The North Shore and young families

(October 31, 2016 )

By Cristina Padres

Last spring, I was having coffee in Lower Lonsdale with a friend. It was a sunny day and we were sitting by a window, watching many baby strollers pass us by. My friend, who doesn’t have any children, pointed out there seemed to be more babies in this area of the North Shore than in others. Even as a new mom and with my baby in tow, I didn’t entirely agree with him, after all it was one of the first sunny days of the season plus we were in one of the most walkable areas of our community. 

Turns out he was right. According to the 2015 Community Profile of the City of North Vancouver, Lower Lonsdale and Central Lonsdale have the absolute highest number of children and youth, while the population of young children (0 to 4 years of age) increased in the City of North Vancouver almost 5% from 2006 to 2011. But what makes the North Shore a magnet for families with young children?

I did a small insignificant poll with a group of moms that moved from the West End and other neighbourhoods in Vancouver to the North Shore. While one of the main reasons for moving to North Vancouver and West Vancouver is the promise of more square footage for their growing families, the fact that the North Shore is a family oriented community is also a big plus. “The hustle & bustle of downtown Vancouver is a little overwhelming for a new mother. The North Shore is mellower. I feel safer here with my son,” says Naomi, mother of 10-month-old Jaden. 

Both the West Vancouver Community Centre and North Vancouver Recreation and Culture (with its 10 community centres) offer many programs for babies and young children, some of which require prior registration but others are drop in. Some of these great programs are the Parent-Infant drop in (a great space to visit during the first year of a baby’s life), the Parent Child Mother Goose (a 10 week free program) and the Daddy and Me (a drop in Dads only playgroup for fathers and their children).Family Services of the North Shore offers Learning Together Through Play (LTTP), a drop in play-based early childhood developmental program. It currently has two locations, one next to Maplewood Farm and the other at the Lonsdale Quay Market. It is a free program that allows families to play and connect with each other.West Vancouver Memorial LibraryNorth Vancouver City Library, as well as the three North Vancouver District Libraries, offer storytime for babies and toddlers. 

“We bought our condo in presale, so we had to wait a really long time to be able to make the move from downtown. When we finally relocated to the North Shore during this past summer, I was about to give birth to my son. The move wasn’t easy. When we first arrived, we were one of the few residents at our building, but it was totally worth it. We couldn’t be happier,” Kelly says. 

Susan moved to Lower Lonsdale from Kitsilano a few months ago when her daughter was almost 2 years old. “We have easy access to downtown for work with the seabus. Living here is like having all the amenities of a suburb but still living in a city-like atmosphere (Lonsdale). We are surrounded by families, great schools, and there are so many activities for young children,” she adds.
“We didn't move from downtown, but when we arrived from overseas in 2008, there was no question we would live on the North Shore,” Lisa, a mom of two children ages 7 and 9, explains. “We wanted easy access to the mountains and the ocean, and also to find a friendly community in which to raise our kids and meet like-minded people. And that we did!”

If you are thinking of making a move to the North Shore, talk to Greg Pearson. With almost 18 years of experience under his belt, he will help you find the perfect home for your family.