Snowbirds! Explore the Communities South of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
Two trips to take on bright sunny days this winter that will provide a flavour of the local communities and regions south of Vancouver – Richmond and Delta as well as White Rock and Langley.
Our first trip starts in Richmond then heads south to the Village of Steveston, across to Delta and the Village of Ladner. There are some lovely and decent country roads you can take to these destinations but as it’s winter we will let you decide which way to get there. (Check out the Google Map in our drive: Explore the Communities of South Vancouver and the Fraser Valley).
- A historic landmark, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery situated in the Village of Steveston in Richmond has interactive and fascinating displays showcasing the machinery, tools and life in the West Coast fishing industry over a century ago. For the month of December the Cannery also hosts the Festival of Trees, decorated and sparkling for the holiday season.
- For close to six weeks leading up to December 31 Steveston lights up and celebrates the festive season in style. Entertainment, food and fun provide a great way to spend a few hours alongside the waterfront. For more info: Steveston’s Winter in the Village
- More interactive displays highlight what life was like in the early days of Steveston Village at the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site.
- If you enjoy watching birds in their habitat the Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta is a must on your list. It is home to thousands of snow geese that over-winter and many species live here year-round. Hundreds of acres of wetlands are criss-crossed by trails and quiet places to observe the birds.
- Located in Delta is the Historic Village of Ladner. The original village is very small but offers some fun opportunities to poke around coffee spots and unique shops, fashion and gift boutiques, home décor, crafts and even a seed shop that yes, while it is a garden shop, also has interesting gifts.
Our second trip starts in White Rock. White Rock is a seaside community south of Surrey and Langley, its eastern neighbour, offers a country experience. Several golf courses are here and are open throughout the year when weather permits. This region is dotted with wineries, cideries, gardens, fruit and dairy farms open to the public, and even a turkey farm with a bistro.
- A short distance east of White Rock, following 8th Avenue, will bring you to Campbell Valley Regional Park. This is a significant park with many kilometres of hiking, biking and horse trails. If you want to get out and stretch your legs this is a good place to visit.
- Chaberton Estate Winery located on 216 Street is just around the corner from Campbell Valley Park. It is a well-known award-winning winery offering a variety of red and white wines. Sample some of these wines in the tasting room followed by a delightful lunch in the Bacchus Bistro which offers up an authentic French menu.
- Up for some more wine tasting? A short distance further east on 232 Street is Backyard Vineyards. They produce award-winning bold reds and bubblies that will tingle on the palate.
- When was the last time you went to a drive-in theatre? You can relive those days for a nostalgic evening by visiting the Twilight Drive In Theatre. Showings and times are all on their website.
- Fort Langley National Historic Site provides a glimpse into history when the Hudson Bay Company established a small post here to trade furs with the First Nations. Explore the various historic buildings and watch live demonstrations by costumed storytellers that showcase what life was like here in the 1800s. A short walk from here is the community of Fort Langley which is known for its unique antique shops, eateries and gift boutiques.
- How about taking in a hockey game? The Vancouver Giants are Vancouver’s major junior hockey team and play in the Western Hockey League out of the Langley Events Centre. Giants’ games are an affordable alternative to the Vancouver Canucks, and you never know, you may be watching the next Wayne Gretzky!
For other drives from Vancouver check out:
For RV parks and other camping accommodations check out the Winter Camping Map.
Share your camping and BC travel photos using hashtag #CampInBC #ExploreBC
Explore Fort Langley & Gulf of Georgia Cannery Historic Sites & Check Out Some of BC’s Fascinating History
British Columbia has a rich and fascinating history and Parks Canada National Historic Sites highlight pieces of this history. BC’s National Historic Sites are spread out through the province, from East to West and from North to South. Several of the sites are within an easy day trip of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Others will require more planning and commitment. All are worth visiting.
Today we are highlighting two National Historic Sites, Fort Langley and Gulf of Georgia Cannery. Both are easily accessible day trips from Metro Vancouver, and in our next blog we will be talking about three National Historic Sites that are spread throughout the province and would make a great part of any summer vacation.
A common thread through many of Canada’s National Historic Sites (and Parks) is the Xplorers Program for the young and young at heart. This program includes a booklet highlighting activities at each site. As children complete the activities, they work their way toward earning a certificate and souvenir. The program is a great way to keep kids engaged and learning, and offers a lot of fun opportunities.
Fort Langley National Historic Site
Growing up in Hope, Fort Langley National Historic Site is the one I have been to the most often. A popular location for school field trips, Sunday strolls, and taking out of town visitors, Fort Langley continues to expand its offerings to ensure that there is something new to experience every time you visit. Recently, Fort Langley became one of 20 participating locations in the new Club Parka Program – a learning opportunity complete with singing, dancing, and activity pages. There is also a fun photo scavenger hunt you can complete while visiting the fort.
Fort Langley is a great place to explore. There are replica and original buildings, costumed interpreters, and live demonstrations throughout the day. Visit the blacksmith shop, the barrel workshop, and the garden to get a glimpse of what daily life looked like at Fort Langley in 1827. After you work up an appetite, visit the Lelam’ Café inside the fort for a bowl of salmon chowder or elk stew complete with herb bannock. For a longer excursion, consider booking an oTENTik tent and staying the night inside the fort.
The community of Fort Langley is worth a visit while you are in the area. Pop down the street to browse in one of the many antique shops and make sure you stop in at Wendel’s Bookstore & Café for an afternoon treat. If you still have time, pay a visit to the nearby Fort Wine Co. and sample some of their grape-free wines or enjoy a pitcher of sangria with friends.
Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site
Fishing on the West Coast comes alive at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston. The cannery, built in 1894, operated until 1979 when it was closed. The building sat abandoned until Parks Canada purchased it in 1984, and then was officially opened as a National Historic Site in 1994.
While visiting the cannery, join in on one of the free, guided tours – they are well worth it. Just keep in mind that inside the cannery is two or three degrees cooler than whatever the weather is outside and the tour takes about 45 minutes. Bring a coat! After your tour, take a few minutes to soak up the sunshine (hopefully!) in the red Adirondack chairs overlooking the Steveston Harbour and the Salish Sea. Snap a photo and #sharethechair to commemorate your visit.
Once you are done at the Cannery, take a stroll along the waterfront. Head down to the docks, and you may be lucky enough to see one of the sea lions that call the harbour home. Sample amazing fish and chips or other seafood delights for lunch, and then head inland a block or two and you will suddenly find yourself transported to Storybrooke, Maine – the setting of ABC’s Once Upon A Time – where you can visit some of the most recognizable filming locations from the show.
BC has some of the best National Historic Sites in the country. Our diversity of mountain and ocean sites guarantees that you will find something to suit your interests – all while learning about BC’s fascinating history.
If this area interests you, check out our drives:
Coast Mountain Circle Route (Vancouver Round Trip via Lytton, Lillooet & Whistler)
Side Trips from Vancouver Offer Plenty To Do in the Winter
Check out more blogs in the National Parks & Historic Sites series:
Share your BC camping and travel photos using hashtag #campinbc
Published: May 11th, 2017
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