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.
More from #ExploreAbbotsford:
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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Celebrate Abbotsford’s rich farming history at the 2016 Abbotsford Agrifair. With a focus on promoting the importance of agriculture, this year’s fair will showcase the Gate to Plate program. Participants from 4-H Clubs across British Columbia will educate visitors on where our food comes from.
Held at Exhibition Park, you’ll be greeted by llamas, rabbits, donkeys and maybe even a buffalo as you enter the fair. Head over to the Thunderbowl and enjoy in the mini chuckwagon races and chariot racing. Take advantage of the centre grassy area and relax by the misting tents.
What’s New for 2016
Emphasising family fun, this year’s fair features an indoor family area with parents’ room for kids who need a break. Inside you’ll also find loads of activities like mini golf, climbing wall, Science World shows, video games, arts and crafts, and more.
All weekend long enjoy roving entertainment from clowns, magicians, drum bands, balloon artists, and on-site games with Gallery 7.
Shooting Star Amusements is bringing new rides for the family-friendly midway and each evening a community-chosen movie will play on a 33-foot screen.
This year’s fair is action packed and full of surprises. With demonstrations from Twisters gymnasts, BC Buzz Honey, Fraser Valley Antique Farm Machinery Association, and Laughing Stock Ranch, these new and returning attractions ensure there is something for everyone at the 2016 Abbotsford Agrifair.
Make sure to visit Poultry in Motion and Mobile Dairy Classroom and don’t miss the horseshoeing and sheep shearing demos.
And back for a third year, the Country Horse Classic show features wheelbarrow races as well as the hilarious horse and hound show.
See agrifair.ca/attractions for the full list of attractions.
This year’s live shows are an exciting mix of new and returning acts throughout the long weekend.
Enjoy shows like Richards Racing Pigs and Ducks, X Corps Drumline, wrestling, and the West Coast Lumberjack Show. The popular demolition derby is back and has an entire parking lot dedicated to the smashing good time.
New for 2016 is the Global FMX Motorsports and Sport Bike show and Segway education road safety zone.Yuk Yuk’s Abbotsford and CiVL radio talent contest winners will take to the main stage throughout the weekend and community groups will provide fair-goers with strolling entertainment.
With an emphasis on family fun, affordability, and agricultural awareness and education, this year’s fair aims to be the best little country fair on earth. From July 29 through July 31 enjoy the country fair with weekend passes from $15. Visit agrifair.ca/pricing for more information.
Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.
More from #ExploreAbbotsford:
The BC Summer Games are in Abbotsford from July 21 to 24th. We're excited to welcome all the participants, families and friends to our city. Find time in between competitions and take a few hours to explore these exciting ideas and adventures below. Go Abby Games!
1. Circle Farm Tour
While in Abbotsford, don’t miss our Circle Farm Tour. This self-guided tour takes you through our country side and will lead you to a variety of specialty farm gate vendors, charming eateries, a barn full of antiques and the best ice cream you will ever eat. Download Guide
Walk through the heart of Abbotsford and discover vintage stores, charming boutiques and delicious eateries while in Historic Downtown. It’s the perfect meld of past and present, where you will find unique restored heritage buildings and shopping.
3. Castle Fun Park
A free-admission, family amusement park offering year round excitement for everyone. From mini golf, go carts, batting cages and arcade games, Castle Fun Park is a great place to bring the kids for an afternoon in Abbotsford.
4. Beer & Wine Tour
Sip, Savour and Share on the Abbotsford Beer & Wine Tour! Download the map to start your self-guided tour of our local craft breweries and wineries. While tasting, take time to discover the unique flavours of our valley. Download Map
5. Walks, Trails & Mountain Biking
Enjoy the great outdoors with the whole family in Abbotsford's 157 parks consisting of over 2,584 acres of parkland and 98 kilometers of urban trails. From Mill Lake Park to Sumas Mountain, there is so much terrain to be discovered by you. More info here. Photo Credit: Mona Lucas
6. Comedy Show
Enjoy a laugh at Canada’s national stand-up comedy club, Yuk Yuk’s. Shows run nightly Wednesday to Saturday. Check out their website to see who's in town while you're here.
7. Visit a Museum
Abbotsford is a city rich in talent, culture and history. While you check out all the museums, galleries, & artisans, don't forget to tour all the public art that can be found throughout Abbotsford. More info here.
Let us be your guide as you hunt for those one-of-a-kind items during your stay. Sevenoaks Shopping Centre is centrally located and likely has all that you need. If you’re looking for an outdoor shopping centre, check out Highstreet – a new, open-air shopping centre located at Mt.Lehman interchange.
The lush greenery of Abbotsford is home to a variety of courses that are open year-round! Regardless of your swing, there is a tee waiting for you. During your next stay, take a visit to Fraserglen or Ledgeview Golf Course. More info here.
Seeking thrill & adventure? Why not book a trip with Vancouver Skydive and experience the Drop Zone which is located in scenic Abbotsford. All of their Tandem Skydives are done with an experienced and qualified Tandem Instructors!
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Tradex in Abbotsford is a living, breathing space. Just watch it. Show after show, event after event, Tradex inhales the wares, displays, and people, takes a short break so its patrons can savour the moment, then exhales so it can begin its next breath.
Since its birth on July 28, 1991, the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre (Tradex) has created a kaleidoscope of memories for those who have walked through its doors. Add to that the millions of dollars of economic development impact it has on the City of Abbotsford and the region and you can begin to understand its role in helping Abbotsford become the Hub of the Fraser Valley.
Tradex turns 25 later this month, and Tourism Abbotsford/Tradex executive director Craig Nichols is planning to mark the occasion with a get-together of special guests. In addition, you’ll find a series of bi-monthly blog posts on the facility’s website that will capture the priceless stories that cause key show organizers to crack a smile.
Its 120,000 square foot H-frame, with a base that was one of the largest concrete pours in the region at the time, has been home to the stars of the film American Graffiti (Candy Clark, Paul Le Mat, Bo Hopkins), Jerry Mathers aka Theodore The Beaver Cleaver, HGTV’s affable handyman Mike Holmes, and of course Henry Winkler, The Fonz from Happy Days.
Brad Styba, who was there as a contractor for Tradex from the day its huge hangar-like doors rolled open, is full of stories. He has seen the great personalities like Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Eddy Shack, and others who gathered at the facility for the impressive Hockey Tour 92.
Styba has dealt with locals rehearsing for the Business in Black dance team, watched Overhaulin’s Chip Foose share his hotrod stories. and bumped into actors from The Young and the Restless and members from of The Real Housewives of Vancouver. He witnessed bears, eagles, hawks and even electronic dinosaurs grace his stage as his two-way staff communicator crackled.
Graham Kerr the famed Galloping Gourmet chef and the 1960s dynamic duo’s Batmobile (visiting with its creator George Barris at the BC Classic & Custom Car Show) have also been “in the house.”
Styba is now managing director, business development at Tradex. For the last six years he has been an employee of Tourism Abbotsford.
He and Nichols (who has been with Tradex for two years since he arrived from his position as Flyover Canada general manager) are keen to share the amazing recycling efforts of Tradex, its rainwater collection system, the power-saving lighting upgrades, its culinary team lead by Chef Michel Gagnon, the incredible staff, and the shows that attract some 350,000 people each year.
Styba fondly reflects on the first Fraser Valley Boat and Sportsmen’s Show at Tradex, when they had no overflow parking and had to redirect 1,000 cars onto the Abbotsford International Airport apron. He has seen Tradex, the second-largest facility of its kind in B.C., dressed as the North Pole, a nursery, a wedding reception hall for 2,500, a high-brow awards venue, a volleyball centre, an educational facility, a business and sports card showcase, and among other things, a celebratory place to bring in a new year.
There is so much to tell — too much for one blog post — so we’ll be back with more tales from Tradex.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary, Tradex is inviting several friends, partners and suppliers to enjoy food prepared by Chef Michel Gagnon and his team. The celebration includes speeches and a cameo by former Tourism Abbotsford executive director Dan Stefanson. Lisa Adrianne Witt will perform on the piano.
“In addition to providing enormous economic benefits for the community, Tradex has acted as a gathering place for the past 25 years,” said Nichols. “We’re looking forward to sharing some of the stories that have played out here during this time.”
Let the fun and festivities of summer begin with the 35th Annual Berrybeat Festival. Bring the family down to enjoy and explore beautiful Historic Downtown Abbotsford during this two day festival celebrating local music, agriculture, and community.
When: July 9 (9am – 6pm) & July 10 (9am – 4pm)
Where: Montrose and Essendene Avenue, Abbotsford
BeerBQ in Abbotsford is a spectacular culinary experience that pairs the best BBQ pitmasters with BC craft brewmasters. Staged with the Fraser Valley backdrop of hop fields in full bloom, guests meander from tent to tent tasting great food and sipping equally great beer. Don't miss your chance to taste a bit of Abbotsford.
When: July 16
Where: Kinloch Farms 1893 Cole Road, Abbotsford
Website & Tickets
As many as 3600 participants will be coming to Abbotsford to compete in 18 different sports all around the community. Abbotsford is the perfect outdoor destination offering hiking, mountain biking, fishing, golf and water sports. With more than 2,400 acres of parkland and a 33 km paved outdoor trail system, this will be an amazing 4 day event for you, your family & friends to be involved with or enjoy watching.
When: July 21 - 24
Where: Abbotsford Exhibition Park & Various Community Locations
There’s something for everyone at the Annual Abbotsford Agrifai, the best little country fair sice 1911! Traditionally when people think of an agriculture fair, they think animals, tractors, and farmers. Agrifair is still proud to present many of your favourite and memorable agricultural attractions, but they have so much more planned for 2016.
When: July 29 – 31
Where: Exhibition Park, 32470 Haida Drive, Abbotsford
The keystone annual event-- The Abbotsford International Airshow is an aviation festival that has grown well beyond its borders over the past 5 decades while beginning in 1962. Abbotsford Airshow will feature diverse aerial and aviation-related displays, and offer exciting entertainment to all ages. As well, don’t miss the twilight show featuring beautiful fireworks on Friday evening.
When: August 12 - 14
Where: Abbotsford International Airport, 1595 Townline Rd, Abbotsford
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Table Rice Field, Abbotsford
For five years Masa and Yukiko Shiroki have farmed rice paddies in Abbotsford. In the summer if you venture behind EcoDairy off Sumas Way, you’ll find the husband and wife team knee-deep in the flooded fields, weeding. “It’s day-in day-out weeding until September,” said Masa.
Although possible to weed the four acres using specialized machines imported from Japan, the Shiroki’s must also spend time hand planting rice in areas where the ducks and geese have feasted, leaving notable gaps.
“It’s part of the game” he said, explaining birds love eating the rice seed in the spring but once they migrate they’re not such a disturbance.
Started from seed in greenhouses, the seedlings are transplanted to the paddies by machine in late spring. Before planting, the field must be prepared.
“You flood the field until it’s mud soup. Then you till and plant,” he said. The machinery used for field preparation must be modified so it doesn’t get stuck in the mud.
These fields stay flooded for the entire growing season, which is why ducks and geese find the crops so attractive. The only rice paddies in Canada, this is also the most northerly rice production region in the world.
Sake Rice Field, Abbotsford
Masa said he grows rice in the Fraser Valley because it’s sustainable, he can control what goes into it, and he can educate local farmers about the industry.
Climate and rainfall in the Fraser Valley have helped rice production. After beginning with homegrown sake rice for their OSAKE premium sake winery on Granville Island, the Shiroki’s now also produce signature marinades and dressings from the sake by-product as well as organic rice for table rice. This year they’re also testing a crop of ancient rice, a type of ornamental rice.
Artisan Sake Winery, Granville Island
When harvest season comes in September, the rice is threshed with a specialized combine and processed similar to other grains.
Both sake and table rice are dried and dehusked in the same way. The table rice is then milled, packaged, and distributed to local retailers and the sake rice travels to the Artisan SakeMaker winery for fermentation.
Table Rice sold at Nature's Pickin's
In Abbotsford, Nature’s Pickin’s Market carries the OSAKE marinade and dressing as well as BC Rice Northern Lite table rice. At the market, the response has been positive to the hyper-local product.
Masa has a passion for sustainable rice growing because rice production is pertinent to the pressing global need for food security and food sovereignty. He is proud he can call his OSAKE and table rice 100 per cent Canadian-made and hopes other farmers will be inspired to pursue rice growing in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada.
Visit Artisan SakeMaker for more information.
Family friendly farm offering berry u-pick, country kitchen and a fun petting zoo. The farm also has a pedal go-kart race track, zip-line, playgrounds and more!
Location: 790 McKenzie
Phone: (604) 864-5723
A family amusement park offering year round excitement for everyone. From mini golf, go carts, batting cages and arcade games, it’s a great place to bring the kids.
Location: 36165 North Parallel Road
Phone: (604) 850-0411
Offering a unique, highly interactive learning environment, the EcoDairy experience has been developed in partnership with Science World British Columbia, the province's leading science and technology education facility.
Location: 1356 Sumas Way
Phone: (604) 557-5481
Come visit the Country Farm Market, restaurant & ice cream parlour offering over 50 flavours of gourmet ice cream & farm fresh dairy products.
Location: 1154 Fadden Rd
Phone: (604) 857-1315
Play Abby is a 10,000 square foot indoor playground and laser tag entertainment centre in Abbotsford, BC.
Location: #5-2043 Abbotsford Way
Phone: (604) 853-7529
If you're looking for more family-friendly activies and adventures, check out our 107 Days of Summer guide.
It’s time to explore Abbotsford! The 107 Days of Summer Guide provides daily ideas and activities for you, your family and friends to enjoy all summer long. No matter what your interests are, there’s bound to be an exciting adventure waiting beneath the pages.
This guide is packed full of indoor and outdoor destinations everyone can enjoy. From a variety of Circle Farm locations, special events and kid zone fun to local wineries, breweries and eateries to try. When you’re wondering what to do with the kids this summer or planning a date night, just grab your guide!
107 Days of Summer is available at the Abbotsford Visitor Centre at 34561 Delair Rd. where our friendly staff can help answer any questions you may have. It’s also at many of our local partners around the community or download it directly to your computer or mobile device here.
Looking for more information on Abbotsford and things to do? There is an outdoor trails guide which provides information and maps of the various trails throughout the community. It’s a great way to stay activate in summer with the family and all the trails are dog friendly. This can be picked up from our Visitor's Centre. Photo below provided by Mona Lucas.
Also, if you haven’t already, grab your copy of the Abbotsford Beer & Wine tour. This self-guided tour takes you through our local wineries and craft breweries letting you discover the many unique flavours of the valley. Download your copy here.
Remember to share your discoveries and adventures with us by tagging #ExploreAbbotsford on your photos. Connect with Tourism Abbotsford on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at www.tourismabbotsford.ca.
Enjoy the Summer!