Canadian History in Miniature Trains!

With the holiday season approaching and memories of train sets under Christmas trees endlessly looping in parents’ heads, now is the time to introduce this age-old tradition to a whole new generation of children. Trains are deeply rooted in Canada’s history and much can be learned from exploring their contribution to our country. The first Canadian transcontinental was completed in 1885, simplifying long-distance overland travel. From then until the 1950s, trains were the transportation workhorses of society. After commercial airlines took off, trains and planes fought for passenger business with airlines replacing trains as the glamorous way to travel. Evidence of the esteem rail travel had in earlier times exists in the opulence of restored railway stations.

Exploring the world of model trains can be fun for the whole family! This year’s Vancouver Train Expo from Nov 5-6 at the PNE Forum has something for everyone, including an opportunity for kids to experience hands-on the grand past-time of another millennium, and for parents to gain exposure to the state-of-the-art technology of today’s new trains. The Expo represents the contribution railways made, and continue to make, to Canadian history and culture. Model railroading is a rewarding hobby that ranges from pushing wooden trains around on the floor to replicating a part of our history in miniature, sometimes re-enacting a particular time and date, and adhering to the same rule book and procedures as the real railroad did in that day.

Vancouver Train Expo will feature trains made from scratch by hobbyists with metal working skills, and others produced by 3D printers. In addition to a variety of interactive train displays such as Thomas & Friends, Vancouver Train Expo will offer mini-rail train rides, LEGO® displays and balloon twisters – the perfect family outing for a pre-Christmas weekend. It will appeal to kids who are fascinated with small working mechanisms, and parents who enjoy learning the various technical and artistic skills that are part of this endeavour.

Don’t miss the Vancouver Train Expo. Visit

Screen Education at the Vancouver Baby and Family Fair

In today’s world, children as young as two are using digital technology and could be exposed to risk, says Outsmarting Your Kids Online acclaimed and bestselling Canadian book author Amber Mac, who is coming to Vancouver for the Vancouver Baby & Family Fair happening October 29 and 30 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Described as the ultimate handbook for parents, the book, which is co-authored by Internet security expert Michael Bazzell who spent 18 years as a government computer crime investigator, covers topics ranging from understanding social media concerns and tomorrow’s technology trends to reporting digital bullies or even sexual predators. Critics have labelled the resource as an “easy and empowering read” for those parents and guardians looking to find dozens of free resources that simplify and automate in-depth searching of their children’s social network activity.

“We are so excited to have Amber at our show and talking about such an important issue that is often overwhelming for parents who don’t even know where to begin when it comes to monitoring their children’s social networking habits,” says Fair producer, Virginia Ritchie.

Don’t miss the fair and all the fun, with other activities, events, and more!

Vancouver Baby & Family Fair
Saturday October 29 and Sunday October 30
Where:Vancouver Convention Centre East Facility Hall A
Tickets:Only available at door & cash only: Day Pass: Adult $12;
Senior/Student Day Pass $10. Children under 12: FREE

For more information about the upcoming fair and Amber’s seminars visit:

Mums Tums and Babies… oh my!

mums-tums-poster-8x10Looking for the best in the latest products and services for you and your baby or little ones? If you live in British Columbia, or better yet the Fraser Valley, you are in for a treat at the premiere event for hopeful, expectant and new parents and families – the Mums, Tums & Babies Show!

Pregnant couples, new parents, and those who are needing a little extra for the kids who are growing up – there are stresses, needs for new products that are safe and friendly, services and goods, including some advice – this event has everything for you! Explore the world of baby and toddler – from food to gear, like top trending brands that have some awesome deals and discounts for you. Come down to this low-pressure, family-friendly event: you won’t regret it.

There is lots to see and do for your little ones in the Family Fun Zone with My Gym Langley and their bouncy castle and tumbling station. Twist Parties with balloon twisting and have your photo taken with the princesses. There are Sportball and other sport instruction for kids and will test their skills and have fun.

Don’t worry, for those expecting, or wanting to grow their family there will be a ton of presentations from tips on how to get your baby sleeping well to help with birthing! Tony from The Average Father will do a special presentation just for dads!

Canada’s country music sweetheart, Jessie Farrell will entertain your kids with her catchy whimsical songs featured on the Kids’ CBC television series, Scout & The Gumboot Kids.

Enter to win the major grand prize – a nursery from Ikea Coquitlam. Over $10,000 in prizes provided by our exhibitors. The first 100 mommies each day will receive a Lucky Mummy Bag! (Be sure to take a look inside as their are a ton of vouchers and even some goodies from the local vendors).

Visit to purchase your tickets!
$10.00 online
$12.00 at Door (Cash Only)
$15.00 weekend pass
Children under 12 *FREE*

Date: October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: 10:00am to 5:00pm – Saturday, 11:00am to 4:00pm – Sunday
Location: Tradex – Trade & Exhibition Centre, 1190 Cornell St., Abbotsford
Contact: Debbie Fenrick or Judi Rosebrugh: (844) 933-1366 or 604-200-0905


Man Up! play by the Boys Club Network

The Westcoast Boys Club Network Foundation (aka Boys Club Network or BCN) is pleased to present their acclaimed reality stage play Man Up! in Abbotsford from November 25 through 27, playing to a targeted audience of high school students, educators, youth workers, families and other stakeholders at the W. J. Mouat Secondary School Theatre.

Man Up! is the gritty, heart-wrenching, emotional and life-changing story of two determined eastside Vancouver educators, a group of at- risk boys on the sharp knife-edge of life, a handful or generous and visionary Lower Mainland businessmen from all walks of life, and the compelling four-year journey they took together – from the edge of frustration, hopelessness and despair, to the pinnacle of hopefulness and success. Man Up! Shares authentic, deeply personal stories of individual struggle, overcoming demons and realizing dreams.

BCN is a registered Canadian charity with a mandate to establish connectedness, trust and accountability to at-risk young men and help grow then into good men. The Network uses drama – more specifically the reality stage play – as a creative platform to spread their message of H.O.P.E. (Hope, Opportunity, Positive mentorship, Education) to communities throughout the lower mainland, to ignite discussion, and to inspire stakeholders to set-up new BCN chapters.

BCN independently operates seven chapters in Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver secondary schools with the cooperation and assistance of school districts and stakeholders in youth work and law enforcement. Close to 100 mentors, representing all facets of Canadian life, from break-even to billionaire, mentor a membership of more than 200 boys. The Network is grateful to Mr. Gino Bondi, a long-time BCN mentor and new Assistant Superintendent, Abbotsford School District, for introducing Man Up! to the city of Abbotsford, with its diverse population and eight secondary schools.


Man Up! messaging is entirely relevant to today’s students and educators, and parallels Curriculum Learning Outcomes in BC Secondary courses Planning 10, Health & Career 9, Drama Curricula, and lessons in Focus on Harassment and Intimidation. The supplied Companion Study Guide for Educators and Reflections on Learning student worksheets address topical issues like anti- bullying, personal accountability, gratitude, philanthropy and empathy. Buy tickets here!

Summer Fun at Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Keeping little ones busy during the summer can be a challenge, and there’s always a million extra chores for parents and caregivers. There’s also the need to prepare regular lunches and meals to ensure kids are fed and energized for all that summer fun!

Thankfully, Rocky Mountain Flatbread heeds the call of parents who need to keep the littles busy while also eating some tasty food! Every Wednesday from 11am – 12pm, moms, dads and caregivers can register to take their little one to the restaurant for parent-child workshops! Each week will feature a different activity, be it storytelling, yoga and dance, creating healthy snacks, faceprinting, crafts and tea party dress up events! Parents will have fun with their children participating in an unique activity, while kids will have a blast.

Best of all, stay behind afterwards to have a delicious pizza, full of healthy, local and organic ingredients that keep everyone fuelled and full!

Registration is required and class size is limited so be sure to register at to take part in these classes at the Main Street location!


Quartets of Musical Fun!

We were so lucky to be offered tickets to a performance of the the Rolston String Quartet and Koerner Quartet at the Vancouver Academy of Music’s Koerner Hall. The idea of chamber music might not sound like the most fun you’ve had all week, but we’ll admit to being swept away by the sounds, the music, the passion, and the wonderful performance put on by the whole family.

The venue is beautiful and made for a great night out. Little ones will love to get dressed up for a night out at the symphony!

With amazing musicians were something to behold, with Luri Lee on violin, Jeffrey Dyrda also on violin, Hezekiah Leung on the viola, and Jonathan Lo playing up the cello, there was something for every music lover. The notes they hit and the passion they played with made everyone in the audience feel like they were part of every key.

We felt lucky to see two different quartets play the same stage and the whole night was a spectacular evening of entertainment.

Be sure not to miss next season if you get the chance!

National Aboriginal Day!

In the Lower Mainland, we have so many amazing opportunities to learn from our First Nations people and like all cultures, their stories are worth telling and celebrating. Don’t miss National Aboriginal Day British Columbia celebrations on June 21st, which was first proclaimed in 1996 and is celebrated all across Canada. In Vancouver, events take place at Trout Lake, allowing for a day for all Canadians to celebrate the cultures and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. Trout Lake events will take place on Coast Salish Territory of the Xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. This is a community-based, full day of events that showcase and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal people while gathering to share their spirit, experiences, stories, songs, art and dance with each other and the general community. All events are free, and include a resource fair, arts and crafts, teepee village, entertainment, food and more! Bring the whole family for a day of appreciation, culture, and good times for all.

Longest Day Road Race!

Keeping fit is key to living a healthy lifestyle, and there’s nothing like a run to get the cardiovascular system firing at full speed. For those who enjoy some lighthearted competition, road races are full of opportunities to connect with like-minded runners. For those looking to get exercise while supporting a good cause, look no further than the Longest Day Road Race, which supports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The run is on Friday, June 10th and has a 5km, 10km and even a kid’s mile, so the whole family can participate. Some proceeds of the event go to supporting ongoing research for Type-1 Diabetes. “Our plan ensures there will be an ongoing stream of life-changing therapies moving from development through to commercialization that lessen the impact of T1D. We want to keep people with T1D healthy and safe until we reach our ultimate goals of finding a cure and the universal prevention of T1D,” said JDRF in a printed statement. Early bird registration is May 10th and closes June 8th, so be sure to register before max space is reached! If running isn’t your thing, those looking to support the cause can donate or sponsor a registered runner..

Project Empty Bowl

Since its inception in the early 1990’s Project Empty Bowl has fed thousands of individuals with HIV/AIDS locally and tens of thousands globally. It began when John Harton, a teacher in Bloomfield, MT, asked his high school ceramic students to make enough bowls to give a luncheon for the school staff. For $5 each, the guests received a simple meal of soup and bread, served in one of the handmade bowls. Guests were asked to accept their now empty bowls as a gift and to keep them as a reminder of all the empty bowls that still need filling. The money raised was donated to the local food bank.

The energy of those young potters, their teacher, and their guests breathed life into what has become the Empty Bowls Project. Since then, groups of potters have raised and donated millions of dollars to organizations like A Loving Spoonful that fight hunger the world over.

The premise of Empty Bowls is profoundly simple and has been repeated thousands of times by small groups and large. A few people get together to create bowls. They invite guests, as many as they have bowls, to share a simple meal and to donate a small sum, which provides food to those in need. In return, guests take home their empty bowl as a reminder of the continuing hunger within their own community.

In 1997, Rachelle Chinnery and Linda Doherty of Mudslingers Clay Studios brought the concept of Empty Bowls to A Loving Spoonful. They had the blessing and enthusiastic participation of the Potters Guild of British Columbia and the Canadian Craft & Design Museum. Together, they created Project Empty Bowl as a benefit for A Loving Spoonful.

Project Empty Bowl has become an annual signature fundraising event for A Loving Spoonful. The sole purpose of Project Empty Bowl is to raise funds so that A Loving Spoonful can continue delivering free meals and nutritional counselling & education to men, woman and children fighting HIV/AIDS.

Attend the latest event, to support this great cause, Thursday June 2, 2016 at 6:30pm at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. Tickets are $100 and go to an amazing cause.
Buy your ticket today !

Arts Umbrella Theatre and Music Expressions Festival!

Arts Umbrella announces its 2016 Theatre and Music Expressions Festival: an annual showcase celebrating the boundless creativity of young talent in the organization’s pre-professional theatre program, running from May 11 to 22, 2016, at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island. With an expanded festival run of two weeks this year, five wonderfully varied productions highlight the talents of Canada’s next generation of theatre artists, including beloved favourites such as The Drowsy Chaperone and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and student-created originals such as Dangers of a Total War.

To hone their work, student performers have toured the productions in schools across the Lower Mainland, and worked with professional directors and designers. Both innovative and inspiring, the Expressions Festival enables these driven youths to take pride in their accomplishments by sharing their vision and ability with the community.

Don’t miss these amazing performances by local talent and support Kids in the Performing Arts!