vancouver: what to do, what to do?

Filed Under Events | May 23, 2012

vancouver family events may23

Welcome to yoyomama’s weekend guide! Your go-to list of family friendly fun things to do with kids in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. It’s also easy to get these event listings in our handy new aphup, OnTheGoKids, which takes our weekend guide and makes it mobile!

The long weekend is over, but the fun certainly hasn’t stopped in the Lower Mainland. The Hyack festival continues in New Westminster, Ladner hosts Pioneer May Days, Camp Alexandra is holding its annual festival, and Maple Ridge hosts Midway in May. It’s also the Surrey Children’s Festival this weekend, and early next week the Vancouver International Children’s Festival beings. There’s loads of nature walks, swap meets and markets, live theatre, and so much more … you’ll have great fun deciding which events to hit!

An Evening With Barbara Arrowsmith Young
Thursday, May 24th, 7 pm – 9 pm, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Pacific Ballroom, 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
The Eaton Arrowsmith School and Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre are excited to be presenting an evening with the founder of the Arrowsmith Program, Barbara Arrowsmith Young. She’ll be sharing her story of brain transformation, and discussing the program she created that has enabled thousands of students across North America with learning disabilities and attention difficulties gain independence by rewiring weaker cognitive areas of the brain. The event is free to attend, but please reserve your spot in advance by emailing Sandra Heusel at or by phone at 604.264.8327.

Big Book Sale
Friday, May 25th, 10 am – 7 pm, Saturday, May 26th, 10 am – 4 pm & Sunday, May 27th, Noon – 4 pm, Lynn Valley Library, Community Meeting Room, 1277 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver
It’s a great weekend to snag some bargains on books, CDs and DVDs (everything on sale from $.50 – $2) while supporting summer reading initiatives at the library. And on Sunday everything is 1/2 price, or you can fill a bag with books for only $3. Please bring your own bags to carry your goodies:

Lynn Valley Days (pictured)
Friday, May 25th, 6 pm & Saturday, May 26th, all day (parade at 10 am), Lynn Valley Park, 3500 Mountain Highway, North Vancouver
It’s the 100th year of Lynn Valley Days, so the celebration will be bigger than ever! Friday night catch the Gala Dinner and Auction, or head to the park for the day on Saturday to enjoy a parade, face painting, children’s performers, a dog show, and much, much more:

Dunbar’s Night Sky
Friday, May 25th, 9:30 pm – midnight, Chaldecott Park (near the children’s playground), 4175 Wallace Street, Vancouver
If you’ve got star-gazers in your family (who can stay up late!) then head to Chaldecott Park to discover what stars are in the Dunbar community’s night sky. There will be telescopes and astronomers from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Vancouver Telescope Centre who will share their knowledge with you. If it’s cloudy, the event will be pushed to Saturday night (May 26th):

20th Annual Cedar Cottage Community Carnival
Saturday, May 26th, 10 am – 4 pm, Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, 4065 Victoria Drive, Vancouver
There are carnival games, a cake walk, tasty food, a dunk tank, a garage sale, and much more at this annual community carnival. Admission is free, and carnival games will be available for sale with funds going to Neighbourhood House programs:

9th Annual Blenheim Street Bazaar
Saturday, May 26th, 10 am – 2 pm, houses with yellow balloons along Blenheim Street West 16th & Southwest Marine Drive, Vancouver
It’s a bargain hunter’s dream: it’s not just a yard sale; it’s many residential blocks of yard sales! Look for yellow balloons indicating which houses are participating:

Healthy Kids Day
Saturday, May 26th, 10 am – 2 pm, Fairmont Medical Building, #905 – 750 West Broadway, Vancouver
Bring the kids for a day of balloon art, games, stories, and prizes. While there, you can get free posture screenings and listen to a talk by Dr. Sabrina on raising healthy and purposeful children. This is a free event, but donations are suggested and will go toward helping children at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation:

HSBC VanDusen Family Program: Pond Dipping
Saturday, May 26th, 10:30 am – Noon, or 1:30 pm – 3 pm, VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
A yearly favourite, kids will dip into the pond and look under lily pads in search of beetles and such, and learn where these creatures fit in the food chain. Please pre-register and plan on at least one adult attending:

ArtStarts on Saturdays: Drumming with Milton Randall
Saturday, May 26th, 11 am & 1 pm, ArtStarts Gallery, 808 Richards Street, Vancouver
ArtStarts is a monthly workshop for families that features some of the best children’s performers in British Columbia. These 45-minute workshops are free and do not require pre-registration. This month, enjoy a hands-on drumming workshop where kids and adults will learn African, Brazilian, and other popular rhythms:

Portobello West
Saturday, May 26th – Sunday, May 27th, 11 am – 5 pm, Creekside Community Recreation Centre, 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver
Looking for independent designers, inventive designs, and the most style you can pack into one room? Don’t miss Portobello West! More than five years running, this is the go-to market for new and established local talent:

10th Annual South Hill Festival
Saturday, May 26th, Noon- 4 pm, Fraser Street between East 43 Avenue and East 49th Avenue, Vancouver
It’s car-free day in the South Fraser neighbourhoods, which means community displays, vendors, and loads of fun:

Kid’s Toy & Clothing Sale
Saturday, May 26th, 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm, Sunday, May 27th, 2 pm – 4 pm, Lynn Valley Community Recreation Centre, 3590 Mountain Highway, North Vancouver
Who doesn’t love a deal? Head to this swap meet for awesome buys on kids clothes, gear, and other accessories. Each day will have different vendors:

Imagine and Explore: Who? What? Where?
Saturday, May 26th, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre, 3663 Park Road, North Vancouver
Kids ages 3-6 can bring an adult for outdoor activities and seasonal stories at the Ecology Centre. This month’s special event is a mystery walk! Please pre-register:

Button-making Workshop
Saturday, May 26th, 2 pm – 3 pm, Dunbar Branch Library, 4515 Dunbar, Vancouver
Kids ages 8-15 can make a button that shows their creativity and Dunbar pride. Great fun for the older set:

Munchkin Matinée: Megamind
Saturday, May 26th, 4 pm – 6 pm, River District Centre, 8683 Kerr Street, Vancouver
Bring your pillow, sleeping bag and stuffed friends to cozy up for a movie at the River District. This month’s feature is Megamind, the popular flick where supervillain meets superhero. The movie starts at 4 pm sharp and there will be popcorn:

21st Century Flea Markets
Sunday, May 27th, 7 am – 10 am (special early-bird admission) & 10 am – 3 pm (general admission), Croatian Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue, Vancouver
If you vowed to be kind to your budget this year, then flea market shopping is a great chance to stock up on kitsch, collectibles, and memorabilia, including everything from dolls and toys, to linens. Plus, they have drop-in appraisals all day:

Early Morning Bird Walk
Sunday, May 27th, 7:30 am – 9:30 am, Entrance to Camosun Bog, Camosun & West 19th Avenue, Vancouver
Many birds have returned to the bog to breed this summer, and Christine Adkins will tell you all about them at this guided walk. Bring binoculars if you have them! This walk is for all ages and skill levels:

Birds of a Feather
Sunday, May 27th, 9 am – 11 am, Stanley Park Nature House, under the viewing plaza at the corner of Chilco Street and Alberni Street by Lost Lagoon, Vancouver
Springtime means baby birds! Come for an easy-walking tour of the baby birds in Stanley Park with bird watcher Cathy Aitchison. Pre-registration is recommended, as space is limited:

Family Clothing & Toy Sale
Sunday, May 27th, 10 am – 1 pm, Kitsilano Community Centre, 2690 Larch Street, Vancouver
Snag deals on gear, clothes, toys and other kids items at this popular swap meet. Entrance is only $.50:

Wilderness at your Doorstep
Sunday, May 27th, 10 am – 2 pm, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, 4654-4800 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver
Learn all about early logging, trails, and animals at this celebration of pioneering history. There will be experts and students on hand to answer your questions, as well as goodies from Tim Horton’s:

Sheep Shearing Festival
Sunday, May 27th, 10 am – 4 pm, Maplewood Farm, 405 Seymour River Place, North Vancouver
It’s sheep-shearing time at the farm, so come see how it’s done with Lorea Tomsin, sheep shearer. There will be crafts, face painting, and more! All of this is included with your regular admission. Pony rides will be available for a fee:

Dunbar Salmonberry Days Fair
Sunday, May 27th, 11 am – 3 pm, West Memorial Park, Dunbar Community Centre, 4747 Dunbar Street, Vancouver
The Dunbar Community Centre Association is celebrating spring with inflatable rides, crafts, live entertainment, tasty food, and loads of other fun things, like the 5th Annual Family Awesome Race. Local businesses and community groups will have displays, and there will be a concession on site:

Blim Community Market
Sunday, May 27th, Noon – 5 pm, Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street, Vancouver
This community market focuses on nurturing and promoting creativity within the community. Not limited to crafts, you’ll find food, fashion, vintage items, records, and much more. Come support your local creative community:

Young Naturalists’ Club: Oddball Edibles
Sunday, May 27th, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre, 3663 Park Road, North Vancouver
Each month the Young Naturalists’ Club meets at Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre for an afternoon of natural history. This month, learn about berries and other edibles in the temperate rainforest. Must be a club member to participate (registration is free!), and pre-registration is required:

BBQ Against Bottles
Sunday, May 27th, 1:30 pm – 4 pm, Ridgeway Elementary School, 450 8th Street East, North Vancouver
A group of North Vancouver grade 10 students are working to eliminate plastic water bottles from their community and school. To help, they are raising funds and awareness with a BBQ. There will be tasty food, live performances, and fun activities:

The Vancouver International Children’s Festival
Tuesday, May 29th – Thursday, May 31st, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, Friday, June 1st, 9:30 am – 6:30 pm, Saturday, June 2nd, 10 am – 6 pm & Sunday, June 3rd, 10 am – 4 pm, Activity Zone open all day, see site for show times, Granville Island, Vancouver
This year The Vancouver International Children’s Festival is all about Celebrating Our Stories, highlighting stories from around the globe using puppetry, theatre, music and art through performances and hands-on activities. The Island will be hopping with kid-friendly fun, including three Activity Zones with roving face-painters, shadow puppetry, spin-art and more:

Beaver Walk
Tuesday, May 29th, 4 pm – 5 pm, Corner of College Highroad & Tasmania Crescent, Vancouver
Pacific Spirit Park now has beavers! Kids and adults alike will love to learn all about them from volunteer Elizabeth Kendler:

Farther Afield:

41st Hyack Festival
Friday, May 18th – Saturday, May 26th, see schedule for event times and locations, New Westminster
This annual festival is New Westminster’s signature arts and culture event. You’ll find rides, games, fireworks, a multicultural fair, live music, and much more. This Saturday (May 26th) is the parade, complete with New Westminster royalty, as well as a full day of live entertainment:

Surrey Children’s Festival
Thursday, May 24th & Friday, May 25th, 9 am – 2:30 pm & Saturday, May 26th, 10:30 am – 7:30 pm, Surrey Arts Centre & Bear Creek Park, 13750 88th Avenue, Surrey
With four performance venues, hands on activities, roving performers, and tasty food, this festival promises to inspire young hearts while celebrating a rich cultural heritage. Ticket and schedule information available on their site:

Owl Prowl
Thursday, May 24th, 7 pm – 8:30 pm, Stewart Hall at Elgin Heritage Park, 13723 Crescent Road, Surrey
Have a hoot while you prowl with the owls at this after-dark park event. You’ll be accompanied by a member of the OWL Rehabilitation Society who will tell you all about these feathered friends. Please pre-register:

Midway in May
Friday, May 25th, 4 pm – 7:30 pm, Laity View Elementary, 21023 123 Avenue, Maple Ridge
Bring the whole family to this carnival that includes midway rides, a bike challenge, a climbing wall, pony rides, and so much more. Test your luck with raffles and prizes, and enjoy a cake walk:

Tot Tour: Be a Pirate Day
Friday, May 25th, 11 am & 1 pm, Surrey Museum, 17710 56A Avenue, Surrey
Arrrr! Walk, talk, and eat like a pirate while learning all about how pirates lived on the high seas. You’ll do crafts and play some pirate games. This program is for kids ages 3-6, with an accompanying adult, and requires pre-registration:

Ladner Pioneer May Days
Friday, May 25th, 3 pm – 10 pm, Saturday, May 26th, 10 am – 6 pm (Midway open until 10pm) & Sunday, May 27th, 10 am – 6 pm, Memorial Park, 5010 47 Avenue, Ladner
There will be carnival rides, live music, and other activities at this May Day Fair. There will be lots of family-friendly entertainment on Saturday, and a parade and Maypole dance on Sunday:

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Friday, May 25th, 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 26th, 2 pm & 7:30 pm, & Sunday, May 27th, 2 pm, University of the Fraser Valley Theatre, 45635 Yale Rd, Chilliwack
You’ll be amazed at how this classic CS Lewis tale has been dramatized for the stage. There are duels, chases, and of course, an Aslan. This is a family production, but the theatre only allows children over the age of 3:

Kids Swap Meet
Saturday, May 26th, 9 am – 1 pm, Cloverdale Fairgrounds, 176 Street & 60 Avenue, Cloverdale
Do you love a good deal? Head to this swap meet for steals and deals on kids toys, clothes, electronics, and gear. There will also be some small businesses on site:

15th Annual European Festival
Saturday, May 26th, 10 am – midnight, Swangard Stadium, 3883 Imperial Street, Burnaby
Celebrate more than 30 European countries at this annual cultural festival. There will be live music, folk dancing, and a food tent. Children age 12 and under are free:

SFU Open House
Saturday, May 26th, 11 am – 4 pm, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby
You can explore SFU’s Burnaby Campus this Saturday with a full day of demonstrations, performances and other things to see and do. This event goes rain or shine, and will feature staff and volunteers from all campuses to showcase the best of Simon Fraser University:

38th Annual Alexandra Festival
Saturday, May 26th, 2012, 11 am – 5 pm, Alexandra Neighbourhood House, 2916 McBride Avenue, Crescent Beach, White Rock
Camp Alexandra will be abuzz with live entertainment, crafters, artisans, food, and drink, and admission is free! Bring the kids; there will be a Family Fun Zone:

Asian Heritage Day 2012
Saturday, May 26th, 1 pm – 3 pm, Surrey Museum, 17710 – 56A Avenue, Surrey
Learn furoshiki (Japanese gift wrapping), enjoy live dance performances, watch films, make Japanese crafts, and much more at this festival of Asian heritage. Admission is by donation:

Paper Pleasures
Saturday, May 26th, 1:30 pm – 3 pm, Historic Stewart Farm, 13723 Crescent Road, Surrey
Kids ages 7-12 can learn all about papermaking and recycling while making their own paper sheet decorated with natural materials. Please pre-register:

Como Lake Fishing Derby
Sunday, May 27th, 7 am – Noon, Como Lake Park, 686 Gatensbury Street, Coquitlam
Do you have a young fishing fan in your family? Head to this annual fishing derby, where kids under age 16 can participate and win prizes while families enjoy a pancake breakfast (for a nominal fee.) Prizes will be awarded for things like the smallest catch, the biggest catch, the strangest catch, and more:

Duck Quackers
Sunday, May 27th, 10 am – 11:30 am & 1 pm – 2:30pm, Burnaby Lake Regional Park, 4519 Piper Avenue, Burnaby
Quack, waddle and honk like ducks with your child this weekend. You’ll have so much fun you won’t notice you’re learning! Pre-registration and adult participation are required:

Ol’ Fashioned Pitt Meadows Carnival
Sunday, May 27th, 10 am – 4 pm, Pitt Meadows Arena Complex 11435 Bonson Road, Pitt Meadows
There’s live music, contests, activities, a pancake breakfast, a free skate and more at this family carnival:

Sunday, May 27th, 1 pm – 4pm, Richmond Nature Park, 11851 Westminster Highway, Richmond
Can you imagine slugs racing? Come see it live at the Great Richmond Slug race, part of Slugfest this year. You’ll see slugs of all sizes and learn crazy slug facts. This all-ages event is by donation:

Music for Young Children® Open House
Sunday, May 27th, 1:30 pm, Place des Arts, 1120 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam
Place des Arts is holding an open house for parents interested in learning about their Music for Young Children® program. You’ll meet the teacher and get a chance to ask all of your questions:

Wednesday, May 30th, 6 pm – 7:30 pm, Green Timbers Park, 100 Avenue between 144 & 148 Streets, Surrey
There are many slippery, shiny, wiggly insects at Green Timbers Park, and kids ages 5-12 can learn about them, see them up close, and do a fun bug-related craft. Pre-registration is required:

Do you have an event you would like to see in our weekend guide? Then send us your details and we’ll help you get the word out. Looking for a feature listing? Contact Erin, our Director of Sales and Marketing, for more information.

And we wanted to remind you to always call or visit the website for event info before you head out just in case any changes have been made since we posted it. And of course, have fun!

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