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.