About West Side Family Place
Why West Side Family Place?
We know that raising children can be lonely, frustrating and sometimes bewildering. West Side Family Place provides a safe space for mothers, fathers, and caregivers with young children from all backgrounds to gather and play, free from judgement or long-term commitment.
Please come by anytime – Family Place is a great place to:
- Enjoy art, make-believe and story-time activities in the playroom
- Share a snack in our fully-equipped kitchen
- Have a coffee and chat with other parents in our cozy living room
- Explore safe, age-appropriate play equipment in our enclosed, outdoor playground
- A nurturing community of parents/caregivers and their children
- A stimulating daily drop-in five mornings and one afternoon a week that includes play-based exploration and a staff-led circle time
- A variety of parent education workshops focused on building relationships and strengthening families
- Theme Day activities including seasonal multicultural potluck meals and celebrations
- Music classes for babies and toddlers
- Toy lending and parenting resource libraries
- Information about child development
- Referral to other programs and services in the community
West Side Family Place values:
It has been said it takes a village to raise a child. On Vancouver’s west side, we are that village.
The story of West Side Family Place began in 1973. Ellen LeFevre and Mary Lynn Burke, were high school friends who met up again years later, each with two young toddlers in tow. It was the early 1970s, the beginning of the women’s movement, and a confusing time to be a mother, according to LeFevre. There was also growing awareness of how hard it is to parent in isolation and the toll this was having on families.
Their idea was to create a place where mothers with young children could get together to share their experiences and provide their kids a safe place to play.
It began in a small storefront on Sasamat and West 16th Avenue. Then WSFP moved to a bigger space with offices in the front and a warehouse-sized playroom in the back at Dunbar and Broadway. Then in 1993 came the decision to buy the two-storey house we now call home at 2819 West 11th Avenue.
WSFP was the very first such family place in Canada. It soon became the model for a whole network of similar organizations that now operate across the country.