If you’re raising a family in Vancouver there’s a lot to consider before buying a house. Chances are, you want your children to have access to all the best schools and extracurricular activities offered by a big city, along with the tranquil streets, safety and sense of community of a small town. If you're a first home buyer, the decision process can feel particularly daunting.
Luckily, Vancouver has an excellent selection of family-friendly neighbourhoods to meet these needs. And who wouldn’t want to raise their kids in North America's most liveable city?
The following neighbourhoods offer residential real estate, top schools and local activities perfect for families looking to get the most out of Vancouver.
West Point Grey
Nestled between nature and the University of British Columbia, you can take the kids to Spanish Banks Beach or Pacific Spirit Park every day in West Point Grey.
This area — one of the oldest in Vancouver — is the quintessential family neighbourhood, with a true community feel. West Point Grey is geared towards families and hosts annual events like the Point Grey Fiesta, a weekend-long carnival full of rides, crafts and music at Trimble Park.
Local elementary schools include Queen Elizabeth Elementary and Queen Mary Elementary, as well as Jules Quesnel Elementary which offers a top French Immersion program for families who want to raise their kids speaking both of Canada’s national languages. In terms of high schools, Lord Byng Secondary School features an impressive arts mini school program and West Point Grey Academy is considered one of B.C.’s top private schools.
Up and away on residential roads overlooking Vancouver, Dunbar tops most lists of family-friendly neighbourhoods in the city. Even restaurants here cater to children. Grab classic pancakes at Jethro’s Fine Grub or chat with friends while the kids enjoy the play area at Kokopelli Cafe on Dunbar Street.
Visit the Dunbar Community Centre for dance, ping pong and fitness classes. Inside the centre, you’ll find childminding services and play-based learning at Dunbar Memorial Preschool.
Dunbar is a stone’s throw from Point Grey, meaning that most of their school catchments overlap. Dunbar residents may also attend Kitchener Elementary School and Prince of Wales Secondary School, which offers one of the city’s best mini school enrichment programs and the TREK Outdoor Education program, a popular year-long option for grade 10 students.
Does your dream home include a charming front porch and a yard for the kids? This neighbourhood is appropriately named: residential life in Mount Pleasant is about as pleasant as it gets. Nearby amenities are an added bonus to the area’s tree-lined streets and stunning character homes.
Situated between the thriving arts and food scenes along Main Street and in Cambie Village, Mount Pleasant is close to community centres, local shops, restaurants and parks galore.
Schools include Mount Pleasant Elementary, David Livingstone Elementary and Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School, which has a rigorous mini school program for academically advanced students.
The West End
Tranquil tree-lined streets, pedestrian-only roads, stunning condo buildings and Victorian-style homes — it hardly sounds like the bustle of a downtown core. The West End is a residential world of its own within the heart of Vancouver's city centre.
Homes, townhouses and spacious condominiums attract families to the real estate here. Residents are steps from English Bay Beach, The Vancouver Aquatic Centre and Second Beach Pool. And Stanley Park essentially becomes your backyard, with 405 hectares of forest and family-friendly attractions, including numerous playgrounds, the Vancouver Aquarium, a water park and a miniature train ride.
Nearby schools include Lord Roberts Elementary and King George Secondary School, which offers an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme for students in grades 6 to 10.
Large yards and spacious homes combined with unbeatable access to breathtaking nature has attracted many families to the North Shore. Although completely connected to Vancouver by sea bus, bridges and highway, downtown North Vancouver is an urban centre in its own right.
Sick of a fast pace? Stroll along Lonsdale Quay or take a family-friendly hike through the beloved Lynn Canyon Park — you are spoiled for choice with local day trips and excursions.
North Vancouver has its own share of top elementary schools including St. Pius X Elementary and Holy Trinity Elementary. The area is also home to one of B.C.'s best private schools, the Vancouver Waldorf School, which offers programs from pre-school through to grade 12.
Vancouver is a family-friendly city with endless outdoor activities and urban programs to create lasting memories with your kids. These neighbourhoods have the real estate for families of any size and the communities to support them as they grow.