October 4, 2023


An Interactive Session

B.C. Family Day 2023 events: 12 things to do in Metro Vancouver

10 min read

Whether it’s ice skating, visiting a museum, or enjoying public art outdoors, there’s plenty of family-friendly activities around town you can enjoy with the ones you love.

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B.C. celebrates Family Day on the third Monday in February. Family Day started in B.C. in 2013 on the second Monday of the month, but shifted to a week later to align with other provinces starting in 2019. Whatever the day, it’s a much welcome reprieve from the winter doldrums.

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Whether it’s ice skating, visiting a museum or enjoying public art outdoors, there’s plenty of family-friendly activities around town you can enjoy with the ones you love.

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Here’s our guide to Family Day events and activities in Metro Vancouver for 2023.

VMF Winter Arts Fest

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Where: Various locations, downtown Vancouver
When: Feb. 16 to 26
Tickets: Free

From the creators of summer’s popular Vancouver Mural Festival, VMF Winter Arts is a free all-ages festival that turns downtown Vancouver into an open-air art gallery. It features music, dance parties, and lots of cool public art, including interactive light installations, sculptures, and augmented reality (you’ll need a smartphone). Much of the action occurs at the Winter Arts hub at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza). For a more in-depth look at the art, sign up for one of the daily 90-minute by-donation walking tours run by Vancouver DeTours.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

The grand three-storey lobby at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre will host families during the Vancouver Civic Theatres open house for Family Day.
The grand three-storey lobby at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre will host families during the Vancouver Civic Theatres open house for Family Day. Photo by Ian Lindsay /Vancouver Sun

Where: 630 Hamilton St., Vancouver
When: Feb. 18, Saturday; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tickets: Free, but reserve ahead

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Vancouver’s venerable Queen E. will be throwing its doors open on Family Day. Parents and tots can try their hand at craft stations, do a self-guided tour of a new art exhibition featuring monoprints of a deconstructed violin and grand piano by Sylvan Hamburger, and enjoy a performance by the VSO School of Music Astral Quartet.

Vancouver Maritime Museum

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Where: 1905 Ogden Ave., Vancouver
When: Feb. 20, Monday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets: Free

Enjoy a free day at the museum. Learn more about Canada’s history through an interactive display about the journey of three immigrant families that came to Canada by sea. There’s also a Children’s Gallery, story time sessions at noon and 2 p.m., and a scavenger hunt.

Museum of Vancouver

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Where: 1100 Chestnut St., Vancouver
When: Feb. 20, Monday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets: Free admission, but some programming requires tickets or registration

Local storytellers take centre stage at the MOV on Family Day. There’s live storytelling, puppet workshops, and ventriloquist performers (requires ticket or registration). The complimentary admission covers the museum’s continuing exhibits, including A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia and All We Want is More: the Tobias Wong Project.

Family Day at the Vancouver Aquarium

A day of family fun at the Vancouver Aquarium.
A day of family fun at the Vancouver Aquarium. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

Where: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
When: Continuing; Family Day promotion of one free child admission with one regular adult ticket from Feb. 10 to 20.
Tickets: $26.26 for those age 3-12, $36.75 for students and seniors, $42 for those age 13+. Tickets must be reserved in advance.

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Get to know sea lions, fluorescent jellyfish, sea otters and lots more marine life up close and personal. The aquarium is currently featuring a new interactive exhibit called Nature’s Ninjas: Defences of the Animal Kingdom until Feb. 20, as well as a 4D movie about a playful sea lion pup named Otto.

Historic Stewart Farm

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Where: 13723 Crescent Rd., Surrey
When: Feb. 20, Mon.; 12 to 4:30 p.m.
Tickets: Free

Embark on a family date with history at the historic Stewart farm house. You can explore the house on your own or allow yourself to be guided by staff. There’s a craft station, butter churning station, and a chance for kids to do some old-fashioned chores.

Beyond Van Gogh Surrey

Beyond Van Gogh at the Agriplex in Surrey.
Beyond Van Gogh at the Agriplex in Surrey. Timothy Norris

Where: Agriplex at Cloverdale Fairgrounds, 17798 62 Ave., Surrey
When: Continuing until March 5
Tickets: $29 for kids 5-15 years old; $42 to $84 for adults

Beyond Van Gogh drew huge masked crowds when it mounted its pandemic-era exhibit at the Vancouver Convention Centre in 2021. Now the multimedia production has returned to Metro Vancouver — this time to Surrey — bringing over 300 of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings projected over 30,000 square feet.

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Steveston Tram

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Where: 4111 Moncton St., Richmond
When: Feb. 17 to 20; 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: Free

All aboard the Steveston Tram! Tram Car 1220 is one of the last interurban trams that connected Richmond to Vancouver, New Westminster, and Chilliwack. On Family Day, it’s launching a new family-friendly exhibit. There will be a light-up map that traces the tram’s route, interactive displays, and a new Lego model of the tram. Kids can also build Lego creations and dress up as tram conductors.

Saturday morning at the movies

Cineplex Inc. is Canada’s largest chain of movie multiplexes.
Cineplex Inc. is Canada’s largest chain of movie multiplexes. Photo by Peter J. Thompson / Postmedia Network

Where: Various Cineplex Theatre locations
When: Saturday, Feb. 18
Tickets: $3

Here’s a bargain for you. Cineplex offers a family movie on Saturday mornings for just three loonies, plus tax. This Family Day weekend’s screening features the toe-tapping jukebox musical Sing, where koala Buster Moon and his friends prepare to launch a dazzling stage extravaganza in the glittering entertainment capital of the world.

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Community Centres

Roundhouse Community Centre in downtown Vancouver
Roundhouse Community Centre in downtown Vancouver Photo by Mike Bell /PNG

Your local community centre could be a treasure trove for free or inexpensive activities for you and your kiddos.

In Vancouver, Hillcrest Community Centre is offering discounted rink admission and free access to its gymnasium, while Yaletown’s Roundhouse Community Centre has a plethora of family-friendly programming scheduled for Feb. 19, including a juggler/entertainer, crafts, a professional photo booth with a free souvenir photo, and interactive play area for the little ones.

Langley City will be hosting Family Day activities at Timms Community Centre from Feb. 18 to 20. Activities include family basketball, pickleball, yoga and other sports. On Monday, the community centre’s gym will be filled with bouncy castles, slides, an obstacle course and other fun and games.

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Lace up your skates

Skaters at the Robson Square ice rink
Skaters at the Robson Square ice rink Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

There’s plenty of spots to indulge in the classic winter past time of ice skating. The rink at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver is open until the end of the month. Free; rentals $5.

Another outdoor rink popular with families is North Vancouver’s Shipyards Skate Plaza, which is offering a free public skate on Monday (Feb. 20), along with live music, food trucks, an ice skating performance, and a warming hut by Windfall Cider & Co. In White Rock, Centennial Arena is hosting a free family skate on Monday. There’ll be a family stick ‘n puck at 10 a.m. and a drop-in family day skate at 11 a.m. No skates? No problem. Skate and helmet rentals are also free.

Bonus event: The inaugural Great Canadian Kilt Skate in B.C. also happens to be taking place at the Shipyards on the Saturday of the Family Day long weekend. The event started in Ottawa with a one-person celebration of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birthday on Jan. 11 and has since spread to other parts of Canada. You don’t have to be Scottish to participate. There will be hot chocolate, bagpiping and Celtic music. Free; rentals available.

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Ski hills

A family-friendly ski and snowboard outing at Cypress Mountain Resort.
A family-friendly ski and snowboard outing at Cypress Mountain Resort. Photo by Mark van Manen /PNG

Family Day is traditionally a busy day for the skil hills. If the weather is good, the local ski resorts will likely be packed. So head to the mountains with a little bit of patience, and get ready for an enjoyable day for everyone in the family.

Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour are operating business as usual, while Cypress Mountain is mounting a Family Day event from Feb. 17 to 20, featuring fireworks, musical performances, face painting, balloon art, and magicians. Lift tickets required.

Do you have a Family Day event you’d like to see included in this list? Email [email protected]

[email protected]

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