Tamara Taggart’s 10 Summertime Family Fun Picks

How can a young family enjoy summer in Vancouver without breaking the bank? We asked popular CTV news personality Tamara Taggart

Credit: Kyrani Kanavaros

Tamara Taggart, CTV news anchor and hardworking mother, shares her favourite places to go and things to do in the summer

Local CTV news anchor Tamara Taggart and her family plan to stick around Vancouver for the summer — and enjoy many of the simple pleasures our sparkling city has to offer.

Luckily, Taggart and husband Dave Genn, along with their little crew — son Beckett (5), and daughters Zoë (4) and Poppy (2), have discovered loads of fun and mostly free things to do that not only get them outside but also allow them to enjoy some quality family time.

“I feel like my kids are excited by the simplest things, but that’s what I like about summer,” says Taggart. “It’s easy to find a million things for the kids, plus we are home-bodies, we live in a neighbourhood where we can walk to everything and just enjoy our backyard too.”

“Everything on my list is pretty simple, but that’s because I’m looking at it from a two-, four- and five-year-old [perspective]. At that age there’s nothing complicated; it’s all very easy and simple and genuine.”

Here are 10 of Taggart and her family’s favourite kid-friendly hot spots and things to do around town (or in their own backyard).

Granville Island

“We just started taking the kids there, they love Lee’s Donuts, the Kids Market, and we’ve taken a few classes at Arts Umbrella.” As far as the island’s water park? “We took Beckett when he was little, but we have never attempted it with all three children, because it scares me,” Taggart laughs. “The water park is a little adventurous for us; we like to keep everybody close to us. The kids love the buskers the most. They dance, and I think the odd busker appreciates that it draws a crowd. It’s a great place to take the kids, grab a snack and enjoy the view on a beautiful day.”

Beaver Lake in Stanley Park

“I used to go there every Sunday with my grandpa when I was a little girl. It’s so funny, you mention Beaver Lake to people and they have no idea where it is, but it’s right smack in the middle of Stanley Park,” Taggart smiles. “It’s this beautiful oasis, so peaceful and so lovely. We love going for a walk to look at the ducks, the frogs and the turtles. It just holds a really great memory for me, and I’m happy I can share that with the kids.”

Jericho Beach

“The kids love any beach, and I prefer Jericho myself. There is so much space, the view of the city is perfect, and there are lots of families around,” says Taggart. After a few sand castles are built, and shells and rocks collected, her kids are stoked. “To our kids it’s like we went down to California — they don’t know the difference,” she laughs. “It costs nothing and it’s 10 minutes away from home. The only thing that freaks me out is the sun. I don’t want them to burn, so I’m the mom that has all the umbrellas up and the 60 SPF sunscreen on everybody. I make sure everyone puts on their little hats and shirts too.”

Crescent Beach

It just wouldn’t be summer without a few cruises with ‘Poppa’ (Dave’s father) in his little vintage cigarette boat. “The kids love going out on it, and sitting beside the ‘captain’ — it’s so cute. We don’t do anything fancy, we just get out on the water and look for seals. Zoë has her binoculars, the dog comes on the boat with us and we all pile in,” says Taggart. “And, if we can time it so we are going under the bridge when a train is going over it — well, it just doesn’t get better than that. Not in Beckett’s eyes anyway.”

Credit: Kyrani Kanavaros

Lemonade Stand

“This is the first time that we’ve ever had our own lemonade stand. Where we live there is a lemonade stand on every single corner in the summer. We’re on a bike route, so if you plan it properly, there are a lot of thirsty cyclists who can’t resist some homemade lemonade,” laughs Taggart. The kids are excited about the stand that was especially built for them, and Zoë apparently has a head for business already. “She will upsell you. She’ll try to sell you a Rice Krispie square too,” Taggart chuckles.

Emma Lea Farms, Ladner

“For years, I’ve been going to this farm, which is owned by a great couple, Kevin and Joanne Husband,” says Taggart. “We see them a lot through the summer. Every few weeks, we bring the kids and pick berries. The kids love picking and making a mess, and of course, the ice cream and milkshakes afterwards. Plus, the Ladner farmers market happens on Sundays, so we try to hit both while we’re in the area.”

VanDusen Botanical Garden

“I feel like I know the garden so well. When I first started in television, I did the community calendars and we would shoot there all the time,” Taggart reflects. “We love going in the winter for Festival of Lights, but any time of year there is something to look at or do. In the summer, the gardens are beautiful and the kids love walking around the pond, looking at the flowers, the turtles and the fish, plus just running around.”

PNE Playland

“I asked Zoë the other day if there was any place in the world she would want to go, where would it be?” Taggart says. “Zoë answered, ‘Oh, that’s so easy: Playland.’ The kids love the shows and the food, and they go on every ride. They also love to play the games and win prizes. I’m sure we’ll go a few times this summer. I have a lot of my own memories from the PNE, and obviously my kids will too.”

Credit: Kyrani Kanavaros

Inflatable Pool

“Clothing is optional,” Taggart laughs. “As soon as it’s sunny, they want to know, when can we get the pool out? It’s so funny because it’s a tiny little pool and all three of them are in there — and it’s the cheapest entertainment. We fill it with three or four inches of water straight from the hose, freezing cold, with chunks of grass floating in it. They would stay in it all day if we let them.”

Queen Elizabeth Park

“We’re fans of the pond, the conservatory, the gardens, but most of all, the water fountain,” says Taggart. Known as the Dancing Waters fountain, the water feature in the centre of the park shoots up water a little at a time, then a little higher, before shooting straight up into the sky. “The kids lose their minds, they’re just captivated,” says Taggart. The duck pond in Queen Elizabeth Park is a big hit with the kids too. “Do not ever underestimate the power of a duck pond,” she laughs. “When you are that age, nothing is better and if there’s a couple of turtles in there? Come on!”

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.