Monthly Archives: September 2017

Checklist for Host Families

The arrival of your Au Pair or Nanny is a very exciting time for every family! You’re welcoming a new member into your home and introducing them to your lives. Amidst getting to know each other and helping them settle in, you will also be explaining about your children, their routines, and the ins and outs of your daily schedules. To make this easier, we’ve compiled a checklist of important topics for parents to go over with their childcare providers:

Parenting Styles and Disciplining

  • Do you use positive reinforcement?
  • Do you take away privileges when your children aren’t listening?

Household/Family Rules

  • Not just for your kids but also for the adults in the home

Bedtime Routine

  • Do your children have a lights out curfew or sleep with a nightlight?
  • Do your kids have a special stuffed animal or blanket?
  • Are they allowed to stay up and read or have a snack before bed?

Using the Car

  • Is there a schedule, should they ask first?
  • Who pays for gas?

Inviting Guests Over

  • When is a good time?
  • Is it okay if you’re not home?

Emergencies

  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Home address and landline number

Communication and Expectations

  • When will we get together to talk again?
  • What do you expect from your time in Canada and as an Au Pair/Nanny?
  • What are your expectations as a parent?

Where to Au Pair – Calgary

Most people know Calgary as the centre of Canada’s energy industry, or the closest metropolitan centre to the Rocky Mountains and home of the world-renowned Calgary Stampede. Well Calgary is definitely all of those things, but it’s also so much more. Offering up a wide array of adventures and experiences, it’s easy to get involved in Calgary, making it a wonderful location to Au Pair that will keep you exploring the entire year!

Experience the city on a new level at the Taste of Calgary!

Taste of Calgary has been the city’s best outdoor food and beverage festival for 20 years! This is three days of pleasure as you sample food from restaurants, garden booths, and food trucks – vegetarian and gluten free options included. Discover Calgary’s global cuisines from a mix of unique restaurants and beverage companies. Plus get a taste of Calgary’s great musicians and shop at some of the most interesting market place vendors in the city. The festival also showcases demos by the finest chefs in the city, chef celebrities, authors, speakers, contests, showdowns and much more. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to spoil your taste buds and have fun! And since Taste of Calgary is free to attend and sample tickets can be purchased for only $1, it’s an accessible activity for everyone and the perfect way to learn more about Canadian cuisine.

Up and down and through and through – you’ll have the time of your life in the Rocky Mountains.

White water rafting, ice-climbing, mountaineering, rock climbing and skiing are just a few of the activities that the Rockies have to offer. A short hour drive from Calgary, the Rocky Mountains are the ultimate getaway for those who are at home in nature, those who only want to visit, and everyone in between. You could spend your entire year as an Au Pair traversing these breathtaking beauties and never get bored! The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 4800kms and are teeming with Canadian wildlife. It’s the ideal location to spot Canada’s national symbols: the Beaver and the Maple Leaf. Take your adventure to the next level by staying in the mountains for a few days and exploring the town of Banff and Banff National Park – the first National Park in Canada and the third worldwide. The park has over 1600kms of hiking trails, 2500 campsites and is bigger than 90 000 soccer fields. If you’re looking to experience the Canadian landscape, this is the place to do it!

Become part of a team at the Calgary Sport and Social Club.

Calgarians love to play sports and have fun! The Calgary Sport and Social Club was founded in 1996 to provide the ideal place for doing so. The goal of the CSSC is to encourage as many people as possible to ‘get in the game’. With a large variety of leagues, tournaments and events throughout the year, the CSSC offers something for everyone and with the option to register as an individual, with friends or with a full team, you could make this a weekly event with other Au Pairs in your area! The club also offers a variety of sponsor bars with different food and drink specials offered 7 days a week to players, so you can grab a bite to eat after your game and make your experience a social affair from start to finish. Get your workout in and catch up with your girls all at the same time!

Check out “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” at the Calgary Stampede!

With professional rodeo as its signature experience, the Calgary Stampede also features a vast array of arts and agricultural exhibits, musical performances, intriguing cuisine, shopping, and an extensive midway of rides and games. The captivating experience is unrivalled for variety and excitement. The ten-day event attracts over one million visitors per year and the Stampede spirit consumes the city! If you’re looking for the chance to integrate yourself into the culture, entwine yourself in the community, and learn the cowboy way – there is no better time! The official kick-off to the Calgary Stampede is the annual two and a half mile Stampede Parade featuring beautiful floats, bands, horses, celebrities and cultural performances, and each night’s rodeo event is followed by a spectacular fireworks show. Don’t forget to pick up a cowboy hat to commemorate your unforgettable experiences in “Cowtown!”

Known as the centre of Canada’s oil industry, Calgary will surprise you with its beauty, spectacle, and natural landscape. Consistently ranked as one of the top cities to live in worldwide, the city’s cleanliness, warm Chinook winds, and western heritage will capture your heart and make your stay in Canada the experience of a lifetime!

Where to Au Pair – Victoria, BC

Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is a unique blend of old world charm and new world experiences. As the capitol of British Columbia, Victoria represents the relaxed lifestyle of the west coast and offers visitors an escape from the hurried world. Strongly tied to the land and sea, the oldest city in the Pacific Northwest proudly offers everything a friendly, exciting and welcoming destination should, from ambient historic sites to breathtaking parks and beaches.

Visit a historic location you may recognize from the movies

Explore Hatley Park National Historic site, home to the Hatley Castle – originally owned by BC’s Lieutenant Governor, James Dunsmuir. Currently in use as the Royal Roads University, the castle has been a popular filming location in the past for shows such as The X Men Trilogy, Smallville, and Arrow.  While Hatley Castle is the centerpiece of the estate, there’s much more to the park: including gorgeous Japanese, Italian, and Rose formal gardens that follow Edwardian design; 15km of walking and hiking trails through old growth forest; a protected migratory bird sanctuary; an historic First Nations’ site; and a spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains across the Juan de Fuca Strait. You’ll find everything that makes the West Coast unforgettable only 20 minutes from downtown Victoria.

Victoria Film Festival

The Victoria Film Festival is the nucleus of the cinematic arts on Vancouver Island, screening more than 100 films over 10 days and hosting a variety of events. It’s a vibrant program celebrating the greatest storytelling medium of all time! The Victoria Film Festival brings the world to Victoria’s door as it showcases a diverse selection of Canadian and international films. This is a great event to invite other Au Pairs located on Vancouver Island or the Vancouver Mainland to attend – they will not want to miss the celebrations! Get a group together and check out the activities the Festival offers, view a few films and share your adventures in Canada!

Explore Victoria’s beautiful selection of Gardens and Parks

With six gardens in varying styles, you can experience every level of beauty and ambiance at the Butchart Gardens! With 4 seasons and a Christmas special, these gardens will be a staple of your time in Canada. They offer different activities for each season as well as events/concerts throughout the summer months. They also have a carousel for kids (making it a perfect day trip for your host kids) and the option of boat tours, giving you the inside scoop on the history of the area and a closer look at the wildlife! Speaking of wildlife, another must see of the area are the Victoria Butterfly Gardens – experience the beauty and curiosity of a tropical jungle up close as you observe frogs, tortoises, large iguanas, flamingos, tropical ducks, free flying birds, a large variety of fish, and thousands of butterflies (over 70 species)! Last but not least, be sure to check out Beacon Hill Park! This 200 acre park is one of downtown Victoria’s crown jewels with multiple lakes/ponds and bridges, a mini putt golf course and the Hill Children’s Farm that includes a hands-on experience in the goat pen – pet, groom and play with baby goats! If you’re looking for a beautiful yet quiet place for a walk, a summer’s picnic, or you would like get in a bit of bird watching, Beacon Hill Park is the perfect haven for you.

 Experience the Inner Harbour and tour the Parliament Buildings

This scenic patch of waterfront is the location of Victoria’s many tourist attractions, recreational activities, restaurants and shopping. For a special treat, have afternoon tea at the grand Empress Hotel or board a ferry for a harbor tour! But if that’s too much for you, this is also the perfect place for relaxed wandering: check out the many buskers along the sea walk; take a tour of the Legislative Assembly  of British Columbia (the parliament buildings); or pop in at Roberta’s Hats and see which era adorns your head the best! Finish off your day in a horse drawn carriage and take in the gorgeous view as the sun sets on the water.

Head to the beach!

Vancouver Island has unbeatable beaches and you’ll love exploring them in Victoria! If you’re looking to spend the day at the shore with your host kids, head to Willow Beach.  Just 15 minutes from downtown, this is one of Victoria’s most popular swimming locations. Its shallow, protected water is suitable for young children, while views of Discovery Island and Mount Baker make basking, swimming or paddling there just that much more beautiful. If you’re looking for more activity than a simple beach offers, you’ll love the French Beach Provincial Park! This park offers beautiful hiking trails through lush forests, and a sand and pebble beach where visitors can relax and enjoy a picnic or take a cool dip in the ocean. It’s also an ideal location for whale watching! You may spot roaming pods of resident killer whales offshore, as well as otters, seals and sea lions. French Beach is also a good spot to observe Bald eagles, ospreys and a variety of seabirds, making it a must see if you’re living as an Au Pair in this area!

If you’re looking for a relaxed and beautiful city to spend a year discovering Canada from, Victoria is the place for you! It’s ideal for Au Pairs as it is ripe with history, has a high student population due to the many colleges and universities in the area, and is easily accessible to the Mainland as well as the rest of the gorgeous island, providing you with endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. “The Garden City” is the perfect place to call “home” away from home.