Her Health Matters: Local Businesses Step Up & Show Support

Did you know that until 1998, women weren’t included in most research and medical trials in Canada? 1998 – that was only 20 years ago! This means that when drugs were created and put into the market to help with women’s health issues, many hadn’t even been tested on the female body before becoming available for sale.  Even today, women’s health research is still vastly underfunded, and as a result, women remain unaware of many of the unique health risks that exist.

Her Health Matters Campaign New Format

Here are just some of the mind-blowing women’s health care facts that you should know:

  1. Prior to the 1990’s women were not included in most medical research studies.
  2. Each year in Canada, heart disease kills more women than men. It is the leading cause of death for women over 55, and the second most common cause of death for women under 55.
  3. Women experience depression twice as often as men and yet are three times more likely than men to experience barriers to accessing mental health care.

There is a gender bias that exists in the healthcare system, and BC Women’s hospital – in partnership with some fantastic local businesses, is taking a stand against this bias and the lack of resources available in women’s health, with a new initiative that has launched called Her Health Matters.

Yyoga – 15% off 5 Class Passes using a special promo code. Her Health Matters

WithinUs – 10% off using a special promo code.

BRUNETTE The Label – donating a percentage of sales on the BABES SUPPORTING BABES sweatshirts to BC Women’s.

The Juice Truck – donating partial sales to BC Women’s.

For more information on the special offers available through participating businesses, or to donate directly to this important cause, please visit BC Women’s – Her Health Matters.

Our Jan/Feb issue features some great stories on how we can support the leaders of tomorrow, pick up our latest issue, available at a location near you, or online here.

5 Fun Ways To Enjoy Family Day With Kids In Vancouver

Family Day

Family Day is still a fairly new holiday for BC locals, only in its fifth year since it was first officially observed in February of 2013. After a post-holiday lull, the second Monday in February is the perfect time for families to take a much-needed break and enjoy each other’s company, and thanks to a city filled with fun activities for the whole family, there’s lots to choose from when it comes to finding ways to celebrate this special day. Here are some ways that you can enjoy the Family Day festivities in and around Vancouver.

Adventure’s Aplenty at the Sea to Sky Gondola

From February 10th – February 12th, families can enjoy 50% off day tickets to enjoy the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. Head to the peak for a packed list of family-friendly fun, including:

  • Snowshoe rentals and tours
  • Old-fashioned snow tubing
  • S’mores around the outdoor bonfire
  • An old-fashioned Canadian Sugar Shack
  • Featured family meals
  • Face-painting
  • Live music (Sunday only)
  • Retail discounts on The North Face children’s clothing
  • Plus much more!

Learn More

Enjoy Fun and Fins With Your Favourite Aquatic Family

It’s all fun and fins at Vancouver Aquarium this Family Day weekend! From February 10th – February 12th, visitors can get to know Vancouver Aquarium’s aquatic family though special activities and programs, including:

  • Bubble over with laughter (and learning) during the Puppet Show at 10:45 a.m. It’s perfect for gills and buoys of all ages.
  • Get up close with intriguing snakes or fascinating tortoises during the Meet a Snake or Meet a Tortoise program at 11:30 a.m.
  • Satisfy curiosities during the Meet a Penguin program at 1:30 p.m. and get to know these loveable little birds.
  •  Take an imaginary underwater journey during Story Time at 3:45 p.m. Wetsuit not required.
  • Enjoy face painting and represent your favourite sea creature on your cheek!

Guests can also receive 25% off Aquarium membership during Family Day weekend; this limited offer is available from February 10th – February 12th only.

Learn More

Cavort Through The Lonsdale Quay

The Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver loves to celebrate little ones! Each year they host a series of events and activities that the whole family can enjoy. Here’s a list of just some of the things you can expect during your visit:

10:00am: The Lonsdale Artisan Farmer’s Market will kick start the day with a delicious pancake breakfast on the South Plaza.

10:00am – 11:30pm: The Quay be hosting an interactive petting zoo for kids on the East Plaza. There will be a mini horse, goats, chickens and more! Face painting and balloon twisting vendors will also be set up on the East Plaza.($)

10:00am – 1:00pm: Kids’ Valentine card making will be held on the upstairs level, by the ball pit area. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, you can create your own cards and decorate them with glitter, hearts, stickers and more!

12:00pm – 1:00pm:  The day will end with an exciting and engaging puppet show that will entertain children of all ages. The show will begin at noon, next to Olde World Confections, on the Market Level.

Learn More

Find Family Fun in the Fraser Valley

Last year’s Family Day festivities were such a hit, that the Family Day organizers have decided to take it up a notch, making this year’s event even bigger and better than ever! On Monday, February 12th, families can visit the Langley Events Centre Arena for a fun-filled day, including an hour-and-a-half public skate, exhibits and interactive booths, visits with athletes, and more!

Plus, the Giants will be on the ice practicing and hosting a skills competition from noon-1pm, followed by an autograph session upstairs afterwards. Members of the Vancouver Stealth lacrosse team and the Langley Rams Football Club will be present too.

Learn More

Take A Hike!

The snow is starting to melt and the walkways are clearing up, just in time to enjoy a family stroll in the wintery woods. Head to the Seymour Demonstration Forest and enjoy a brisk walk around Rice Lake, or stroll through the trails of Cates Park in North Vancouver for a breath of fresh air and breathtaking scenery. For a list of other places to stroll, check out our post – Stroll Into 2018 With These 5 Family-Friendly Hikes.

For more family-friendly activities, check out our latest issue, available at a location near you, or online here.

Give The Gift of Equality This Holiday Season

“Give equality instead of excess” – a powerful slogan shared to promote One Girl Can‘s holiday card campaign this season, and an important reminder to those of us who want to give back, not just give this Christmas.

Instead of splurging on sillyEcard_Design_Hover_Design_Final holiday socks, tacky Christmas sweaters, or doggy dress-up costumes, your money could be put towards educating girls in Africa. With a small donation, or through the purchase of beautifully-crafted, digital or printed Christmas cards, you can support the efforts of One Girl Can to build new schools, educate girls who are living in poverty, and mentor them to become successful, working women in villages where this is rarely an option.

Educating girls is one of the fastest and most effective ways of promoting global economic development and is the key to ending poverty and injustice towards women.

From an early age, Lotte Davis – Founder of One Girl Can, was exposed to the racial and gender discriminations that were rampant in South Africa where she was born and raised. She made it her mission to make a change and help girls thrive in an environment where they receive little encouragement, funding, or support to help them strive for success.

Through her hands-on support, schools have been built in small communities in both Kenya and Uganda, and over 193 students have been sponsored and mentored through educational Ecard_Design_Hover_Design_Final3programs that drive success for girls who aspire to take on important roles in the workforce – roles that have otherwise been reserved only for their male counterparts.

To learn more about how you can donate or purchase holiday cards to support this important and inspiring initiative, visit the One Girl Can website.

Stay tuned for an inspiring and thought-provoking feature story on One Girl Can Founder, Lotte Davis, in our upcoming January/February “education” issue.

3 Simple Tips To Get The House Cleaning Help You Need

Great news! You don’t need to be a millionaire in order to have a house cleaning service any more.

Mother Sitting With Daughter At Home

Thanks to the rising trend of outsourcing, hiring a house cleaning service has become more accessible to busy families than ever before, and with just a couple of tweaks, you can get the help you need to maintain your home (and your sanity) at a more affordable price. Here are some simple tips to help you get started:

Reduce the scope. 

Instead of having your entire home cleaned, try hiring someone to clean just the kitchen and bathroom(s) (two of the dirtiest rooms in most houses) for you. This will get the dirty work done, but will also cut the house cleaning costs down significantly for you.


Share the load.

House cleaning doesn’t have to be an adults-only chore. Get the kids involved in keeping your home clean, and consider divvying up the tasks so the cleaning gets done quickly. Consider making vacuuming and sweeping the chores for the grown ups, and have the kids dust the shelves and fold the laundry.

Having an outside company cover the kitchen and bathroom scrubbing will keep you and your little ones free from inhaling any bathroom or degreasing solutions, yet by getting them involved in the process, you can still teach them the value of maintaining a clean home.

Reduce the frequency.

Depending on your situation, you might be able to get away with less frequent house cleaning appointments.

For example, some families will bring in outside house cleaning help once a month to give their home a proper, thorough deep cleaning, and then for the rest of the month, the home is maintained by the family.

This will create a healthy balance between parents teaching their kids the value of chipping in to maintain the home, and enjoying a hassle-free clean up of the house once a month.

Scrubbi logo 2016Interested in giving house cleaning services a try? Check out Scrubbi, a house cleaning startup that provides professional house cleaning help and friendly customer service for busy families all across Canada. Visit them online and get a quote to see if they’re the right fit for your family.

Backpack Buddies in Your School?

We are so fortunate to live in an area with access to locally grown foods to maintain healthy and active lifestyles. But for some in poverty, access to nutritious food is far out of reach, meaning too many children are going hungry. With more than 20 per cent of BC children living below the poverty line, how can we expect them to concentrate in the classroom with growling bellies? Backpack Buddies looks to eradicate childhood hunger by providing a weekend worth of meals to those in need.

This charity helps the Metro Vancouver area fill the weekend hunger gap by providing stocked backpacks for children to take home and share with their families, breaking the cycle of poverty. The program works with local partners and communities to distribute the backpacks through local schools. It was started in 2012 by mother and daughter duo, Joanne Griffiths and Emily-Anne King, and today they have helped deliver more than 8,000 backpacks in the 2015/2016 school year alone. Currently there are nine schools in the Lower Mainland who are part of the program, but you can help! Donate money, food, or time and be a part of the solution to child hunger.

Love a Little Opera

A new Lower Mainland opera company is celebrating their grand opening with a double-bill of shows designed to help young singers achieve their dreams. The West Coast Opera Studio, or WCOS, is a brand new opera company dedicated to showcasing local performers by creating opportunities for them to sing full roles. Entirely funded by arts lovers and the community, the project strives to help underfunded young singers as they prepare for full careers.At 7:30 pm on Friday, July 29, the West Coast Opera Studio will present two beloved short operas: Pergolesi’s La serva padrona and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, featuring casts of talented students and graduates of those smaller, underfunded opera schools that couldn’t give them the same opportunity.

Founder Robin Eder-Warren says that West Coast Opera’s decision to stage an opera starring performers who hadn’t had the chance to sing many full roles came when she saw other small companies in Vancouver begin to disappear. “To pursue future careers in the art form, singers need to have resumes full of experience in a wide array of operas,” she says, “and with the closure of several small companies in the past few years, and the lack of funding from many schools, for many the only opportunities to perform come from what we call ‘pay-to-sing’ companies – and some singers, though they’re really fantastic vocalists, simply can’t afford that. That’s where West Coast Opera comes in.”

For this production, WCOS is teaming up with Opera Mariposa, the acclaimed local opera company that has been showcasing emerging young artists since 2011. “Mariposa was created by young artists, for young artists, and we’re thrilled to help give these singers the opportunities they desperately need for their future careers,” explains Artistic Director Jacqueline Ko, who is lending her voice to the tragic Dido and Aeneas as the Sorceress. “Without experience like this, pursuing professional opera can be next to impossible, even for singers as amazing as those we get to work with this summer. Everyone needs the chance to shine, no matter where they come from.”

The co-production is being funded by a campaign on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, with a fundraising goal of $2500. Eder-Warren hopes that the city will come together to support the arts. “Any contribution, big or small, makes a difference to this project,” she says.

So get out and enjoy a night of culture with the whole family!

La serva padrona and Dido and Aeneas (by G. B. Pergolesi and H. Purcell)
7:30 pm on Friday, July 29  and Saturday, July 30, 2016
Metro Theatre, 1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC
Tickets $20 ($18 students and seniors), available at metrotheatre.com and at the door or at (604) 266-7191

Gorgeous Gershwin!

The Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra (VAMSO) season closes on an ebullient note with the concert, Gorgeous Gershwin on May 15, 2016, 2pm at the Orpheum Theatre. Music Director Leslie Dala takes to the piano to conduct and perform the jazz-tinged classical masterpiece, Rhapsody in Blue, while leading VAMSO’s young artists through beloved favourites from the composer’s catalogue, including An American in Paris and Porgy & Bess Suite.

The first ‘serious’ composition by the prolific George Gershwin (1898-1937), Rhapsody in Blue embodies the bustling, audacious spirit of the Jazz Age, as it interweaves brash, charging orchestral passages with melodic explorations by solo piano. Infamous for its hasty creation, the work premiered in New York’s Aeolian Hall in 1924, where it was billed as an “Experiment in Modern Music”, later becoming one of the most quintessential pieces of American repertoire.

Founded in 1969, the Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM) is a non-profit institution that has been spreading a love of learning and musical excellence for generations of aspiring musicians. Located minutes away from downtown, VAM’s spacious facility features teaching studios, expansive classrooms, a library, and two recital halls – all set against the scenic backdrop of Vanier Park.

Don’t miss these incredible performances!

Celebrate Vancouver’s First Tree Week!

The Vancouver Park Board presents Vancouver’s first ever Tree Week on April 2 to 10, 2016. To celebrate, the Park Board is now selling more than 3,000 fruit, flowering and shade trees for only $10 each (Vancouver residents only)! Over a dozen tree-themed events, talks and walks will be happening throughout the week.

Vancouver Tree Week supports our urban forest goal of planting 150,000 new trees in Vancouver by 2020 — we still have almost 100,000 to plant in the next four years! Please help Vancouver meet those goals by coming out to Tree Week events, planting trees in your yard, and encouraging your neighbours to do the same.

As you know, healthy trees are essential to a healthy eco-system and provide all of us with clean air, shade and cooling for our homes and streets.

Reserve your $10 tree now, try the Treelationship quiz to find the perfect tree for you and your yard, and check out other Vancouver Tree Week events: vancouver.ca/TreeWeek. Don’t forget to share your “treelationship” on social media with the hash tag #VanTreeWeek!


Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival!

We know that asking you if you like chocolate is like asking if birds have wings or if beaches have sand. Unless you have an allergy to milk, chocolate usually appeals to all ages. Cacao also has a lot of great health benefits, and great quality chocolate has far more beneficial properties than the stuff you’ll find in commercially produced chocolate bars found at the corner store.

And in sloppy Lower Mainland weather, nothing appeals more than a hot drink. And if like us at WestCoast Families, there’s nothing better than blending the soothing appeal of a hot drink with our favourite sweet eats.

Enter the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, now in its sixth year! From January 16th to February 14th, local cafes and eateries are preparing not just your average hot chocolate, but tons of different flavour blends that will blow your tastebuds out of the water. Vote on your favourites and share pictures on social media in order to win prizes, including hot chocolate from all the different venues across the city. That, and help your favourite local cafe make the claim to fame of offering the best hot chocolate in the city.

To find out more details about the festival, check out City Food and see where you can score the latest and greatest hot chocolate our city has to offer.

G Day for Girls

After the success of previous years, G Day for Girls is back in Vancouver on October 23, with another event in Victoria for those on the island. The event is designed for girls aged 10-12, the confusing time of puberty when girls are trying to carve out their identities amidst heavy media pressure to be a certain way. G Day for Girls was created as a social movement to empower young women going through the tricky time of adolescence, teaching them to be empowered and confident while being kind and considerate of one another. The event is a celebration and creation of sisterhood amongst young women and is designed to show them that the future is bright and full of possibilities. There are also more than 50 volunteers to help to make this day special and educational for all the girls involved. Last year’s event was a huge success so help G Day for Girls be another positive experience for young women in the Lower Mainland. More than 250 girls and their caregivers will participate, listening to engaging speakers and taking part in fun, creative activities.