Father of Six Boys

Oliver Edwards is the father of 6 boys aged 12 down to 4 year old twins.  They have since moved away from the Vancouver area, but still recall fondly their 13 years there.  Oliver is passionate about fathering, parenting, and the outdoors, regularly seeking out new ways to explore nature in all her wonders with his sons.  Oliver posts Youtube Vlogs about his family at www.youtube.com/fatheringfromhome, Blogs at www.fatheringfromhome.com and you can get it all if you like his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/fatheringfromhome. In this guest blog post, Oliver writes about his adventures with his six boys in Surrey, a suburb south of the Fraser River.

Rooting Boys in the Parks of the South Fraser

It’s been a few years since we left, but 12 years on the Coast left its mark on our family, and we still miss it from time to time – the lush greens, the tall trees, and the opportunity to get out into mother nature in almost every month of the year without snowgear (providing you can seize the brief moments of sunshine that happen between showers, that is!)

We lived in Surrey while we had our boys – 3 of them in Surrey Memorial Hospital (1 before the maternity upgrades, and two after), one at home(!) and the twins, being a “higher risk” and premature, at BC Women’s Hospital.  Managing 9 years of toddlers meant getting out whenever we could to keep from going stir crazy!  Due to traffic, it was a rare day we got into Vancouver to enjoy Stanley Park or any of the other great parks that are on offer, but for the other half million people in the Lower Mainland who like us, lived “South of Fraser”, here is a review of our top 5:

Redwood Park

This park has something for the nature lover as well as for the kids!  I personally was fascinated by the Redwood trees, rarities north of California.  The history behind the grove here is worth checking into.  There is a treehouse in the middle of the grove, but also plenty of open space, picnic areas and a playground for the litFathering from Hometle guys.  Because the play/walking areas are far from roads, it is a great place to let your little ones “off-leash”.

Bear Creek Park

Right in the middle of Surrey, this park has it all – from good bathrooms, to sports fields, to a variety of paved walking/biking trails, to a train (for a small fee), to a track, and even food on occasion, there is plenty to experience in heart of Surrey.  Several playgrounds keep the little ones busy, and there’s even some gardens for strolling and smelling the flowers in.  Speaking of the train, check out their Hallowe’en special and Christmas trains!  I always loved trying to spot salmon in Bear Creek in October and November – a rarity, but they did show up from time to time.

Green Timbers Urban Forest

Split by the Fraser Highway, most of the fun stuff is in the north.  This park features a stocked trout pond which I can personally vouch for its access and scenic qualities.  Many of the trails here are dirt which adds to a more “earthy” experience when walking or hiking but can get muddy in the rain.  Surprisingly “wild” feeling, despite being surrounded by pavement.

Tynehead Regional Park

This one is just off Highway 1 so is remarkably easy to access if you’re coming across the Port Mann.  Take either the 160th or 176th exits and it’s nestled right in between them.  Being so close to the river, there is rarely some larger wildlife in there, but still great for hiking and biking and salmon spotting in the creek.  There is also a fish hatchery in the park which during certain seasons offers tours.  We always felt back to nature when we pushed the stroller through the loop.  Hint: watch for the widening of the trail and some logs to sit on: it is squirrel heaven, since certain people have a habit of feeding them there…

Watershed Park

Technically not in Surrey, but just south of North Delta, on the edge of the break of land along 64th Ave is this beautiful park.  Because it is right at the edge, the terrain gets quite hilly, to burn off the steam of your little ones – but watch out winding up at the bottom of the hill with tired tykes and having to cart them back up the hill on your shoulders!  Again, many unpaved trails, but a few paved ones – if I recall there is a playground nestled into the edge against a residential area.  But the big seller for me in this park is the view – if you can find the spot, there is a crazy beautiful viewpoint looking out towards White Rock.  If you are daring enough to make it all the way to the bottom there are streams down there to explore as well.

BONUS: Rainy Day Play

Go Bananas! On King George is very close to Central City and is good for hours of play indoors.  Kids from 11 or 12 right down to toddlers will have a blast – food on premises too!  If it’s raining or cold and you want to take the kids out but don’t know where to go, try them out.