Vancouver’s Best Pumpkin Patch? You Make the Call!

untitled-7For the next two weeks or so, you’re going to be seeing a lot of pumpkins for sale.

They’re in every grocery store, usually not far from the check-out counter so you can make an impulse buy on the way out.  They come in all shapes and sizes – from 20-pound monsters to petite little gourds meant for centrepieces.

But true Halloween fans know there’s only one real way to pick out a pumpkin: by wandering through an honest-to-goodness pumpkin patch.

Now, you’re unlikely to find many pumpkin patches in downtown Vancouver.  In fact, you have to expand your search radius quite a bit before you get to pumpkin country. Head east to Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, even Surrey – These are all prime pumpkin towns, with plenty of farmland and open spaces.  To the south, Richmond, Delta and Ladner aren’t slouches either in the pumpkin department.  (This handy list of corn mazes is a good indication of where the pumpkin hotspots are.)

In fact, when you get down to it, the Lower Mainland offers a veritable cornucopia of pumpkin patch options, which is why I need your help: Do you have a favourite pumpkin patch in or around Vancouver? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below. 

I’ll get things started with my personal favourite, the Westham Island Herb Farm, in Delta. Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Best Pumpkin Patch? You Make the Call!

Vancouver Hidden Gem Alert: Discovering Westham Island – Part II

Photo credit: USFWS Headquarters | Flickr

Photo credit: USFWS Headquarters | Flickr

Just 45 minutes south of Vancouver, tiny Westham Island has its own world-class bird sanctuary, farm stands and acres of pumpkin patches, and waterfront bike trails.  Check out Part I of this two-part series for more details.  

While the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island might not exactly be a hidden gem (the parking lot was filled beyond capacity when I visited), it amazes me how few Vancouverites have been there.  The 740-acre, waterfront refuge – intersected with leafy, winding pathways, lagoons and quiet backwaters – provides habitat for some 250 species of birds throughout the year.  Admission is $5 and you can buy a bag of birdseed for $1.

On any given day, you’ll be swarmed by hundreds (often thousands) of ducks, who want your precious seeds.  Over the weekend, I also saw at least a half-dozen great blue herons perched out in the water, red-winged blackbirds, brilliantly coloured wood ducks and tiny finches that have learned to eat out of your hand. Continue reading:
Vancouver Hidden Gem Alert: Discovering Westham Island – Part II

Vancouver Hidden Gem Alert: Discovering Westham Island — Part I

Photo credit: Gord McKenna | Flickr

Photo credit: Gord McKenna | Flickr

It’s a tiny island a short drive from Vancouver with its own world-class bird sanctuary, farm stands and acres of pumpkin patches, and waterfront bike trails you’ll likely have all to yourself.

And pretty much no one has heard of it.

Westham Island is roughly a 45-minute drive south of downtown Vancouver, past Richmond and just next door to the small agricultural community of Ladner. I checked out the island recently on a sunny fall day.

A narrow tributary of the Fraser River separates Westham Island from the mainland.  To get across, you have to navigate a creaky, one-lane wooden bridge that’s been patched here and there with plywood.  Sometimes the bridge rotates to allow passing boats to get by and you might find a half-dozen cars lined up and waiting to get across. Continue reading:
Vancouver Hidden Gem Alert: Discovering Westham Island — Part I