rates. Summer is the most popular time thanks to warmer weather; this can be reflected in hotel rates and availability. Winter is also a great time to visit, particularly if you’re looking to hit the ski slopes!
The best times to visit Whistler are June through September and December through March. The mountains see peak skiing conditions from December to February, and March brings warmer temperatures but still offers good snow. In June and July, Blackcomb Mountain opens for glacier skiing.
During the summer months Whistler acts as a home base for hikers, campers and mountain bikers. April and May enjoy warmer temperatures ranging from the low 40s to the mid-60s. You can ski through the end of April; the mountains still see snow and the days are warmer and sunny. You should be able to get a good hotel deal during this time. The autumn months bring cooler temperatures between the mid-40s and 50s.
Victoria, Vancouver Island:
Spring (March – May) is a great time to visit Victoria. The days are bright and the cherry blossoms and azaleas are in bloom. The summer months (June – August) is peak tourist season. This time of year is perfect for outdoor activities such as whale watching and bike riding, however hotel prices are also at their peak over this period. A number of festivals occur over the summer months.
Autumn months (September – November) can be chilly and rainfall increases but you’ll get good deals on hotels! Expect a lot of rain (but few crowds) if you visit between the the months of December and February.
Tofino, Vancouver Island:
Tofino is popular year-round. The summer months are when most people come but the winter also sees a good number of visitors arrive to watch the dramatic storms. The Pacific Rim Whale Festival, celebrates grey whales and marine life education and is held annually in March.
Québec City is best enjoyed from June to September and from December through February. The summer and winter months are when the Québecois come out to play and the city’s calendar is jam-packed with festivals. Yes, the winters are cold but this is a city where the locals embrace winter (and where it’s perfectly normal to wander around town in your ski suit!). Spring and autumn are also beautiful. In fact, at any time of year you’re guaranteed to fall in love with this picture-perfect city.
Canada With Kids: FAQ
Capital: The capital of Canada is Ottawa, the capital of British Columbia is Victoria on Vancouver Island. The capital of Québec is Québec City.
Time: Canada uses six time zones; British Columbia is on PST (GMT +8), Québec is on UTC.
Language: English and French are spoken across Canada. In British Columbia, English is the main language in Québec French is most widely spoken.
Voltage: 110 v
Flight time from the UK: 10 hours to Vancouver, almost 7 hours to Québec.
Visas: Many countries, including the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, do not require a visa to enter Canada for stays up to 180 days. US permanent residents are also exempt. Other nationals, including China and Mexico, must apply for a visitor visa prior to travel. Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with a valid visa. For more information see here.
Health & Vaccinations: No special vaccines are required for travel to Canada, however you should be up to date on routine immunisations. See the NHS’s fitfortravel website for further advice.
Getting There: Airlines Vancouver International Airport is the main airport of British Columbia and the second busiest in Canada. It sits just 13km south of downtown in the city of Richmond. There are two main terminals, International and Domestic. The flight time from the UK is just under 10 hours. In Québec the Jean Lesage International Airport is the main airport.
Money: Canada uses the Canadian dollar as its currency. Credit cards and debit cards are used more frequently than cash.
Safety: Canada tends to be very safe for visitors. One thing to be aware of is Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside area where the homeless congregate, their lives often affected by drugs and mental illness. It is unlikely that anyone will bother you but do we aware, especially at night.
Dress: British Columbians pride themselves on being able to go straight from the mountain or sea out to dinner. In other words, leave your glad rags at home! The Québecois are a little more fashion-forward but during the winter months anything goes – as long as it keeps you warm!
Canada With Kids: Our YouTube Playlist
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