Vancouver International Children's Festival,

notes from Mom


Once a year, for one week (usually in May) The Children's Festival runs at Vanier Park.  It show cases a number of children's entertainers--Charlotte Diamond, Raffi, and Fred Penner are three--as well as supplying a number of art activities for children to try.

This year (1998), for the first time, an admission price of $5 was charged.  This entitled children to try any art or craft or music activity they wanted, as well as listen to the live entertainment performing in the bandshell.

I took Jenavieve.  She tried making a paper necklace, shaking maracas to La Makarena, adding her painting to a huge dinosaur and making a clay thing to add to the big castle.  Some of the other activities like Lego and cartooning didn't interest her, and others like the Imagination Workshop (where everyone walked out with a really neat hat) had line-ups too long for her to wait.  As well, there was a gigantic octopus with big tentacles for children to crawl through.  (This cost an extra $7 for 20 minutes).

Oh, I almost forgot, in the middle of the art activity section was a huge sand pile with toys for small children to play with.  There was also a food fair which most parents I talked to thought was a rip-off, and a couple of stalls selling books, toys, and musical instruments.

Age group:

Jen, our four year old, is the perfect age for The Children's Festival.  Nathan, our seven year old, is almost too old.  He would have found most activities "dumb" or "boring." 

Expense rating:

You could get away with only paying the admission price, but chances are, once you're inside you'd pay for extras.  Admission is free if you attend a concert.  These tickets, however, have to be bought ahead of time. 


Vanier Park is a perfect setting for a festival.  It's located on a point in between Kitsilano and Granville Island.  You have a magnificent view of the North Shore mountains and the city.  Parking is free. 


Notes from Dad:  I've only been to The Children's Festival once, and that was enough for me.  I said to May, "Where's the fun?  Where are the clowns, games, and balloons?"  The Children's Festival is mostly an artsy fartsy happening, which is not for every kid.  Nathan found it boring already at four years of age. 


You can get to the festival by driving to the Planetarium.  By the time you get there you'll see directions for festival parking.  Website:





Educational highlights:

The Children's Festival is in the hub of Vancouver's tourist attractions.  Granville Island, Planetarium, Maritime Museum, Kitsilano Beach,  False Creek, are all within walking distance.  Children have a chance to see the entertainers they listen to, and in some cases, see on T.V.  They can also try a variety of art activities. 

Fun for the adult?:

My best fun was learning the moves to La Makarena and going to Granville Island later for a coffee at The Coffee Roaster and some fish.