Day Trip Ideas | It’s My Wedding Show

The holidays are a time to make memories with your loved ones and for some people that means getting engaged! Whether you are in the starting stages of your wedding planning or gathering the final touches, It’s My Wedding Show is something you won’t want to miss.

As the largest wedding show in the Fraser Valley, It’s My Wedding Show has everything you need to plan your big day. With vendors to suit every budget and style, come out and meet the Fraser Valley’s best wedding experts. This year’s show will be held at Tradex on January 13th & 14th. With can’t miss features like fashion shows, huge prize giveaways and appearances by Monte Durham from TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress it’s a must for any bride!


DAY TRIP IDEAS

We suggest grabbing your girls and making a day out of your trip to Abbotsford; besides, after all that wedding planning, you’re going to need a little fun and relaxation! Here are some ideas for activities to enjoy in Abbotsford after you attend the It’s My Wedding Show.
 



Champagne and Lace

You won’t be able to miss Champagne and Lace as you drive by their gorgeous window displays. As one of the Fraser Valley’s premiere bridal centers, this stop is an absolute must for any bride-to-be. Serving the Fraser Valley since 1986, they offer an amazing selection of gowns, shoes and attire. Pop in for a quick browse or make an appointment for a full bridal consultation.

33811 S Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC | champagneandlace.com

 

Ivana Teahouse

After finding your dream dress, you are only a short walk away from Historic Downtown Abbotsford and Ivana Teahouse! This beautiful space is the perfect place for a quick pit stop while you explore Abbotsford. Enjoy a traditional high tea experience complete with delicious (and Instagrammable) finger sandwiches, scones and cakes.

2626 Montrose Ave, Abbotsford, BC | ivanateahouse.ca
 

Shopping in Historic Downtown

Head down to Essendene and Montrose Avenues where a beautiful shopping district awaits. Visit one of the floral shops like Confetti Floral for arrangement ideas, and check out Montrose + George General Store for a selection of cute clothing and lifestyle products. If home décor is what you’re after, you won’t want to skip Spruce Collective. Create a Pinterest worthy atmosphere at home with their collection of locally curated vintage pieces.

Essendene & Montrose Avenues | downtownabbotsford.ca
 

Local Wineries

Round out your stay in Abbotsford with a trip to the wineries in the Mt. Lehman neighbourhood and cheers to a successful day! Mt Lehman Winery and Singletree Winery both offer an intimate tasting experience and are located only 2 kilometers apart.  Enjoying a glass of wine with the stunning views of the rolling hills as a backdrop is the perfect end to your day in Abbotsford!

Mt Lehman Winery | 5094 Mt Lehman Rd, Abbotsford, BC | mtlehmanwinery.com
Singletree Winery | 5782 Mt Lehman Rd, Abbotsford, BC | singletreewinery.com
 



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Top 5 Holiday Must Do’s in Abbotsford

Navigate your way through rooms of enchanting Christmas décor, pick-up vibrant winter greens, or escape to the country and experience what Mt. Lehman has to offer. Only a 40-minute drive from Vancouver so bundle up, and come on out to Abbotsford for the day. Better yet, make a weekend of it and enjoy all these holiday must do’s in the valley. Don’t forget to visit Santa at Highstreet while you’re in town!

Oh Christmas Tree

Nothing feels more festive than trimming a farm-fresh Christmas tree! Starting December 1st, Fir Valley Farms is welcoming everyone to come and choose their perfect pre-cut tree or, better yet, harvest one themselves.

  • Douglas Fir is a traditional choice, aromatizes with a sweet fragrance.
  • Noble Fir has excellent needle retention and stiff branches perfect for heavy ornaments.
  • Norway Spruce is whimsical, upward sweeping branches with an everlasting scent.
  • Fraser Fir has traits of a Noble Fir and Norway Spruce with excellent needle retention and an inviting aroma.
  • Grand Fir/Nordman Fir have softer needles with a robust citrus fragrance.
  • Blue Spruce is a rich dark green to powdery-blue needles.

Fir Valley Farms | 30077 Burgess Ave, Abbotsford, BC | firvalleyfarms.com
Ledgeview Tree Farm | 
36070 McKee Rd | facebook.com/Ledgeviewtreefarm

 

Visit Grandma Glenda

Celebrating its 28th year, Glenda’s Christmas Cottage is another can’t-miss destination that has become a local tradition. In fact, the parents coming today were the children who visited a generation ago. Navigate through rooms of enchanting Christmas décor, discovering rustic and classic ornaments and snow globes, that are sure to please even the hardest ones to buy for.  

Glenda’s Christmas Cottage | 4457 Mount Lehman Rd, Abbotsford, BC | glendaschristmas.com

 


Winter Greens and Florals

A destination garden centre specializing in vibrant winter greens, poinsettia arrangements, and home décor. From peaceful garden strolls to beautiful Holiday statement pieces, Tanglebank is all about Christmas cheer. Located at the same place is Brambles Bistro. Bring a friend and brunch or lunch, choosing from classic breakfast favourites infused with global flavours, or end your visit with a hot cocoa.

Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro | 29985 Downes Rd, Abbotsford, BC | tanglebank.com

 


Warm the Soul

Escape to the country and experience what Mt. Lehman has to offer this holiday season at Sojourn in the Valley on Dec. 2nd. Wander through the grounds at Tuscan Farm Gardens, sip a lavender latte, and leave with lavender-infused handcrafted soaps and body products. Enjoy the thousands of twinkling lights and unbelievable ornament selection at Glenda's

Sip and savour around the cozy fireplace at Brambles Bistro, and then visit our three local wineries. Seaside Pearl Winery and Singletree Winery will be serving mulled wine with local cheese from Mt. Lehman Cheese. Also, you can pick-up Singletree’s latest release, wine jellies to pair with charcuterie or give as hostess gift.  Mt. Lehman Winery will be playing Christmas tunes and featuring a Brawny Tawny Port tasting in the Barrel Room, accompanied by figs, local Mt. Lehman Cheese, and handmade chocolates by Chocolatas. 

Mt. Lehman Sojourn in the Country | mtlehmansojourn.com

 


Shopping Finds in Downtown Abby

In addition to hosting the Annual Winter Jubilee Christmas Festival on December 2nd, complete with pony rides, fireworks, Christmas carols, an artisan market, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Historic Downtown Abbotsford is also an eclectic place to shop and walk.

Shop the mix of small businesses, independent restaurants, and boutique stores to get awesome stocking stuffers and gifts. Highlights include curated vintage goods, clothing, apothecary goods, local florists, handcrafted pottery, jewelry, restored furniture, vinyl from every genre, new and used books, artisanal bakeries and cafés, and craft breweries. So. Much. To. Explore!

Historic Downtown | Essendene & Montrose Avenues | downtownabbotsford.ca
 


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Holiday Markets in Abbotsford



Heading into the holiday season, these free pop up Christmas Markets showcase Abbotsford's best artisans from crafts to local food. 
 

The Christmas Market at the Museum 

Featuring works by some of BC's finest and most gifted artisans and crafters, The Christmas Market is open daily for five days. You will find handmade items such as quilts, cards, glass art, and woodturning. 

Nov 20th - 25th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm | 1818 Clearbrook Rd. | Mennonite Heritage Museum

 

Maan Farms’ 3rd Christmas Market

Two back-to-back weekends with over 50 local vendors, a gift wrapping station by donation, Mama Maan's authentic eats, wine tasting with the wine expert Gaurav Maan, and delicious Country Kitchen sampling.

Nov 25th - 26th and Dec 2nd - 3rd from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm | 790 McKenzie Rd. | Maan Farms


Taste of the Market 

Lepp Farm invites you to meet the faces behind your favourite brands, with over vendors, and sample baked treats to smoked, cured and dried made right at Lepp. Get your Taste of the Market Passport stamped at each booth, and be entered to win a gift basket.

Dec 2nd from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm | 33966 Clayburn Rr. | Lepp Farm Market

 

Open Air Market at WINTER JUBILEE

Kick off the holiday season with your community at this annual tree lighting ceremony featuring an open-air marketplace full of local vendors in the heart of downtown. Bonus - live entertainment, a craft beer and wine garden, carollers, food trucks & more. 

Dec 2nd from 5:00pm to 9:00 pm | Essendene & Montrose Avenue | Downtown Abbotsford

Whether it’s attending a tree lighting, festival, or artisan market, we invite you to come and explore some timeless traditions and unwrap the holiday magic in Abbotsford. Find more seasonal events, go check out our calendar


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Abbotsford Shines Bright in the Valley

It's the most wonderful time of year and Abbotsford is celebrating with festive holiday shows, family-friendly festivals, dazzling tree lightings, and artisan events. Only a 40-minute drive from Vancouver, bundle up, grab a hot chocolate and come on out for the day. Better yet, make a weekend of it and spend the night!

Start the season at the 10th West Coast Christmas Show and Artisan Marketplace.

10th West Coast Christmas Show and Artisan Marketplace

From November 17th to 19th, the annual West Coast Christmas Show & Marketplace returns to Tradex. Unique gifts include everything from doll clothing, wooden toys, teepee play tents, hand-painted silk scarves, upcycled table décor, and beard balm to craft spirits, artisan fudge, candy, doll furniture, personalized ornaments, ugly Christmas sweaters, and reclaimed wood furniture.

  • 200+ Vendors to shop
  • Festival of Trees
  • Seasonal home décor and poinsettia baskets
  • Carving workshop
  • Breakfast with Santa & Santa’s Workshop and Elf Activity Area
  • Sounds of the holidays with live music
  • Culinary and wine presentations

Fraser Valley Tradex | 1190 Cornell St | www.westcoastchristmasshow.com
 

Abby’s First Christmas tree lighting of the season at Highstreet Shopping Centre.

Hightstreet’s Tree Lighting & Holiday Show

On November 18th at 5:00 pm, Highstreet hosts its annual Holiday Show and Tree Lighting. Every Saturday afterwards, from November 18th to December 16th, shoppers can enjoy a 30-minute show featuring a multi-media light display set to musical favourites, and photos with Santa every single day. Visit Highstreet’s oversized Holiday Gift Box, complete with a private experience allowing each family to have an intimate photo snap with Santa (and you can book online!)

  • Santa’s arrival and the lighting of a 65-foot Christmas tree
  • Meeting Rudolf, Frosty, and Spandy Andy the dancing elf
  • A 40-piece marching band, holiday dancers, and stilt walkers
  • A guaranteed snowfall

Highstreet | 3122 Mount Lehman Rd | www.highstreetfv.com
 



From the west side to the east, experience Winter Jubilee.

28th Winter Jubilee in Historic Downtown

On December 2nd, from 5:00 - 9:00 pm, Abby takes it ‘old school’ and celebrates its second tree lighting and evening marketplace in Historic Downtown. Local vibes include fresh eats, on-site craft beer and wine, over 30 local vendors, and many of Abby’s best-known retail shops. Admission is free and all ages are welcome!

  • The arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus
  • Live entertainment
  • Craft beer and wine garden
  • Photos with Santa
  • An open-air Artisan marketplace
  • Festive fireworks display

Historic Downtown Abbotsford | Montrose & Essendene Ave | www.downtownabbotsford.ca 


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6 Halloween Events for Kids

There's no shortage of kids inspired halloween events happening around the city. This week make your way through Maan Farms Haunted Corn Maze or a scary Scavenger Hunt around Highstreet. On Halloween bring the family to trick or treat around Downtown Abbotsford (at over 40 businesses!) or inside at Sevenoaks Mall. Let all of these events inspire your families spooky spirit while you #ExploreAbbotsford

The Land of Boo

Enjoy a super family-friendly Halloween Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win an iPad courtesy of London Drugs. Start in Central Plaza (outside of Cineplex Theatres) and make your way around the Podium Level stopping at each Halloween installation as you go.

Open Daily to Oct 31st | Highstreet | 3122 Mount Lehman Road

 

Maan Farms Haunted Corn Maze

Here's one for the older kids! Make your way through one of BC’s most terrifying haunted corn mazes, filled with creepy clowns, gouls and real chainsaws. Walk over the haunted bridge while making your way through the 10 shipping containers are placed throughout the maze, designed like haunted houses. *Recommended for guests 10 and older.

Oct 25 to 31st | Maan Farms | 790 McKenzie Rd

 

Trick or Treat Downtown

Loads of treats and lots of fun activities planned for kids with over 40 business's participating. Start off at Cobblestone Kitchenware's patio where you will get your trick or treating map! Bonus, Science World will be on hand to explore some Science On The Spot.

Oct 31, 2017 1:00pm - 5:00pm | Historic Downtown Abbotsford

 

Trick or Treat Sevenoaks

Enjoy a safe, warm and dry place to bring your ghosties for goodies. Look for the orange pumpkin for free candy at participating retailers for kids 10 and under while quantities last.

Oct 31, 2017 3:00pm - 4:00pm | Sevenoaks | 32900 South Fraser Way
 

Moo or Boo Ecodairy

The annual family-friendly indoor Halloween party! $4.00 per child ages 14 and under, & Adults party for free! Proceeds from this event will help support affordable, educational programs like spring & summer camps, Pro D Day camps, and special community events.

Oct 31, 2017 1:30pm - 5:30pm | EcoDairy | 1356 Sumas Way

 

Highstreet Party in the Plaza

A family-friendly Halloween evening at Highstreet! There will be a fun photo booth, live DJ, treats, balloon artists, and more! Trick or Treat at 8 themed installations and enjoy the Land of Boo Scavenger Hunt.

Oct 31, 2017 5:00pm - 7:00pm | Highstreet | 3122 Mount Lehman Rd
 



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Abby Hops - From Farm to Brewery

The fields in Sumas Prairie are budding with rows of vibrant, green hops to accommodate an exploding craft beer industry. Before the craft beer scene, decades ago, hop fields covered the Fraser Valley, but due to low demand, the hop crops were replaced. 

Today, they have come back full circle and are even celebrated at festivals like BC Hop Fest. Abbotsford’s climate with fertile soil and gentle breezes makes it one of the best hop-growing environments in the Pacific Northwest. See this short clip on how hops are harvested, right in time for the BC Hop Festival.
 

The Hop History

From 1902-1950, the BC Hop Co. operated over 300 acres of hop yards in the Fraser Valley. This rich history was what prompted a conversation between brewery owner, Paul Sweeting of Ravens Brewing Company, and local entrepreneurs Dwayne and Diane Stewart in 2014. Sweeting was looking for a place to grow hops, for his upcoming craft brewery which opened in 2015, and Stewart was looking for a way to generate new revenue for his family farm.

The first hop yards were installed in spring of 2015 and a modernized BC Hop Company was born. The entire processing plant was completed just in time for harvest in 2016. In collaboration with partner farmers, BC Hop Co. harvests and processes Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Cashmere and, the newly released –Lumberjack -- varieties.

“We recognized, early in our business development, that quality was fundamental to everything we would be doing. BC brewmasters are discriminating and demand the highest quality for the ingredients they use in their beer. We have been working hard with the amazing BC brewer community to bring more high quality BC-grown hops to every beer in BC, while helping to preserve family farms," states Dwayne Stewart, Owner of BC Hop Co. and founder of the BC Hop Festival.

Ravens Brewing Company is now using Abbotsford-grown and harvested hops! One of the first beers ever produced was Ravens’ West Coast Pale Ale, creating a strong, malty beer before adding a generous amount of Centennial and Cascade hops.  This hop-forward approach showcases some of the best hops that Abby has to offer.

“Raven’s Brewing is founded on creating approachable beers for our community while honouring the ingredients that make great beer. We celebrate Abbotsford whether it’s our Heritage Series with branded labels sharing Abby’s heritage or working with community partners to develop our products, from hop, strawberry, and raspberry farmers to coffee and bake shops and chocolatiers,” says owner, Paul Sweeting.

Examples include the Raspberry Hefeweizen, Coffee IPA showcasing BC-roasted coffee in a strong India Pale Ale, and a Hot Chocolate Porter featuring cocoa nibs sourced from ChocolaTas.

While Abby has always been proud of being a strong agricultural hub and sharing farm-to-table stories, it’s clear that our farm-to-brewery movement is just getting started.
 

Photo Credit for photos 1 - 4 to BC Hop Co. 


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Join Us As We Celebrate National Tourism Week


Simply stated, tourism matters.

It matters because it contributes to world citizenship by breaking down barriers, facilitating relationships, fostering connections and the sharing of cultures, and encouraging ambassadorship as people develop a sense of pride within their own communities.

From May 28 to June 3rd, Abbotsford is joining dozens of communities across British Columbia in recognition of National Tourism Week – a grassroots initiative aligning tourism organizations, businesses, and other partners around the common vision of supporting a tourism sector unencumbered by government policies and recognized for its robust contribution to the economy.

On a provincial level, BC’s tourism industry sees approximately 20M visitors each year year, contributing almost $16 billion in revenue to the economy. Locally, Abbotsford’s visitor economy experienced the third year in a row of record growth. Last year alone, the number of overnight visitors, staying in paid accommodations, increased by 7%, generating revenue that was 17% higher. Abbotsford benefitted from an estimated $32-$34M of economic activity.

To celebrate National Tourism Week, Tourism Abbotsford has created a video featuring five people who are immersed in the tourism world and can speak to the cultural value that tourism brings. The emerging themes were internal tourism (pride of community), recognizing our similarities (what we have in common is more prominent than our differences), and expanding our worldview as we engage with others and learn from one another.

“We see an internal tourism where people are proud of Abbotsford and we feel that tourism is how we broaden our sense of the world. Tourism enables us to reflect on commonalities that we have with other groups and we believe it helps to break down prejudices,” says Alyssa Short, Guest Services Manager at Highstreet Shopping Centre.

“Tourism acts as a leveler, highlighting our similarities, and encourages us to cross borders and become brand ambassadors,” states Judy Campbell, Co-owner and Production Manager at Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm and Meadery.

“Tourists come to meet a new ‘people’ but realize that we have more in common that not,” says Chris Buis, Co-owner of Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel.

“As we host tourists in our community, we see Abbotsford for the first time through their eyes.  It opens the door to diversity, from food to entertainment to landscape, and gives us the power to tell our story to the world—one of community, culture, family, and partnerships,” states Barb Roberts, Special Events and Film Coordinator for the City of Abbotsford.

“Appreciating the beauty of tulips isn’t something that just a certain race or gender can appreciate. I’ll see all ethnicities, age groups, and demographics coming out,” says Alexis Warmerdam, Founder of Bloom, The Abbotsford Tulip Festival.
  
Tourism is a powerful force that not only outpaces outpacing the overall economy, it enhances the amazing lifestyle we enjoy from recreational activity, resorts & restaurants, and wineries & breweries to museums & festivals and experiential adventures. It teaches us to embrace diversity, broaden our perspectives, and celebrate human connection.

From May 28 to June 3, share your favourite experiences with #TourismWeek    #BCTourismMatters

Abbotsford Welcomes Jane’s Walk: A Walking Conversation

From May 5 to 7th, Abbotsford welcomes Jane’s Walks-- multiple walking tours centred around the arts, food and culture, and architecture and neighbourhood change. 

Inspired by a woman named Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walks are designed to celebrate evolving neighbourhoods while engaging in discussion about community-based city building.

A little about Jane…Jane was not a trained city planner, but she was a concerned citizen who spent time observing city life. She formulated theories about what makes a city an amazing place to live, believed in walkable neighbourhoods and urban literacy, and championed the voices of local residents.

After passing away in 2006, a group of her friends decided to honour her by continuing her legacy and founding Jane’s Walk. Jane’s book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, positions her passion best with this impactful statement.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Free of charge, Tourism Abbotsford encourages everyone to join one of these inspirational walks, to explore new backyards, and meet some friendly faces. Better yet, to get involved and lead a new walk! Last year, over 1,000 walks took place in 212 cities, 36 countries, and 6 continents. 


May 5: Sketching Walk
The Sketching Walk will be led by Pat Maertz who is passionate about the arts, a member of local arts organizations and clubs, and leads a Saturday morning urban sketching group.
Time:   11:30 am to 12:30 pm

This easy, short walk (less than .5 km) is comprised of three to four locations (Trethewey House followed by Lakeside View, Kariton Art Gallery, and the Floating Boardwalk). Basic sketching material is provided, or participants may bring their own. Locations will be adapted according to the weather, and appropriate attire is recommended.


May 6: Food and Culture Walk
The Food and Culture Walk is led by UFV student, Sarah Speight.
Time:  1:30 am to 2:30 am

Designed to answer the questions, “How does local culture influence the food produced by international restaurants? And “How do international foods and culture influence the local foods that we produce?” It starts at Happy Hour Bubble Tea followed by a walk around Historic Downtown.


May 7:  Mid Century Modern and Changing Times
The Mid Century Modern and Changing Times Walk is led by urban historian, Marianne Fedori, and, homeowners, Aline Auger and Nova and Devin Hopkins.
Time:  1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

This is an informal walk designed to explore mid-century architecture, residential patterns, and neighbourhood change. Participants will discover some of Abbotsford's 1950s and 1960s’ cutting-edge residences, learn how new infill developments are leading to change, and how Abbotsford might best address the needs of increased density while preserving the context of an established neighbourhood. Photo Credit: Jane's Walk Abbotsford.

To kick-off Jane's Walk, there is a launch celebration planned for May 5th, from 11:00am – 1:00pm at Mill Lake Park.

To keep up to date on upcoming walks in your neighbourhood, follow Janes Walk at @janeswalkabby and tag your photos with #JanesWalkAbby.


Follow Abbotsford on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share along your journey with the hashtag #ExploreAbbotsford. We can't wait to see what you get up to!

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Abbotsford Shares Another First on the Innovation Stage

The renowned TED speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, was in Abbotsford a few weeks ago for the Learning Revolution event, hosted by Abbotsford Christian School. Videos of his famous talks to the prestigious TED Conference are the most viewed in the history of the organization, and have been seen by an estimated 350 million people in over 160 countries.



As Sir Ken presented his topic ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’, the audience was struck with an analogy he used to emphasize how our educational system is, artificially, producing output. With Abbotsford situated in one of the country’s most intensely farmed areas, this is an analogy that our community can relate to. Specifically, the move towards farmers embracing more natural practices. In the 1850s, Sir Ken spoke of the need to produce more food for the world’s rapidly increasing population, and some of the unintended circumstances the developing world experienced because of this push.

During the Industrial Revolution, the world witnessed another revolution only it was in farming, which was made possible by mechanization and the invention of chemical fertilizer. Essentially, we grew larger crops in less time. The downfall was the loss of natural protection, so we decided to apply chemical pesticides to prevent crop attacks. And, it worked for some time until we realized that we were destroying the planet, evident by soil erosion and chemical run-off. In fact, we changed the genetic make-up of some of our creatures. With the objective of maximizing output and yield, mankind used a chemical, mechanized approach to a natural, organic process. We are still facing the consequences, of this short-sighted approach, today.

The movement of returning to more sustainable farming methods has farmers focusing on the soil as opposed to the crop itself.  These farmers recognize that enriched soil creates healthy crops in the short and long term...that the methodology is sustainable.
Applying this analogy to our education system, similarly, we have, artificially, enhanced ‘growth and output’ in our schools by grouping children by age or gender. Further, we segment our students by isolating children of certain talents or, the opposite, where we remove children that don’t fit the traditional mold.  We pathologized a lack of interest in certain disciplines and continue to suggest medicating children so that they can cope with being different. A perfect example is the rise of ADD and ADHD diagnoses.

Just as organic farmers also realize the gifts of respecting the land, in which the crops grow, and allowing for a natural crop to yield a nutrient-rich harvest, great teachers take a holistic approach, focus on the culture of the classroom and recognize that a positive environment is conducive to natural development. These forward-thinking teachers connect their students to the external environment using tactics that allow them to interact and respond in a manner that plays to their natural talents and understand the world within them.

Sir Ken challenged his audience as he asked, “Why don't we get the best out of people?”  His answer was that it's because we educate people out of their creativity as we're told to become good workers as opposed to creative thinkers. Students with ‘restless’ minds are ignored or even stigmatized. 

Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe. It’s a race we can win if we treat our children differently and value their talents. Schools all over the world are fighting the headwind of conformity with innovation. A vocational school in Cambodia is developing patents and is giving support to turn them into businesses to combat regional poverty.   Oklahoma wants to become the state of creativity. Grace Living Centre created a classroom in the foyer of the retirement home and a Book Buddies Program where seniors were reading to kids. The result? Connecting the generations had the residents taking less depression medication and living longer, and the children were advancing more quickly than their peers.

A school in our own backyard has joined this movement. Abbotsford Christian School is re-thinking talent and ability by: re-imagining education, scaling innovation, and revolutionizing its approach to education.

This is another example of the innovation Abbotsford has always been known for whether it’s agriculture, food-processing, education, aerospace, or character development through initiatives, such as Character Abbotsford. Our ‘soil’, made up of forward-thinking people, businesses, and institutions, has repeatedly been recognized on the national and international stage for significant achievements. A community that nurtures the uniqueness of each child’s inherent gifts, creates a cultural fabric that is rich in creativity, transforming into a society where, as adults, they continue to innovate.

Finding opportunities in 2017

TRADEX, TOURISM ABBOTSFORD FOCUS TURNS TO OPPORTUNITIES, STRATEGIES FOR 5-YEAR PLANS

Excitement is brewing at Tradex and Tourism Abbotsford as the laser focus for 2017 and beyond turns to mining opportunities and strategies with the City of Abbotsford, clients, tourism stakeholders, staff and management to help Abbotsford and Tradex shine its public light even brighter.

“Following on the heels of our new Tourism strategic plan, we will be embarking on a five-year plan to identify the opportunities for Tradex to evolve its positioning and its use as a multi-purpose facility. This effort will be a collaboration that includes many points of view,” said Craig Nichols, Tourism Abbotsford/Tradex executive director.

“It was a lot of fun in 2016 to pause and reflect on 25 years of Tradex operations,” said Nichols. “It reaffirmed for us that we need to be proactive and innovative in our stewardship of the building to ensure we leave it in better hands for the next generation, like those that came before us did.”

“It was good to publicly recognize the people who helped get the facility built and operational. . . and for us to express our gratitude. During these past few months we learned a lot about the history of the facility through the Tradex anniversary blogs, and about some of the amazing shows and people responsible for hosting them. It was also satisfying to communicate the importance of Tradex as a community asset and an economic generator,” said Nichols.

While 2016 marked a year of celebration and enhancements to Tradex, including a new roof, sidewalk improvements, café seating, point-of-sale system, improved entranceway, and Wi-Fi upgrade, 2017 will not be as aggressive for building improvements, “but we will see what the five-year plan identifies and develop a business case to back up the best opportunities. It will help us to get energized as a team for the future.”

As the 25th anniversary sign comes down at Tradex and a winner for the celebration’s grand prize is announced in early Spring, Nichols said he is particularly excited about the arrival of the Canadian Business Aviation Association convention at Tradex in 2017 and again in 2019, tag-teaming with the Aerospace, Defence & Security Expo (ADSE) and the Abbotsford International Airshow to bring some 20 aircraft to indoor and outdoor displays.

“It aligns strategically with the City’s and Tourism Abbotsford’s goals of becoming a go-to place for the aerospace industry,” said Nichols.

He is also excited about the national Under 14 volleyball championship in 2017 and the possible expansion of Canada Woodworking West industry-based show from 60,000 to 120,000 square feet in October.

The mayor’s breakfast in May will again give Tradex an opportunity to “transform and showcase the building,” said Nichols.

Tradex’s ability to transform into a film location during its quieter summer and winter months is another opportunity. “We’ve had some success with that recently as a site for the Legends of Tomorrow television show. We’re developing that market, it would be great to hand a film production company the Tradex keys in our quieter time and say go to it!”