The PNE and Labour Day Weekend


Last week­end, we paid anoth­er vis­it to the PNE, which is the ‘State Fair’ that is held year­ly at the fair­grounds at the cor­ner of East Hast­ings and Bound­ary Road. It was our third time, so we knew most­ly what we want­ed to see and do. The new addi­tion of the Peking Acro­bats were a great new attrac­tion; you can’t but be impressed by some of their feats of strength and bal­ance, like the woman who did a per­fect hand­stand on top of 7 chairs stacked on top of each oth­er, with the bot­tom chair perched on 4 Coke bot­tles. This year we arrived just as a calf had been born, and got to see the moth­er cow lick­ing the new­born. We didn’t stay long enough to see it take its first steps, but I’m told they always do with­in an hour or two. I always like tak­ing pic­tures of the ani­mals, even if the most exot­ic thing you typ­i­cal­ly see is a Lla­ma or Alpaca (and you can spy those along many roads in BC). We did see a Sow nurs­ing a lit­ter of piglets, but for­tu­nate­ly none of them squealed. That nee­dle-sharp pierc­ing cry is my first mem­o­ry, from the West Vir­ginia State Fair when I was per­haps 3 or 4 year’s old, and it has remained a sound that both­ers me to this day. We also saw the impres­sive Sand Sculp­ture con­test and the Card Stack­ing cham­pi­on, and even a ‘Human Foun­tain’ pow­ered by a bicy­cle ped­al pump.

It was nice to have an extra week­end day, which is how this par­tic­u­lar hol­i­day often works out to be. On Sat­ur­day, Pam and I took a trip down to Cres­cent Beach in Sur­rey, and then the town of White Rock, and had a look at this charm­ing and colour­ful sea­side vil­lage. If this is where peo­ple are buy­ing up real estate like mad for retire­ment, I can see the attrac­tion. We had a tasty lunch (steamed mus­sels and sal­ad for me, a Salmon burg­er and sal­ad for Pam) and walked up and down the board­walk, tak­ing in the sun and sea. We went out to the pier and back, and gen­er­al­ly just hung around peo­ple and place-watch­ing. Pam posed for a pho­to by the ‘White Rock’ (a Glacial deposit) that is now paint­ed white (but is is very big, to be sure). It was nice not to be on a sched­ule for a change.

Lat­er, we drove to Point Roberts, which we had also heard of but not seen until now. I have to say that it was a lit­tle depress­ing. Maybe even a lit­tle creepy. Point Roberts, for those who are not famil­iar, is a strange result of the Tsawwassen penin­su­la of British Colum­bia extend­ing south, beyond the 49th par­al­lel, cre­at­ing a small, iso­lat­ed piece of the USA that you can only reach from Cana­da. Accord­ing to the Britishcolumbia.com Web­site:

Point Roberts is locat­ed on the extreme south­ern tip of the penin­su­la that defines Bound­ary Bay’s west­ern shore­line. Vis­i­tors must cross the Cana­da-US bor­der on Point Roberts Road in Tsawwassen to enter or leave the tiny enclave. Except for a steep hill south of Maple Beach, explor­ing Point Roberts makes for a most­ly lev­el, 2-hour tour by bike. The roads blend into one anoth­er in a sim­ple rec­tan­gu­lar grid and are easy to fol­low. What­com Coun­ty, Wash­ing­ton, of which Point Roberts is a part, main­tains Light­house Park, a delight­ful and often over­looked park at the extreme south­west­ern point of the main­land. From this windswept point, cyclists are reward­ed with some of the best views on the entire Fras­er Estu­ary: Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca as well as the Strait of Geor­gia open up on three sides.

I don’t know about delight­ful and over­looked, but we did ven­ture into Light­house Park, and found it pret­ty grim and des­o­late, with tum­ble­down wood build­ings from the 1970s and a tru­ly awful pub­lic toi­let. There were a few peo­ple there, but it was a big con­trast com­pared with the sun­ny, pop­u­lat­ed world of White Rock. The views (a least to the south) were nice, although it had begun to get a bit over­cast by the time we got there.


Sun­day and today have been far less adven­tur­ous. We relaxed and did some errands yes­ter­day, before I made a Risot­to with our beloved local Chanterelles, which are at their peak, as well as some amaz­ing Japan­ese mush­rooms from Granville Island includ­ing a big (expen­sive), aro­mat­ic Mat­su­take mush­room, which is like a truf­fle in its com­plex­i­ty and rar­i­ty. Also made a Pump­kin cake, which we brought to Matt and Oana’s ‘movie night’ , where we had some of Matt’s excel­lent fish chow­der and saw Sta­lag 17, an old Bil­ly Wilder WWII clas­sic that actu­al­ly came out after the war was over in 1953.