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07 Feb, Tuesday
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Montreal Families

Guided Tour: Salon Maternite Paternite Enfants (Parents and Kids Fair)

Salon Maternité Paternité Enfants 2010/Parents and Kids Fair 2010
Schedule: April 8 to 11, 2010
Hours: Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Place Bonaventure, Montréal
Cost: $12 Adults, $10 seniors/students. Free for children 12 and under.
Website: www.parentsandkidsfair.com

Parents, it’s all about you.
The 18th annual Salon Maternité Paternité Enfants, an exposition of 350-plus vendors and service providers at Place Bonaventure goes out of its way to make you and your stroller feel welcome. With well-marked stroller entrances, volunteer Scouts to shlep strollers up stairs, and diaper-changing and breastfeeding areas, the event rolls out the red carpet out for its target market: expecting parents and those with kids age 0 to 6. If only all of Montreal were so baby-friendly!

Who should go?

The Salon will be most useful to expecting parents and parents of newborns. It offers a great overview of the local baby gear and service scene, providing an opportunity for some comparison shopping/research all in one place. Can’t decide between a Bébécar and a Quinny? Do a test-drive here. Considering cloth diapering? Get your questions answered here. Judging from the many pairs of newborn-pushing mothers arriving at the Salon today, it’s also just a good excuse to go out with a friend.

Those of us who already have toddlers/young children will be acquainted with many of the exhibitors, which range from multinationals like Babies R Us and Mexx Kids, to local cloth-diaper and baby-carrier companies, to toy makers, to chord blood and infertility service providers. Since many of us are interested in buying local, it’s super that the Salon helps spotlight and support a growing number of local mom- and parent-preneurs. Rather than buying a Snugli-brand baby carrier at the mall, for example, you’ll find various locally-made options here.

As the mother of a 5- and 2-year-old, I didn’t see much gear I would need at this stage of the game. Except for the Vespa 500 moped with “classic Italian styling”, which you have a chance to win in a draw at booth 500. It’s the perfect mom getaway vehicle!

What is there for kids to do?

Well, there’s a giant sand pit in the midst of all the booths, which is pretty darn cool. This is a great place to park toddlers who are prone to tearing off in large, crowded areas. If one parent can watch the child(ren) there, the other can browse booths and ask questions. There is also a small area where babies can crawl around, as well as children’s shows on the schedule (clowns, magician, mascot parade, etc.), and a free, drop-off childcare service, which is full of games and activities, at the entrance to the Salon, for age 2 and up.

Health, safety and lunch

The Salon hosts a number of health and safety-related booths, including representatives of midwifery and breastfeeding organizations, pool and fire safety experts, and child-identification services. There are also some scheduled talks on parenting issues. Conveniently, you can get lunch on-site, and eat in an area where highchairs and child-size picnic tables are provided. They really thought of everything.

Have you been to the Salon Maternité Paternité Enfants? What did you think?

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