Oct 242010

On Saturday, I went to the York House School Fall Market and I have to say, “It’s about time”. Every autumn, for the past 10+ years, I have passed the fair signs, which line Granville Street, and wondered what the event was like.

Now that I have a child, I’m always on the look-out for deals on books, DVDs and toys. I finally got it through my head how ridiculous it is to pay full price for new toys when most toys are used for such a short time. The used toys I buy are like new and at his age, Caden, doesn’t understand “brand spankin new”. If it’s new to him, he considers it “new”.

The fall market was extremely well organized. The Attic Treasures, Fashion Accessories and Fashion Repeats were located in an underground parking lot that seemed to go on forever. A Buzz Lightyear hockey jersey from Disney, a Seattle Mariners jersey and two Mickey Mouse baseball caps sum up my purchases in that area. The total came to a whopping $2.50.

I’d hate to tell you what I spent on toys, books and DVDs, so I won’t. Let’s just say we are all Franklin, Bob the Builder, and Diego-ed out. Not to mention the golf clubs, toy cars, new Crayola finger paints, new Playdough fun factory and new (yes, new meaning unopened) Aquadoodle mat, I purchased. The new stuff has been put away for Christmas.

If you happen to have a girl, you would have been in heaven, I couldn’t help but stop in my tracks when I saw the brand new $6 Easy Bake oven…sniff…sniff…I LOVED my Easy Bake Oven as a kid in all it’s orange retro glory. I was so tempted, but somehow I couldn’t see my son baking little cakes so off I went in search of Hot Wheels…sigh.  In my travels, I spotted a pile of Groovy Girls dolls priced a $1 each. That’s just silly, they retail for $15….double sigh.

Those were the highlights of the market for me. Although there was much more to see and do (eg: silent auction, bottle booth, cakewalk, haunted house), I was loaded down and broke so off we went. Had I been there on my own (ie: without husband and my “cutie pah-tootie”), I could have killed a couple of hours shopping but it wasn’t really a great place for small kids and husbands (at least my husband). Maybe I’ll get a chance next year.

Oct 042010


My hubby celebrated his birthday today. Yesterday, he told me that he wanted to go to Denny’s for a free breakfast. Sad but true. Regardless, that got me thinking. Where else could we get our hands on free food? It became a bit of an obsession for me, as I scoured the Internet into the night, looking for leads.

The result: Darryl ate a 13 oz T-bone steak, 2 eggs, hash browns and 2 pieces of toast for breakfast at Denny’s. His meal was free (regular price around $19). That was followed by a free BBQ Burger (regular price $9) at Vera’s burger shack for lunch. Later that afternoon, he downed a free scoop of key lime ice cream with blueberries from the Cold Stone Creamery (regular price around $4).

Unfortunately (or you could say fortunately), we had a birthday dinner to attend that night or we would have continued on our free food quest. We were on a roll (no pun intended).  Thankfully, we still have a week to use the Baskin Robbins coupon. Whew!

Next year, we’ll be more organized, so watch out. We’ll start earlier, travel farther and eat more. Why not, your birthday only comes around once a year. As a friend of mine likes to remind me, “Free is the best price”.

Let me know if you come across any more deals in Metro Vancouver area, I’d love to add them to the list.

Free Food (on Your Birthday) Guide

Note: Some of these deals require you bring another person to dine. Others want you to sign up well before your birthday; so sign up earlier so you don’t get left out in the cold.  Also, be sure to bring picture ID with you, just in case.

  • Dairy Queen – Free Blizzard if you upload your photo onto their facebook page. BOGO (buy one, get one) coupon upon joining the Blizzard Club, plus an email coupon for a blizzard on your birthday
  • Baskin Robbins – Free 2.5 oz scoop or 3 oz soft serve cone
  • Denny’s Restuarant – Free Grand Slam breakfast if you are alone OR you can choose anything off the menu if you dine with someone that orders an entree
  • Pajos Fish and Chips – Free small fish and chips and drink OR a burger, fries and drink
  • Vera’s Burger Shack – $10 gift certificate which you can use towards anything on the menu
  • Red Robin Restaurant – Free burger
  • Boston Pizza – My “spidey sense” tells me they have something (appy or dessert thing) but I can’t find it on their website. Can anybody confirm this one?
  • Milestones Grill and Bar – Free dessert (just ask, at least we did) or go online to get a birthday coupon where you eat free as long as you bring 3 friends with you who buy entrees ( I use the word “free” lightly).
  • Boathouse Restaurant – $25 coupon (I have a feeling that they ask you to bring paying customers with you…I’ll look into it)
  • Cold Stone Creamery – Free scoop of ice cream with one mix-in
May 162010


The VC Mayfair is not your everyday school fair. Yes, they have the obligatory baked goods, toys, books, sporting goods, and clothing for sale but they also have an International Food Fair and an “inflated playground” for kids.

Once again, I was first in line at the Toys and “man oh man” did I clean up. I nabbed a Fisher-Price Rock, Roll ‘N Ride Trike (reg $45), a Fisher Price Radio/Alarm Clock that talks, a battery operated fire engine, some toy cars, a Kawasaki Digital Drum Set (reg $45), a Kawasaki Musical Keyboard (reg $34), a cute wooden growth chart, a Crayola Crayon Maker (Reg $60), and a brand new (never opened) Fisher Price Fun to Imagine Power Sounds Workshop Tool Bench (reg $40). The kicker…I think I paid $35 for everything. Isn’t that just crazy? The trike was 6 bucks. That’s it, I’m never paying retail  for toys again.

The Internation Food Fair is unique. Here, you can buy Latin, Filipino, Korean, Greek, Indian, Japanese and Chinese food. There are also the typical hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza lurking around plus pancakes to be had in the morning.

Around back, beside O’Hagan field was every kids’ fantasy; a bright, bouncy village that included a farm, gianormous pirate ship, huge slide, and jungle. There was even an obstacle course with kids racing from within huge, clear plastic balls. I’ve never seen anyone so happy to be zipped inside a huge, inflated plastic bubble. These kids were hysterical. There were 2 areas appropriate for toddlers but the rest was definitely for bigger kids.

Talk about cheap entertainment for the kids, the entry fee was only $2. The fair is well-organized and the people volunteering are friendly and laid back. This is a fun way to spend part of your Saturday. The fair is usually held the second Saturday in May.

Vancouver College School
5400 Cartier Street,
Vancouver, BC