Fraser River Heritage Park is blossoming this spring with new trails, benches and scenery for visitors to enjoy.
The 2.3 kilometre walking path around the park is complete and new garden beds and storyboards depicting the park’s history and features are now being placed along the route.
The trail branches off in a couple of areas, leading walkers to either the pond at Heritage Park Centre, the grotto or Hatzic. There is also a natural riparian area by the new bridge and a kiosk at each entrance to the park with maps and information.
There are 49 new trees planted in the 44-acre park, some are native to the area, but others, such as cherry blossoms and garry oaks, just give it a different look, said Don Brown, manager of the Mission Heritage Association, which operates the park.
A few mature trees, an oak, copper beech and liquid amber, were donated in memory of Mission writer Kuldip Gill and planted near the north side of the park, along with a fig tree, provided by the Donatelli family last year.
Next, Brown hopes to have the orchard restored.
One was established when the residential school was operating, he said, noting the project has been contemplated since the FRHP was formed in 1985.
“It’s been started a number of times, but didn’t go through because of a lack of funding.”
Some apple, black walnut, pear and cherry trees from the original orchard are still there, and organizers have plans to seed and plant more. There is also a mulberry tree which bears delicious fruit, but it wasn’t one of the earlier trees.
Crews finished grading the orchard recently and park volunteers hope to sow grass seeds and begin planting soon. This week the group received a $2,500 grant from the Home Depot Canada Foundation to purchase heritage trees.
Brown predicts it will be a challenge bringing water to the area as there are no sprinklers are water lines running through that section of the park.
Everything at FRHP is grown naturally, without pesticides, including the rose garden.
“I’m calling this a learning park,” noted Brown. “I want to bring people in to learn something.”
Teachers can bring students here to show them where Mission started, or people can learn about the local wildlife, which the trees and vegetation will attract.
“There’s a lot of work to be done … but it will be a wonderful addition,” said Brown, who gives volunteers a lot of recognition for all the work they put in. “This is truly a community park we’re creating.”
The park is located on Mary Street, just off Fifth Avenue. For more information, visit www.heritagepark-mission.ca.
The schedule for this year’s Twilight Concerts has been finalized and will begin Wednesday, June 1 and run until Sept. 2. These free shows take place every Wednesday and Friday during the summer.
The Pandora Steel Drum band will open the season, followed by Serenata Sinfers on Friday. For a complete list of performers, visit www.heritagepark-mission.ca/twilightconcerts.html.
Chef Kerry Martin and partner Laurel Exner of Kela Cuisine, Inc. have taken over the operations of the Blackberry Kitchen at the Norma Kenney House, serving homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches at lunch and tapas and dinner entrees after 4 p.m. There is also a good wine list, unique cocktails and simple, yet tasty desserts.
While the menus feature a smattering of Martin’s creations, it also pays tribute to some traditions of the past, such as fresh scones with blackberry jam and pots of tea.
This used to be a tea house for many years run by volunteers, said Martin who has brought in a specialty coffee machine for those who desire something different.
The menu will change with the seasons, but the food will remain simple and delicious, said Martin.