Moving to Vancouver with your family? Chances are you’re off to a good start! Vancouver is consistently rated as one of Canada’s most child-friendly cities and its abundance of parks, community centres and playgrounds make it an ideal place for parenting.
There are many neighbourhoods for families in Vancouver, but before you choose the one that is right for you, it is important to understand the city. There is a historic difference between the affluent west side and the working-class East Van (as locals call it). Vancouverites tend to see (or believe there are) cultural differences between the two sides, although fast rising house prices are gentrifying the whole city. Public schools are perceived to be better in the West side whereas East van is believed to be more multicultural having been home to European and Asian immigrants.
West Point Grey
Located on the west side of Vancouver, West point Grey is one of Canada’s most expensive residential districts. One of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, this area is a scenic place with beautiful spaces for kids to play and let all their energy go free… Two beaches, Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks are in close proximity to Point Grey as well as many parks such as Hastings Mill Park, Westmount Park and West Point Grey Park. The area is also known for its shopping district, Point Grey Village, with a variety of independently owned shops and stores and a charming, small-town atmosphere. Within the neighborhood is also the city’s largest youth hostel.
Every summer, the neighborhood hosts the Point Grey Fiesta, a carnival with a small-town parade, amateur stage performances and fun for all ages. The beauty of the area together with the abundance of schools are the reasons why I suggest West point Grey as on of the best neighbourhoods for families in Vancouver. Private and public schools in the neighborhood include Lord Byng Secondary School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Queen Elizabeth Elementary School, Queen Mary Elementary School, and École Jules Quesnel.
Visit West Point Grey for more information.
A well-established, family oriented community, Dunbar, in the west side of Vancouver is known for its beautiful tree-lined streets and well-kept gardens. The neighborhood is a quiet, residential area mostly made up of single-family homes built around the early 1900s.
Dunbar has magnificent green spaces including a number of private and exclusive golf courses as well as eight parks, which in the spring exhibit hundreds of amazing cherry blossoms. Amongst the main parks are the Musqueam Park, a 22-hectare oasis and the Camosun Bog, a two-thousand-year-old wetland.
As many other areas in the city, Dunbar has its own shopping district, known as Dunbar Village, with all sorts of options such as galleries, second-hand shops, pet stores, movies, cafes and more. The neighborhood’s community center also offers many alternative activities with an indoor cycling room, fitness centre and squash and tennis courts as well as many extra curricular activities.
The area offers a broad array of private and public schools that include Marineview preschool, Crown parent participation preschool, Southlands, Elementary School, Lord Kitchener Elementary, Queen Elizabeth Annex, St Georges Elementary/ Secondary and Crofton House School.
Visit Dunbar for more information.
Located on Vancouver’s East Side, Grandview is one of the most ethnically diverse parts of the city with a vibrant mix of commercial, industrial, and residential areas that give the neighborhood an eclectic charm. The most popular part of Grandview is Commercial Drive or “The Drive”, as locals call it. This is the neighborhood’s commercial hub. A street packed with small shops known for their uniqueness and ethnic diversity as well as cafes and organic food stores.
Grandview’s residential area is characterized by a mix of buildings that range from elaborate houses on large corner lots to cottages on narrow parcels. Even though this is one of the areas with the lowest amount of green space per person, you still have many parks to choose from, Alice Townley Park, Garden Park, Grandview Park, Mosaic Creek Park, McSpadden Park and Pandora Park amongst others. Additionally the local community center offers all sorts of activities for young children and teenagers.
Grandview-Woodland is well served by public transportation. TransLink busses serve several streets and there are two SkyTrain stations, which provide access to the Millennium Line and Broadway Station.
Schools in the area include Stratford hall, Grandview high school and Grandview elementary.
Visit Grandview for more information.
Another of Vancouver’s oldest neighborhoods, Hastings-Sunrise is well-known for its strong family oriented community. Initially home to a working class and immigrant population, today East Village (as this area is also known) has a welcoming atmosphere and multicultural vibe that attracts artists and young workers.
The area’s beautiful character homes, abundance of parks (big and small) and wide assortment of schools are making of Hastings–Sunrise a popular area for young and growing families and in my opinion, one of the best neighbourhoods for families in Vancouver. Important to add, the crime rate in Hastings-Sunrise is about half of the city average and even better, unlike other areas of the city, purchase and rental prices have not sky rocketed so far.
The local community center offers childcare, a family drop-in centre, a gymnasium, computer lab, games room, and a racquetball court. It also has an outdoor tennis court, a playground and a water park.
The long list of schools in the area includes Hastings Elementary, Stratford Hall, Our Lady of Sorrows, Garibaldi Elementary, Sir Matthew Begbie, Notre Dame Regional Secondary School, Tillicum Annex, Vancouver Formosa Academy and Templeton Secondary.
Visit Hastings-Sunrise for more information.
Depending on the lifestyle you are looking for, expanding your search to some of the nearby cities can also be a good idea. Some of these cities can also be excellent places to raise your family. North Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster are close enough to commute to Vancouver and prices tend to be a little lower. While you decide where to live, you might find the following links can be of interest to you.
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