Waterfront Park: A Review

Waterfront Park is possibly located in the most beautiful spot in North Vancouver, with a picturesque view of Vancouver right from the harbour. Located near Lonsdale Quay and in a field of green, it has the potential to be both a tourist grab and a local haven for child’s play. I say potential, because as Curious Dad noted on the Vancouver Sun, it could well be “Metro Vancouver’s worst playground.” I would have to agree, actually.

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This is not a playground my kids have ever really asked to play with, despite our many trips to the area. It’s almost always empty, and probably with good read. It’s clunky and offers very few play possibilities, with hard-to climb structures, even for older kids. 

According to research by the Vancouver Sun author in 20011, Waterfront Park was constructed in 2000 and was scheduled to be revamped in 2013/2014. We can see this didn’t happen. I wonder if it ever will?! I would love to sit back and enjoy this view while my kids played (bonus, close to the Quay, many food options, and on-site washrooms). 

So, what do you think of this playground??

For more of my playground reviews, check out the full directory of North Vancouver Playgrounds.

Photo credit: Chad Skelton

Biking The Spirit Trail

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This weekend we biked the Spirit Trail from Shipbuilders’ Square in North Vancouver to John Lawson park in West Vancouver, a ride of about 8.5km in each direction. I’ve marked our start and end positions on the official Spirit Trail map, above. The Spirit Trail is almost entirely flat, except for a short incline section at the Harbourside West Overpass, which allows bikers and pedestrians to cross over the CN Rail lines. 

We rode with another family, so we had 4 adults (2 with toddler seats) and 2 kids (age 5.5). We rode part of the Spirit Trail last year, ending at Whole Foods for lunch, but this year decided to push further, since our kids very obviously were both faster and had more stamina for a longer ride. 

We made the trip there with a stop at a local playground about half way into the ride, to give the kids a chance to have a snack and take a break. On the return trip, the kids pushed through the entire ride with only a brief stop to chat with friends near the Kings Mill Walk Park section, which is a beautiful section of the ride. 

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The whole ride is very easy, paved, and with wide-paths for the majority of the time. The area near Park Royal requires some street riding (be careful on the bridge and at the intersection), and there can be a bit of pedestrian congestion on the trail in this area too, but generally speaking it’s a super fast ride. The only problematic part of the Spirit Trail is an “incomplete” section through the Mosquito Creek Marina / Squamish Nation, which is not marked well on all maps. It is hoped that an official passage through this area will be ready by 2016, but until then you either have to go around or hope someone at the Marina is generous enough to let you pass through the gated areas. 

If you’re in North Vancouver, this a great introduction to longer bike rides for younger kids, with forgiving paths and trails that can help you teach them the rules of safe biking (which come in handy on busy biking trails like at Stanley Park). 

Welch Park: A Review

Nestled in the Norgate Area, right on the Spirit Trail, is Welch Strip Park, also known more simply as Welch Park. This playground is quite shady, so it could use a bit of a power wash, but is otherwise in great condition. And never busy, which I do find quite odd. I would think this playground would be a huge attraction for families in the area, particularly those on bikes / run bikes / scooters / strollers. 

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Although Welch Park is not large, it does have an abundance of climbing equipment crammed into a compact play structure. We stopped here while biking to have a snack and play for a bit and the kids had a great time!

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For more of my playground reviews, check out the full directory of North Vancouver Playgrounds.

Loutet Playground: A Review

Loutet Park is located adjacent to the amazing Loutet Farm, a sustainable local farm that everyone needs to check out. The playground is part of a huge green field space right next to the farm, and would make for a great day outing at the local markets held at the farm (seasonal) and a visit to the playground.

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The playground is not huge, and isn’t going to entertain your kids for prolonged periods of time, but it’s quite a great neighbourhood spot. A lovely sandy area with diggers (which, in my opinion, are too high – maybe they need to add more sand?), some swings, and a play structure area with some seesaws rounds out the play space. The area is a washroom facility, which is a bonus. 

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For more of my playground reviews, check out the full directory of North Vancouver Playgrounds.

Parkgate Playground: A Review

Parkgate Park on the outskirts of Deep Cove is a playground that has a lot of untapped potential. The playground is well designed, but definitely in need of some TLC. The playground is situated in a beautiful open area surrounded by trees, with soccer fields and ball diamonds and a “Seniors Wellness Park” with fitness equipment close by. 

The playground itself is nicely designed, if not huge, but was quite dirty and in need of repairs when we visited last year:

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The park was missing some of its Tic Tac Toe pieces, which had been subject to some vandalism, and was quite in need of a power wash (which I notice is common at North Vancouver neighbourhood playgrounds that are not as well used). 

Given the beautiful situation of this park, plus on-site bonuses such as washrooms and a parking lot, I was left feeling wanting with this playground. Should it be bigger? With more unique equipment? I’m not sure why this playground failed to impress me, but it did.

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This is the Seniors Wellness Park:

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For more of my playground reviews, check out the full directory of North Vancouver Playgrounds.