Kitsilano Day Care Society in Search of New Home


What do you call a business relationship if you share a home for 38 years? Common Law?  According to the Kits Neighborhood House (KNH), the Kitsilano Day Care Society (KDS) is just another tenant, after jointly serving the community on the same site for almost 4 decades.  In a nutshell, It Bites. But like a jilted significant other, a bitter lesson learned. KDS hasn’t signed a lease since the 70’s, because we have always worked out our differences with KNH for the mutual benefit of the community. Now the daycare will be left homeless as of August 31st, and at the mercy of seemingly apathetic provincial and municipal government administrations. We shouldn’t have to beg for a child’s fundamental right to accessible quality child care in our community, but so far, assurances offered by the Premier have not come to fruition. Meanwhile, parents continue to work tirelessly to salvage their daycare.

Grant you, we can put on a world-class Olympics, shell out millions in tax dollars for a roof over BC Place stadium and even house chickens in our backyard, but when it comes to finding a corner for a viable full-day group child care program that is a non-profit society, operates at full capacity for 25 children under 6 years of age and has a two year wait list, well… that becomes just too much of a commitment.  Never mind the fact that working families rely on these essential community supports in order to make income to pay our taxes into the vortex of the BC economy. The government should keep in mind that children are the future, and people are going to make babies. More daycares, not less, would be ideal.

Anyone walking around Kitsilano on any given weekend will wonder, where did all these kids come from?  The playgrounds are stacked with tots, toddler programs are brimming at the max, and parents face daunting wait lists to get one of the less than 13 spots for every 100 children under 6 years of age in the Westside. The BC Atlas of Child Development shows that in the Westside, Kitsilano is the most densely populated area with children 0- 6 years of age and is at the most risk for early childhood vulnerability.  The Human Early Learning Partnerships (HELP) at UBC released a government-funded report with one of the recommendations to preserve and build on child care capacity in communities to reduce these risks.  The report states that risks for early childhood vulnerability are more populous in middle income families of which Kitsilano is a majority.  Out of all of the industrialized nations, UNICEF has graded Canada 1 out of 10 for investing in early childhood programs and BC is the lowest out of all the provinces in that regard… No Olympic medal there!

KDS comes from true Kitsilano roots after it started at 7th & Vine in the 70’s by KNH. Shortly after, the families in the community took over the Daycare and formed a Society.  This daycare has been built, supported and operated by the community and helped to nurture our children’s development in their readiness for Kindergarten.  Our hope is to preserve this legacy, despite the odds, for future generations and that some bright corner of Kitsilano will welcome KDS into their new home.

The KDS families need help in our fight to save our daycare and to relocate by August 31st.  Our petition is available at and any contacts for relocation would be greatly appreciated. You never know, you could be the one to help save the daycare!

KDS is hosting an Open House “Celebrating our Families” summer fun event on June 27th 11-2pm and welcomes the families in the community to join in the activities. Come join us and see what a truly special program we have.

Last modified: June 21, 2010

25 Responses to " Kitsilano Day Care Society in Search of New Home "

  1. Trent Carlson says:

    After 38 years of partnership would be nice to have Kits Neighborhood House articulate why they are unwilling to give preferential treatment to Kitsilano Day Care Society. Come on, time to speak up and put your cards on the table!

  2. Taylor Austin-Smith says:

    As a former student, I cannot believe the lack of political will in helping Kitsilano Day Care to relocate. They are willing to fund Kits House to redevelop their site, but have done nothing to help 25 working families who are without Day Care.

  3. Ilona says:

    It always seems that during an election all the candidates claim affordable childcare to be one of their priorities. This would be an opportunity for someone to show that it really is a priority by helping this daycare relocate.

  4. Sylvia says:

    Why is it our children and elders end up paying for our goverment’s follies? After running for 38 years I find it hard to believe that Kitsilano Day Care can’t be given some funding and a place to relocate. Good daycare for our children should be a reality – not an empty promise made by our politicians at election time!

  5. Bill Barilko says:

    Having lived in Kits since the late 70’s this is the first I’ve ever heard of a daycare @ Kits House-seriously.

    As to there being all kinds of children in this ‘hood-that is a falsehood-the simple truth is that most families can’t afford the place.

    If you want to see a family neighbourhood where most families live it apts/condos head to teeming Steveston Village-for a traditional family neighbourhood with detached homes Squamish will open you eyes.

    I also note that the VSB is closing schools all over the West Side-if there were the numbers of children some say why is school enrollment so low?

    And isn’t Kits House about to undergo extensive renovations?

  6. Jackie says:

    Bill, if you had tried to get full time day care for your child in recent years, you would know that a day care spot is like gold dust on the west side, particularly in Kitsilano. There are simply not enough child care centres to facilitate the growing numbers of young families in the area. This is not a falsehood, it is a fact, and any working parent or child care facility in the area would back this up. People are putting their children on wait lists when they are but a peanut in the womb! Shutting down a well respected and long-standing day care is absolutely disgusting.

    Kitsilano Day Care has been let down by Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, by Premier Gordon Campbell and by Mayor Gregor Robertson. Your are all supposed to look after the interests of the community. Shame on you.

  7. Karen says:

    The Federal Liberals had a national day care strategy that took them years to develop in consultation with communities across the country and parents alike. The Conservatives canned that in order to give us a paltry $ 100 per child per month. That covers nothing and doesn’t solve the problem. The Feds are just as complicit in this whole mess. Stephen Harper, time for you to step up too. Bring back the National Day Care strategy the Libs proposed. We were on the verge of something really good there – and politics pushed it aside! Shame, shame.

  8. Bill Barilko says:

    Somehow I doubt Stephen Harper reads this blog, nor any of the others blamed for the ills of the world.

  9. John T says:

    I suspect that the Bill Barilkos of the world are more to blame for the world’s ills than any politician’s broken promises.

    A 2 year waiting list should be more than ample proof that these facilities are needed.

    Support your local community, shame on people who are happy to discard 40 years of community support.

  10. Annie T says:

    Here here John T. Support your local community! Don’t allow Kitsilano Day care to close!

  11. Violet L. says:

    Kits Day Care is having a summer celebration this Sunday,June 27 from 11:00 to 2:00 and an Open House to raise awareness of our closure.We are inviting all families and neighbours. So Bill, this is your opportunity to come and meet the children you have never heard of.

  12. kec says:

    I think perhaps Bill Barilko has not left his home in daylight hours for a very long time. Everywhere you look there are people pushing strollers and hasn’t he noticed the maternity and baby stores along fourth???

    Shame on Kits Neighbourhood House for kicking out the daycare early under the guise of “pre-construction”. Obviously the daycare would need to relocate for construction, but to evict a longstanding daycare, knowing full well they have nowhere to go? How does that support the community or it’s families? With waitlists so long, what are families to do? Where will our children go?

    Shame on Premier Campbell as well, for breaking his promise to Kits Daycare, the families and worst of all our children. Please show some integrity and honour your word.

    Everyone please come support our daycare, families and children this Sunday.

  13. Bernie says:

    Well, that was quite a meeting at the Kits House open house this evening. A very annoyed ex-Kits preschool employee and a very passionate Daycare parent. As the parent said, “this is a neighbourhood house and it should be teaching our children acceptance, kindness and how to be a good neighbour. Not evicting 25 kids when they have no place to go. We need to teach the kids stability and to go with their heart!” Not behave in a business like fashion, but actually stand for neighbourlyness at a Neighbourhood House. Kits House needs to allow the Daycare to stay until the permits and zoning have been passed and their funding is in their pockets not just promised to them. Shame on you Kits House!! There is Karma and if you do this it will come back to you from 25 sides. Good luck with that.

  14. Bernie says:

    That’s Kits House preschool employee not the Daycare currently there.

  15. KDS parent says:

    Both of my children have attended the Kitsilano Day Care Society in the past 9 years and it is like a second home for us. I have lived in Kitsilano for over 20 years and that was the centre where I wanted to have my children attend even before they were conceived. The kids at the daycare love and respect the staff and thrive under their care. You just can’t get that kind of expertise off the street. As a community of families we need to speak out to protect this Gracious Space for our children. My family will be there on Sunday, June 27th 11-2.

    The Kitsilano Preschool is operated by the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House and not affiliated with the daycare. Thanks so much for clarifying.

  16. Bill Barilko says:

    “I think perhaps Bill Barilko has not left his home in daylight hours for a very long time. ”

    Hardly-in fact I live on the same street as Henry Hudson and have for closer to 20 years than 15.

    It seems that every year there are fewer and fewer kids walking to school when I’m leaving in the morning and crowds on the school grounds are quieter all the time-not because I’m going deaf but because there are fewer and fewer kids.

    Note that I remember Henry Hudson from as far back as 1970 so have something to compare present-day conditions to.

    Last month I was @ a dinner party @ a house on W 2nd (2800 block) and a guest from California asked “where are all the kids in this neighbourhood-where I come from this place would be alive with kids”?

    We explained to him that most people with children couldn’t afford to live in those grand old houses.

    I’m reminded of an old friend of mine who lived in a house west of McDonald-one day he asked his kid-“Why don’t you go outside and play with other kids”

    The child answered “There’s no one to play with”.

    Within a year they had bought a house in Coquitlam in a neighbourhood teeming with playmates.Maybe they didn’t live Happily Ever After but the children-he has two-do have more options not just television and each other.

    And No I am not responsible for the ills of this neighbourhood or the world-you have no idea of the work I’ve put back into this society by being a long term volunteer-the person who accused me is a very limited individual.

  17. Kits Folks says:

    Interesting comment Bill because I have lived in the same neighbourhood for over 25 years and know the principal at Hudson. I just spoke to him yesterday and he said that Hudson has had higher enrolment not less. Respect your opinion but the demographics for the Kits neighbourhood is definitely not less families or kids!

  18. auntietia says:

    Interesting comments re perceived vs. actual numbers of kids – when I was a kid in Vancouver in the 70s & 80s, we would go outside to play regularly, we’d take the bus on our own, walk to school on our own, etc. etc. Then teenage kids started to disappear in the Lower Mainland thanks to Clifford Olson, and in the early 90s little Michael Dunahee was kidnapped. After that, local parents became much more protective of their kids – so, fewer kids alone outside, fewer kids taking the bus or walking places, fewer impromptu kids’ play sessions – and more parents driving their kids a few blocks, more organized play dates.

    Seeing fewer kids on the streets doesn’t equal fewer kids living in the neighbourhood; in this case, I suspect it simply means that their “outside” time is more restricted than it was 30 or 40 years ago.

    More trustworthy markers of the number of children (current & expected) are, as kec observes, things like the number of maternity stores in Kits. They weren’t there even 10 or 20 years ago. Same with the children’s clothing stores, toy stores, etc.

    The point here is that this is a successful, well-run, well-loved, long-standing community organization, and it clearly has tremendous support from the many families that have benefited from its superb staff. The issue isn’t a lack of demand for KDS – they are consistently at capacity and have a waiting list. That is evidence enough that closing it would be a huge loss for local families, and for the neighbourhood as a whole.

  19. cl - child care worker says:

    I have some questions-how qualified are the neighbourhood house in running a 25 spot daycare. It seems crazy to me that the existing qualified staff at Kits Daycare are not aloud to operate the new space. I have worked at both establishments and know that the KNH are not going to run this daycare with the quality Kits daycare does. Just take a look at what they pay there other employees (very low) and talk to the very upset preschool teacher whom KNH made many false promises to. She ended up quitting due to the program not being run correctly. Do people want a high staff turn over for their children are do they want stable, experienced, caring caregivers that will be there to know and understand your children. Children are your future and we need to ensure the programs are being run properly as Kitsilano Daycare is. This is completely appalling-how neighbourly is the neighbourhood house – I though their purpose is to support the community not tear one very important one apart!?
    -Gordon Campbell – where is your help?

  20. Kits Folks says:

    Also because both parents have to work during the week the kids are in full day childcare programs during the work week, but boy on the weekends watch out! Another point is that young couples do move into the area preparing to stay and raise their children but if they can’t get spaces in the quality child care programs should they move out of the community to find these services or settle for suboptimal programs? And why should they have to?

  21. Isabelle S says:

    The KDC has been a wonderful childcare center for many years. Preparing children for the challenges in the world beyond preschool takes many hours of patience and endurance by the highly experienced staff at the preschool. Please save this school and help relocate the center. There are many families that need their young children to be taken care of in this community. By closing this day care there will be many families affected in every aspect. I just can’t see how this Hon. Prime Minister can make a decision after giving all assurances that the day care will remain open. Shame on you Mr. Prime Minister.

  22. Violet L. says:

    Today’s celebration was a complete success thanks to all of the parents, staff, volunteers, alumni, neighbours, politician, etc for helping out by setting up, cleaning up, donating, purchasing and showing up to have fun and honour our long-standing and much-loved Kitsilano Day Care Society. 5 news groups and MP Joyce Murray were in attendance and many parents and staff were interviewed.
    Please watch your TV’s this evening CTV, Global news and CBC (11:00 only) will broadcast our story at 6;00 and then probably again at 11:00.
    Thank you all again for all your support and loving words for the Daycare, the program and all the Staff. It was so wonderful to see the current children and lots of faces from the past,
    We are confident it will make a huge difference in locating a new site for the Day Care. WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT ! ! !

  23. Bev says:

    You did great with the media coverage. My husband & I with a 5 year old grandson & a close friend with a 2 1/2 year old at the Kits daycare – we just wrote to the mayor, premier & MP (& the neighbourhood house society)for that vancouver area to do someting ASAP about saving the daycare. . I hope others will do likewise.

  24. E Hart says:

    I am still amazed that the closure of the Daycare is happening. Common sense is not so common…why not wait until permits and funding are in place before ejecting 25 families onto the street? We’ve all walked past the giant hole in the ground at 8th and Vine. They have all the plans in place for redevelopment, and yet, no diggers, no movement. Will the Kits House Development falter as well, only to sit and gather dust as families scramble to find daycare? Where is the sense in this? And Bill, I have to say, my kids find plenty of other kids to play with. Come down to the beach, to the parks, to the playgrounds.We are blessed to be able to afford a place to live in Kits, and I am grateful for what I have. What I will no longer have is a daycare that has helped me raise my son into a caring and loving individual. It is only with the blood, sweat, and tears of these folks that I was able to go back to work, knowing my child had the absolute best of care. I looked at other daycares, and frankly, I was shocked to see how some of them ran. These people are my extended family, and I don’t want to see them close.The time is now for all politicians to rise to the occasion and actually DO SOMETHING. Now. Not tomorrow, not by letter, not by endless discussion, but by action.