Family Day at Place des Arts


I have lived here in the V3H for over 6 years, and I’ve driven by Place des Arts in Maillardville countless times. I’d heard good things about it, and I was sort of curious about it, but I had never set foot inside. I enjoy art, but I feel sort of intimidated by it, too. Plus, I have a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old and the idea of bringing them into an art gallery is slightly … terrifying. So when we were offered a pass to Family Day at Place des Arts last Sunday I jumped at it. The event was billed as a non-intimidating, child-friendly, low-key way to interact with art. This sounded like it was right up my alley.

Outside the Place des Arts

The main event was local artist Eleanor Hannan, creating portraits using her sewing machine. Professional portrait model Monique posed, and the participants joined Eleanor in painting, colouring and sketching her portrait. I was very impressed by Monique’s ability to maintain her position and facial expression without moving for minutes at a time. And Eleanor was fabulous, demonstrating her work and interacting with the children.

Monique models while Eleanor Hannan demonstrates
Monique on the left, Eleanor Hannan on the right

Hannah drawing a portrait
My 4-year-old, Hannah, creating her own portrait

Leonore Peyton Salon
The Leonore Peyton Salon at Place des Arts

I have to say, I haven’t tried making a portrait of anyone in decades. I have an engineering degree, and I worked in high technology for 10 years. I’ve taken a lot of physics and math courses, and spent a lot of time in front of a computer screen, but not much time making my own art. It was really fun to explore my artistic side for the first time in living memory. And it was even better to share the experience with my husband and kids.

After some time working on our portraits, Place des Arts Event Coordinator Michael Fera led us in some theatre games. Michael is a co-founder of Hoarse Raven Theatre in Vancouver and worked with inner-city youth, using theatre as a tool to build character and self-esteem. He was great with the kids, and led us through all sorts of fun exercises.

Michael presenting theatre gamesTheatre games
Micheal leads the participants in theatre games

Throughout the event, participants were encouraged to come and go as they wished. In the lobby, there was a pinhole camera craft, and puppet-making. It was really, really kid-friendly, as the little ones followed their own whims in exploring and interacting with art.

Puppet making

Hannah creating a puppet show
Hannah performs with the puppet she made

Place des Arts is a great place to visit, at it turns out, regardless of your age. It is bright and open and inviting. There is a fabulous boutique with local art and handcrafts. In fact, the annual Christmas boutique will be starting up on November 12 and continuing until December 18, if you’re looking for some truly unique holiday gifts. And there are classes for all age groups and interests running all the time.

Lovely architectureChairs in the atrium
Scenes from the Place des Arts atrium

There are a few more fun, family events coming up at Place des Arts that you might be interested in. On Saturday, October 31 Mr.I’s Slightly Spooky Songs and Stories will be running from 3-4pm. The fabulous and fun Light up the Square will be running from 4-7pm on Saturday, December 5 to kick off the holiday season. And the next Family Day is scheduled for Sunday, February 21, 2010 from 1:30-3:30pm.

To find out more about what’s going on at Place des Arts, you can drop in and visit yourself at 1120 Brunette Avenue in Coquitlam [map]. You can also call them at 604.664.1636, email them at, or visit them online at

PS – If you are really curious, I talked a bit more about our day at Place des Arts, and shared my family’s artwork on my personal blog at

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  1. Krista Edwardson says:

    Place Des Arts is a gem in the Maillardville community, excellent programming and a beautiful setting. I wish the city of coquitlam would revitalize the Brunette corridor, for many it is the first thing they see when entering Coquitlam. With so much hertitage and the central location it is worth the investment.

    • It was our first time out there, and the building and the whole little area there is very cool. Next time we’ll spend more time with the kids exploring the grounds around Place Des Arts.


  1. […] being intimidated by it. Admission is $20 for a family of 4, or $5 per person. You can read about the great time our family enjoyed at Family Day back in October. For more information call 604.664.1636 or email […]