Thursday - July 4, 2024 - Renovations continue at Alexandra Lodge

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Good morning!

Houseplants are so dramatic. When we left on our four-day trip, I assumed our selection of indoor plants would survive with the water they had. When we returned on Monday, my New Guinea impatiens was completely wilted, its stems draped over the edge of its pot like a hysterical Hollywood starlet.

Typically, only hardy plants survive in my house. But this plant was a Mother’s Day gift, and I had an obligation to keep it alive for at least a few more months. Thankfully, an overnight bath in a bowl of water revived the plant—and I am left wondering why people ever bothered potting such a high maintenance flower.

– Grace

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Traffic & Weather

🌤 Local forecast: Langley | Chilliwack | Abbotsford | Hope

🚘 Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google, and find DriveBC’s latest updates.

🛣 Click here for links to road cameras across the Fraser Valley, including those for the Coquihalla, Highway 7, Hope-Princeton, Fraser Canyon, and Highway 1 in Langley and Abbotsford.


Where to catch a free concert in July

The Fraser Valley is featuring nine different free concert series and festivals this month. 📷 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock

The sun is slowly setting in the valley. A warm breeze ruffles your hair. The melodic sounds of a live band envelope you and the dozens of other music lovers spread out in lawn chairs on the grass. It is a perfect evening. And best of all, it’s free.

This July, the musicians across the Fraser Valley will be performing in a number of free concerts. Some are one-time-only festivals that you won’t want to miss. Other concerts happen each week, giving you lots of opportunity to enjoy an evening of great music that won’t cost you a cent.

From jazz jams to country tunes, there is a concert for every music lover. (And did we mention all of them are free?)


Need to Know

📗 An Abbotsford author has won an award for her book about childhood obesity [Abbotsford News]

💲 Drive thru customers no longer need to pay for paper bags in Chilliwack [Chilliwack Progress]

🚑 Seven people were taken to the hospital in two separate crashes in Mission over the long weekend [Mission Record]

🌳 Earthwise Agassiz is planting a new community orchard with more than 200 fruit trees [Agassiz Harrison Observer]

⛔ Langley’s Otter Co-op was hit by hackers and has had to shut down its website and cardlock fuel system [Langley Advance Times]

🚒 An early morning fire damaged an Abbotsford furniture store on Canada Day [Fraser Valley Today]

💬 Mission council apologized to a local mom for not revising its rules around recovery houses [Mission Record]

🦉 American officials plan to send trained shooters into the forest to kill barred owls and reduce competition for endangered northern spotted owls [Vancouver Sun] / The Current wrote about how BC’s attempt at killing barred owls went [FVC]

🏠 Heritage homes can be saved from densification under the province’s new housing plan, but only if they have an official heritage designation [Vancouver Sun] / The Current reported two years ago on Chilliwack’s heritage inventory, which labels heritage buildings but doesn’t protect them [FVC]

📷 CURRENT CAM: Congratulations to Katherine, who was the first person to correctly identify this week’s Current Cam as the Stave Lake Dam’s warden house at Hayward Lake.


Chilliwack Mural Festival announces 2024 performer lineup

The Chilliwack Mural Festival, presented by the Chilliwack Arts Council, will feature over 40 performers for its free annual street festival in Downtown Chilliwack from August 15-17.

Highlights include performances by Sadé Awele and Serengeti, Las Empanadas Illegales, Vox Rea, Higher Ground Dance Battles, Spank Williams, Kara Kata Afrobeat Group, Michaela Slinger, CiMaX & Vino, and more. The Sasquatch Stage, presented by the Georgia Straight, will showcase local alt-country, indie, world music, and rock bands. The Thunderbird Stage will feature Indigenous cultural dances, beatbox performances, and dance battles.

Additional shows will be held for CMF Nights on Thursday and Friday at Bricklayer Brewing. The festival will celebrate eight new murals, and feature interactive art activities, a kids' zone, food trucks, and an art market.

The Agenda

The MacKinnons recently completed renovations to the Fraser Canyon’s Alexandra Lodge, and expect to be able to move into the building in the fall. 📷 The Historic Alexandra Lodge/Facebook

Alexandra Lodge continues with renovations, education

The extensive renovations undertaken by Shirley and Ken MacKinnon at Alexandra Lodge in the Fraser Canyon are beginning to bring the historic building back to the present—although there is still much left to do.

The Current has reported on the couple’s plan to restore the Fraser Canyon landmark several times over the years. At The Current’s last visit, the MacKinnons had refurbished the foundation and were in the midst of replacing the building’s structural beams.

That has now been done—plus a lot more. The upstairs floor, which had not been attached to the outer wall of the building, is now firmly secured by beams. The front steps of the house have been the most recent project, with the stairs readied for new concrete two weeks ago. The MacKinnons now expect to be able to live in the building by the fall.

The couple have been doing more than just construction though. Alexandra Lodge hosted its first fundraiser in April, with the pair inviting people for an evening of “paranormal investigation” by donation. The MacKinnons also participated in the recent Hope Art Crawl, providing renovation tours by donation.

The lodge even welcomed some school classes to the cemetery on the property. Gladys Chapman, a young girl who died of tuberculosis at Kamloops Indian Residential School in 1931, is buried in the Spuzzum cemetery, which is located on the MacKinnons’ property. The BC Teachers Federation offers a lesson plan about Gladys and her life as a Nlaka’pamux child in residential school.

The MacKinnons share updates on their progress with the Alexandra Lodge via their Facebook page.

What do you want to know about rail in the valley?

Why do trains run in only one direction in parts of the valley? Which companies run trains in Chilliwack? What qualifications do train drivers need?

We recently had a reader email in these questions about rail in the valley—and we decided we will answer them in a future edition of The Current. But now we want to open it up to the rest of you: what questions do you have about trains?

Send in your questions through this form before Monday, July 8, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

(If you work for a local railway and want to help answer some reader questions, just reply to this email.)


In yesterday’s agenda story about the Highway 1 expansion to Chilliwack, we incorrectly stated that Dan Coulter was the Minister of Transportation. He is actually the Minister of State for Infrastructure and Transit.


You can share this newsletter by forwarding it or copy and pasting this link——into a social media post.


Mission Folk Music Festival July 26-28

Find your folk at the 37th Mission Folk Music Festival (July 26-28) in beautiful Fraser River Heritage Park, just east of Mission. Experience a brilliant summer weekend of folk songs, global beats, blues riffs, Celtic tunes, and more. There’s Wee Folks fun, jams, shopping, food and drink, with on-site camping available.

🗓 Things to do this week/end

🚗 Drag racing: Head to the Mission Raceway to see how fast your car can really go. The Street Legal race on Friday, July 5 invites road legal cars and motorcycles to a drag race in four basic classes. Racing is free for Mission residents. Details and tickets online.

🍿 Movie night: Movie Nights at Cultus Lake Park are back starting Friday, July 5 at 9pm. Bring your own chairs, blankets, and popcorn and watch the feature film Elemental. Details online.

👙 Free swim: FortisBC is sponsoring a free swim at Abbotsford's Centennial Pool in Mill Lake Park. Availability is first come, first serve for the two hour swim. Details online.

Want even more? Insider members get a comprehensive events listing every Thursday, plus a weekly Saturday round-up edition with behind-the-scenes content. Becoming a member costs less than $2 a week and helps support the ongoing production of The Current’s newsletters and in-depth journalism. Become a member here.

Have an event to tell us about? Fill out this form to have it highlighted here.

Catch up

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