Visiting Canada

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Trip to British Columbia with 4 kids

April 2007

We are planning a trip to British Columbia in July with another family, and our group will include 4 kids ranging from 18 months to almost 6.

I would like to see Vancouver and Victoria, and it might make sense to spend some part of the trip at Whistler, since our group includes an avid golfer and a mountain bike enthusiast, and the rest of us like to hike. I want to avoid the endless hopping from place to place, and so would like to stay part of the trip in either Vancouver or Victoria, taking day trips to see the other.

Would it be better to stay in Vancouver and visit Victoria, or vice versa? Any recommendations of places to stay? (We would prefer apartments or hotel suites with some kind of kitchen facilities). Should we drive to Whistler or take the train? Or is there some other hidden Canadian gem within a couple hours of Vancouver that we are missing and should visit instead? There's a little info in the archives but I would love to get other recommendations and ideas. Thanks! pc

I've been to Vancouver and Victoria, but not Whistler. You didn't mention how long the trip was, but these three places are each a good ways from each other. The older children might do better, but with four kids, I'd be more inclined to pick two places and do things locally. Victoria is lovely, but has limited activities; there might be more for families in Vancouver and Whistler. If you do stay in Victoria, the Fairmont Empress is the place to stay: or if you don't stay at least do high tea with the moms and older kids. Have fun!

Glacier National park (Canada side- Waterton)

Feb 2007

We are looking for recommendations for a hiking trip we are planning to Waterton - Glacier National Park. We have been told that the Canada side of the park (Waterton area) is a fabulous place to stay as a base for hiking etc. in the Park. We are looking for recommendations of where to stay in or near Waterton, where to hike, and any other logistical advice as we plan our trip. Thanks-- Lori

AP ran a story recently about a wonderful place to stay, Kilmorey Lodge, near Waterton in Canada...if you haven't seen the article already, you should check it out: .htm ***envious and would love to go there, too!

So maybe I'm a bit biased having grown up in Montana, but I just wanted to recommend that if you're in the Glacier area already, don't miss out on visiting Flathead Lake--it's just south of Glacier, only a few hours north of Missoula, and a WONDERFUL place for kids! I spent many summers there growing up and always had a blast. Flathead is a huge, beautiful lake, but if you'd like something more quiet, the Seely-Swan Valley (also south of the Park) is spotted with much smaller, private glacial lakes great for family camping. Penny

Where to go en route to Calgary/Banff

April 2006

Our family is planning a trip in August up toward Calgary-ish. My idea is that we'll go to Crater Lake and then head north and east...thru parts of Idaho, doubtful if we'll make it into Montana, but maybe the very northwestern section. From there we'd head south and west possibly to Vancouver, definately to Seattle and down thru Portland. I've checked the archives without much luck to find places of interest for 11, and 15 yo boys (plus mom and dad) in the Canadian Rockies, northern Idaho, and places en route. Likely well do motels, cottages etc, but possibility we'll camp (or do both). We're pretty up on Seattle and Portland and the Oregon and N. California coast. What I'm really looking for are places of interest north and east of Crater Lake. One BPN parent raved about a place called Black Cat Guest Ranch near Banff(sp?). Their website is really nice...I'm waiting to hear from them on their prices and availability (thanks for that). And thanks for any other ideas. June

This may be too far south for you, but en route to Yellowstone, we once stopped at a nat'l/state park called Valley of the Moon or Craters of the Moon (something like that) in the south/southeast corner of Idaho. It is a volcanic area that was very interesting for hiking and exploring. I think they tested the Mars Rover there. It will be on a map of Idaho. We spent only 1/2 day there and wish we had had a full day.

Also, I understand that the white water rafting on the Snake River is very good - probably great for your teen boys. Have fun! Janna

We had a fabulous trip to the Canadian Rockies last summer with our boys, ages 9 & 12. The area is unbelievably beautiful. Some of the places we stayed: Baker Creek Chalets, near Lake Louise, were charming. Tekarra Lodge, in Jasper, was also nice (both had little cabins that fit the entire family, with kitchens.) The boys liked walking the Columbia Ice Fields, though I thought they were only okay (they have receded a great deal since I had seen them as a child 30 years before). We did a lot of hiking and biking -- Up behind Lake Louise to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, Maligne Canyon, Valley of the Five Lakes. The boys also did some rock climbing, and we river rafted down the Athabasca. Love Canada

Canmore is the gateway to the Rockies; we only spent one night there so I can't speak to accomodations. But they had spectacular American Independence Day fireworks celebration!

You should probably buy a national park pass the first Canadian park you come to.

In Jasper -which is far more natural and less touristy than Banff-- I recommend staying at Patricia Lake if you can get a booking. They have pretty but unpretentious housekeeping cabins with very nice walks accessible right from your door. I stayed there twice as a teen myself, and just took my own family (then 12 and 13) there a few years back. Its very popular and many people come back year after year. The classic Jasper excursions are taking the tram to the top of Whistler (highly recommended!) and the Maligne Canyon and Spirit Lake. There is a boat cruise on Spirit Lake, but you can also canoe and possibly kayak. The drive out to the hot springs is worth it to spot bighorn (there is usually a herd of ewes near the parking lot) and mountain goats.

In Banff, which is beautiful but frankly pretty commercial, we stayed a couple of nights at the Douglas Fir Chalets and Condos. These are nothing special, but my daughters (12 and 13) who were by then somewhat tired of (1) being on top of Mom and Dad and(2)hiking *loved* the waterslides; we enjoyed making them pizza or pasta and then going out to eat ourselves. Between Calgary and Banff we happened across a state park with an enormous herd of largely free-ranging buffalo --an unexpected pleasure was watching them pour over the landscape. We could feel the earth shaking as they went past. But I'll be darned if I can remember the name of the place; it was not well marked and the entry road was unpaved. Chris

British Columbia recommendations?

March 2006

I checked the web site, and could use more recent leads....So...Any recommendations for great kid-friendly seafood restaurants(esp. shellfish), play grounds, beaches, hotels (with pool) or casual resorts (with swimming), Orca tours, etc. for our trip to BC in August? We will likely go to Whistler, Vancouver, central eastern coast of Vancouver Island and Victoria. Our kids are elementary-school-aged. Thanks! Travelin' Mom

We took our two kids to Vancouver Island a couple of summers ago. Our favorite stop was Tofino, on the middle-west coast. The beaches can be a bit brisk for swimming, but the kids had a great time. We stayed at the Crystal Cove, which is well-set up for kids and is on a beach with great tide-pools. If you go to Tofino, be sure to eat at Soba. Two chefs from fancy restaurants operating out of a catering truck. Yes, it looks funky but the food is as good as anything in Berkeley. The Rain Forest Cafe was also very good, but much pricier. We also stayed at Tigh-Na-Mara, which is a nice beach resort in Parksville with pool and beach. It's a much more developed area than Tofino, and the scenary wasn't as spectacular, but the water was warmer and we had a very nice time. In Victoria, we stayed at Swann's, which was comfortable. It wasn't as central as some places, but was very roomy accomodations (we got a two- bedroom) and we could walk to everything. You'll find a lot of information regarding BC on it's official website: Ann

Places to stay in the Canadian Rockies

March 2006

We're planning on taking our two sons (ages 6 & 8) to the Canadian Rockies this summer to do some easy hiking and enjoy the scenery. I saw a couple of recommendations in the archives (from 2003) for family-friendly places to stay and just want to know if anyone has other recommendations. We're looking for a lodge-type setting (room & meals) that would be comfortable for a family with two VERY active little boys. No white table cloth dinners! Thanks. Julie

I recommend that you check out Black Cat Guest Ranch (, near Banff. We stayed there on our honeymoon (7 years ago, before kids) and it was amazing. Really laid back and a lot of great hiking & riding, a hot tub at the end of the day, and great food in large portions. It was our home base for trips into Jasper and the nearby area. Check with them to see what age kids they will take- I remember a couple of families with kids around the 6-8 range. Chi-An

banff>Trip to Banff with 2 and 4 year olds

March 2005

We'll be attending a wedding over the 4th of July weekend in Banff, Canada. Can anyone recommend where to stay in the surrounding areas, need not be in Banff, itself? Also, can anyone recommend places to visit or things to do while we are there? We have 2 sons, 4 years old and 2 years old.

Two summers ago we stayed at the Banff Park Lodge and the Swiss Hotel. Both were fine. There are lots of places in town, we didn't see any that looked particularly icky from the outside. There is a town just outside the park entrance, can't remember the name, begins with a ''C''. That will be your only reasonably close option outside the park to stay. To do: walk up and down the main street, should have plenty of diversions for the kids. Take the gondola ride to the top of the mountain. Drive up to Lake Louise. Lots of hiking nearby, take a picnic lunch.

We stayed at Douglas Fir Resort, This is in Banff but outside the downtown area. At the time, our children were almost three years old and two months old. The place is not fancy, but very comfortable for families. We had a cabin with a regular bedroom plus a loft bedroom with multiple twin beds. Our cabin was at the far end of the resort away from the main road and backed up against some open space where we saw elk grazing most evenings. All for a very reasonable price. I would not want to be close to the road, so I would ask for a place in back. Ann

Fall trip to Canada - Montreal or Alberta?

March 2005

We are thinking of taking a trip with our toddler this fall to Canada and can't decide bewteen Montreal or Alberta (Lake Louise, etc.). Any recommendations on what might be better or kid-friendlier? Our child is a great traveler so longer flights are no big deal. Thanks WSP

I have been to Jasper in the National park [Alberta] twice now. I love it. It's a sweet little town, surrounded by 360 degree mountain views. Many lakes and outdoorsy things to do; can also visit the Icefield about 90 minutes away. The indoor swimming center also has a waterslide - though this last year I didn't even go there because I enjoy the lakes so much. Jasper has a couple hotels along with B type housing. Many residents rent out rooms/suites, from low end to high end. Many rentals are designed for families. Most places will give you a discount if you stay for a week. There are also cabins, various camping locations, and a hostel outside of town. Loves Canadian Rockies

But Montreal of course! It is beautiful in the fall. You get the European look, the French food without the attitude, very diverse people and you can practice your high school French while being able to do everything in English. Plenty to do in the city and you could take a 2 1/2 hour drive to Quebec City (one of the World Heritage City). Alberta is beautiful too if you prefer nature over culture. m

Skiing in Whistler BC w/18 mo old

Sept 2003

We are going skiing in Whistler in Feb. with an 18 month old and extended family, including another baby and 2 adult non- skiers. Any recommendations for a place to stay that's near the lifts but also has amenities for babies and non-skiers? Expensive is OK. debbie

You want to stay at the new Four Seasons at Whistler--it the Four Seasons' nicest resort, yet, and the service and amenities are non-pareil. Great food, too, and room service was very accommodating and inventive about my children's food needs/preferences--the ten year old is a sophisticate; the four-year-old is sure that he doesn't like most foods unless it's a ''sweetie.'' You also might spot some celebs while you are there. As an aside, Whistler is darn cold in the winter--bring and dress Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Wannabee

Lucky you! We go often with lots of family and kids. My father- in-law has a condo in a development called The Woods that is very close (short shuttle) to lifts and more importantly to me you can jump right on wonderful x-country trials. Try calling Wildflower Lodging (604)932-4113. He uses them and we use them when we need additional units in the Woods. Also, the Nanny Network is wonderful for childcare and will even provide all equipment needed from cribs, strollers, highchair etc... We have always had wonderful nannies and they try to give you the same one everytime so your kids really get attached to them. Sorry, I can't find Nanny Network number. Try info or Wildflower. Have a blast! Alison alison

Cabin near Jasper/Banff

March 2003

We'd like to take our two early-teen girls on a family vacation to the Canadian Rockies this summer. We're looking for an informal, house-keeping cabin-with-kitchen type place (or places). Ideally there should be nearby hiking and fishing available right there so the kids can get up early and fish, or throw a line in after dinner... Inside/near Jasper or Hinton preferred; we'll be taking day trips, but want to be within reasonable driving distance of the major sites. Chris

We stayed at the Patricia Lake Bungalows on Patricia Lake last fall and highly recommend them. Patricia Lake is about 5 minutes from downtown Jasper. The bungalows are well maintained and have kitchens and are located right on Patricia Lake where you can hike, canoe, and fish (I assume). It is a really beautiful setting. Check out their website for more info, prices, etc: Enjoy! Karen

I missed the question originally, so hope my comment is somewhere in the ballpark of the question asked. We've stayed at the Lake Pyramid Resort in Jasper last summer. It is a bit pricy and is run more like an upscale resort(We paid ~$140US per night), but we found the ambiance of the seculded lake setting slightly(10 minutes or so drive) away from the town relaxing and worthwhile. I think even the smallest studio units have at least a small living area with a gas fireplace and high cathdral ceilings. The best value in lodging though, were at B's (we drove around and sampled the rooms around town)that were very clean and tastfully run, both in Banff and Jasper area. Have fun! C