10 Things to do with the kids on B.C.'s first Family Day


For the first time people across the province will celebrate Family Day on Monday. It is a new holiday intended to celebrate family and was first introduced by Premier Christy Clark after a two-week consultation process was held to determine if British Columbians preferred the holiday to fall on the second or third Monday in February.

The second Monday won out, and in May of last year it was decided the first Family Day would be observed Feb. 11, 2013.

So what does it mean? A day off between New Year's Day and the Easter holidays, and a chance to sleep in and hang out with the kids. There are a variety of things in Nanaimo and the mid-Island area to keep you busy.


Sometimes staying home is the easiest solution and there's lots happening here in town. The province has given the City of Nanaimo $8,000 to put on a free event. It features swimming from noon to 5 p.m., a family stick 'n' puck, skating from 2: 30 p.m. to 5 p.m., gold panning, storytelling, arts and crafts, face painting and roving entertainment by Aunti Bobbi the clown. All events take place at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, 741 Third St., and the Nanaimo Ice Centre, 750 Third St.


The weather can be touch and go at the moment, but when the sun shines it's stunning. Take a walk out at Westwood Lake, Piper's Lagoon, Neck Point or Colliery Dam. Pack a lunch and some raincoats just in case. If it's really miserable out, burn off some energy at the Romper Room's huge climbing wall on Boban Drive - kids are welcome to climb there.


If your kids are like mine, going to a restaurant can be a nightmare.

However, many eateries in town are amazingly accommodating and the B.C. Restaurant and Food Association is kicking off its first-ever B.C. Restaurant Week starting Feb. 11. This means a variety of deals at local restaurants (and non-local, if you're traveling in the province) of up to 50 per cent off meals. There are at least seven restaurants in Nanaimo participating. Find the full list at www.bcrfa.com and click on their B.C. Restaurant Week link.


A variety of B.C. ski resorts are offering 50 per cent off lift tickets on Family Day, including Mount Washington. A nice day out for a range of ages and kids five and under ski free anyway. There is also a daycare program up on the mountain for little ones. Lessons and packages are also available.

The hill is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m. Night skiing is also available and goes from 3: 30-10 p.m.


The Coombs Fairground is open for its first annual Family Day celebration. All events are indoors so it's not weather dependent and they are all free. There are heritage demonstrations, crafts and games for the kids (including goat-themed ones), and free hot dogs, popcorn, hot chocolate, coffee and tea.

Activities include a children's garden railway, maypole dancing, 4-H demonstrations, a self-serve family photo booth, pin the tail on the goat, a colouring contest, hula hooping, checkers, juggling, and more.

The Coombs Fairground also celebrates its centennial this year and will be hosting a variety of other events. 1014 Ford Rd., Coombs.


Family Day doesn't only have to be about kids. Inspired by the city's free events, owner and yoga teacher Doug Carroll decided to make his own offering of an entire day of free yoga. Take some quiet time out and get sweaty with hot yoga at the Bikram Yoga studio on 2231 A McGarrigle Rd.

There are three 90-minute classes, and people should leave the kids at home and bring water, a mat and a towel to the session.

Check out www.bikramyogananaimo.com for more information on the day and what hot yoga is.

However if you do have a young budding yogi in the family, there is also a family yoga event for all ages at OmTown Yoga, 43 Commercial St., from 3-4 p.m.


Sometimes it's worth getting out of the house to check out a film, especially when it's something you can't rent or watch on a small screen.

The Life of Pi is playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Rutherford Mall, and it's G-rated so the whole family can go.

The story centres around a shipwreck in the Pacific that leaves a 16 year-old Indian boy to fend for himself on a life raft with an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena and a Bengal tiger. Call Galaxy at 250-729-8012 for more info.

TheatreOne's excellent Fringe Flicks series is also playing on Family Day at 7 p.m. at the Avalon Cinema with the film 'Rebelle (War Witch)', a film with adult themes, so it might be best to make it a night out for the parents.


The Hub City Cycle co-operative is hosting a bike build day to fix up used bikes that come into the shop for resale.

Come help out or bring your own bike to repair. There is also have a special inclusive women's and LGBTQ evening workshop to learn about the correct fit of a bike for optimum comfort, from handlebar and saddle height to hand brake positioning and proper pedaling technique. The evening workshop runs from 6: 30-8 p.m.


There are tennis and squash clubs in town for some indoor fun, or try out the disc (or fris-bee) golf course at Bowen Park, where players basically throw a flying disc into a basket. The course is now 27 holes.

And don't forget bowling for some good old retro family fun. Brechin Lanes is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. but they have league games happening so call ahead and make sure they have a lane available: 250-753-2341.

Splitsville Entertainment also have a bowling lane and they have a Family Day special on in the morning.

From 9-10 a.m. it's $1.50 a game, and from 10-11 a.m. it's $2.50 a game. They're located on Calder Road just behind the Jingle Pot pub.


If you do leave the Island it's a good time to go, because over the Family Day long weekend kids 11 and under travel free on B.C. Ferries when one adult fare is purchased.

The offer is in effect on most routes including ferries to and from Departure Bay and Duke Point.

For more details on which routes visit http: //www.bcferries. com/promotions/familyday.html.

Don't forget that the Nanaimo Regional Transit system will be operating on its Sunday schedule for the holiday.

JChadwick@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4242

No comments

Post Your Comment:

The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.