The 2020 BC Day Long weekend is going to be a little different because of the coronavirus. Gatherings of 50+ still aren’t allowed. In the Spring of 2020, a lot of events were canceled in the Fraser Valley due to the coronavirus including the Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival and others.
On Canada Day back on July 1 there were several events that took place online instead like The Virtual Surrey Canada Day festival that included music and cultural entertainment, and performances by a number of different artists including 54-40, Bif Naked, Colin James and many others. Similar to Canada Day some Vancouver BC Day festivals are planning to do online activities including the Pride Festival and the Powell Street Festival
Since it’s in the Fraser Valley and it normally opens on August 1 until September 15 we want to give a special mention to the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival. We heard it may be opening mid-August, and on their website, it says “Dates TBA.” See the link above for more details.
The White Rock Sea Festival usually takes place on the first weekend in August, but due to the coronavirus it has been canceled and is expected to return in 2021. You can always head to White Rock Beach this weekend and enjoy the sand, shops, restaurants, and the ocean on your own!
Long Weekend Activities in the Fraser Valley
Fort Langley Farmers Market, Saturday, opens at 9:00 for Seniors and 10:00 AM
Traces of Evidence is “An interesting pictorial showing White Rock, BC’s history, from the early beginnings as the Semiahmoo Homeland through early logging, to a thriving modern-day beach town.”
Did you know there was a boathouse on the famous White Rock Pier at one time? Speaking of the pier it looks like it has been a regular place to congregate for many decades. As you will read below, the video created a lot of questions for me which I will have to try and get answered somehow. If you know some of the answers, please feel free to comment.
The entire video is laid on a bed of nicely selected music and tasteful sound effects. If you’d like, look in YouTube notes for the music credits.
At 0:00 – 01:23 Traces of Evidence starts out paying pictorial homage to the Indigenous people who lived and still live in the area. Photos of Indigenous people are sprinkled throughout the video.
At 01:24 minutes the video starts to show the forestry that took place and shots of this are interspersed throughout the rest of the video too. There is one photo of a giant old-growth cedar which if you go for a walk in some of the local parks you will see remnants of today because the stumps still remain.
At 01:56 we begin to see photos of some of the people who moved here in the early 1900s. We see one of the first lumber mills and some of the first homes too.
03:10 – The railway eventually came to White Rock connecting the city to the U.S. and the rest of Metro Vancouver. It travels along White Rock beach where it still is today. There’s even a photo of a 1920’s food truck. I guess those have been around for a long time!
Then there are pictures of some of the first roads and a May Day celebration from 1937.
Around 6:00 minutes you will also see what appears to be the opening of The Peace Arch that is located at the Canada / U.S. border (I wonder how the lineups were back then?)
At 09:24 there are photos of school children and possibly one of the first school buildings. At 09:53 a school building is shown that Semiahmoo High Secondary would eventually be attached too for many years until it moved to 148th Street in Surrey.
At 10:59 there are photos of people in the military which makes me wonder, was there a military base in the area at one time?” and “did some of these soldiers go and fight in any of the World Wars?” Possibly World War II?
At 12:26 there are photos of Marine Drive, first called Washington Avenue, and a bus with the word “Vancouver” on it which must have taken people to and from Vancouver. What was the trip like back then?
15;15 – Apparently, there was quite a large fire at one point along Marine Drive.
Near the end of the video, we begin to White Rock resemble the way it looks today, minus the high rises. There are some photos of the Tour de White Rock, the well-known bike race that tests cyclists as they race up and down the city’s steep hill’s.
Following the Province of BC’s lead, the City of Surrey is taking a phased approach to recreation facilities, programs, and parks. Surrey’s approach is great for Public Health, but it can make it confusing to know what’s open and what’s not open? What activities are available and which ones aren’t. There’s also the challenge of what procedures have to be followed by recreation facility operators and people who want to participate in recreational activities. As many business owners and recreational facility staff are discovering, it’s an arduous process to fulfill all of the cleaning requirements and have people follow protocols. Thus the delay and reluctance to open facilities.
With all that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to investigate what’s open and what can you do as we move to phases in which facilities and activities are becoming available once again.
At the time of writing here are some of the things that you can and can’t do in the City of Surrey:
Want to read a book or watch a DVD? Even though Surrey’s major Civic facilities including Parks, Recreation, and Culture and Library facilities will remain closed until early September, However, Surrey’s libraries are open for take out service.
“The response from our community through the Resuming Library Services Survey was clear,” said Neelam Sahota, chair of the Board of Trustees of Surrey Libraries. “People are eager to borrow physical materials like books and DVDs and return the items they’ve had at home since March. However, people also told us that they’re not ready to come back into the branches for programming or browsing just yet.”*
To access the service you can either call one of the six participating branches or fill out an online form at www.surreylibraries.ca/takeout. You will be able to pick up your holds and return items when you arrange a pickup time.
Fitness Classes A common theme during COVID-19 is people complaining that they seem to be more prone to make unhealthy choices while they are stuck at home. That said, you may want to check out a fitness class. On July 19th Surrey Recreation announced that they will be opening a number of small group, outdoor fitness classes in parks. There are a variety of classes being offered that are intended to help you get out of the house and become healthy and active again with little or no equipment.
Staycation Definition – “a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.” ~ Oxford Languages
1_ You don’t have to travel far to feel like you have had a break. There are plenty of local bed and breakfasts, Airbnb’s, hotels and campsites to stay at just to give yourself a change of scenery and a break from your regular household routines. Here is where to stay in Langley https://www.tourism-langley.ca/business_type/stay/ Abbotsford https://tourismabbotsford.ca/stay/ and Surrey https://discoversurreybc.com/stay/
3_ We mentioned this for Father’s Day, but here it is again: Go Fishing You will have to do some research to find out where you can fish in the Fraser Valley because finding a place to fish that is open is a challenge right now. One place to start is the Fishing the Fraser Valley brought to you by BritishColumbia.com. Check out the guide and then contact the location that you think might suit you. It will ruin the surprise, but if the man in your life likes to fish, he will know if his favorite location is open, so you can always check with him first.
4_ Play Tourist in the Fraser Valley. When was the last time you visited historic Fort Langley or went for a walk down Marine Drive in White Rock? It hasn’t opened yet due to COVID-19, but when it does you could always go for a ride with Surrey’s Heritage Rail https://fvhrs.org/. Nearly every community in the Fraser Valley has a Museum. We also expect these to be opening soon and when they do, why not do a museum tour?
Here are some random ideas we collected from around the internet that can be done at home…
5_ Spa Day – Having spa days and pampering days was a favorite around our place when our girls still lived at home. You can do a DIY at-home spa day with a friend, go to a spa, or have the spa come to you. See https://tonjourspa.com/ to book a spa day with an esthetician who will come to you.
6_ Get moving! Vacations are a great time to start an exercise routine or to ramp it up a bit. Plus, there are plenty of new apps and videos to work out too. One of our favorite apps these days is the Nike Training Club app or NTC which is free. It has a whole range of workouts including yoga. See https://www.nike.com/ca/ntc-app
7_ Go camping… in your own yard. Break out the camping gear and pitch a tent in your own yard.
8_ Host your own film festival. Pick a theme like romcoms, action films, dramas, documentaries, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and more! Make some popcorn, grab your favorite beverage, and have some fun!
9_ Hold a house concert. Do you know a local artist or two that wouldn’t mind playing in your home by donation or for a certain ticket price? Book an artist, and invite some friends and family over. House concerts can be amazing. Do you want to hold a house concert and you’re not sure who to book? Check out side door for a list of artists who are willing to do house concerts and a list of “how to’s”
10_ Volunteer. What organization in your community could use some help? Do you have a friend or a family member who could use some help with yard work or some other chores? Volunteering can be invigorating, so be open to what can be done in your community.
All of us have experienced some level of loss during this COVID-19 pandemic. It ranges from canceled plans to loss of loved ones, loss of freedom to loss of safety while going about your job.
Large events have been canceled and while some of us are grieving a concert or sporting event we were looking forward to, many Fraser Valley residents have been faced with the decision about what to do about their upcoming weddings. As we head into summer, more and more people are having to make the decision to postpone or seriously alter their plans for how their wedding day will look.
Jenn Bateman, a Fraser Valley wedding officiant, has had a varied response from couples who had planned to get married this spring. “Some have just chosen to reschedule to 2021, some have chosen to forgo a large wedding and just have a small ceremony with under 10 people, and some people are having a simple ceremony this year and then we’re doing their big wedding, that they rescheduled next year, so essentially two ceremonies.”
There really are lots of options, though none of them ideal. Weddings take so much time, energy and money to plan and it can be really disappointing to give up the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. It can also be a beautiful experience.
Jenn says, “I’m a big believer that weddings don’t need to be long and drawn out in order to be special and meaningful. Starting a life together is intimate and special and deserves to feel that way, and sometimes all of the fanfare with big contemporary weddings can take some of that away. For those who choose to go ahead now- This unique circumstance of limiting weddings might be a chance for some couples to enter into that lifetime partnership in a really meaningful way. But it also deserves a celebration, so I’m hoping for a lot of one-year anniversary parties with family and friends so they get that too.”
When it comes to the practical moments of the ceremony, Jenn says she has had to make some changes, such as not touching the rings and bringing along separate pens for signing the paperwork, “I don’t come within six feet of any of the wedding guests and I make sure that the couple has checked with us about health measures beforehand. We definitely want to be able to accommodate people who still want to get married in the most simple way and still make it special for them”
Cody and Analea
One couple, Cody and Analea (Styles) Friesen held their wedding ceremony two weeks early after gathering restrictions were announced in March. They had planned on a very large wedding of 500 people and ended up having eighteen people in attendance, following the restrictions of no gatherings over fifty people that were set at the time. Cody says, “Our concern was more of ‘are we still able to get married’ because we were at the start of the COVID-19 wave, we didn’t have a lot to go off of.”
“This is why we moved the date up two weeks – worried that we would go into complete lockdown and [we would be] unable to get married at all,” adds Analea.
The Hardest Part
When asked what the hardest part of changing their wedding day was, Cody responds, “The hardest part was not having all of our guests there to witness and celebrate with us. As well as that everything about our day was different other than the person that we got to marry.“
“Losing the people,” adds Analea, “not even having our full wedding party or best friends or grandparents being able to attend was heartbreaking.”
Cody and Analea had a great plan when it came to sharing their ceremony with their invited guests. On April 4th, which was the date they had planned for their wedding, they uploaded and published the video from their wedding ceremony to YouTube and invited all their guests to join them for their “virtual wedding” They both went live on their Instagram and Facebook (dressed in their wedding suit and dress) to answer questions, explain what had happened, and watch their ceremony with everyone on YouTube.
An Unexpected Tiny Wedding
Even though their wedding wasn’t exactly what they had expected, there are still parts of it that they will look back on with fondness, “The beautiful intimacy of [the] tiny wedding was actually so amazing. There was less pressure and the ability to be so natural and real with one another. The support and love from our community even from a distance was heartwarming and so encouraging. The realization that all that really mattered was marrying this person – not any of the extra pieces – was so special.”
While communicating with your guests and the wedding party is at the top of the advice list, one of the most important things to remember is,
“Breathe,” says Cody, “this is not normal, and that’s okay. Keep the main thing the main thing. You are marrying the love of your life and that is enough”.
It Could Be Sad
Analea also has some advice for once the wedding day has passed and you’ve started your new life together, “realize it’s still going to be hard after the wedding. You’re going to be sad about what you lost and maybe struggle with disappointment, envy, and frustration, but it’s truly worth it. We’ve never regretted it for one second”.
Give and Take
Regardless of a pandemic, weddings are a time of giving and taking. So often brides and grooms think their wedding day will be exactly what they want, only to get to the planning stage and realize that their parents and other people close to them have ideas about what the day should look like too.
The Important Stuff
The wedding planning process is the perfect time to practice compromise, weighing what is really important to you and what you are willing to let go of. It seems like that is what couples are facing now, more than ever. Weighing what is the most important part of your event and making decisions based on what is best for you.
Whether you are facing a wedding that doesn’t look like what you always thought it would be, or you’re grieving the fact that you can’t be there for a wedding of someone close to you, this is a time to celebrate love, to celebrate commitment and care for one another, and to cheer on those people who are probably thinking a lot these days about vowing, “in sickness and in health”.
We are noticing Fraser Valley businesses are getting creative so that they can continue to serve their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, we invite you to continue to shop local!
One Fraser Valley business that caught our eye is the Twilight Drive-In. They are currently open and showing the movie Trolls World Tour and Dolittle. It sounds like a family night at the Drive-In! The only thing we would advise is to stay in your car if you can. See http://twilightdrivein.net/
The Passionate Home
Carrie Thachuk, owner of The Passionate Home in Langley City is responding to her customer’s requests with a “Show Your Love DIY Heart Project Pack.” As you may have seen local residents are displaying hearts in their windows to show support for health care workers and first responders and all those working on the front lines during the pandemic. The packs include a raw wood heart (18″ x 15″), a 4oz. Chalk Paint™ colour of your choice, and a free brush!
Carrie and The Passionate Home are providing safe curbside pick-up for all online orders from 11-3 weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays. Once you’ve placed your order they will contact you to arrange pick-up.
One of our most engaged with Facebook posts so far this month (April 2020) is about Well Seasoned owner Angie Quaale delivering food to the Langley Hospital. Well Seasoned is open 9 to 5 Monday to Friday and 10-4 Saturday and Sunday. On their website, they say they are “well-stocked and doing deliveries.” They also have ready-made meals for pick-up and delivery. See https://wellseasoned.ca/
Home-based business owners are getting creative, and why not? Many home-based businesses were online before the pandemic and set-up for online ordering and delivery.
Abbotsford resident and Epicure representative Becca Toews held and “Epic Quarantine Cooking Class” where she posted videos and recipes on Facebook and Instagram. She said, “With everything going on in the world I’m feeling extra anxious these days. Trying to take care of myself with good food and self-care. Becca listed products that she was adding to her meals to hopefully boost her immune system and keep her and her husband healthy while spending more time than usual at home. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/162588968180880/
Fun and Games
Local businesses like the Abbotsford’s Boardwalk Cafe and Games have had to quickly reinvent themselves because of the crisis. Normally a popular place to hang out with friends, play games and have some coffee and snacks, Boardwalk Cafe and Games had to close their doors to drop-in customers because of the pandemic. Owners Darin and Gabby Graham immediately started promoting their online store and selling board games with free delivery to Abbotsford residents. See https://squareup.com/store/boardwalk-cafe
Realtors are having to adjust how they are showing homes and doing business along with other business owners. To see how FV Lifestyle owner Mike Wilson is making adjustments to how he is showing homes see Showing a Home During COVID-19
Here are seven+ things you might consider doing while in historic Fort Langley…
Fort Langley has become a popular place to go and have a meal because of fabulous restaurants like Beatnix Bistro, The Little Donkey, Trading Post Brewery and Eatery and the Rail and River River Bistro just to name several of our favorites. As far as reviews and ratings go, according to Trip Advisor Beatnix Bistro is ranked no. 1 with Wendell’s at no. 2 (see “Drink coffee” below), and The Little Donkey at no.3.
Fort Langley has been a coffee shop destination for many years because of the famous Wendell’s Coffee Shop and Bakery. Wendell’s continues to be popular and some new fantastic cafes have arrived on the scene in recent years such as the Blacksmith Bakery (good food), The Lelam Arts and Cultural Café (nice location) and the Saba Café and Bistro (good food and coffee) just to name a few. Forget rankings for this category. We’ve had coffee and food at all of these cafes and they are all wonderful.
You have so many choices for excellent walks in and around Fort Langley. The Fort to Fort Trail, Derby Reach Park, Houston Trail Head, and Brae Island Regional Park all have to be some of the nicest places to walk or ride in the Fraser Valley. Houston Trail Head has a few challenging hills, but other than that all of these trails are quite easy to walk.
Fort Langley has become a favorite place for people to ride their bikes. With plenty of relatively quiet country roads, beautiful views and plenty of coffee shops and restaurants to greet you when your ride is over, it’s easy to see why Fort Langley has become such a popular cycling destination.
Fort Langley has plenty of interesting shops to choose from including Fort Langley Village Antiques Mall. Located in the heart of Fort Langley, Village Antiques Mall is a 10,000 square foot mall with 60 independent dealers.
If you want to expose your family to BC’s history, Fort Langley is certainly the place to go. Here are several venues you may want to check out…
The Fort Langley National Historic Site – Yes there is a fort in Fort Langley and it is the place where BC was proclaimed a British colony in 1858. At the Fort you can:
Explore the fort that was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1827
Watch blacksmithing, barrel-making or historic weapons demonstrations
Pan for gold and laugh along with an interpretive program.
Parking is free and the Fort is within walking distance to Fort Langley village.
The Langley Centennial Museum – The Langley Centennial Museum has a collection of over 8000 archival photographs, 9000 objects and 500 works of art. This collection spans hundreds of years and is a window on the past and present life of Langley and surrounding areas. 1
BC Farm Museum – If you don’t live on a farm or in a farming community, it’s easy to lose touch with our agricultural history. “The BC Farm Museum has the province’s largest collection of pioneer and agricultural artifacts.” 2 If you want your family to get back in touch with that history, the BC Farm Museum is an excellent place to do that.
CN Station – “The CN Station is one of the few remaining stations like it in western Canada, and the only surviving station from this era in the Langley region.” 3 Watch this interesting video from one of the children of the last station keepers. CN Station Interview
There is an abundance of fun and enjoyable activities in Fort Langley. Fort Langley has a wonderful village feel along with an interesting and rich history. There is an elementary school along with a full-service grocery store. Also, we forgot to mention above that there are plenty of good golf courses in the area. If you enjoy walking and riding your bike, Fort Langley is one of the premier places to live in the Fraser Valley.
For more information contact real estate specialist Mike Wilson.
Jordan Bateman, a Langley resident, made the Canadian national news last week during the Fraser Valley’s unusual deep freeze when they built an ice rink in their backyard. Jordan was watching the weather and could see that freezing temperatures were on the way. His son has only skated outdoors a few times because of the Fraser Valley’s mild winter temperatures.
Jordan went on YouTube to find instructions on how to build an outdoor ice rink. He says he found plenty of helpful information that helped him to put a plan into action
Jordan says he grew up a hockey fan and was inspired by people like Walter Gretzky who built a backyard rink for his famous hockey-playing son Wayne Gretzky.
Just before stepping on the ice for the first time Jordan’s son gave him a big hug and said “thank you, dad. This is the coolest thing ever.” Unfortunately, there was heavy snow the next day making the ice rink unuseable. After the snowfall, the weather cooperated and Jordan reported on his Facebook page that the rink was useable for at least 30 hours.
Ironically, even though Jordan is a big hockey fan and built this rink in his backyard, he doesn’t know how to skate.
It’s no secret that Halloween is coming up! With that being said we have got you guys covered when it comes to the top trending Halloween costumes this year, these may inspire you to create your own version or inform you what NOT to dress up as to stand out from the crowd! Whatever you decide to be, here are the top costumes for 2019.
Abbotsford is becoming quite famous for a few things, cafes being one of them. Whether you’re looking for 100% gluten-free baked goods, a place to open up your laptop and complete your work for the day, or a late-evening drink – these cafes offer something for people with all tastes.