In the Fraser Valley, Connecting with Family

Many months ago, I booked a trip for my 90-year-old Dad and I that was based around an 11-night cruise from Vancouver to San Diego on the Celebrity Millennium. Unfortunately, a month ago the “Millie” started having serious propulsion problems, and our cruise was cancelled. I was able to re-book another cruise that made changing flights in particular unnecessary – this one is 7 nights on the Norwegian Sun, from Vancouver to Los Angeles. That gave us 3 extra days in Vancouver, which we planned to spend with family and friends, and visiting places we used to know.

I checked in for my flight just before 4:00 pm on Thursday, then wandered around the little Whitehorse airport a bit. I really like what they’ve done with the new section of terminal.
Whitehorse airport terminal
The Air North Boeing 737 getting fueled up. The weather called for near-perfect flying weather, with not a cloud between Whitehorse and Vancouver. There actually were a few thin clouds, but I figured that they wouldn’t extend very far.
Air North Boeing 737 getting fueled up
At 5:15, we lined up on runway 13R and a few seconds later we on our way south. Air North’s new Kelowna service makes picking Dad up so simple now – I fly from Whitehorse to Kelowna, he gets on during the 45-minute stop, and we continue on to Vancouver together.
YXY Runway 13R
Over Tagish at 5:22, looking south to Tagish Lake and its Windy Arm on the left and Lake Bennett, the large shining one on the right.
Aerial view of Tagish Lake and Lake Bennett, Yukon
As it turned out, the lack of clouds did me no good for photography during the flight. The haze was so thick that almost nothing could be seen from 37,000 feet. The descent into Kelowna was quite pretty, though – this was shot at 7:22.
Descending into Kelowna airport near sunset
I went into the terminal to help Dad board, and at 8:07 we were already climbing out over Okanagan Lake for the one-hour trip to Vancouver.
Aerial view of elowna at night
Once we landed, it was a much longer walk than normal to the baggage area. I hadn’t paid attention to where we parked, or I would have asked for a cart for Dad – my bad. The hotel shuttle showed up 5 minutes after I got our bags, check-in at the hotel was quick and simple, and at 9:30 we got to our room, #624, on the top floor of the Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport. Very nice.
Room #624, on the top floor of the Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport
The view from any hotel in Richmond is not exactly inspiring – this is ours, looking to the south. This is sure a different Richmond than I knew when I drove taxi and later semi-trailers here 25-40 years ago.
The view from Room #624 at the Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel
A cute little coffee-maker to get the day started 🙂
Coffee machine in our room at the Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel
Breakfast on Friday morning was a huge disappointment. Whatever they put on my Eggs Benedict wasn’t even in the same family as hollandaise! But I got through it, and at 10:00 began walking a kilometer or so to pick up my rental car at Budget.
The Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel
There is some very nice architecture along #3 Road now.
Richmond, BC

When I picked up a new Ford Fusion at Budget, I was extremely surprised to discover when I answered the question about when I flew into Vancouver, that a 17.5% airport surcharge is now added on to rentals within a few kilometers of the airport! Ouch! Doesn’t pay to be honest some days 🙁

We had no real plans, but started a wander that eventually took us to our first home in Surrey, at 7303 122A Street. It was very upsetting to find it derelict and boarded up. I lived there as a child from 1957 until 1970, and later my wife and I bought it and spent a few years there as we started our family. Lots of memories, so very sad to see it like this. The shop in the back where Dad and I ran Canadian Heritage Resincraft in the ’60s and I did Studebaker restorations in the ’70s is in even worse shape.
7303 122A Street, Surrey, BC
We spent a long time wandering around Surrey and the part of Coquitlam where we lived from 1950-57. Almost nothing looks familiar anymore. I had started back to Richmond when I suggested that we visit the cemetery when Dad’s grandmother, Maria Wahlberg, lies in an unmarked grave. Dad ordered a marker for the grave a few weeks ago, and although Dad had no idea which plot it is, we decided to at least see what the cemetery looks like, as Dad hadn’t been back since she died in 1938. The Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery is quite lovely.
Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery in Coquitlam, BC
As we walked around the cemetery, we met the caretaker who knew of Dad’s headstone order, and was happy to show us around and tell some of the history. The cemetery began with the burial of an unknown man in 1937 (he was re-interred at this new cemetery). My great-grandmother was one of the first 25 burials here.
The first person buried at Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery in Coquitlam, BC
Dad with Kerry, looking at his grandmother’s plot.
My great-grandmother's grave site at Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery in Coquitlam, BC
The line of concrete Dad is standing on in the photo above, seen better in this image, has barely-visible numbers marking the plots of people with no headstones. As you can see, a very large number of the earliest ones don’t. My great-grandmother is in #13, and we returned to it on September 13th, 2013. What an experience to share with Dad – I can’t thank you enough, Kerry.
We made it back to the hotel in time for a short nap before driving a half-hour south to the historic fishing village of Steveston to meet 8 other family members for dinner. Sunset from the Charthouse Restaurant was gorgeous. My seafood meal was mediocre at best, however (overcooked), and my review at TripAdvisor will be about at their average rating there now (3/5).
Sunset as seen from the Charthouse Restaurant in Steveston, BC
Four generations of Lundbergs together, some of whom I hadn’t seen in quite a few years. It was a wonderful evening.

It’s now 9:25 am on Saturday. Breakfast at the hotel restaurant was much better this morning, and we’ll be heading out shortly. There’s no real plan for most of this foggy, drizzly day, either, but our homes in Fort Langley will probably be on the list, and this evening we’ll be out in Abbotsford with a couple of my high school friends and some of their family members.


In the Fraser Valley, Connecting with Family — 3 Comments

  1. Murray,
    I really like seeing the pictutes of you and your dad. Your homeplace was particualy touching. Your dad is so very spry for his age and still a adventurer! I see where you get your spirit. I don’t think I have ever seen a picture of your Mom but I bet she was a great lady. Enjoy your trip as well as the time with family!

  2. I concur with the comments above about one’s old home. As your lovely photo ‘unrolled’ on my screen, Neal, I thought, “But that’s a shortish kauri tree!”
    I love old cemeteries, any cemetery, really, Murray, and I think it was wonderful the way you found your great grandmother’s plot. We have just done similar re a present-day interment of ashes for a 105 yr. old and had the unexpected bonus of finding some old plots right beside belonging to pioneer members of my Mum’s mother & father’s families. It was a cemetery I had never known about before. Cemeteries are usually always well-kept and they are peaceful places.
    Happy cruising,
    Marie G.