Vancouver is a great place to raise children, despite the fact that it is a busy, cosmopolitan city. Violent crime is rare, and child-safety is an important issue to most Canadians. Vancouver is safe, child-friendly, with good schools and lots of free child/youth-geared activities sponsored by the provincial government. Nearly all residents of BC are also entitled to a child tax benefit, which pays a small sum of money to you each month for the care of your children. In order to be eligible to receive this benefit, you must meet the following requirements (from the Canada Revenue Agency website):
- you must live with the child, and the child must be under the age of 18
- you must be the person who is primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child (This means you are responsible for such things as supervising the child’s daily activities and needs, making sure the child’s medical needs are met, and arranging for child care when necessary. If there is a female parent who lives with the child, she is usually considered to be this person. However, it could be the father, a grandparent, or a guardian).
- you must be a resident of Canada
- you or your spouse or common-law partner must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, a protected person, or a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month
Low-income families are entitled to receive additional benefits. For more information, please see the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/cctb/fq_qlfyng-eng.html.
There are lots of fun child-friendly activities in and around Vancouver, and one of the best resources for information on this is Find Family Fun, which is a website operated by a local Vancouver family and features a comprehensive list of activities plus reviews and other valuable information: http://www.findfamilyfun.com.
With its beaches, mountains, museums, green spaces and parks, many attractions, accessible transit system, and high level of safety, Vancouver is really the ideal place to raise a family. And although the weather is rainy in the winter, there are always plenty of indoor activities to occupy the little ones and the temperature stays above freezing most of the time, making it the warmest spot in all of Canada. Summers are warm and sunny, with little or no rain, and most of Vancouver’s beaches are child and family-friendly (exceptions include the nude beaches near UBC).
BC Parent magazine – http://www.bcparent.ca
West Coast Families magazine – http://www.westcoastfamilies.com
The Family Book — http://www.thefamilybook.ca
Savings book full of valuable coupons—$10
Wee Travel Baby Equipment Rentals — http://www.weetravel.ca
Rental company specializing in baby and child equipment rentals. Their motto is, “travel light and let us provide the equipment.” Rental suite (townhouse) in Kitsilano also available from Wee Travel.
Suggestions for activities, accommodations, and good reads for families with children.
Kid’s Market, Granville Island — http://www.kidsmarket.ca
A market just for kids, located on Granville Island. A magical place to purchase toys, games, and other items for children and the young at heart.
Jet Set Babies — http://www.jetsetbabies.com
Baby supplies shipped directly to your vacation destination.
Home Suite Home — http://vancouverrentalsuites.com
Family friendly fully-furnished suites in Vancouver.