This year, spring break runs from March 14 to March 25 for most Lower Mainland schools. If you’re looking for fun activities to keep your kids busy during these two weeks, there are plenty of activities and events to choose from in and around Vancouver.
Visit Vancouver Aquarium
What: There are over 65,000 animals and over 30 exhibits to explore at Vancouver Aquarium, including the new Marine Mammal Rescue Exhibit that highlights the aquarium’s past and ongoing work in rescuing and rehabilitating marine mammals. Make sure to check out the 4D theatre screening of The Great Salmon Run. Then stop by the gift shop, Courtyard Cafe & Coffee Bar, and the Upstream Bar & Grill that overlooks the Steller’s Bay exhibit, along with the Marine Market just outside the aquarium’s main entrance. All seafood selections continue to be 100% Ocean Wise.
When: Open daily
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park – 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
Cost: Adults: $42 | Senior/Student: $36.75 | Child (3-12): $26.25 | Infant/Toddler (0-2): $0. Purchase tickets online
Spring Break at Britannia Mine Museum
What: The Britannia Mine Museum invites visitors to take part in the family-friendly “Mini Mud Monsters” activity in their Terralab STEAM learning space during spring break. During the interpreter-led drop-in sessions, participants will discover what microorganisms in freshwater ecosystems look like up close through magnification. Guests will also learn how these tiny animals help grow the understanding of the human impacts of metals and mining.
When: March 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26, and 27, 2021
Time: 1:30 pm to 4 pm
Where: Britannia Mine Museum – 150 Copper Drive, Britannia Beach
Cost: Drop-in programming included with general admission, purchase online
Skate Plaza at The Shipyards
What: The Shipyards’ large, covered outdoor plaza has been converted into a free ice rink for the season. The rink will be open to skating seven days a week from 12 to 7 pm.
The surface is approximately 12,000 sq ft and is covered by a retractable roof. Skaters can either bring their own skates or rent a pair of skates on-site, although quantities are limited. Helmets and skating aids are free. Figure skating and hockey will not be permitted at the rink.
When: Daily until March 28, 2022
Time: 1 to 8 pm
Where: The Shipyards Commons, North Vancouver
Admission: Free, skate rentals are available at a cost of $7 for adults and $5 for children (quantities are limited)
What: For the first time since 2019, Vancouverites can watch monster truck drivers go head-to-head at the PNE Pacific Coliseum. Eight world-class athletes will face off in Monster Jam, a test of speed and skill from March 18 to 20. Fans can ogle at the massive trucks up-close, meet their crews and drivers, and witness fierce rivalries unravel firsthand.
Monster truck drivers make driving a 12,000-pound machine look easy. Despite their enormous size, the vehicles can do backflips, vertical two-wheel tricks, and reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.
When: March 18 to 20, 2022
Time: 7 pm (Friday and Saturday), 1 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Where: Pacific Coliseum – 100 N Renfrew Street, Vancouver
Explore Maplewood Farm
What: Enjoy some quality time with the family at this quaint farm, which is home to a plethora of adorable animals, including sheep and donkeys. There are approximately 200 domestic farm animals and birds to meet at Maplewood Farm, plus you can bring your own fresh fruits and veggies to feed the bunnies. It’s a great kid-friendly activity that is open year-round rain or shine.
When: Daily from March to October. Closed on Mondays November through February. Also closed on Christmas Day.
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Address: 405 Seymour River Place, North Vancouver
Cost: $5.30-$9, reservation required. Purchase online
MARKET NEWS: BANK OF CANADA HIKES KEY INTEREST RATE TO 0.5%
The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate to 0.5 per cent on Wednesday, a move that’s expected to be the first of a series of small rate hikes this year in an attempt to tame inflation that has risen to its highest point in decades.
It’s the first time the bank has raised its rate since 2018. Before the pandemic, the bank’s rate was 1.75 per cent, before it quickly slashed the rate down to 0.25 per cent to help the economy.
The Bank of Canada’s rate affects the rates that Canadian consumers get on things like mortgages, lines of credit and savings accounts at their own banks. While the bank has been telegraphing its plans to raise its rate to fight inflation for a while now, the bank acknowledged in its announcement Wednesday that inflation is heating up even faster than anticipated. The bank also cited factors beyond Canada’s borders as reasons for its move.
Investors think there could be as many as five more small rate hikes before the year 2022 is out. Adam Brown with BDO Canada told CBC News in an interview that there’s “no need to panic” but Wednesday’s move clearly shows that rates are finally going to start inching higher.
Lenders are already starting to move in reaction to the central bank’s hike. Royal Bank is raising its prime lending rate to 2.7 per cent, starting tomorrow, up from 2.45 per cent. The other big banks are expected to follow suit.
The cost of those hikes could add up fast. Right now, a qualified buyer looking to buy a $500,000 home with a $400,000 mortgage could easily get a 25-year variable loan at about one per cent. That would cost them $1,507 a month right now.
If the central bank raises its rate five times and that buyer’s lender matches the hikes, their monthly payment would jump to $1,842 a month — an increase of more than $300 every month.
The Bank of Canada cited the ongoing invasion of Ukraine as yet another factor that could influence inflation, or other parts of Canada’s economy. Among other things, Russia’s unprovoked attack on its neighbour has caused the price of commodities like fertilizer, natural gas and oil to skyrocket, as the country is a major producer of these items.
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