I decided to have a little more fun than usual with today's UBC Homes blog and what could be more fun than toys? As November prepares to cross over into its bottom half many households are getting their shopping lists ready for the holiday season. One of first things UBC area homeowners say they love about the community is the eclectic shopping mix that lines the streets going to and from UBC and Point Grey. West 10th, West Broadway, West 4th, and Dunbar make up a collective of boutique shops that can satisfy the most fickle. When it comes to children-centric stores you won't find a better place in Greater Vancouver to complete a holiday shopping checklist for the little one/s in your life. So for those of you getting a head start on your shopping I have provided my list of recommended children's toy stores near UBC:

1. Kaboodles Toy Store - 4449 West 10th Avenue

Kaboodles is everything you want from a neighborhood toy shop. They don't pack their shelves with the typical "as seen on TV" items you would find at a "big box" store. Instead they nurture your child's imagination and foster both fun and creativity with their collection of toys, arts, and crafts. The staff at Kaboodles actually loves kids and are very helpful. If you happen to stump them with a question about their inventory they are quick to hop on the phone and track down what you're looking for from one of their other stores located relatively near by. Visit www.kaboodlestoystore.com to learn more.

2. Kidsbooks - 3083 West Broadway

I know parents wouldn't be too happy with me if I didn't make sure to include something to encourage the gift of reading for their children which also equals quiet time around the home (sorry kids, don't blame me). But honestly, Kidsbooks on West Broadway is the BEST children's book store in the Lower Mainland. This colorful and expansive retail library is packed full of great reads for all ages - tots to teens. They also carry a selection of educational toys and stuffed animals and puppets. You can visit their store online at www.kidsbooks.ca but I definitely recommend arriving in person soon before the holiday season is in full swing.

3. Splash Toy Store - 4243 Dunbar Street

The main name of the game at Splash Toy Store on Dunbar Street is puzzles, building blocks (Playmobil, Lego, etc...), and games but they also carry the usual suspects of great toys often found at children's boutique shops. Splash is one of those places where you would feel comfortable dropping the kids off at while you go catch a movie, grab a latte, and come pick them up before heading home - but you know, don't actually do that. For more information on this Dunbar Street addition to the Best Toy Stores Near UBC list feel free to visit www.splashtoyshop.ca.

4. No Pirates Allowed - 2742 West 4th Avenue

No Pirates Allowed is known for their vast inventory of specialized brands of toys that encourage kids to put their thinking caps on while having loads of fun in the process. They carry top quality brands such as Djeco, Lilliputiens, Bruder, Hape, Plan, Think Fun and Calico among others you would never find in the WalMart toy department. Explore their website at www.nopiratesallowed.com for more information on this West 4th gem.

I hope I helped you get a head start on your holiday shopping. Stay tuned for future boutique store recommendations in the surrounding community, as again - this is one of the big benefits of buying a home near UBC. Not living here yet? Contact my UBC real estate office today and see what I mean.

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As I write today's blog post I make note of the fact that many new residents to the UBC area are now preparing to take possession of their new home at the end of the month. It is certainly an exciting time for these homeowners and even for myself - I take much pride in helping families find their perfect home within our endearing community. Anticipatory butterflies in the belly aside, a household relocation can also feel a little stressful, especially during this time of the year. It's not exactly the prime season for moving where you can throw on shorts and a t-shirt and dig into the moving process, nor can you tempt friends to help out with the promise of a post-move backyard BBQ with a cooler full of Corona. Nope, November is an entirely different animal when it comes to tackling a relocation. That is why I am here to provide my new and prospective homeowners with a few helpful tips to moving into the UBC area this month.


4 Tips to Moving into Your New Home in November

1. Weather-Proof the Moving Process


It goes without saying that you and anyone helping out in the November move should be dressed in plenty of layers to stay warm during the in and outside loading process. However you need to consider beyond that. Purchase shrink-wrap to wrap securely protect possessions sensitive to the often wet conditions of the month which always seem to fall on moving day. Tarps are also a good idea for items temporarily outdoors during the process. Also ensure the vehicle/s used in transport are prepared with tires appropriate for the potentially slippery roads while keeping a stock of road emergency supplies (antifreeze, cables, etc...) in the trunk.

2. Use the Long Weekend to Get the Bulk of the Work Done


The mid-month long weekend (Remembrance Day) of November offers the perfect opportunity to use a statutory day-off where both the career minded and student members of the household can complete the bulk of the packing and cleaning process. While of course we should all recognize Remembrance Day (ceremony attendance and other community gatherings) in our own way you will have plenty of time to dedicate the extra 24hrs to easing the load of moving day just two weeks away.


3. Don't Bury Your Seasonal Decor in Storage


The holiday season (including Christmas and various New Year celebrations) is approaching faster than you realize. For festive households with boxes of seasonal interior and exterior decor the chances are that your festive appendages are tucked away in-home or off-site storage at the moment. Be sure that when you are packing up in preparation for moving into your new home at the end of November (or December 1st) that you set aside all winter seasonal decorations so that you are not left overturning boxes while hurriedly trying to find them when it's time to decorate. Better yet, for those that ornamentally display holiday season enthusiasm in the home, why not use the move-in day to also decorate at the same time - two birds with one move, so to speak.


4. Remember to Stop & Enjoy the Season in the UBC Area


While this may not be the most logistically sound moving tip for November it is no less important. If you and your family are just now joining the UBC community for the first time when taking possession of your UBC home at the end of the month, then recognizing the importance of getting to know your community is a step in the best direction. There are many events taking place in the UBC area this month that will pass as we enter December. These events offer you and your family the opportunity to meet new people, form bonds and friendships, and develop a better understanding of your neighborhood so that when moving day arrives you will already feel like a part of the community - and you are! Be sure to take note of these up and coming events by checking in on my UBC real estate blog every week.

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