The owners of the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival had been hosting an annual tulip festival since 2006. Then in 2017, while on vacation in Hawaii, they saw a sunflower festival there and pondered the possibility of expanding their operation. After some investigation, they opened the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival in 2018.

My wife and I along with some visiting family, took in the event on Monday and wow – it truly is a sight worth seeing. The gardens cover six acres and includes twenty-five varieties of sunflower as well as sixty varieties of dahlias. There are also several long rows of gladiolas. The map below shows the layout.

I didn’t know there were twenty-five varieties of sunflower. Most look very similar, but there are variations including giant sunflowers. And while most are the familiar yellow with a brown center, there are variations in color as well. Below is a lemon-yellow variety, much lighter than the traditional sunflower.

Most varieties of sunflower are quite tall, with some very tall indeed. An idea of the size can be seen in the photo of my wife and daughter below.

There are a few artifacts that have been added including a large double swing shown below. That’s my daughter and her husband.

And they also have a vintage 1950 Morris, somewhat rusted but interesting all the same.

The family owning the property is probably Dutch as there is a large wooden shoe at the entrance and a small windmill is one of the features.

We enjoyed exploring the sunflowers, but what impressed me most was the gladiolas and dahlias which are at the center of a horseshoe of sunflower beds. A large variety of dahlias were planted in long rows, and there were several rows of glads in vibrant colors.

This is a panoramic view of the fields created by merging three photographs. The paths are actually straight, not curved as shown. That’s Sumas Mountain in the backdrop.
Rows of gladiolas with sunflowers in the background.
There are over sixty different varieties of dahlias with many different sized and colored flowers.

One of the things we noticed was the large number of bees attracted to the flowers, particularly the sunflowers. There were the traditional honeybees as well as larger black bees, possibly carpenter bees.

Two honeybees on a sunflower.
A slightly larger black bee on a gladiola. Could be a small bumblebee.

Scattered throughout the fields are five lookout platforms. They are not very high, maybe two to three fee in height, but they do give you a chance to look over the tops of some of the taller plants and get a broader view of the fields.

A view of the fields from one of the elevated platforms. This looking south and the mountains are either the ones flanking Cultus Lake or the ones straddling the border with the U.S., probably the latter.

While some of the sunflowers had faded, others were just starting to get into full bloom. Many of the giant sunflowers had gone to seed but are interesting to observe the layered structure of the flower.

The white sunflower seeds are below a layer of pollen parts in the new flower.

The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival is quite easy to get to. From Vancouver, drive east on the Trans-Canada Highway to the Yale Road exit in Chilliwack. Turn right on Yale Road and almost immediately turn right on Royalwood Drive. You can’t miss it. There’s a map on their website.

Because of the current Covid-19 pandemic, you have to book ahead of time online. Payments are not accepted at the gate. It’s $20 per person if ordered on the day of attendance and only $15 if ordered a day or more ahead.

Visiting hours have been extended to Sept. 13th.