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HELLO AND GREETINGS FROM THE SPECTACULAR WEST COAST OF CANADA!
DO YOU FIT THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA?
*️ You would like a longer volunteer stay i.e. 2 weeks (or maybe even longer)
*️ You enjoy busy home life
*️ You have au pair/nanny/special needs caregiver experience
*️ Your English (spoken and written) is to a level that allows you to function independently (B1 or above)
*️ You are able to drive (preferred)
*️ You can provide personal references
*️PLEASE NOTE: In addition to volunteer support, we are also searching for an au pair/nanny/special needs caregiver to work on a paid ongoing basis, so let us know if you have suitable experience and are looking for more permanent work.
We are a family of 4 located on beautiful Bowen Island in British Columbia. My husband works in nearby Vancouver and I work at home. We have 2 great kids, ages 13 and 11, that attend school during the school year (September to June). We have 8 year old small friendly dog (American Cocker Spaniel), a hamster and some goldfish. We would love some help around the house (tidying, organizing, helping with laundry, helping with some cooking) plus someone to spend some time with our kids. Our 13 year old has some cognitive challenges so needs extra support.
WHAT BOWEN ISLAND IS LIKE
Shh... Bowen Island is known to us locals as a "best kept secret": It is a place that you can easily immerse yourself in pure nature yet amazingly still be so close to Greater Vancouver, a large urban center with all the associated amenities. It is a small island (6 km wide by 12 km long with a land area of 49.94 km2) situated in the middle of Howe Sound, about 3 km off the North Shore of Vancouver. It is a rural mountainous wilderness wonderland with lush green old growth forests, quiet and clean beaches, the ocean all around, and some tranquil lakes. It is remote, quiet, serene and peaceful and we love it this way. Most of us appreciate nature and love to watch: the colourful sunrises from the east and sunsets to the west; the deers graze on grass in our yards and on the roadsides; the eagles, vultures, ravens, geese, ducks and hummingbirds in action; the trees, plants and flowers change as the seasons change; the occasional dolphins, seals, otters, crabs, and other sea-life on the seashore; and the moon and the stars above at night. We have a small close knit community here with a population of only 3,500 full time residents and 1,500 extra seasonal residents (in summer) and many are young families. In and around Snug Cove, or the "Cove" as the locals call it, where the ferry lands, you will find limited amenities such a marina with its associated restaurant/pub and gift store, some other restaurants, some coffee shops, a public library, 2 clothing stores, 2 grocery stores, hair salon, barber, a post office, kayak and moped rentals (seasonal), the community recreation office and small gym, etc. Artisan Square, a little farther away, offers another restaurant, a medical doctor's office, alternative medicine offices, music lessons, a gym, yoga/exercise studio, a dance studio and office services. If you prefer the easier conveniences of city living, this placement may not be the one for you. However, being beside the mainland, there is easy opportunity to explore Vancouver and all that it offers during day trips.
The weather in our area is the mildest climate in Canada! It is normally sunny, dry and warm through the late spring, summer and early fall months (May to October) and then it becomes more cloudy and grey with intermittent rain, wind and stormy conditions through the late fall, winter and early spring months (November to April). We get an average of 2000 hours of sunshine per year and 150 to 180 cm of rain per year. In the summer the temperature normally runs 18 to 28 degrees Celsius. Luckily, our winters are normally very mild running from about 0 to 10 degrees Celsius, but we can experience frequent cold snaps with periods of freezing and occasional snowfall. Our varied weather patterns is what make this place so beautiful, lush and green.
HOW TO GET TO BOWEN ISLAND AND OUR HOUSE
From Downtown Vancouver, it requires a 30 minute bus or car ride along the North Shore of Vancouver's Upper Levels Sea - Sky Highway to get to Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver). From Horseshoe Bay you take a short 20 minute ferry ride as a walk on "foot passenger" or via car as a "car passenger" to Snug Cove (Bowen Island) where the ferry lands. Also, Cormorant Marine water taxi offers late night foot passenger service.
To get to our house, you leave the "Cove" and drive 10 minutes to the south side of the island. There is partial bus service on Bowen but it does not go the full way to our house so we can arrange pick up, usually at the ferry. Also hitchhiking is common practice and safe here.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️We hope to create a warm mutually supportive relationship with our guests and have them feel at home.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️You will get a chance to experience Canadian culture, how we live and hear about our experiences.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️We will get to learn about your culture, how you live and hear about your experiences.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️There is the opportunity for English language immersion and practice for those who would benefit from this.
WE NEED SOME HELP WITH THE FOLLOWING:
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Spending quality time with the kids, playing games, going for nature outings and doing other fun outings and activities
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Supervising and supporting the kids to do their activities of daily living (i.e to make breakfast and lunch, clean up after themselves, pack and unpack their backpacks, put their laundry away, help cook, etc.)
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Delivering or picking up kids from various activities (assuming you have a full driving license from your country)
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Possibly exposing the kids (and us parents) to your language and culture.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Assisting with cooking. We are trying new recipes and exposing the kids to a variety of new foods.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Assisting with day to day light housekeeping / maintenance / laundry / etc.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Assisting with household sorting and organizing, and consolidating and getting rid of numerous items.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Assisting with gardening.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Helping execute some home decorating projects.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Overall you would help free up some time so we can take care of some overdue and urgent priorities.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️We live in a 3+ bedroom, 2 level home with an expansive view of the ocean. It is in a remote and quiet neighbourhood so it is very peaceful here. One of the best things about our house is that is has huge windows and we get all day natural light year round.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️If you visit us, you will be staying in your own room on the 2nd floor of the house.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️The washrooms, bath/shower are shared with us.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️There is access to internet and access to a TV in a shared entertainment room.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️The kitchen is shared. For meals, you would make you own breakfast and lunch but normally we will eat dinner together. We will supply all the food including any of your favorites.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️We have a hot tub and trampoline outside.
THINGS TO DO ON BOWEN ISLAND (depending on the season...)
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Ocean activities: There is paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, sailing, crabbing, fishing (weather dependent). We have an old 35' cruiser/racer sailboat so there may be opportunity to join us and learn to sail (weather dependant).
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Lake activities: There is kayaking, canoeing, swimming and occasional skating (weather dependent)
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Land activities: The island, known as the "Rock" because of its hilly terrain, has many nature trails for walking, hiking, and running. Some people bike ride on the island, but it is challenging. Many people enjoy beachcombing. There is limited horseback riding.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Indoor activities: There is yoga classes, dance classes, fitness classes, pilates classes, barre classes, exercising in the gym, galleries, restaurants and coffee shops, occasional theatre and music events and 2 pubs.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Also there are outdoor and indoor community events and various
THINGS TO DO IN WEST VANCOUVER (20 minutes away)
There is lots to do there: hiking in the coastal mountain trails, going for beach walks, going skiing / snowshoeing / tubing at Cypress Mountain, visiting in the parks, visiting the West Van Community Centre with pools, ice rinks, and classes, visiting the 2 main shopping districts or the large shopping mall, going to community events and participating in volunteer opportunities.
THINGS TO DO IN NORTH VANCOUVER (30 minutes away)
There is endless opportunity for exploring there too: hiking in the coastal mountains trails, climbing up Grouse Mountain known to locals as doing the Grouse "Grind" (seasonal) or instead taking the scenic gondola up, skiing / snowshoeing / skating or visiting the resident bears / wolves at Grouse Mountain, skiing / snowshoeing at Seymour Mountain, visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge (a gorge with rushing water), visiting the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge, hiking in Lynn Valley Park, visiting the many community centres with pools / ice rinks / classes, and visiting the several shopping areas (Lonsdale, The Quay, Main Street, Marine Drive and Capilano Mall), going to community events, participating in volunteer opportunities or taking the seabus to Vancouver.
THINGS TO DO IN VANCOUVER (45 minutes away)
Vancouver and the associated suburbs is a huge urban city and offers so much. There are places to see such as Stanley Park (biking around is a great way), Kits Beach, Jericho Beach, Wreck Beach. There are numerous museums including the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver Museum, etc. There is UBC a large university, language schools, community centers, galleries and theatres to explore the arts.
THINGS TO DO IN SQUAMISH (45 minutes away)
This is home to the famous Stawamus Chief, a huge cliff-faced granite massif favoured by rock climbers. There are steep hiking trails around the back to access the three peaks that make up the massif, all giving views of Howe Sound and the surrounding coastal mountains. The gondola is an easier way to get up to see the views and take a hike. Kiteboarding and windsurfing are popular water sports in Squamish during the summer. Other tourist attractions in Squamish include Shannon Falls waterfall; river-rafting on the Elaho and Squamish rivers; snowmobiling on nearby Brohm Ridge; and bald eagle viewing in the community of Brackendale, which has one of North America's largest populations of bald eagles. Squamish is also a popular destination among Greater Vancouver hikers, mountaineers and backcountry skiers, who visit the large provincial parks in the surrounding coastal mountains.
THINGS TO DO IN WHISTLER (1 1/2 hours away)
Whistler is Canada’s favourite year-round destination. There's two huge majestic mountains and a vibrant base ski village, skiing and snowboarding, hiking and biking trails, four championship golf courses, shopping, restaurants and bars, some low cost accommodation, spas and arguably the best mountain bike park in the world.
THINGS TO DO ON THE SUNSHINE COAST (40 minutes away by ferry)
The Sunshine Coast is a 180 km stretch of paradise. Accessible by ferry or airplane at its south or north ends, the Sunshine Coast is part of the BC mainland. The Sunshine Coast is intersected by the large fjord of Jervis Inlet. On the southern part there is a string of quaint, coastal communities like Gibsons, Sechelt, and Pender Harbour provide ample opportunity to explore. It provides a perfect year round getaway for day trips or extended trips. Earl's Cove is the launch point and location of the 50 minute ferry service that takes cars and passengers to its terminal in Saltery Bay in the northern part of the region. Much like its southern counterpart, the northern Sunshine Coast is not an island, but adjacent inlets and mountainous terrain that have made road access impossible for now. You can also head over to Vancouver Island via the ferry terminal in Comox or to Texada Island via Powell River. The main town of Powell River has funky cafés, a craft brewery and restaurants. The north Coast is also home to the Sunshine Coast Trail – Canada’s longest free hut-to-hut hiking trail – as well as the Powell Forest Canoe Route. At the end of the road is Lund – a small, peaceful coastal village that is a haven for boaters. From here, water taxi to the white sand beaches of Savary Island, or kayak into Desolation Sound.
THINGS TO DO ON VANCOUVER ISLAND (1 1/2 hours away by ferry)
Just off Canada's far western coastline, Vancouver Island provides another natural playground for exploring the many sandy beaches, photographing snow capped mountains, biking down rugged trails, and hiking through some of the world's oldest and least-spoiled rainforests. Cowichan Valley, a picture-perfect place ideal for foodies and wine lovers. For an urban experience visit Victoria, the provincial capital that has a distinctly Mediterranean climate.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, variable days/hours