Summer water parks in Vancouver

Finally, bless the sun is out! It’s glorious and it is weather that just makes you want to scream with excitement up to the heavens…after an intense and long cold spring.

My son’s expression is priceless when I ask him which water park would he like to go to today? He is literally a kid in a candy store and he is giving it much thought. I ask “Would you like to go to the water park at Granville Island or Stanley Park?” He replies, “Ummm Stanley Park, no Granville Island!”.

Silently, that was my pick although we’ve been to Stanley Park recently too. Both have quite a bit going for them in terms of surrounding entertainment, so either way you are likely to have a happy and worn out child by the end of it.

Ok, so I’ll start with the Stanley Park option. Stanley Park is close to Downtown, surrounded by beautiful and breathtaking scenery of the ocean, mountains and Lion’s Gate Bridge and more. The park itself is a lush green forest approximately 1000 acres and if it wasn’t such a popular tourist destination you could easily get lost in the half a million trees that are hundreds of years old. Cedar, Hemlock and Douglas Fir trees surround you everywhere you walk. The water park is open from June 1 to September 1 from 10am-6pm.

If I take my son to the Stanley Park spray area, I will pair it with the Aquarium which is only a few minutes away on the north side of the park. With Summer camps in full force by July, you are best to arrive here via public transport and earlier in the day if possible. It is a free attraction which makes it even more alluring. It has a wider area of the soft spongy tarmac covering in some of the play areas making it slightly safer for the younger children.

Between the spray park and the Aquarium, there are many shady spots on the grass to enjoy a picnic lunch. I recommend you bring your own packed goodies. Whatever you do, DO NOT order any of the ‘hot food’ from the Lumberman’s Arch cafe – in my one and only experience, choosing what I thought to be the healthiest options on the menu; how many ways can you go wrong with a salmon burger and fish & chips?? It was overcooked, dripping with oil, tasteless and typically overpriced given the location.  It was a very disappointing experience and it is just about the only place to eat conveniently close by. The food at the Aquarium is better, more palatable and appears to be better quality in some areas of the ‘hot menu’.

So, do you know where I am heading with this? Further to mentioning earlier that Granville Island water park was personally my choice for the day, the options of gourmet food are endless!

Granville Island is the largest free attraction in North America. It is situated right next to the kid’s play area as well incase your child literally gets cold feet (the water is a little chilly still). It is open May 21 through till September 5 from 10am-6pm. All the delectable foods on Granville Island are all close by, minutes walk away. Sushi and gelato always work a treat for my son and I, particularly Gi Gelato & Coffee House did it for me at 1535 Johnson Street, Suite #105 Granville Island. Freshly made creamy flavours including sorbet which I love are fantastic and not expensive.

Say no more, a good day out, a free day out (just about) and we are both happy.

Stanley Park Spray Park – Vancouver Park Board

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My mother’s day spring seafood recipe

Vancouver is really flaunting it’s glamorous side when it’s a bright sunny day. The fact I can enjoy it on ‘my day’ makes it even more enjoyable to make the most of being outdoors in Springtime here.

This is the first entire weekend since we arrived in March, that it has been warm from sunrise to sunset. For those that know me, a day filled with family, friends and food is a day in heaven, which made for the perfect Mother’s Day. It started with me being able to wake up a reasonable time; the biggest gift from my son was AMAZINGLY sleeping in till around 7:30am – that never happens!

My husband presented me with beautiful peonies in season with card and a new addition to my spring wardrobe with some pop colour excited me and I was ready to get going.

First stop, Granville Island – morning spent with another fellow Aussie Mum at Granville Island enjoying coffee and rustic pastries from Terra Breads (one of the best artisan bakeries in Vancouver).

Granville Island is literally an island in the centre of Vancouver. The area is called False Creek. A century and a half ago, it was a native fishing village however now it is home to approximately 260 businesses, studios and facilities. Although there are performing arts theatres, many attractions and entertainment for children it is also home to one of the largest Public Markets. I must mention there is fashion, jewellery, art and photography. However, the highlight for me and foodies alike can be the numerous food vendors which can become obsessive and addictive. Some of my favourites to name a few are:-

Oyama Sausage Company (amazing duck pate, terrines, speck and chorizo!). Oyama also sell green label products which do not contain any nitrates or nitrites. They claim that their other products are cured traditionally so the levels of sodium nitrite are much lower than that found in many organic green-leafy vegetables.

The Salmon Shop (Fresh BC salmon in many forms). I have learnt that 6000 pounds of salmon are sold every week in Granville Island’s Public Markets and I can believe it because it tastes so good!

Terra Breads (artisan bread, pastries). There is something delicious here to delight all. Say no more.

Petit Ami (organic and fair-trade coffee). This company is so passionately committed to the environment and ethically grown coffee. You can’t help feeling like you have made at least a small contribution to their grand efforts to run their business in an environmentally responsible way.

Next Stop, EPIC expo (which I will write about following this post) and then home to enjoy a sustainable seafood dinner prepared by my loving husband.

The star ingredients in this dish are BC Spot Prawns and Alaskan wild salmon. The BC Spot Prawns have a season of about 6-8 weeks and in May at the start of the season the False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf even celebrate a Spot Prawn festival which sells out quickly.

Risoni with lemon pepper prawns.

The inspiration of this recipe has come from delicious. magazine, Australia published on http://www.taste.com.au. I was very fortunate to have the pleasure of working with the AMAZING and SERIOUSLY talented food team led by Valli Little, Food Director on delicious. for several years.

I have just added the addition of salmon and asparagus (just in season here) and excluded the snow pea sprouts. The sweet taste of the prawns, meaty texture of the salmon as well as crunch of the greens makes for an exceptional choice for this time of year to take advantage of all the delectable produce on offer. What made it more of a treat is that it was prepared by my husband with Canadian Club in hand. There was just enough room to follow with a lime tart from Whole Foods Market.  Enjoy!