Many of us Vancouverites have since grown up and moved into neighbouring communities and regions, and we’re frequently on the move in and out of Vancouver proper.
If you’re like me and have ferry trips and set times to depart from any of the Lower Mainland BC Ferry Terminals AND young kids or teenagers, sometimes a little bit of strategic planning can mean a much smoother drive for the parental unit and a lot less stress waiting for the boat.
One of our favourite stops between downtown Vancouver and the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal is the Park Royal Shopping Center. It’s literally on the way to the Upper Levels Highway; we take a left at Taylor Way instead of a right and there we are, with the added bonus of the dog-friendly Ambleside Park located south of the Future Shop parking lot entrance.
When our children were very young, the Gator Pit in Park Royal South was a critical tactical move on trips. This jungle gym is up away from the main traffic in the mall and offers a 4-level playground with slides, tunnels, nets and a ball pit. There’s nothing kids love more than other kids and running around. There’s a food service and latte bar for parents. (Sweet!) For an additional fee you can even leave your kids in the staff’s capable hands for up to two hours, so you can shop or get a quick haircut and get another checkmark on the done list for the day.
Now that our kids are pre-teen/teen, we’ve found Park Royal has grown with us, renovating and expanding to include not only the merchants you’d expect, but some you wouldn’t, like The Urban Tea Merchant (fabulous afternoon tea ‘experience’ for young and old), Roots for Kids, Sirens, and novelty favorites such as Beard Papa’s desserts, Cupcakes, LuLu Lemon Athletica, Kiss & Makeup, and a very groovy store for guys – and gals who like their clothes and shoes – called Intercept.
The teens could have spent the entire afternoon in Indigo Books, but found the attentiveness at La Senza overpowering and intimidating. “If I had a tail it would have been between my legs.” That is as much an indication they’re too young for La Senza as anything else!
The two 10 year olds didn’t click quite as much, but as soon as they found Old Navy they were in like flint and emerged with matching sweatshirts and flipflops from their pooled spending money, and they enjoyed doing the shopping and paying by themselves.
A trip to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for delectable candy apples had us ready for the quick drive to the terminal. We caught the Sunshine Coast boat like locals, with the stern doors spanking us on the way in, covered in red candy and caramel sprinkles and talking about next time.
PARK ROYAL SHOPPING CENTER
2002 Park Royal South
West Vancouver, BC