EXPLORE ABBY BLOG

Top 10 Adventures in Abbotsford

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 
 



2. Historic Downtown



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. 
 



8. Shopping

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. 
 



9. Golfing

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.
 



10. Skydiving



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!
 



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

More from #ExploreAbbotsford:

107 Days of Summer in Abbotsford 
5 Places to Adventure with Kids
Fresh Faces of Abby Series 

Events Calendar 

Tradex: Living, Breathing Space Marks 25 Years

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.

Imagine if the Tradex walls could talk.

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.

From hockey greats, to famous chefs and soap stars, to the Batmobile.

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.

Recycling, rainwater, and a culinary team of its own.

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.

Party time.

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.”

Top 5 Summer Events

1. Berry Beat Festival

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
Website 

 

2. BeerBQ

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

 

3. Abbotsford BC Summer Games 

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
Volunteer Opportunities 

 

4. AgriFair

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
Website 

 

5. The Abbotsford INTERNATIONAL Airshow

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 
Website


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

More from #ExploreAbbotsford:

107 Days of Summer in Abbotsford 
5 Places to Adventure with Kids
Fresh Faces of Abby Series 

Events Calendar 

Abbotsford Rice Paddies Thriving


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.


Rice Seeds

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.
 


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

More from #ExploreAbbotsford:

5 June Events Around Abbotsford 
ExploreAbbotsford with 107 Days of Summer 
5 Places to Adventure with Kids
Fresh Faces of Abby 
 

5 Places to take your kids in Abbotsford



Maan Farms

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
Website 

 



Castle Fun Park

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
Website 

 



Eco Dairy

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
Website 

 



Birchwood Dairy

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
Website 
 

Play Abby

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
Website 

If you're looking for more family-friendly activies and adventures, check out our 107 Days of Summer guide. 

107 Days of Summer



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! 

Abbotsford’s Run for Water Adds 10K Trail Run

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.

Mennonite Heritage Museum is a Testament to Abbotsford Settlers

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.

Colour in the Country



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

Fraser Valley Food Show & Gulten-Free Show

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.

Where: Tradex
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.