The birds are chirpin’, the tulips are bloomin’, and Abbotsford is filled with all those smells, tastes, and sounds of the season. Tick the best of Spring off your Abbotsford Bucket List! Share your adventures along the way with #AbbyBucketList.
Photo Credit: Bloom, The Abbotsford Tulip Festival
Stock up on British candy at the Clayburn Village Store.
Grab a flight of beer at Field House Brewing Co.
Photo Credit: Luke Liable
Take a walk around Mill Lake Park.
Photo Credit: Mona Lucas Photography
Try running for a cause in the Run for Water.
Taste a variety of local wines or have a picnic at SingleTree Winery.
Make a new friend at the Eco Dairy.
Get a team together for the Abbotsford Foam Festival.
Learn something new with a cooking class at Lepp Farm Market.
Pick up your Fraser Valley Experiences guide!
More from the Abby Blog:
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.
We've put together a collection of romantic ideas to help plan your weekend away in Abbotsford. Spend time wine tasting, trying gourmet farm to table meals, and relaxing at a cozy Bed and Breakfast.
WHERE TO STAY
Clayburn Village Bed and Breakfast
Venture back in time to 1906 with a visit to Historic Clayburn Village, home to this charming Victorian Residence that has been lovingly restored to its original elegance.
Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel
Situated at Pepin Brook Vineyard Estates, near the Abbotsford Airport, you will enjoy incredible views of beautiful Mt. Baker from these luxury suites, which take their inspiration from some classic romantic movies.
Sweet Dreams Luxury Inn
Providing relaxation and tranquility amidst the natural splendor of the 17 acre estate, this secluded inn makes for a peaceful stay located just minutes from Downtown Abbotsford.
WHERE TO VISIT
Historic Downtown Abbotsford
Take time to visit local favourites like Duft & Co. Bakehouse, Spruce Collective & Bow and Stern while you explore all the unique shops, bakeries, and restaurants this historic area has to offer.
Located at the foot of Sumas Mountain, this English inspired historical area was the first “company town” in British Columbia and is home to heritage sites like Clayburn Church, Clayburn Schoolhouse, and the very popular Clayburn Store & Tea Shop.
Wild Orange Spa
Relax at the perfect getaway from the everyday while enjoying amenities such as private men’s and women’s lounges, eucalyptus steam rooms, and refreshment centres that will enhance your spa experience.
This easy and rewarding route winds from park to park along creeks, lakes and fairgrounds from the west side of the city to the mountains in the east with over 60km to explore.
LOCAL DINING AND SIPS
Field House Brewing Co.
Gather with friends or your loved ones beside the wood-burning fireplace while you taste a flight of locally crafted beer. With ten taps and a selection of local food to chose from, there's something for everyone.
The Fraser Valley's number one farm to table restaurant sourcing local ingredients that continually craft memorable plates where the food truly speaks for itself (and a wine list to match).
Taste away at this family owned winery located on a beautiful 15 acre vineyard specializing in small lots of naturally made wines. We recommend tying their flagship Pinot Noir and also exploring more sips in the valley on the Abbotsford Beer & Wine Tour.
Tanglebank Gardens & Brambles Bistro
Stroll through this peaceful garden centre and gift shop where enchanting plant displays are filled with European garden décor then follow it up with breakfast or lunch in the Bistro.
Need help planning your weekend away to Abbotsford? Feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable Visitor Centre staff through the online chat on our website, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 604.859.1721. We're here to help you #ExploreAbbotsford.
Calendar of Events | Circle Farm Tour | Fresh Faces of Abby
Canada 150 and Passport 2017
With the 150th anniversary of Confederation occurring this year, Destination Canada is rolling out Passport 2017 – a mobile app that collects all Canada 150 celebrations across the country and places them in the palm of your hand.
Tourism Abbotsford is committed to help spread the word of various Canada 150 themed events and celebrations across Abbotsford. If your business or event has something planned to celebrate this anniversary, we encourage you to go to en.passport2017.ca and add your event to the passport.
Additionally, Parks Canada has decided to celebrate by providing free entry to all National Parks and Historic Sites in Canada next year. This will be done by giving away free Discovery Passes, which grants the holder access to these parks and sites. These passes will be available at the Abbotsford Visitor Centre on Delair Rd. starting January 2nd.
Make sure to share your adventures throughout the year by tagging #Canada150 and #ExploreAbbotsford.
Tradex, enthusiastically, announces the third annual family-friendly Fraser Valley First Night (FVFN) at the Tradex in Abbotsford. The FVFN is a highly- anticipated and celebrated family tradition for New Year’s Eve celebrations, designed to give families a fun and safe place to bring in the New Year together.
• Indoor Balloon Drop at 9pm for the East Coast Countdown
• Incredible firework display at midnight
• West Coast Amusement Carnival Rides
• Creative Cube – crafts for kids
• Climbing Wall
• Mini Golf
• Stage Entertainment
• Bouncy Castles
• Obstacle Courses
• Petting Zoo
Date: Saturday, December 31st, 2016
Time: 5:00 pm-12:00 am (midnight)
Prices: $12.00 pre-purchased | $15.00 at the door | Children four and under are free.
Purchase tickets here for a discounted price!
Tickets include all activities and concession items are provided at affordable prices. Tickets can be purchased on the Tradex website, at the Tradex office, Seven Oaks Mall in Abbotsford, Matsqui Recreation Centre, and the Abbotsford Recreation Centre.
Fraser Valley First Night (FVFN) is supported by Tourism Abbotsford, City of Abbotsford, Fraser Way RV, Abbotsford News, Kiss Radio, Star FM, and Country 107.
TRADEX RINGS IN NEW YEAR IN FUN, ECONOMICAL WAY FOR ALL
Brad Styba and the management team at Tradex consider First Night, the heralding of a new year in Abbotsford, as a way of giving back to the community.
“You don’t have to break the bank to have fun,” at this event, which was launched on New Year’s Eve of 2014 with just shy of 3,000 attendees and grew to a crowd of 3,700 last year. Video coverage is here.
Number of fun-lovers promises to grow for third annual event
Styba said Tradex is expecting the number of participants to grow to between 4,500 and 5,000 for this third First Night. “We’ll cap it at 5,000 tickets,” he said. “This way there are no huge lineups for the activities.”
Before First Night was established, Styba said Tradex started to realize growth of events in December. “We had North Pole BC, large corporate dinners, a benevolent association children’s party with a midway . . . and we looked and saw what we had in the building leading up to Christmas to see if Tradex could throw a party.”
Striking a chord with locals and U.S. neighbours
From there the ideas developed for First Night, and after the first one, the response was terrific, with congratulatory calls not only from Abbotsford, but from south of the border and across the Lower Mainland.
That first year, Tradex executive director Craig Nichols was quoted in the media this way: “We had a great turnout, great response, great walk-up crowd. I think we all realize that the event struck a chord with locals.”
Considering the fact the Abbotsford News A-List has Tradex voted as the #1 place to host an event, it’s no wonder the First Night alcohol-free celebration is resonating with the community.
One ticket buys all the fun activities and entertainment
Food is extra beyond the $12 advance or $15 at-the-door single price of admission, but families will enjoy the $2 food tents featuring hotdogs, pop, popcorn and cotton candy.
Parking is free, courtesy of Fraserway RV.
Price of admission gets everyone laughing and giggling on unlimited West Coast Amusements carnival rides, ranging from Spring Ride and Monkey Spin, Tornado and Kite Flyer, to Choo Choo Charlie and Cuckoo Haus.
Back again this year is the talented Abbotsford choreographer, Mary Boonstra, teaching the crowd, in particular the children, dance steps for the big night. Boonstra was very popular when she taught steps to the theme song from Austin Powers movie.
Emcees for the night are Langley country/pop western duo sisters Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie of Langley; with kids’ television entertainer Will Stroet belting out his toe-tapping melodies in his trademark style. Bouncy castles, crafts, rock wall, mini golf, face-painting and more will keep families busy all night.
Balloon drop, fireworks and a grand prize package
A balloon drop at 9 p.m. aligns with the stroke of midnight Eastern time, and gives families an opportunity to leave a little earlier. An outdoor fireworks show at midnight in Abbotsford marks the 2017 countdown.
Special grand prize package this year is a four-night RV rental by Fraserway RV, four nights’ campsite rental at Holiday Trails RV Resorts in Bridal Falls, $100 Walmart gift card, and $100 Shell gas gift card.
And the Tradex 25th anniversary scratch-and-win prize tickets will also be distributed during First Night.
“The best part is, even though I am working, I get to experience all the fun from start to finish,” laughed Styba, who will be at Tradex until the event winds down just after midnight. Doors open at 5 p.m.
Purchase tickets for First Night here. For more event info, go to www.fvtradex.com
ABBOTSFORD BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS, TRADEX GROWING SPECTACULARLY TOGETHER
In 2009, the Abbotsford Business Excellence Awards, co-presented by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and The Abbotsford News, made a decision that helped it grow into one of the largest and most spectacular events of its kind in the Fraser Valley.
It made Tradex its annual home.
“We outgrew the Ramada (now Quality Hotel) when in 2008 we had a waiting list of 100 people for a ticket to the awards night,” said Allan Asaph, now executive director of the Abbotsford Chamber, and who was with the awards program when it had a modest crowd of 200 at its debut at Tradex in 1996, and in subsequent years at the Kings Crossing banquet facility, which was destroyed by fire.
“Our hallmark is we acknowledge all nominees in our awards program, not just a select group of finalists. As a result, and with great anticipation, a lot of people want to attend. With the number of nominees each year in the range of 100, and the number of guests well exceeding 500, Tradex was able to accommodate us,” said Asaph.
The beauty of hosting the business event at Tradex is its ability to partner with other events scheduled there “that allowed us to lower the costs of pipe and drape and the cost of equipment.”
Also, Tradex continues to be a major award sponsor.
“Over the years our relationship with Tradex has allowed us to broaden the event in terms of the type of entertainment and staging. In 2014, we presented entertainment based on the Moulin Rouge movie, showcasing a wide range of local talent, from aerial acrobatics, bhangra dancers, Korean drummers, singers, actors . . . a very large contingent of performers under the guidance of talented Business Excellence committee member and choreographer Mary Boonstra,” said Asaph.
Coverage of that event can be seen here: https://youtu.be/VvDjfotuZa0. The Business in Black dance team, comprised of community leaders taught to perform by Boonstra, continues to be an event ice-breaker since it first appeared in 2005.
Since the awards moved to Tradex, just ask Chamber of Commerce event managers like Goldie VanGarderen and now Carole Jorgensen about how Tradex works hard to increase the flexibility of the venue, so together they can create a stylish event that greets people with a setting that suits its high profile.
“Tradex ensures the quality of the food served is a significant part of the event’s success,” Asaph said.
Tradex also allows enough space for the Business Excellence pre-event reception, which Asaph said is now a major social and networking opportunity as patrons arrive on the red carpet happy and well-dressed.
“Our pleasure over the years is growing together with Tradex to host a premier event recognizing the excellence of our business community,” said Asaph. “Happy 25th anniversary Tradex!”
For anyone looking for the sweetest holiday treasures, WE invite YOU to participate in the Passport to Christmas.
From November 1st to December 22nd, Lower Mainland residents are invited to visit 10 local businesses, specializing in the unique and memorable, where everyone can ‘shop, stamp, and win’!
The Passport to Christmas partner list includes:
To play, participants are asked to pick up a passport at any of these stops, visit as many as possible, answer a trivia question, get the passport stamped, and then to drop it back off at any of the businesses. Plus, a bonus stamp is rewarded if a picture is posted on Instagram. Official hashtag is #PassporttoChristmas. In order to win, at least six stamps must be earned.
On December 23rd, two names will be drawn and awarded prizes. Prize #1 is the Ultimate Abbotsford Getaway, which includes chauffeured transportation around town, wine tasting at Singletree Winery, spa treatment, dinner for two at the new S+L Kitchen & Bar, and an overnight stay at Brookside Inn, one of Canada's Top 10 Small Hotels. Prize #2 is a private long-table dinner for 12 at Brambles Bistro.
It’s hard to visit all the stops in one day, which is why Abbotsford hotels are offering a 20% discount off their best available rate. Visitors simply need to quote Passport to Christmas upon booking. Hotels include:
To add to the merriment, Abbotsford has two Christmas tree lightings and festivals on November 19th at High Street and November 25th in Historic Downtown Abbotsford. From 3-9pm, the Historic Downtown's Winter Jubilee has an artisan night market, talented musicians, street carollers, fun eats, and a few more surprises in store. High Street has Santa Clause, dancing elves, and promises a magical snowfall.
Passport to Christmas accommodates all budgets and has something for everyone. To learn more, visit www.passporttochristmas.ca
Well-loved items, thousands of visitors and a stress-free venue make this show producer smile
As Leah Faulkner, show producer and manager for The Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market, starts thinking about her third show Nov. 12–13 at Tradex, she just smiles about the stresses she and her husband Tom no longer encounter.
“Tradex is a stress reliever. It’s a whole package. They take care of the event security, parking, promoting, overall cleanup and take-down. I’ve done seven markets since 2012, and comparing our old rustic venue at the Maple Ridge Albion Fairgrounds with Tradex is a difference like night and day,” said Faulkner.
“While half the vendors used to be in barns and outside in the grass, and the facility fit what we were doing in a rustic sense, the weather was not always cooperative. My husband and I used to have to clean washrooms and manage the parking, too,” Faulkner said.
“Now the show-goers get to enjoy dry shopping and the time-worn pieces are protected from the elements.”
The show moved to Tradex initially because it grew too big and had too many shoppers and vendors. The first Tradex show was in November, 2015, second was in June this year, and what’s on tap this month is her third one. Even though Faulkner is a relative newcomer to the 120,000 square foot facility, she is happy to share her experiences for Tradex’s 25th anniversary.
Faulkner’s mother-in-law from the Prairies has an especially keen eye for farmhouse-style collectibles and taught her how to finish some of her great junking and garage-sale finds.
“When Tom and I were first married, we couldn’t afford the stuff in the big stores so we went to garage sales to acquire things cheaply. Eventually every room was finished and we got to the stage where we would love to find something new and different, but we would trade-out what we already had,” Faulkner said.
“Once we came home with a trailer full of furniture after looking for treasures and we consulted with others through Craigslist to put on a market. We had 35 vendors for the first show.”
The Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market places value on things that are well-loved and that are sometimes rusted, dented, and roughed up. Vendor names are cute, like Knotty Paintbrush, Glitter and Spice, Just A Tinker and Cottage Kisses. Some 125 vendors are participating in the next Tradex show.
“It’s a dream being at Tradex,” said Faulkner. “We attract an audience of 6,000 people over the weekend. We don’t have stages, but we have vendors who sell paint and give tutorials on how to finish their projects.” Finished projects are also available.
Faulkner does not consider herself a hoarder—far from it. But there are certain items with which she just cannot part; her grandmother’s old quilt she used to wrap around herself when she was young is one of them.
A special find in her home is a pie cupboard. “I love the colour of the wood. It is rustic. It is sentimental and makes my imagination work. What little old lady cooled her special pies in this piece of furniture?”
For Faulkner, the show at Tradex also offers a message for the next generation. “We love to teach our kids we shouldn’t be a throw-away society,” she said.
And because of that, she believes her show at Tradex contributes to making the world a better place.
More from the ExploreAbby Blog:
MEET Tyler Duft and Cassandra Crocco, Owners of Duft and Co. Bakehouse IN HISTORIC DOWNTOWN ABBY.
Q: Tell US about Duft and Co. What led to this dream?
Cassandra: Tyler and I wanted to start our own businesses before we even met, so when we started dating the conversation naturally flowed. We decided to go to Europe and spent six months going to all the coffee shops and bakeries that we could find.
We returned with inspiration and starting writing down recipes. I’m a pastry chef and Tyler is a savoury chef. We had all the pieces, but weren’t sure which avenue to take. And, then we thought, “We work really hard for other people, so why wouldn’t we for ourselves?” At some point, you want to be creative on your own terms.
Tyler: We decided it was better to lose sleep and sweat for ourselves rather than someone else, and Abby was a European community that loved bread and pastries. There used to be a bakery where this little, older Ukrainian lady made the best rye bread and butter buns. Every Christmas, it was my job to pick up the rye bread.
Cass and I just knew that it was an appropriate time to give the community back what it once had access to. We grew up eating real food, made by hand. We don’t do it the European way, we simply do it the old-fashioned way, the way things were.
(Tyler & staff at Duft and Co.)
Q: From the moment you arrived on the scene, what have you experienced from the community?
Tyler: The Valley had a deficit. Vancouver is a great food city--you can get everything from Korean to Russian—but, this side of the Valley was still growing up and we knew that it was a calculated risk to move here.
Cassandra: We wanted to create a place where our customers felt like they were sitting in our living room, as though we made it just for them. I feel like the whole town has rallied together to support us and that’s a really neat feeling.
Abby was ready for a concept like Duft and Co. We have welcomed people from all over the Valley, Vancouver, and across the border. And, the downtown businesses of like-minded people are amazing. It’s the best thing to ever happen to Abby. We all want to make Abby a better place-- where people want to stay here-- and love hearing that we have inspired others to pursue their dreams. Our collective thinking is community over competition.
Tyler: We love seeing people enjoy what we have created and want to hit every high note. It’s about tasting, feeling, and smelling the love. We were the new kids on the block, but have been so lucky that the result has been positive.
(Tyler & Cassandra in Historic Downtown Abby)
Q: Are you happy living here? What are your future plans?
Tyler: I grew up here. We love visiting local farms and seeing the food grown that we eat. We have a beautiful landscape from creeks, rivers, and lakes to snow-capped mountains and the ocean is within an hour’s drive. Not many places can make a claim like this. I have never been more optimistic about the future. Our small town has been given a dose of much-needed culture. We are seeing a turning of the tides and we are fortunate to be a part of this paradigm shift.
Cassandra: We are expanding and launching Duft and Co. Brickhouse soon! We’re full of ideas, and opening a restaurant was one of them. The Brickhouse is a small, casual eatery with good food like roasted meats, home-made sausages, wood-fired pizza and local drinks. We love the growth that is happening in historic downtown Abby and want to continue our journey here. Duft & Co Brickhouse is just another way for us to share our love of food.
(Tyler & Cassandra visiting a local farm)