Although the recent boom of craft beer may make it seem like hops are a new crop to the Fraser Valley, it has been grown in our fertile soil for more than 100 years.
Until the 1940's, the Fraser Valley was a huge hop-growing region but dissipated as demand dropped. Now with 120 local craft breweries and more launching every month, the demand for local hops has returned.
On October 1, it’s this rich tradition BC Hop Company celebrates, as well as the emerging craft beer industry, at the second annual BC Hop Fest at Kinloch Farms on Sumas Prairie.
“What makes it unique is there aren’t festivals focusing on wet-hop beer,” said event organizer Donna Dixon. The festival is timed to coincide with the hop harvest and the beginning of BC craft beer month.
Wet hop, or fresh hop, beer is a challenging type of brewing utilizing the green hops of the harvest. Hops are fragile and don’t survive long after being cut, and are meant to be drunk within weeks of brewing. Wet hops are said to taste different than traditional kiln-dried hops.
“The hops add a vibrancy, a fineness, a definition, and a chlorophyll-driven energy you don’t get in standard hopped beers,” said Dixon.
Kinloch Farms grows some of the hops used for the festival and is the only hop farm in Abbotsford. Using the best European technology to preserve the quality of the hops, they’ve just completed building a world-class processing plant.
Traditional large-scale processing involves drying thousands of pounds of hops over direct fired furnaces and can take up to three days from harvest to bailing. This European technology uses indirect heat and air conditioning so the hops are in final bailing condition in less than one day.
“We’re very excited because we grow hops and process them and a lot of the breweries attending are using our hops,” said Dixon.
More than 30 of the province’s best craft breweries are bringing their fresh-hopped beer to this year’s BC Hop Fest. Attendees will not only get to sample fresh-hop beer but also enjoy field and plant tours, take in a panel talk from local brewers discussing how they use wet hops, learn home brew tips and tricks, shop at the artisan marketplace, and take in live entertainment.
“Breweries love coming out here to the Fraser Valley because they can engage with a new customer base. Customers love the breweries coming to them.”
Last year’s event sold out so they’ve added more space for this year’s event, which happens rain or shine. Tickets to the 19+ event are only available in advance.
BC Hop Fest
October 1, 2016
1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
1905 Cole Road, Abbotsford BC
Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city. All photo credit: PhotoArt by Simpson & BC Hop Co.
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Like a giant jigsaw puzzle or a game of Tetris, the latest motorhomes, truck campers, fifth-wheels and more fit perfectly into Tradex for the annual Snowbird RV Show and Sale.
How do they do it? Brad Styba of Tradex knows the strategy. “The dealers know their space dimensions and have to fit them in, keeping in mind the requirements for aisle width and emergency exits,” he said.
And if you ask show producer Amanda Henschell or show manager Jeanette Good, they’d agree with Styba, bringing all those rigs under one roof in some 140,000 square feet of space is a well-planned exercise.
“It’s quite amazing to see the transformation,” said Henschell.
More than 50 exhibitors participate in the four-day show, including resorts, parts and service experts, accessories and propane specialists.
The event has proven to be Greater Vancouver’s largest fall recreational vehicle show drawing crowds of people year after year interested in some of the most luxurious motorhomes to the most economical tent trailers.
“The dealers offer seasonal savings at the RV shows and the one-stop shopping selection coupled with our supporting vendors and seminars makes the Snowbird RV Show a must on your to-do list,” explained Henschell.
RV travel advice, winterizing and do-it-yourself seminars consistently offer information that goes a long way in ensuring a comfortable experience in wilderness settings, well-equipped campsites or on the road with all the amenities of home.
“MTD Promotions has been running the RV shows at Tradex for more than 20 years now,” said Henschell. “We’ve partnered with Tradex since the inaugural show. This year we have six Lower Mainland dealers that offer top brands and selection . . . but we have much more than RVs, including kayaks, boats, ATVs, campgrounds, cooking and storage solutions, maintenance and performance products.”
This year’s show runs Sept. 22 – 25 and features a roving RV family of 14, the Kellogg family from Colorado, who will be sharing their extensive North American experiences on the road in a 36-foot RV.
Net proceeds from the event are donated to charity, with more than $1.3 million raised to date by both the Earlybird (held in February at Tradex) and Snowbird RV shows.
Want a taste of what guest speakers will be talking about? Check this out:
• Learn to trouble-shoot your RV plumbing and stop things like leaks, squeaks, low pressure, malfunctioning sensors and other issues.
• If you are planning a trip to a southern destination you may want to attend the Canadian Snowbird Association’s seminar on cross-border travel tips which outlines insurance needs, your rights, the number of days you are allowed out of the country and what to expect at the border.
Since it’s Tradex’s 25th anniversary, you’ll want to enjoy some of the celebratory scratch tickets available at the door. You could win soft drinks, concession items, parking passes and event tickets. A March 6, 2017 grand prize of a one-night stay at the Sandman Abbotsford Airport, breakfast for two and a $75 gift certificate to Greek Islands Restaurant will be awarded through the Tradex website.
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While walking through Historic Downtown Abbotsford, you’ll come across a mix of eclectic and unique stores as well as our favourite long time shopping destinations. From old vinyl & cool clothing to vintage furniture & local treasures; Downtown has something for you. Here are 6 places to check out on your next visit.
Tip: No one should shop hungry so grab a bite at Harvest Grill 'n' Greens, Duft and Co. or Bow and Stern - delicious local food for you to try.
Montrose & George General Store
Combining community spirit with a fresh take on merchandise, M&G focuses on quality over quantity. You will discover a unique range of woman's apparel, jewelry, home decor, art and gifts at this welcoming storefront in Downtown Abbotsford.
33771 George Ferguson Way | 604-744-1744 | Website
As one of Western Canada’s largest bookstores, Hemingway’s is the place to find 1000’s of new and used books. Be sure to check out huge selection of vinyl downstairs for you old school music enthusiasts.
33765 Essendene Ave. | 604-855-1894 | Website
Strung Out on Beads
Beaders and non beaders alike will enjoy the colour and sparkle of Strung Out on Beads. From plastic and glass to semi-precious and Swarovski items, their selection is fantastic and worth the stop.
33735 Essendene Ave. | 604-852-8677 | Website
Come discover lots of vintage goodness at Spruce Collective, selling locally made home decor items, artisanal jewellery and some cool clothing. While you’re there, stop by their sister store “The Market” which features a curated collection of all-vintage finds and antique furniture.
2622 Montrose Ave. | 604-855-0506 |Website
Find great brands and innovative kitchen products that you can trust. The friendly and knowledgeable staff can answer any questions you have or maybe just provide you with some kitchen inspiration.
2645 Montrose Ave. | 604-746-1232 | Website
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Vereniki, prozelky, worldly deeds draw thousands to MCC Festival for World Relief
Thousands of people flock to the annual Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Festival for World Relief at Tradex, not only to contribute to the organization’s response to basic human needs and world peace and justice in more than 60 countries, but to enjoy camaraderie and to savour plates of mouth-watering food.
Lineups for delicious
The lineups for vereniki can be long because the cottage-cheese filled perogies are a staple that no one can say no to and the aroma at Tradex is almost hypnotizing. One year the sale went through 25,000 vereniki, 750 pounds of farmer sausage and so many porzelky (raisin dumplings) that it took 800 pounds of flour and 400 pounds of raisins to make them.
Dora Hoeppner, relief sale coordinator, and her husband George mark their 14th year with the fundraiser this year. “It’s a great, fun event, and we have a huge attendance. It has something for all ages . . . arts and craft sales, auctions, activities just for children and of course the delicious food,” said Dora.
On Sept. 16-17 it will be the couple’s MCC auction and relief sale farewell, one that comes with sweet sadness.MCC operates scores of relief sales across North America, and Abbotsford’s is one of the biggest and most generously supported.
When is a loaf of bread worth a quarter million dollars?
Dora said the traditional and symbolic auctioning of a loaf of bread has hit a high of $250,000 over the years from a multitude of combined bidders. An auction of handcrafted quilts also garners a lot of financial support.
The two-day event at Tradex, including fundraisers and dinners held earlier in the year, raised a record of $856,000.
“Why do I do it? Most compelling for me and my husband is the cause, the work of MCC and the tremendous amount of relief and development around the world,” said Dora, who is happy to hand the committee work to successor Hannah Toews “who is already on staff at MCC.”
“It’s time for a fresh vision, young energy,” said Dora, adding that the Tradex staff has been phenomenal. They are helpful and go beyond the call of duty.
He saved our bacon—literally
She fondly remembers the panic one year when the MCC team started unpacking some rented chafing dishes that keep things like rice, farmer sausage and samosas hot. “We soon discovered they did not come with the required inserts. We were worried, but Bill Tavares, our event manager at Tradex came through. He got them from Tradex’s own kitchen and literally saved our bacon.”
The relief sale and auction moved to Tradex in 2002 after it outgrew the Abbotsford Agrifair grounds. The event was launched 47 years ago in Chilliwack.
This year there is a large silent auction component and many items will be packages, including ski trips and stays at bed and breakfasts.
Dora and George own a hobby farm in Chilliwack . . . “so we won’t be just sitting around in 2017. I wouldn’t want to do the festival without him,” she said.
But don’t be surprised if the tempting aromas at Tradex bring the retired couple back again next year, not to work but just for a little “sampling.”
Sip, Savour and Share on the Abbotsford Beer & Wine Tour! Meet all the local craft breweries & wineries and start tasting the unique flavours of our valley. From honey mead and berry fruit wines to salted stouts and raspberry ales, you'll discover something new. Download your tour map here or pick a copy up from one of the locations below. Cheers!
At Field House Brewing Co., we believe it’s about a full craft beer experience, we brew great beer that we love and want to share with our community and beyond. We’ve also created a unique gathering place for friends and family to create new experiences and learn more about the world of craft beer. Whether you are new to craft beer or a seasoned pro - we offer a range of styles, all with a high drinkability factor and we’re always searching for new inspiration and ideas. Cheers.
2281 West Railway St
Old Abbey Ales brews and serves 30 beers on tap. Brewed with the finest ingredients and employing the time-tested traditions of Belgian beer brewing methods with West Coast creativity affectionately called Belgian Forward. Visit our tasting room for pints, flights, and growler fills.
1A-30321 Fraser Hwy
Ravens Brewing Company is inspired by the agricultural roots surrounding the Abbotsford area. We will be brewing European and West Coast beers, respecting the ingredients traditionally found in these great brews. Working with local growers and suppliers to craft great beers full of character and style, we look forward to welcoming you to our tasting room.
2485 Townline Rd
A culmination of three generations of farmers, has brought forth a taste of true distinction. From ground to glass, Maan Farms wines are soley produced here, leaving no room for anything less than the best. Showcasing wines made from Maan Farms mouth-watering berries, expanding to now include grape wines, and a VIP Wine Club. Visit our fun family farm for our tasting room, great country food and family activities.
790 McKenzie Rd
Believed to be the oldest known alcoholic beverage, Mead or Honey Wine was first discovered by the Samarians in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. Campbell’s Gold produces these ancient elixirs including the traditional Mead. In addition, they offer Pyment (honey wine & grapes), Melomel (honey wine with fruit or berries), Metheglin (spiced honey wine), and Cysor (honey wine with apple juice/cider).
2592 Lefeuvre Rd
Mt. Lehman Winery is a family owned boutique winery specializing in small lots of premium naturally made wines. Come tour
our beautiful farm and vineyard where we have over 15 acres planted of a variety of grapes including Pinot Noir (our flagship wine), Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and others. While you’re here, drop by our tasting room to sample our unique award winning wines.
5094 Mt. Lehman Rd
Join us at Singletree, a family operated Vineyard and Winery located in Mt.Lehman. The site where the farm is located has a rich farming history, with activity starting in the late 1800’s. We are proud of our focused portfolio of wines, crafted by family member and winemaker, Andrew Etsell. We welcome you to taste a new generation of wines in our rustic tasting room and also enjoy the vineyard and surrounding area in our licensed picnic area located right beside our winery.
Not that anyone is quite ready for summer to be over, but it’s hard to deny that these cooler summer days don’t have us heading into fall mode! And, fall means fall harvest with apples and pumpkins.
Opening on August 19th, the Applebarn at Taves Family Farms is ready to welcome everyone on the farm. The late spring warm weather has ripened these apples, earlier than anticipated, and the trees are loaded with beautiful red apples. There is nothing quite like spending the day with family and friends, reaching for that highest apple and, of course, ‘testing’ it to make sure it passes inspection. U-Pick begins with Alkmene and Gravenstein followed by Ambrosia, Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, Spartan, and, the Taves’ signature apple, the Jonagold. Elstar and Sunrise are only available in the Country Store.
Types of Apples grown on Taves Farm:
Alkmene: Originates from Germany, related to the Cox, but with a more robust flavor. Slightly sharper than the Cox and commonly known as the Early Windsor. White to cream to pale yellow. Sweet and aromatic.
Gravenstein: An older apple variety from Denmark. High quality flavor. Sweet and sharp. White to cream to pale yellow.
Ambrosia: Medium-sized. White to cream to pale yellow. Honeyed, scented, aromatic.
Fuji: Originating from Japan. Attractive, crisp, very sweet modern apple.
Gala: One of the most well-known apples. Medium-sized. White to cream to pale yellow. Sweet and sharp.
Honeycrisp: Medium-sized white to cream, pale yellow. Crisp, and predominantly sweet, modern variety from the USA.
Spartan: Attractive, crunchy, sweet and with the characteristic of a delicate wine-like "vinous" flavor like the McIntosh family of apples. Sweet and aromatic. Honeyed. White to cream to pale yellow.
Sunrise: Originates from Canada. Medium-sized. White to cream to pale yellow. Sweet and sharp, leans towards sharp.
Elstar: Successful offspring from the Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin. Excellent flavour quality and great for cooking. Honeyed and scented. Medium-sized. White to cream to pale yellow.
Jonagold: Originates from the US and inherits many of the good qualities of its parents, the Jonathan and Golden Delicious. Great for cooking and cider. Exceptional flavour, bold and sweet. White to cream to pale yellow.
For those who don’t feel like U-Picking, the Country Store has bags of freshly-picked apples ready to go. Be sure to watch the U-Pick page for expected picking dates and frequent updates. No need to bring your own containers as the Taves have that covered, and tour buses and larger groups are always welcome.
The Taves invite you to spend a full day at the farm for that taste of the country experience. The kids will be bouncing away on jumping pillows, petting adorable farm animals, gazing at alpacas and peacocks, feeding the goats, riding ponies, bumping along on a hayride, shooting pumpkins and corn cobs, swooshing through the air in tire swings, watching bees make honey, sliding and zip-lining, and running through a corn maze. A concession stand is available on weekends, but everyone is also welcome to bring a packed lunch and rest at a picnic table.
A visit is not complete without trying an apple cider slushy and bringing home a few jugs of cold-pressed cider. So sweet and delicious, but contains nothing more than pure apples. The viewing window shows the process in action. Healthy and tasty? I know, hard to believe!
Visit www.tavesfamilyfarms.com & www.circlefarmtour.com
If anyone knows about the humble beginnings of the Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo (ADSE) at Tradex, it is retired Brigadier General Dwayne Lucas.
Six years ago, a tent on the Abbotsford Airshow ramp housed networking, announcements, and local aerospace companies with a mix of dignitaries who participated in a tour of Cascade Aerospace.
It was in 2013, after some strong influencing by Lucas (founding ADSE member) and his team who wanted to see the event grow, that ADSE made its debut at Tradex, this time raising the importance of the show and featuring Western Canadian participation, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a higher level of government involvement. It was an opportunity to show the strength of the growing B.C. aerospace industry.
ADSE Forum at Tradex
Mike Mueller, new vice-president of operations and communications for AIAC Pacific (which took over responsibility of the ADSE in 2014) said the aerospace industry “is buying into what we are doing here . . . we have a pretty bright future.”
Mueller was among 150 guests celebrating Tradex’s 25th anniversary at a special outdoor luncheon on July 28 at the facility which is serving ADSE’s needs very well.
To walk into an ADSE event with its trade show with 50 exhibitors on one side of Tradex, and on the other side its 400 delegates and representatives from 29 sponsors seated listening to major industry discussions lead by key aerospace leaders and aided by super screen technology and professional lighting and staging, is truly an impressive experience.
In 2014, then-AIAC Pacific VP Jay Teichroeb said inviting the international aerospace, defence, and security companies to Abbotsford was “one way we work to make sure our B.C. aerospace companies remain world class in this competitive global marketplace. B.C. has a diverse range of companies that are proved aerospace innovators and technology leaders, and that translates to significant employment here in the Fraser Valley as well as throughout B.C. and the rest of Canada.”
Teeming with government officials, federal and provincial ministers that year at Tradex, thunderous applause could be heard there as Abbotsford MP Ed Fast, then Minister of International Trade, announced $30 million in federal funding for research and technology development to the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC), an industry-led network dedicated to aerospace innovation.
3D printed aviation parts at ADSE
For those keen on industry news, they heard UrtheCast, a Vancouver-based technology firm developing the world’s first Ultra HD video feed of Earth, streamed from space in full colour, announce at Tradex its plans to expand its Earth Observation data stream by operating state-of-the-art sensors on the NASA segment of the International Space Station.
Chinook Helicopters also announced its MOU with China Aviation Industrial Base of Shaanxi, China to provide helicopter training services and other support to the growing commercial helicopter market there.
And Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group based in the U.K. announced the Abbotsford International Airport as the site of its North American hub for strategic growth.
Parm Sidhu, Abbotsford Airport general manager, has a keen interest in ADSE, and is particularly excited with news that the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) will be tag-teaming with ADSE and the airshow to bring some 20 aircraft for indoor and outdoor displays in 2017.
“Great things are happening in B.C.,” said Sidhu. “ADSE and now the CBAA will give aerospace an even greater voice.”
ADSE, because of its location at Tradex, is Canada’s only expo connected to a major airshow. And because of the timing, the Abbotsford International Airshow’s Friday-night twilight event is now an after-dinner treat for ADSE delegates.
Q: What is Restaurant 62 (R62) and what is the secret to your success?
R62 is a stand-alone, farm-to-table restaurant that has been serving the Fraser Valley for a decade. I have been working in kitchens and, as a chef, for the past 25 years, and wanted to bring the ‘Vancouver dining experience’ to the Valley. Even though Abbotsford was a chain-restaurant community, I recognized the opportunity and decided to take the plunge.
Our secret is to simply to put good food on the table and to keep people coming back. The rest of the dining experience brings great service, and a wine list that best complements the food.
Q: Why did you decide to become a farm-to-table restaurant?
Truth be told, initially, we didn’t set out to be a farm-to-table destination. I was used to the Vancouver scene where you couldn’t source farm-fresh ingredients easily, but I would drive to and from the restaurant, around the local neighbourhoods, and just saw beautiful mountains, farms, and rolling pastures. I became inspired, and then the farmers came in to experience R62 and we started developing relationships.
I visited their farms, met their families, and learned about their philosophies and relationship to the land. I felt their pride and knew how emotionally invested they were in the foods that they produced. The quality of the food wasn’t comparable to anything else I could source, and the taste spoke for itself. The savings and reduced carbon footprint were added benefits as deliveries were made from within a few miles.
It just made sense.
Our team was challenged and forced to be creative as we were given seasonal products. Sometimes, we planned a longer run with a menu item, but had to cut it short due to uncontrollable weather fluctuations. People care about where their food comes from, and we can answer those questions. We watch our guests’ faces light up when they see familiar farms on the menu, and they feel great knowing they are supporting their very own community. The gifts of buying locally and supporting local farms has been rewarding in so many ways, and Abbotsford has a very strong community built around supporting one another.
Q: Has Abbotsford embraced R62 and what changes have you witnessed within the community?
At first, people thought of us as a special occasion restaurant—a place to celebrate your anniversary or birthday—but now they just see a team cooking up a storm in the kitchen, followed by smiles and welcoming hello’s. Our guests know that we are passionate about farm-to-plate and celebrating the landscape that Abbotsford has been blessed with.
We have watched a younger generation hit the ‘nail on the head’ as they pour their hearts into their businesses. People are picking their own fruit again, capturing the freshness and quality with canning, and abandoning chain-restaurants in favour of privately owned restaurants.
We’re going back to the way it once was.
Check out Jeff's Fresh Faces of Abby video story here.
Learn more about Restaurant 62.
Photo Credit: Abbotsford Airshow
With an action-packed lineup of superhero-themed activities and entertainment, this year’s Abbotsford International Airshow is set to keep you busy all weekend long.
“You don’t have to just sit on your blanket and watch airplanes. You’ll have a full day at the airshow,” said media coordinator Jadene Mah.
This annual event is now the largest Canadian airshow with an average annual attendance of 100,000 people. In 2014 it was named one of the best 10 airshows in the world and since adding the popular Twilight Show two years ago, it’s only getting bigger and better.
Friday night heroes light up the sky with lights, pyrotechnics, and flares in the Twilight Show. This display will be different from daytime shows even though there will be some of the same performers.
Photo Credit: Mona Lucas
Meet your favourite Heroes of the Skies at the 54th annual Abbotsford International Airshow. Posters will be available for purchase on site and there will be many opportunities to get signatures from and selfies with your favourite performers. Here are some of the featured aerial acts.
• Canadian Forces Snowbirds
• CF-18 Hornet
• Canadian Forces Skyhawks
• Screamin Sasquach
• USN F/A-18 Super Hornet
• Breitling Jet Team
• Gary Rower
• HFF Spitfire Mk IV
From old to new, military to civilian, enjoy the variety of aircraft on static display. Here are a few of the displays to look forward to.
• USAF F-15 Eagle
• A-10 Thunderbolt
• Macdonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender
• Boeing C-17 Globemaster
• USN FA-18 Super Hornet
• USCG C-27J Spartan
Children will love the array of activities including inflatable toys, climbing wall, face painting, crafts, and interactive aerospace presentations.
Photo Credit: Abbotsford Airshow
AIRSHOW TIMES & LOCATION
• August 12-14, 2016
• Friday gates open at 3:30 p.m. and close at 10:30 p.m.
• Saturday and Sunday gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
• The Airshow will be located at YXX Abbotsford International Airport
Tickets can be purchased in advanced or on show day, for single days or for the entire weekend. Parking is included with the ticket price and kids aged six and under are free. Kidsworld members enter free with an adult admission.
• Purchase tickets online here.
• Purchase advance tickets at any Lower Mainland Save-on-Foods
• Purchase tickets on show days from the King Road entrance
TYPES OF TICKETS
• General admission—free onsite parking, access to general seating area, static display, kids zone, ground exhibits, and concessions
• Runway seating—this ticket upgrade gives you a reserved seat all day on the front show line (for 2016 the section numbering has changed, see the website for more information)
• Flight club—this ticket upgrade adds front show line viewing and entrance to a beach-bar style seating area
• Panasonic Photo Pit—bring your camera, lenses, and all your gear! This ticket gives you a frontline view of the airshow, patio-style seating, light dinner, pop and water, run up photo shoot, souvenir airshow program, and more
• President’s Club—this all-inclusive admission package includes outdoor seating at patio tables with sun umbrellas and show-centre view of the action in the sky.
WHAT TO BRING
• Refillable water bottle
• Lawn chair, blanket, umbrella
• Earplugs (this is a loud event)
• Comfortable shoes
WHAT NOT TO BRING
• Hard-sided coolers
With weekend camping packages, shuttles between onsite areas, fully plumbed washrooms, beer gardens, food trucks, shopping, and more, now is the time to plan your family’s best three-day weekend of the summer.
The show goes on rain or shine. Come see why the Abbosford International Airshow is Canada’s National Airshow.
Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.
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Ron Price, visionary founding chairman of Airshow Canada and long-time director of the Abbotsford International Airshow, is acutely aware of how Tradex was built in 100 days. Within one hour of leaving a final meeting with Transport Canada and then BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo) and getting final approval to build the 120,000 square foot facility, renowned Abbotsford contractor, former fellow Abbotsford Airshow board member and family friend Les Knight called his crew waiting on-site in their bulldozers and excavators that day, and said GO!
RON PRICE, CENTER
The paint was still wet
The 1991 Airshow Canada had already signed up hundreds of exhibitors and forecasted thousands of visitors from around the world for the event, but had precious little time . . . only the 100 days left until the first day of the show “when the paint was still wet,” said Price.
“Man, he [Knight] built it. Fifty countries were at that show. It was a lot of work, a lot of fun. A lot of good people put it together with incredible cooperation from the federal, provincial and municipal governments and the world’s aviation community,” he said. “Les made it happen . . . he was a great leader in construction.”
Price said Tradex is a huge asset, hosting big shows. “It’s a gem of a facility. We’re lucky to have it.”
And so it begins
The genesis of Tradex, writes Kelly Knight (Les’ daughter) in an MSA Museum-inspired book entitled Abbotsford – From Village to City; a Commitment to Excellence and Innovation, is directly linked with the “development and success of the international aviation and aerospace tradeshow.” The article, on page 35 of the book by Robert Martens and Anneleen van Dyck, is a compelling read.
It shows how the support from people like Expo 86 Commissioner General Patrick Reid and others who believed in inviting the world’s aviation and aerospace community (among them Airshow board members Price, Knight, Al Hurtubise, Les Kerr and Darcy Rezac) to Abbotsford, plus a $100,000 initial infusion from the Abbotsford International Airshow, finally resulted in the need for a permanent exhibition structure in 1991. The first time Airshow Canada was held in Abbotsford in 1989, it was accommodated within two temporary 80,000 square foot white tents on the site.
From Airshow Canada to ADSE
Airshow Canada was a spectacle indeed. “It legitimized the show in terms of business and aerospace when we in Abbotsford were known more for being Top Gun,” said Kelly.
“Airshow Canada 1991 was successfully opened in Tradex with a Canadian Forces CF18 dual flyby. It featured 500 exhibitors and welcomed 12,000 visitors with professional interests from more than 50 countries. Continuing with the international aviation presence, there were SU27s, IL76 Candids, a Mig31 Foxhound, KA32 Helix helicopter (all Russian), and a Romanian Yak55 aerobatic plane at Airshow Canada,” said Kelly.
The final Airshow Canada was held at Tradex in 1997, but other shows focusing on aviation and defence have evolved at Tradex. (Be sure to read our next Tales from Tradex blog post featuring ADSE (Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo).
Mark Rushton, former Abbotsford International Airshow director from 1982 to 1998 and long-time editor of The Abbotsford News, recalls the special efforts of Ron Price in the glory years of Airshow Canada and Tradex. “He was a great personality, a family man dedicated to Airshow Canada. He and Les Knight certainly contributed significantly to tourism, aviation, and the community.”
A few laughs along the way
Former Tradex director of operations Vali Marling, now manager of Anvil Centre in New Westminster, recalled some of the funnier stories related to Tradex and the Airshow.
“When the jets flew over the building it would shake. When the big U.S. planes would fly over us as we sat in our offices, dog hair [resulting from the dog and pet shows] would sometimes fall from the ceiling vents.”
And then there was the time Marling organized the mud-spattered sod-turning for Tradex, when it was pouring rain and the guests were dressed formally.
A sense of humour went a long way in those early days of Tradex.
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