It's been a long time coming but this Monday, Feb. 11, the province of B.C. will follow in the footsteps of several of its provincial cousins in celebrating a Family Day holiday.
For those who will have the day off, it may be tempting - what with all this rain and grey weather - to hole up indoors with a big bowl of popcorn and some movies on the TV.
And that's a valid use of some extra time off, in my opinion.
But for those who'd like to get out and enjoy some new activities, we've put together this roundup of Family Day events happening in the New Westminster and Burnaby area. So choose one (or a few) and get out into the community.
There's a special Family Day Skate at Kensington Recreation Complex. Lace up and get out on the ice with a special skate for Family Day. Event runs noon to 3 p.m., at Kensington (6159 Curtis St.) for youth and children 17 and under, and all children must be accompanied on the ice by an adult (the ration of children to adults must not be greater than three to one.) Regular admission and rental rates apply. For more information, call 604-297-4535.
Explore nature with a unique event at Fraser River Discovery Centre, held in partnership with the City of New Westminster, the school district and River Market. Event runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a variety of activities, including: Mike's Critters (live animals including parrots, frogs, lizards, snakes, turtles and more); ExploreGreen (an environmental educational arts and crafts program); a youth lounge for ages 11plus with video games and table top games; programs and artifacts from the New Westminster Museum and Archives; guided tours of the Samson V; outdoor sports on the boardwalk, weather permitting; entertainment including a magician show and CoCo the Clown.
There will also be children's meal specials at River Market food vendors. The first 50 families to arrive will receive gift certificates for local services and products. Free parking available at Front Street parkade. The centre is at 788 Quayside Dr.
Take a page from the past with a trip into history.
The Burnaby Village Museum is celebrating Family Day with a special program aimed at families with young children, including a visit by a balloon artist, children's art activities and heritage games, along with unlimited carousel rides.
Drop-ins are welcome if there is space, but organizers encourage those interested in taking part to pre-register. Call 604297-4565 (program code 285348). Cost is $6.50 plus tax per person, and event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The village is at 6501 Deer Lake Ave.
BOBS & LOLO
Sing a song or sing along with the always popular Bobs & Lolo at Lougheed Town Centre, with free shows at noon and 1: 30 p.m. on Family Day, Feb. 11.
Performances will be taking place near London Drugs inside the mall.
For more information, see www.lougheedmall.com.
Make Family Day all about fitness and fun with a series of events through the New Westminster parks and recreation department. At the Canada Games Pool there will be an extended public swim from 1 to 8: 25 p.m. with the Green Thunder slide open from 1 to 4: 30 p.m. and 6: 30 to 8 p.m.
Over at Queen's Park Arenex, enjoy a trampoline drop-in from noon to 2 p.m., Motoring Munchkins from 11: 30 a.m. to 2 p.m., parent and tot gymnastics from 9: 30 to 10: 30 a.m. and adult and youth gymnastics from 8 to 9: 30 a.m.
For a more wintery activity, lace up at Moody Park Arena with a Loonie Skate ($1) from 1 to 3 p.m. At the Centennial Community Centre (ages 14-plus), participants in the 9: 20 a.m. fitness workout class and the 10: 30 a.m. body fit class are encouraged to bring a family member for free.
It's all-day fun at Bonsor Recreation Complex in Burnaby, with all ages badminton from 9: 30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m.; a Zumba party for ages five years and up (children must be accompanied by an adult) from 11: 45 a.m. to 12: 45 p.m., free family gym from 12: 45 to 2: 45 p.m., more family badminton from 12: 45 to 2: 45 p.m.; family yoga (for eight years and up, children with an adult) from 2: 30 to 3: 30 p.m.; and a family swim from 4 to 8: 30 p.m.
Regular admission rates apply to all drop-in programs.
Though not on Family Day, here's one sure to catch the eye of anyone with small kids: Franklin and Busytown are going to be at Brentwood Town Centre in early March.
Performance times as follows: Franklin at 11 a.m. on March 2 and noon on March 3; Busytown at 1 p.m. on March 2 and 2 p.m. on March 3. For more information, see www. brentwoodtowncentre. com.
Here's another recreation centre event: the Cameron Recreation Centre at 9523 Cameron St. is hosting a Free Family Day event, from 4: 30 to 6: 30 p.m. on Family Day, for families and children aged 10 months up to five years. Play time, crafts and more, including face painting and riding toys.
Call 604-297-4456 for more information.
While the ski hills are offering special deals for Family Day, don't forget that there are plenty of outdoor opportunities here at home. In this area, there's bike trails, Deer Lake Park, Queen's Park, and more. Check out www.burnaby.ca, www. newwestcity.ca, and www. metrovancouver.org for plenty of information about outdoor spaces and trails. Keep your eyes open for the natural wildlife in the area - Queen's Park recently had a visit from a rare bird from Asia.
As luck would have it, the annual (and always popular) Jan Ken Pon day at Nikkei Centre is happening this weekend. The traditional Japanese event is aimed at families with children aged four to 12, and gives participants a chance to check out heritage games and toys. Play with tops, a Japanese style cup and ball, make your own sumo wrestlers, and then take part in the ultimate rock-paper-scissors tournament. Antique Japanese toys will be on display. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets available by phone 604-777-7000 or in person at Nikkei Centre.
Admission is $5 for children over two years and free for accompanying adults. The centre is at 6688 Southoaks Cres.
The New Westminster Public Library and all branches of the Burnaby Public Library will be closed for the stat holiday, but prepare in advance with a visit on Saturday to pick up a few extra books - then make Monday a literary Family Day. Throw up some tent forts and get comfy with a stack of books - perhaps a few of the Pigeon series for the young kids, Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the older ones, and maybe a book or two for mom and dad to round out the reading.
TO THE LIBRARY
If home reading hour leaves you wanting more, the New Westminster Public Library has a family storytime the day after Family Day, for all ages, running from 7 to 7: 30 p.m. Enjoy stories, songs and rhymes with this free, drop-in program for all ages. This is a special family story time: Clifford the Big Red Dog will be visiting the library for it.
If you're willing to go a little further afield, the province's official Family Day celebration is taking place at the Vancouver Art Gallery with a full day of all-ages activities, concerts, street entertainment, face painting, a hockey shootout, artists and more.
Science World, Britannia Mining Museum and the Royal B.C. Museum will be on hand with educational activities, and free ice skate rentals and skating will be available at the Robson Square ice rink nearby. Runs Monday, Feb. 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. See blog.gov.bc.ca/ bcfamilyday for more.