We say it time and time again: Vancouver moms are the best. In our Mom on the Street series we’re talking to many of you to find out what makes you awesome, and what you love about the neighbourhood you call home. Today we are going to feature one tough mommy: Allison Tai who has an incredibly strong spirit behind her. We are happy to hear what she has to say about our amazing city!
Mom on the Street Allison Tai
It’s the perfect place to raise an active family. I love being in one of the biggest cities in Canada but only a ten minute drive from some of the most beautiful hiking. I love the hills and the houses that spill across them. I love having the North Shore mountains as a backdrop. I love the variety of walking and running routes. I love feeling safe taking my kids on a bike ride on dedicated paths. I love the accessibility of fresh, healthy organic food. I love the ocean and the rainforest. I even love the rain and how it keeps us cool but not cold.
Why was it the perfect fit for you?
Everything about the city is a perfect fit for our family and our lifestyle. We can be outdoors all year round, have our pick of amazing hikes and be back in our own beds to sleep. There’s just so much to do. I can’t think of anywhere else that you can wake up in the morning and ask your kids if they want to ski or go to the beach.
What is one place you love to eat with your family, in Vancouver?
We’re a family of runners, so of course, we love bread. We often ride our bikes or head down post run to Beyond Bread on Alma and 4th. They have outrageously delicious coffee and hot chocolate made with quality imported chocolate. I’m totally addicted to their walnut fig bread. There’s no comparison between quality artisan food and packaged junk. You get spoiled in Vancouver… and you can never go back.
As a Vancouver mom on the street what does living here mean to you?
After having traveled pretty extensively, I’m convinced that this is the only place I’d want to call home. We are able to live an optimally balanced lifestyle here in Vancouver. We have access to fresh and affordable organic food. We have farmers markets, health foods in almost every corner store. We have some of the best tap water in the world. We have spectacular mountains, lakes, old growth forests… the ocean! We also have all the wonderful perks afforded by living in a big multicultural city.
I love the opportunities that you get from living in a big city. I’ve been able to participate in lots of great local races and the Tough Mudder Obstacle race in nearby Whistler. There is a great sense of camaraderie to pair up with members within your community – whether it’s members of your local gym or running club – to take on a new challenge together.
What neighborhood based events does your family always participate in and enjoy?
As runners, we love to attend family oriented races and outdoor events. We also love eating locally grown produce and live in East Vancouver, so we look forward to the Trout Lake Farmers Market and nurturing our daughters connection with food and the people that grow it.
What do you love to do together as a family?
We love our adventure days. Whether it’s hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, canoeing, running, cycling, swimming or just going for a long walk… for us it’s all about being together and enjoying this paradise that we are lucky to call home. Since having children, I’ve really learned to slow down and enjoy the little things in life. There’s no such thing as being in a hurry.
If you could change one thing about your neighborhood what would it be and why?
I knew everyone on my block growing up. We had water fights, dinner parties and we helped each other out. I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but I only know the name of one of my neighbors. I miss that connected community feel.
What things do you, and your family, do to give back to your community?
My husband does a lot of volunteer yoga and general fitness classes in the VGH area where he works. Part of our vision is getting people active who might otherwise not be. I coach running and fitness classes, so I feel good going to sleep at night. I feel like that’s the best way I can make Vancouver an even better place. That, and raising my children to be good Vancouverites of course.
What is the best part, in your opinion, of having your kids grow up in Vancouver?
Getting to submerge them in nature by day and tuck them snugly into their own beds at night. Kids need to feed their connection to nature, but in so many cities that’s just not possible.
Where are your favorite places to shop in Vancouver?
Hands down, Rackets and Runners is my favourite place to shop here in Vancouver. Yes, I’m obsessed with running apparel – but that’s not the only reason. I think a big part of its charm is that it’s run by a group of family and friends. You get the sense that they really care about you and the community. To be honest, I don’t love shopping, but I do love the independent Vancouver shops. We’ve all become a little disconnected with all the chains and online shopping, but when you hit a little gem like Rackets and Runners, it really reconnects you to what a community and your daily transactions should be like.
Thanks so much, Allison, for sharing your viewpoint as a Vancouver mom on the street! If you’d like to share the high points of your neighbourhood with us in an upcoming mom on the street feature, drop us a line at vancouvermom.ca/contact.
Allison Tai is a strong willed mother of two living here in Vancouver focusing on inspiring others in their physical fitness goals. Despite a tragic accident in 2006 this mother fought her way back to running and will once again be competing in Tough Mudder after a long and grueling recovery from some very substantial injuries. Her drive to keep on meeting and exceeding her goals is nothing short of inspirational for all moms here in our city!