Need a break from urban life? Tsawwassen and Ladner may be just what you’re looking for. Nestled between river and ocean, these towns have lots of options for relaxation. Go for a stroll or bike ride on a dike beside a river or the sea, buy wild local salmon at Superior Fish Market, do some shopping in little boutiques, play a round of golf or kayak through a quiet slough with only Steller sea lions and great blue herons to keep you company. These are just a few of the attractions of Ladner Village and Tsawwassen.
In Ladner, traffic is light, terrain is flat and the town’s surrounding horse and agricultural farms will make you want to get out and walk or bike. Downtown you will find historic buildings, friendly restaurants and hometown merchants. Have a drink or bite to eat while you watch boat traffic on the peaceful and picturesque Ladner Slough. The Ladner Leisure Center offers plenty to do on the rare rainy day.
Ladner May Days, held May 24-26, is lots of fun with live music, amusement rides and a parade on Sunday at noon. Tour de Delta is an exciting bike race that winds through Ladner and Tsawwassen (July 5–7) and is super spectator-friendly. Boundary Bay Airport, which began life in 1941 for training Commonwealth aircrews during WWII, holds an annual airshow, which this year is held July 20. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be the big stars this year. The Tsawwassen Sun Festival is held on B.C. Day weekend (August 2-5) and features plenty of good food, music and other entertainment.
The Ladner Village Market is not to be missed – it’s held on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 9 and 23, July 14 and 28, August 11 and 25 and September 8.
Looking for exercise? Do a few laps on the stairs at Fred Gingell Park on English Bluff Road in Tsawwassen. It offers great views of Georgia Strait and the Gulf Islands as well as a top-notch cardiovascular workout. Rent a kayak at Ladner Slough and paddle through the backwaters of the Fraser River. Great blue herons and eagles soar overhead while you explore small islands and marshlands abutting the waterway. Walk or bike the dike on River Road west to Georgia Strait; alternatively, ride the dike from Beach Grove around Boundary Bay. This flat gravel trail goes on and on under silent skies for 20 kilometers. For more bike routes, go to bit.ly/2GTePPe.
Both communities are located on the Pacific Flyway, and the surrounding lands are vital stopovers for millions of birds on their annual migration. One of the best places to observe all kinds of birds is at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Ladner. Take River Road West, and turn right for the bridge to Westham Island. Just before the bridge is a small park where often you’ll have a close-up view of Steller sea lions sunning on the docks.
Don’t miss the Delta Nature Reserve at Burns Bog, the world’s largest domed peat bog. Trails lead you through a small portion of the 40 square kilometer reserve.
Between Tsawwassen and Ladner are acres upon acres of blueberry fields; stop at one of the roadside stands for a fresh hit of anti-oxidants. Highway 17 divides the two communities and also leads to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal taking travelers to Vancouver Island and various Gulf Islands.
Tsawwassen is located on the north end of the same peninsula occupied by Point Roberts. More suburban than village, the main thoroughfare, 56th Street, is rich with restaurants, boutiques and food markets. The huge Tsawwassen Mills outlet shopping center is a recent addition to the shopping scene. If you feel like a little downtime, head to Centennial Beach for a swim and sprawl on the soft sands of Boundary Bay. Miles of sand flats warm the waters of afternoon tides to a comfortable 80°F/26°C.
Alternatively, head up the 56thStreet hill towards Point Roberts to cool off in the water spray playground at Diefenbaker Park.