When Vancouverites think about starting a family, real estate conversations inevitably follow. Living in a one-bedroom condo downtown doesn’t have quite the same charm when your roommates are two kids under two years old. But moving out of your bachelor/bachelorette pad doesn’t mean the homeseeking adventure becomes any less exciting. In reality, choosing a new neighbourhood is anything but dull. Unless that new neighbourhood ends up being Topeka, Kansas, of course (no hard feelings, Topeka - you’re probably great).
But what is a “family-friendly” neighbourhood? And where can you find one in Greater Vancouver? Those questions and more are answered below. Let’s take a journey to Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood, AKA a place your family will love to call home.
What makes a neighbourhood family-friendly?
Time to kick it new school.
One of the crucial factors in choosing a family-friendly neighbourhood is access to quality schools. Education plays a vital role in shaping a child's future and living in an area with reputable schools ensures that your children receive the best possible education. That said, we know what you’re thinking. How can I evaluate a school without going full Billy Madison and enrolling in Kindergartens across BC?
Don’t worry. The Fraser Institute has you covered. These folks give report cards to schools themselves, very meta. And if you’re wondering how they come to their grades, it’s a combination of trusted factors like graduation rates, percentage of exams failed, and any existing gender gaps in language arts and math. Pretty cool.
Each of the featured neighbourhoods that we introduce below boasts excellent schools, providing a strong foundation for your children's academic journey. From highly-rated elementary schools to renowned high schools, these neighbourhoods prioritize education and offer a wide range of educational opportunities. They’re a smart choice if you’re looking for a family-friendly neighbourhood.
Close to home.
Family-friendly neighbourhoods place an emphasis on outdoor spaces and recreational facilities, making sure that your kids never have the chance to utter those two dreaded words, “I’m bored.”
The house is important, but getting out of it is equally as crucial when you have a family. And unlike your younger years, being a 45-minute train ride away from something to do probably won’t cut it when the kids are screaming.
Parks, playgrounds, waterparks and access to nature are amenities that every family-friendly neighbourhood needs to have in abundance. Community centres, sports facilities and libraries are also major assets to have nearby. You’ll thank yourself later.
Off the stat sheet.
Beyond tangible amenities, there are plenty of other qualities a family-friendly neighbourhood needs to possess to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Sidewalk-lined streets make for better dog or stroller walks, and trails make for memorable bike rides with the fam.
A sense of community is key, and friendly neighbours who support and look out for one another are something we’re all looking for in our next neighbourhood.
Neighbourhoods with a close-knit environment where children can build lasting friendships and parents can forge connections with other families are priceless. Your goal is to create a sense of belonging that extends beyond the front door.
The following neighbourhoods offer just that.
The top 5 family-friendly neighbourhoods in Greater Vancouver.
1. Ocean Park, South Surrey
This might just be the perfect place to grow up.
Located in South Surrey, Ocean Park is a haven for families seeking a coastal community lifestyle - not far from the water, not far from downtown White Rock. This neighbourhood boasts highly-regarded public schools like Ocean Cliff Elementary and Elgin Park Secondary, with top-rated private options like Southridge and White Rock Christian Academy both within driving distance.
You’re minutes away from Crescent Beach and very close to White Rock Beach, with Crescent Park, Dogwood Park, Kwomais Point Park and Fun Fun Park all nearby.
With its charming shops and local eateries, Ocean Park offers a vibrant community atmosphere that will make you feel right at home. It might be a touch far from Vancouver, but you have pretty much everything you need in this quaint, friendly community.
2. Ambleside, West Vancouver
Nestled in picturesque West Vancouver, Ambleside is renowned for its family-friendly environment. The neighbourhood is home to top-notch schools like West Vancouver Secondary and Ridgeview Elementary - the latter being one of the top-rated public elementary schools in the province as of 2022.
Ambleside Park, a waterfront gem, provides an ideal setting for family outings, picnics, and leisurely walks. The vibrant Ambleside Village offers a plethora of shops, restaurants, and cafes, providing endless options for family-friendly activities and gatherings. It might be on the high end when it comes to the cost of housing for neighbourhoods on our list, but there’s no denying that Ambleside is a fantastic place to raise a family.
3. Suter Brook, Port Moody
Suter Brook in Port Moody is a thriving community that offers a balanced lifestyle for families. This community is growing quickly and offers new families plenty to do - especially when the sun is shining.
Rocky Point Park is quite easily the best place for a picnic in the Tri-Cities, and it’s less than a 10-minute walk from Suter Brook. It features a spray park, a large playground, a pier, tons of open grass fields, a small amphitheatre, and even a selection of breweries for Mom and Dad to visit after a long day of fun. And did we mention Rocky Point Ice Cream? Tennis courts, trails, coffee shops, and the best pie in the Lower Mainland - Suter Brook has something for everyone.
With excellent schools like Heritage Mountain Elementary and Port Moody Secondary, education takes center stage in this neighbourhood. Suter Brook Village provides convenient access to a variety of shops, services, and family-friendly events throughout the year. The community-focused atmosphere makes Suter Brook an excellent choice for families searching for a new and welcoming neighbourhood.
4. Osprey Village, Pitt Meadows
The further east you go, the further your money goes. This is just one of the many reasons Pitt Meadows is drawing so much attention from homeseekers on REW.
Osprey Village in Pitt Meadows is a charming riverside community that embodies the spirit of family-friendly living. This is a neighbourhood centred around three incredible parks, two of which are nestled in vibrant residential communities. Shinglebolt Park and North Commons Park make for fantastic places to visit after school, while the Osprey Village Waterfront is home to Waterfront Commons Park for when you need to take in views of the river.
Families residing in Osprey Village have access to nearby schools such as Pitt Meadows Elementary and Pitt Meadows Secondary, while Meadowridge Private School is one of the top-rated schools in the province (but it’ll cost you).
The neighbourhood's centrepiece at Osprey Village offers a scenic backdrop with local shops, a community centre, and of course, the delicious Sweet Tooth Creamery, which is open throughout the warmer months. Ice cream is starting to become a theme on this list.
5. Dunbar-Southlands, Vancouver
Dunbar-Southlands, situated in Vancouver's west side, is a sought-after neighbourhood renowned for its family-friendly charm.
With esteemed schools like Lord Byng Secondary and Southlands Elementary, education is a top priority in this community. Lord Byng continues to be one of the top-rated public schools in the province, according to the Fraser Institute.
Families can enjoy the beauty of Pacific Spirit Regional Park, a vast expanse of nature that offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. The Sasamat Trail, Salish Trail, and St. George’s Trail are some local favourites. Memorial West Park, Musqueam Park, and Chaldecott Park also offer plenty of green space, and Dunbar Village provides a range of family-friendly amenities, including shops, restaurants, and recreational facilities, fostering a strong sense of community. Dunbar-Southlands is a fantastic place to call home.
Home is where your family is.
As you embark on your homeseeking adventure, the search for the perfect family-friendly neighbourhood can be both exciting and challenging. Hopefully, we’ve helped you navigate the vast landscape of Greater Vancouver and discover the neighbourhood that fits your family's needs. Whether it's access to quality schools, proximity to parks and amenities, or a welcoming community feel, the featured neighbourhoods above offer an ideal setting for many families across the province. And they might just be the next stop on your journey.
Choose a neighbourhood that resonates with you, and let the adventures unfold as you create lasting memories in a community that feels like home.