B is for British Columbia

Well, week two of our alphabetical trip around the world has come and for this week I’ve decided to stay close to home. I actually really love British Columbia. It’s a great place to live and a pretty amazing place to visit as well. So this week I thought I’d try to give the kids a bit more in depth knowledge of their own province.

My first task was to try to teach the kids the concept of continents, countries, provinces and cities. I know my daughter struggles with this concept  and it is a bit confusing that we have to drive all day to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s, yet they’re in the same country as us, but we only have to drive a short way to Washington state, which is a different country. She’s starting to get it, which is good, because there’s no way on God’s green earth I’m raising a kid who thinks “Africa” is a county. So I think we have the general concept that British Columbia is a province which is a part of the county of Canada, which is part of the continent of North America. So far, so good.

For our craft project I got a bit lazy and printed totem pole templates for the kids to colour and assemble. While we worked on them we had a chance to talk about the original inhabitants of British Columbia and how people from all over the world have come to British Columbia to live. I showed them a short video clip about the art of totem pole carving and the symbolism in traditional Native crafts as well.

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I gave each child an animal to do and it’s pretty clear that one of them got more into the project than the other. Still, when you put them together you get quite a nice little totem pole.

For a British Columbian themed dinner, I didn’t have to look too far. We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful farming region and we enjoy eating local foods as much as we can. I remember watching a show about a 100 mile diet challenge that was featured in our area and it was amazing to see the variety and quality of what is available locally. Now, I’m not quite ready to go that extreme; until we start producing coffee and chocolate there is no strict 100 mile diet in my future, but I try to choose local whenever possible. And of course the end of summer is a great time to eat local as well.

So for our BC dinner we had one of my late summer favourites; sockeye salmon on the grill. I usually do a maple glaze, but since maple is not very British Columbian (although it’s very Canadian) I substituted local honey for the syrup. I got sweet corn and the very last of the local blueberries from farms just down the road and the carrots, tomatoes, basil and plums came from our very own back yard. We also have some great vineyards here in BC and while the Okanagan wines are probably better known, I selected one of my all time favourites, a white called Madeleine Sylvanier from the Domaine de Chaberton vineyard in Langley.  We also had our pick of great BC micro brews.This one, the Stanley Park brewing company, even boasts that it’s sustainably brewed, using energy from it’s own wind turbine. Very British Columbian.

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The salmon was wonderful, as always, thanks to my husband’s amazing grilling skills. The veggies and fruits were fresh and perfect and the wine was fantastic. My daughter cleaned her plate, but my son wasn’t so impressed. It’s never a good sign when your child looks at the healthy meal you’ve set before them and asks for a piece of bread instead! But he did at least get a taste of fresh BC food and for now that’s all I ask. And a BC themed dessert to wrap up the meal? Nanaimo bars of course!

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Mmmmm………Nanaimo bars……….

So that was British Columbia week. From here we’ll be heading off somewhere slightly more exotic for C week. Happy travels, everyone!

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