Browsing Tag


Things to do with kids in Montreal

Things to Do with Kids in Montreal

Canada, ROAM By February 9, 2012 Tags: , , , , , 2 Comments

Montreal is a beautiful, historic city with a heavy French influence. Besides the wonderful food and shop this wonderful city has to offer, there are also many fun things to do with kids in Montreal. Here is a selection of our favorites!


Things to Do With Kids in Halifax

Canada, ROAM By February 9, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a lovely city perched on Halifax Harbour, with the HRM encompassing several mainland peninsulas and islands. One of Canada’s largest cities (the largest on the Atlantic), Halifax’s reputation is for seaside fun. However, not all of the things to do with kids in Halifax need you to get into the water—there’s plenty to do on dry land!


Things to Do With Kids in Calgary

Canada, ROAM By February 9, 2012 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

Oh, Calgary! When you think of Calgary, immediate images of the Winter Olympics and everything sporty and snowy spring to mind. Of course, Calgary is a top winter sports destination, but this beautiful Alberta city has much more to offer for the family than just skiing and snowboarding. Check out these great things to do with kids in Calgary.

  • StoryBook Theatre. ( This theatre has been entertaining kids for over thirty years, and is also one of the largest community theatre groups in Calgary. You can see original and classic plays in a family-friendly atmosphere at its two locations (presentations for this year include Anne of Green Gables, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Little Women, Munsch Ado About Nothing, and Pinkalicious…and that’s just between February and March!). The Theatre also hosts drama workshops and theatre camps. Check out the theatre’s website for dates, prices, and locations.
  • Fort Calgary. ( Before Calgary was a city, it was the MP’s outpost in Alberta, and a fort! Now, you and the kids can tour the fort, which is located just east of downtown Calgary on a 40-acre parcel of land. Browse the museum and exhibits, buy beautiful handcrafted items in the gift shop, eat at the on-site restaurant, and learn about Calgary’s history. Also, Fort Calgary hosts numerous events on holidays such as Canada Day, Mountie Day, and Heritage Day, besides Winter Carnival, Spring Fever, Artisan’s Fair, and Alberta Arts Day. Check the website for dates, hours of operation, and prices.
  • The Calgary Zoo. ( The Calgary Zoo is one of Canada’s oldest zoos, hearkening back to 1912! Now, it is home to hundreds of plant and animal species, with a special emphasis on raising environmental awareness and promoting conservation, especially in Canadian species. The Zoo has dozens of programs and special events every year, and has something for every age group. Check the zoo website for admission, event dates, and hours of operation.
  • Kayben Farms and the Sunshine Adventure Park. ( Just ten short minutes outside of Calgary proper, in the small town of Okotoks, lies Kayben Farms. This beautiful 12+ acre site boasts a wide array of fun things to do, see, and eat for the entire family. You can pick your own produce, buy locally-grown items, visit the working farm, and eat a great, locally-sourced farm-fresh meal. The Sunshine Adventure Park is great outdoor fun: tons of themed playground equipment, a Berry Bounce, a climbing wall, pedal-karts, acres of walking trails, and much more. Check the website for events, hours, pricing, and more information.
  • Calaway Park. ( Calaway Park is Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park. Open year-round (check the website for prices, hours, and special events), it is fantastic fun for all ages, with rides, attractions, and choreographed entertainment, plus great stuff to eat and things to buy.
  • Heritage Park. ( This is Canada’s largest living history museum; the historical village, museum, and exhibits are both entertaining and educational for the entire fam. See “how the West was once,” ride the steam train, browse the shops in Heritage Square, and play games in the midway. There’s lots of great food, special events and exhibits all year long, and plenty of culture and fun. Check the Heritage Park website for hours of operation, costs, and a schedule of events.
  • Telus Science Centre. ( The new Telus Spark Science Centre is an amazing place that will fascinate the science geeks and novices alike. This brand-new, beautiful facility bills itself as a “place for people of all ages and abilities to let go and embrace the desire to explore and discover science, technology and art in new and amazing ways.” Exhibits and attractions ranging from the environment, earth science, technology, and astronomy; the Creative Kids Museum allows the young ones to interact and experiment and watch science in action, all in a fun setting. Call ahead or visit the Centre’s website for more information, including cost, hours of operations, and events.
Chateau Fairmont Whistler

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Canada, ROAM By February 9, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

I have a bit of a thing about castles.  Princess complex?  Perhaps…  but there is nothing quite like skiing down Blackcomb mountain as the Fairmont Chateau Whistler comes into sight.  All week before we departed for Whistler Blackcomb the kids announced to every person they saw that we were staying at a castle.  And it was.  And I felt like a princess in a resplendent building while the whole family – kids especially – were treated with boundless respect.

Picture it.  A gentle snowfall and sparkly white lights on the trees.  We pull up the majestic circular driveway and the valets are waiting.  They were so friendly that we couldn’t get the kids out of the car – there were very serious discussions happening around Star Wars Lego.  The kids are ecstatic.  They have a thing about riding on the luggage carts and giggling as I remind them that they are not suitcases.  Maybe when they grow up.

Checking in we were given reusable bags that say ‘I’m a Fairmont Kid!’ .  The treats inside not only occupied the boys, but the colouring book was all about bears and provided a fabulous learning opportunity as well.  (Thankfully I didn’t run into a bear as I hiked Spanky’s Ladder.)

There is something old-world and artistic about Fairmont properties.  I have stayed at at least 8, and in my view, they are cutting-edge in terms of being kid-friendly.  Normally the term means tacky plastic stuff and flashing lights.  Looking around, there is art everywhere – stone valise sculptures, intricate and modern floral arrangements, architectural flourishes and iron crows on the banisters.  The kids were chirping at them.  Yes, every time we walked by.

If this were a book, I’d do a whole chapter on the concierges.  If their smiles and jaunty ski sweaters weren’t enough I have decided that they are the demi-Gods of helpfulness.  Ian especially.  My hero.  He charges my Blackberry (often) and when my colleague lost his corporate visa card (it wasn’t me honest), Ian called every place this man had been the night before.  He then phoned Visa to cancel it.  Demi Gods.  I told you.

One of my favourite things about the rooms were the preppy cableknit blankets on the beds.  The fridge in the room is kept empty – a great help to parents who bring along snacks.  Kid-friendly extends to rooms as well.  I had no idea that if parents want a connecting room for the kids, the second room is half price.  The tiny bathrobes were certainly a highlight for the boys.  They breezed through the lobby en route to the hottub and were excited to find a little warming hut to hang them in order to ensure they remain dry.  Oh – and while you’re in the spa, ask for Wilma.  She offers private swimming lessons for adults and little ones.  So they’ll soon be able to ski AND swim circles around you.  Great.  (If you opt for free-floating the Fairmont supplies lifejackets too).

Whistler has cache.  But there is only one bar in the entire place that exudes the alpine mystique.  The Mallard Lounge.  A semi-circle bar, sledding for kids on the hill in back (they provide sleds), live music, domed ceilings, classic cocktails…  And kids are allowed (even at the bar) until 9pm.  Bartender extraordinaire Adam loves to serve kids Egyptian Lemonade – muddled with mint and raspberries.  A sparkling apple drink is served in a martini glass.  See? Kids are sophisticated too.  And the Chateau knows it.

They’re pretty cool with pets as well.  Dogs are part of the family, after all.  Jennifer Tice, the Public Relations Manager, showed me a picture of 2 puppies that she snapped with her iPhone.  She explained that these ‘hotel guests’ make so many people smile as they trot throughout the lobby, and the dogs assist in bringing people together and creating a social atmosphere throughout the hotel.  They have that down.  Sitting areas, tables, and sofas.  The lobby was always buzzing with activity and a great vibe.

I had the honour to visit the Wildflower Restaurant on 2 occasions.  Chef Vincent Stufano not only creates incredible dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients, but also features a ‘lifestyle cuisine plus’ menu with options in the following categories: heart healthy, diabetes, vegan, raw, macrobiotic, and gluten free. Double wow.  The restaurant also has a ‘sea to sky menu to go’.  For the road.  Just don’t get pulled over like we did on the way up. (Hopefully your lox and bagel doesn’t give energy to your accelerator foot..)

Dinner was amazing.  It was just adults (thank you Nannies on Call).  Before we dined I ordered room service for the kids their meals come with drink and dessert. Not only is there a kids’ menu, but when I asked for milk, They questioned: “plain, chocolate or strawberry?”  Seriously?  Then I learned that in December Fairmont created a new healthy eating menu just for the kids!

“Fairmont Chefs ensure these pint-sized offerings reflect the same basic principals as Lifestyle Cuisine and address the nutritional guidelines established for children by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  Proactive steps include swapping out refined flour for whole wheat, incorporating fruits and vegetables into recipes to help meet the recommended daily fiber allowance, and employing alternative cooking methods to help ensure healthier choices are made available to young diners. “

On our final morning I took the boys to the Wildflower for breakfast.  Kids eat free.  Wow.  And when they entered?  They were each given an etch-a-sketch.  Our waiter told them it was an old-fashioned iPad.  I laughed hard.  (The boys looked at me with puzzlement as they touched the screen).  As we left each child was given a cookie as big as my head.  ‘for the road’.

In all?  I have a new go-to place when I ski.  After my weekend, the family is closer, the kids feel special, we made a ton of memories, and Ian the concierge is my new best friend.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Family Fun in Whistler

Disclosure:  UrbanMommies was provided accomodation at the Chateau in order to write this piece, and as always all opinions are our own.


Nita Lake Lodge

Canada, ROAM By February 22, 2011 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

They had me at the Land Rover shuttle.  Or was it the lobby?  Geothermal heating?  Or the live music during apres-ski?  Any of the above.  Nita Lake Lodge is among my favourite boutique hotels in the world.  And it’s only 68 minutes from Vancouver (not that I’m speeding).  Gourmet dining, windows galore and 72 environmentally-friendly suites with streamlined decor and beautiful views.


Cell Phones in the Car

auto, GEAR, tech By February 4, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Driving while talking or texting on a cell phone is now illegal in many Canadian provinces.  If you a) haven’t figured out your Bluetooth (or never remember to charge the batteries), or b) can’t seem to get off the phone in the car, we’ll give you a few options.  Urbanmommies spoke with Corporal Dale Somerville of the RCMP, who verified a few points for us as stated in section 214.1 of the Motor Vehicle Act.   Holding and talking on a mobile device while driving will now cost you $167.  Texting or emailing while holding a mobile device will cost you $167, plus 2 points off of your license.  Hands-free devices are allowed provided you only touch one button on the earpiece in order to answer or dial.  Ouch.  For busy moms who are used to returning calls in the car… what do you do?