Maegen Mckay remembers the instant she knew what she wanted to do with her life. It was in ninth grade when she volunteered for the Envision Financial Run for Water.
“I got my T-shirt and it was cool, I still have it,” she said. “It was the moment I realized what I was passionate about.”Stationed in a remote area on the Half Marathon route, she and a few friends had the task of cheering on racers and passing out water.
“It was really exciting. We felt like we belonged and were making a difference in the community.” Mckay said until this experience she didn’t realize young people could make a difference.
The Run for Water Assembly program impacts 10,000 Fraser Valley students every year. Executive director Peg Peters said the program’s goal is to teach global citizenship, what it means to give back, and how to respond to the water crisis in Africa.
Culminating in Abbotsford’s premiere running event, Run for Water, this year’s event projects 4,500 runners participating in the 5K Fun Run, 10K Run, Half Marathon, Ultra Marathon, and, new for 2016, 10K Trail Race.
Showcasing incredible vistas of the Fraser Valley and Mission, this single-track trail on Sumas Mountain features more than 600 metres of elevation gain. Peters said he expects 150 to 200 trail runners for this aggressive race.
The $125 race fee each trail runner must raise will cover one family’s water needs in Sasiga, Ethiopia for life. The Run for Water Society plans to drill 10 new wells in Sasiga with the money raised from this year’s run.
“What excites me is to stand at the starting line of this brand-new race and to know every single runner is representing a family in Sasiga that will be getting clean water,” he said.
Now in its ninth year, Run for Water has raised $1,650,000 from 22,645 participating runners. When registering, runners agree to raise different amounts based on which run they’re participating in. Every dollar raised goes towards the water projects as local sponsors and the Run for Water board cover all event costs.
“It’s a great example of these companies in our community who love the event, want to get involved, and want to give back,” Peters said.
This year, Mckay plans to run the 10K here and has started training for a special Run for Water in November. Now in her first year studying global development at University of the Fraser Valley, Mckay has been invited to travel to Ethiopia with Run for Water donors and see first-hand the work being done. She will also take part in a special run, travelling five to eight kilometres per day for 10 days.
“The thought of getting to run in Ethiopia is going to be life changing,” she said. Mckay said she’s excited to bridge the gap between Abbotsford and Ethiopia as well as get the chance to do hands-on work.
“The mentorship and the skills I’ve learned from people such as Peg have inspired me. They’re the people who have helped me realize what I’m passionate about.”
On Saturday May 28 the 10K Trail Race and Ultra Marathon take place. Sunday, May 29 features the Half Marathon, 10K Run, and 5K Fun Run events. If you are looking to stay in Abbotsford for the weekend, check out the stay packages here.
Visit runforwater.ca for more information and to register to run or volunteer.
Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.
If you’ve driven past Clearbrook road eastbound on Highway 1, you may have noticed a beautiful white building with a black roof. This is Abbotsford’s Mennonite Heritage Museum, charged with preserving and exhibiting the Mennonite story from the 16th century to their settlement in the Fraser Valley.
Executive director Richard Thiessen said there are many modern-day themes visitors can draw from the Mennonite story—fleeing religious persecution, being nameless and homeless, becoming refugees, depending on the good will of strangers, and starting over in an unknown land.
Housed on what was once nicknamed Poverty Flats, the museum is a testament to the creativity, ingenuity, and hard work of the settlers.
The families who immigrated to Canada in the mid-1930s first landed in the Prairies but heard of the fertile land in Yarrow, BC and ventured west. Land in Yarrow was $150 an acre so they continued on to Abbotsford where land was available for $10 per acre.
Abbotsford land was considered relative wasteland. It had been clear-cut and the entire Clearbrook area was covered in stumps. The settling families worked as a community and practiced agriculture. After much trial and error they discovered the magic crop: raspberries. Once their land was productive they worked together to build churches, schools, and became founders of the community.
The Mennonite story is one of an enduring Christian faith through a tumultuous history. Settlement in the Fraser Valley has allowed their story to take root and flourish.
Thiessen said there are thousands of stories that need to be told—those who escaped Russia and Ukraine owe it to those who didn’t to tell their stories, because they don’t have a voice.
Open since January 22, 2016, the goals of the museum are to engage present and future generations with the Mennonite story through a variety of media, including permanent and temporary exhibits, film, and interactive digital displays.
Make sure to allow three hours in order to enjoy the entire museum. However, there are many ways to explore the exhibits in smaller chunks. If you focus on the outside walls you’ll have a chronological historical timeline of the Mennonite story. If you focus on the inside displays you’ll explore the various themes found in the timeline. And three to four times per year come to see the seasonal exhibits, which highlight various aspects of Mennonite history and faith. There will be a particular focus on how Mennonites have interacted with agriculture over the centuries.
As education is an important component of Mennonite faith, the museum also has digital yearbooks from every Mennonite school in British Columbia. Take a look through the interactive exhibit and find your parents or grandparents high school photo!
Address: 1818 Clearbook Road
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Admission by donation
Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.
This spring marks the first year of the Abbotsford Tulip Festival--the only tulip festival in BC and tulip celebration in Canada located on a farm. Guests will experience 10 acres of beautiful, vibrant colour, featuring over 50 varieties and 2.5 million bulbs, and ample parking for over 1000 vehicles. The first few weeks of the festival have been a huge success with people travelling from all different area's of BC.
The festival offers a covered picnic area, children’s play area, photo cut-out boards, fun food trucks (on weekends) and sections for friends and family to wander through the fields. Guests can pick their own flowers in the U- Pick field, purchase fresh cut tulips and order bulbs for planting in the fall. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring friends and family together and enjoy a warm spring afternoon at the festival here in Abbotsford.
“We are very excited. It is going to be a fantastic experience and a great addition to all of the other things happening in Abbotsford this year. This family-friendly festival will highlight the beauty of the community and will give, yet, another reason for locals and visitors to get out and explore Abbotsford. Alexis’ vision is inspirational and we wish her and her team the very best, says Craig Nichols, Executive Director of Tourism Abbotsford.
For over 30 years, the Warmerdam family has been growing field tulips on Sumas Prairie and clearly, the passion started from an early age. This photo below is Alexis, at age 5 in her father’s tulip field taken by The Vancouver Sun. Now, at 26 years of age, Alexis has spent the last year preparing the new fields with the intention of providing a unique experience where guests can appreciate the tulips’ beauty amidst the Fraser Valley scenery.
“Our festival highlights community spirit, local agriculture and spring. I am excited to see this long-time dream become a reality and I'm looking forward to sharing my passion with our community!” says Alexis Warmerdam, Owner and Fourth Generation Dutch-Canadian Bulb Grower.
To learn more, visit www.abbotsfordtulipfestival.ca, call 604.751.6389 or follow the festival on Facebook and Instagram @abbotsfordtulipfestival or Twitter @AbbyTulipfestival #ColourInTheCountry
With more than 100 exhibit booths covering 1,000 square feet of the Abbotsford Tradex, this year’s Fraser Valley Food Show is back with something for everyone from the foodie to the gluten-free to the craft beer enthusiast.
New for this year’s show is the Edible Garden—for those interested in where their food comes from and also want to grow their own food—and the Spring Craft Market, hand-picked local artisans offering curated articles for outdoor living and entertaining needs.
And if you’re part of the ever-growing condo-dwelling population, there are special sessions and exhibits to help you create an apartment-appropriate deck garden or vertical planting system.
“Just because you have limited space doesn’t mean you can’t get into it too,” said event co-producer Heather Angeard.
Throughout the weekend there are ongoing seminars including the Great Canadian Sausage Making Competition on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and wine tasting and food pairing sessions with wine aficionado Kathleen Rake.
“One of my favourite things to do is have blue cheese and a sweet wine,” said Rake. “Even people who don’t like blue cheese end up liking it. It just works.”
Tasting seminars are included with admission and are first-come, first-served. Once you find your perfect pairing, you’ll find take-home bottles in the tasting area from local vendors. Also on the Grapes and Hops stage are exotic cocktail presentations by Bittered Sling Bitters and beer tastings with Just Here for the Beer.
Other showcase stages include the BC Pork Butcher Showcase Stage, the Dairy Farmers of Canada Cheese Seminars, and the Celebrity Cooking Stage featuring Food Network’s The Surreal Gourmet Chef Bob Blumer, Tojo’s Restaurant Chef Hidekazu Tojo, and The Inclusive Chef Dr. Theresa Nicassio.
The majority of the show’s presentations feature gluten-free cooking and there are a wealth of gluten-free ingredients and products available in the exhibition.
“People have told us it would take them a whole day going to different stores to get the amount of product they can get at the show,” said Angeard. “It’s a one-stop shop for gluten-free products.”
Admission includes access to the exhibition, Edible Garden, presentation stages, Great Canadian Sausage Making competition, seminars, restaurant pavilion, tasting gardens, Spring Craft Market, and the Gluten-Free Living Show.
When: April 1 (noon to 9 p.m.), April 2 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), April 3 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Cost: Adults $9, youth (ages 13-16), children (12 and under) free, seniors (65+) $7
Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and Easter in Abbotsford is just around the corner! Everyone’s excited for the Easter egg scavenger hunts, decorating and (who are we kidding) the loads of chocolate! With the long weekend coming up, this can help you plan!
Easter Egg Decorating
March 19 / Chocolatas
We invite you to our first ever Easter Egg Decorating Day at our Abbotsford location with our very own Master Chocolatier Wim Tas. Contact ahead by phone 604-504-5957 or email@example.com to pre-book.
#101 - 31060 Peardonville Rd. www.chocolatas.com
Meet the Easter Bunny
March 25 & 26 / Highstreet Shopping Centre
Snap a pic with the Easter Bunny, he'll be popping up on Friday & Saturday, 12pm - 4pm, with treats compliments of Purdy's Chocolatier.
3122 Mt. Lehman Rd. www.highstreetfv.com
Take a Selfie with the Easter Bunny
March 25 & 26 / Sevenoaks Shopping Centre
Visit Sevenoaks Shopping Centre and take a selfie with the Easter bunny, 11 am - 2 pm in the food court. Use #7oakseasterbunny @shopsevenoaks on Instagram for a chance to win a $25 Sevenoaks gift card!
32900 South Fraser Way www.shopsevenoaks.com
March 26 & 27 / Maan Farms & Estate Winery
Enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt and face-painting, contests, family activities, hay-wagon rides, prizes, yummy treats, and meet the Easter Bunny!!! B.Y.O.B (Bring your own Basket) or we have buckets available for purchase. While you’re here enjoy our great family attractions.
790 McKenzie Rd. www.maanfarms.com
March 26 & 27 / Ecodairy
Join us both days for an Easter Special! We will have a fun egg scavenger hunt for touring guests. Find all the eggs for a sweet treat! Coffee and tea provided. Stop by during our open hours: Saturday 10-4 & Sunday 11-4 Guided tours will be every hour on the half hour.
1356 Sumas Way www.ecodairy.ca
It’s that time of year again! Spring Break is around the corner, the sun is starting to shine and the cherry blossoms are blooming. We have some great ideas to enjoy these two weeks off in Abbotsford. There are many kids’ camps happening over the next few weeks which we have listed below but if you missed sign-up (whoops!), here are a few day adventures.
Highstreet Shopping Centre
Learn! Mar 14-18, 12-2 PM
Science World Show + Make and Take Activities.
Science World is back at Highstreet hosting their fun and informative show all week long. Located in Central Plaza, just outside of Cineplex. Totally Free.
Highstreet Shopping Centre
Play! Mar 21-24, 12-2 PM
Skateboarding* + Rock Climbing.
Paul from Replay Sports and Project Climb will be at Highstreet Monday to Thursday, and it's totally free! Located in Central Plaza, just outside of Cineplex. Totally Free.*Participants must call Guest Services at 604-381-3934 to register for skateboarding lessons prior to the event. Lessons are separated by Beginners and Advances skateboarders.
Abbotsford Recreation Centre
Spring Break Camps - Mar 14-18 & 21-23
From pre-school camps, springtastic camps and super splash, there is a camp for every age! Spring break swim lessons are also offered. More information here.
Seven Oaks Shopping Centre
Kids Club Events - Mar 14-18 & 21-23
Registration is FREE for the Kids Club at Sevenoaks and enjoy fun daily activities. Spots are booking up fast, contact their customer service desk or website for more information.
Spring Break Camp - Mar 14-18 & March 21-25, 9:00am - 3:00pmCome join us over the break for a week-long "Woodland Creature" theme, loaded with games, crafts, science experiments and other great adventures! Sign up through this site or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Full week sign-ups are required, no one day only options.
Bring the family to celebrate Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour in our community of Abbotsford, BC! Meet Ron MacLean and NHL Alumni and show your community pride on live national TV. Former NHLer Brendan Morrison and award-winning Canadian country musician Chad Brownlee to join weekend festivities, along with special hometown heroes
Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour is the season’s go-to hockey festival. Bring the whole family down to Exhibition Park on Haida Drive for this two day event. There will be free activities, live music, and of course, lots of hockey! The entire festival will culminate with Ron MacLean hosting the broadcast of the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks game AND the Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks games from our Sportsnet Mobile Studio with an outdoor viewing party.
Location: Abbotsford Exhibition Park 32470 Haida Dr. Abbotsford, BC
Time & Dates: Saturday, February 20th - Festival opens from 12pm to 6pm
Sunday, February 21st - Festival opens at 11am and runs through the end of the double-header outdoor viewing party.
Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks, 3:30 p.m. PT (Sportsnet)
Colorado Avalanche vs. Vancouver Canucks, 6:30 p.m. PT (Sportsnet)
Website: www.rogershometownhockey.com #hometownhockey
The Abbotsford Specialty Beer and Wine Tour came to fruition as a way to showcase and educate about our newly developing industry of craft breweries and wineries. While tasting and touring, take time to discover the unique flavours of our valley. Read more about our Beer & Wine tour partners below.
Come taste the flavours of what’s believed to be the oldest known alcoholic beverage, Mead or Honey Wine was first discovered by the Samarians in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. The romantic tradition of offering mead to newlyweds led to the sweet potion being known as the “drink of love” in the middle ages. 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).
Tasting Room Hours: Tuesday to Friday 12pm–6pm, Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 12pm–5pm
Maan Farms Estate Winery, a culmination of three generations of farmers, has brought forth a taste with true distinction. Their wines begin with only the most luscious and flavoursome handpicked berries. Loyal to the Fraser Valley, these complex yet elegant wines capture the delicate accents, and indulge the senses with a wine that incorporates the finest flavours of British Columbia. From the ground to your glass, Maan Farms’ wines are solely produced here, leaving no room for anything less than the best that we have to offer.
Tasting Room Hours: Closed until Spring
This is a family owned boutique winery specializing in small lots of premium naturally made wines. Mount Lehman winery has 15 acres planted to a variety of grapes including Pinot noir (flagship wine), Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and a smattering of others. Today, they’re well known for their award winning wines, and commitment to growing a local, family run business. Come tour the beautiful farm and vineyard and drop by the tasting room to sample their unique award winning wines. Photo Credit: Christine McAvoy
Tasting Room Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12pm to 5pm
At Old Abbey Ales, their thing is beer, and the master brewer Tony skillfully crafts every batch by hand, producing what is believed are some of the finest beers in the market. The main reason for the brewery was to have a demonstration brewery so customers buying brewing equipment could actually see the equipment in action. Customers can purchase a full turn-key brewery from Brew-Stuff, and then learn how to use it at Old Abbey Ales. In staying true to their mission, all of our beers are bottle conditioned, thus creating natural carbonation, producing what we call Real Ale. Check out their 22 beers on tap!
Tasting Room Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11am to 7pm
Ravens Brewing Company is inspired by the agricultural roots surrounding the Abbotsford area. Head Brewer Nick Fengler, a Fraser Valley local and resident, with his vast knowledge and creativity, was brought on to help create beers that focus on utilizing traditional and locally sourced ingredients to produce European inspired West Coast beers. They are committed to working with neighbours using locally sourced ingredients to create the Ground to Glass series, featuring the popular Raspberry Hefeweizen with whole raspberries picked within 3 km of the brewery. They look forward to welcoming you into their tasting room. Photo Credit: Christine McAvoy
Tasting Room Hours: Wednesday & Thursday 12pm – 6pm Friday & Saturday 12pm – 7pm and Sundays 1pm – 5pm
Singletree Winery is a family owned estate vineyard and winery. The site where the farm is located is rich in farming history, with activity starting in the late 1800’s. The warm summers and mild winters of the Fraser Valley climate make it an ideal growing region, and Mt. Lehman’s bountiful soils also create the perfect conditions for growing lush, bumper crops of fruits and vegetables. With this in mind, they realized the potential for Mt. Lehman to be a heart of agri-business in BC. They’re proud of the focused portfolio of wines, crafted by a second generation family member Andrew Etsell, made in Summerland under the guidance of winemaker Matt Dumayne. Taste a new generation of wine from an emerging region. Photo Credit: Christine McAvoy
Tasting Room Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 12pm to 5:30pm
Download your copy of the the Speciality Beer & wine tour map.
Did you know Abbotsford hosted the second annual Fraser Valley First Night? Thousands of residents from the Fraser Valley and surrounding Metro Vancouver communities were at Tradex in Abbotsford on December 31st to ring in the New Year.
The Fraser Valley First Night 2016 was attended by over 3700 guests. The family-friendly event featured midway rides, climbing wall, live entertainment, Tumblebus, Creative Cube, inflatable kid’s activities, face painting, balloon drop, and a midnight fireworks display. And judging by the response from guests throughout the evening, the event struck a chord with many people who are looking for something affordable to do in the Valley with their families on New Year’s.
“This was our second year hosting the event, it has been so much fun to be surrounded by so many families enjoying such a special evening together in a safe, warm, family-friendly environment,” said Craig Nichols, Executive Director of the Tourism Abbotsford Society. ”The team here is excited to begin plans for next year.”
Highlights of the evening also included free family photos courtesy of North Pole BC, a magic show by Gary Savard, and the opportunity for kids in attendance to learn some new dance moves under the instruction of Lorissa Arndt.
“The evening would not have been as successful without the support of the City of Abbotsford, our great community sponsors, and a large team of volunteers. A big thank you is owed to them.” Parking for the event was free courtesy of Fraserway RV, Sky Helicopters provided a prize draw of a helicopter tour, and the City of Abbotsford provided the outdoor stage.
Be sure to mark your calendars for next years celebration!
This season, preparing a gorgeous, delicious, and local holiday appetizer or hostess gift doesn’t have to break the bank and is easier than you think! Here are three amazing appetizer suggestions from local Abbotsford farms.
BCSPCA certified organic chicken farmers Tim and Flo Rempel sell eggs and chicken (whole or pierced) from their farm store on Townshipline Road. Located at 34205 Townshipline Road. Open Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Teriyaki Chicken Wings (click for recipe)
• Rockweld Farm chicken wings
• 2 parts teriyaki sauce
• 1 part barbeque sauce
Specializing in pork, the family-run farm launched as a corn stand in 1995. In 2009 they opened their year-round farm market at the corner of Highway 11 and Clayburn Road. Located at 33955 Clayburn Road, open seven days a week 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Smoked Chorizo paired perfectly with Abbotsford’s Campbell’s Gold Honey, this spicy, sweet, and highly addictive dish is great for taking to any Holiday party.
Lepp's Honey Wine Chorizo (click for recipe)
• 2 Lepp’s Chorizo Sausage
• ½ cup white wine
• 3 tablespoons Campbell’s Gold Honey
The Dykstra family aims to provide high quality, hand-crafted cheese using fresh milk from local farms with as few other ingredients as possible. Located at 30854 Olund Road. Products are available at 37 retailers including Lepp Farm Market and Nature’s Fare.
Goat Cheese and Goji Berry Wrap (click for recipe)
• Mt. Lehman Cheese garlic and herb chevre
• Mt. Lehman Cheese Matsqui aged cheddar
• Gojoy Fresh goji berries
• Sundried tomato soft tortilla shell
• 1 chicken breast
All three of these farms are part of Abbotsford's Circle Farm Tour.