Family day is just around the corner: Here are some cool ways to spend the day

Hilary Hagerman
Shine On

Today officially marks British Columbia’s first ever Family Day – and there are dozens of family-friendly events across the province to celebrate the day. Next Monday, people in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island will have their Family Day. In Manitoba it’s called Louis Riel Day, and in P.E.I. it’s called Islander Day.

Whether you’re a new parent, celebrating with your grown-up kids, single or spending the day with your significant other, there’s plenty of cool, fun (and cheap!) ways to spend the day.

If you are a young family

If the weather’s nice, why not spend some quality time with your kids outside? No matter what province you’re in, there’s countless ways to have fun. If you’re a family that loves to ski (and of course, if your little ones are old enough), dozens of ski resorts offer discounted lift tickets on Family Day – especially for children. Try to head out to the hill as early as possible to avoid the holiday skiers.

If that’s not your style, or if your children are still too young, why not try a trip to the zoo? Yes, it seems like zoos might be a warm-weather activity, but several zoos and aquariums across Canada stay open all winter long. While you won’t see all the animals you would in the summer, your kids can still see some of their favourite animals, including tigers, bears and gorillas.

And of course, most cities have a variety of family-oriented Family Day activities you can take park in. From winter carnivals and scavenger hunts to face painting and skating, check out your city’s local listings for these fun (and usually free) events.

If you are an adult family

Now that the children in your family have grown up, it’s a great time to check out attractions that adults can appreciate. Always wanted to take a family trip to a museum, art gallery or city attraction? Now’s the perfect time. Dozens of museums and galleries will have their doors open on Family Day – and some of them even offer a reduced rate and other cool additions. For example, The Vancouver Art Gallery is also hosting an outdoor concert by Juno-winning Canadian band Said The Whale.

If you are a couple

Why not celebrate a late Valentine’s Day? Family Day falls just a few days after the romantic day for most – but since it’s on a statutory holiday, you can dedicate the whole day to your significant other. Most movie theatres, shopping centres and restaurants are open on Family Day – so why not catch an afternoon matinee (cheaper and more intimate than an evening showing) and have a romantic dinner at that place you couldn’t get a table at on Valentine’s Day? If you’d rather make dinner, take a trip to your city’s local market – many are open on the holiday. Grab a coffee and stroll through the market, picking up healthy and delicious things for dinner along the way.

If you are single

Being single doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your day off. Whether you’d rather spend the day alone or friends, there’s so much you can do. If you want the day to be all about you, take a trip to your local shopping centre (most are open, check your local listings) for a new outfit and a manicure.

If you’d rather spend the day with others, call up your other single friends and have a girls’ day. You can partake in any of the free daytime activities your city offers (free skating, anyone?), go for a hike or head to the local bowling alley or movie theatre for a fun, easy-going time. Want to feel a little more pampered? Check out a local day spa. There’s relaxing services that even your pickiest friends will enjoy, and many spas offer a discount for groups.