A Wacky Canada Day
As you know, I have been trying hard to start some traditions around holidays for our RAD family. Canada day was July 1, and we celebrate by making a hand print T-shirt with Gregory. That can’t be all we do, so I got to thinking… what fun activity can we do on Canada day? Why not go exploring, we love exploring. I called up my mom and we organized a Canada Day adventure to Fanny Bay so we could explore the Wacky Woods.
What a great new Canada Day tradition, explore something outside with Grandma. Yep, added with Gregory’s pre-Canada day sleepover at Grandma’s house, this momma can relax before a day of fun being reunited with loved ones.
The Wacky Woods was created by renowned artist, George Sawchuck. He died fairly recently in 2012 at the age of 85 in his home in Fanny Bay. He moved to Fanny bay with his wife in the 70’s, clearing an area of land for a house and garden. The rest was left as a forest which he used as his outdoor art gallery. Always free for all to walk through, this whimsical forest not only makes you smile, but stop and think.
In his early days in the forest, George would find random things like a sink faucet and attach it to a tree. This changed his perspective on a lot of things and seemed to have got the ball rolling. Coming to art later in his life, George Sawchuk’s relationship with the forest is interesting. He returned to one and used it as his gallery after an industrial accident cost him his leg. He returned to his childhood play place that he sought refuge in.
Oh, and as a result of George not having one leg, his forest is accessible and has plenty of bridges for wheel chair and stroller access. I’m unsure if anyone or family members are going to upkeep the property, but when I went in 2016 it was clean and fun in George’s Wacky Woods.
There are two entrances to the Wacky Woods. Driving on Hwy 19A you want to head towards Jacobs road. Across the street there is a yellow gate and trail head. This was rather difficult to find while driving the highway, so on our adventure we opted for the second entrance off of Bates Drive.
From the map above, you can enter the address and you’ll be taken to a cul de sac that has plenty of parking in front of this house. Don’t block the driveway, there is plenty of space. From this dead end you can find the entrance to the woods on the right and you’ll be instantly immersed into the Wacky Woods. The adventure begins.
If entering from the yellow gate, you’ll need to walk the trail until you find a little wooden bridge on the right hand side. It is easy to find, the walk isn’t particularly long from the trail head. I am unsure what parking is like off the highway, Bates Drive is a quicker and easier access point with better parking in my opinion.
our RAD experience
Walking right into the woods I was surprised to see that fish finally could fly. My parents would always say ‘when fish fly’ as a response when I asked for something growing up. Good thing Momma Bear was with me when I got to see a fish fly. All my childhood wishes and dreams should be coming true any day now.
Into the Woods
The Wacky Woods are easy to maneuver and has lots to see. Everywhere you turn, up, down, left right, there was something to look at or read. A hidden book attached to a chain on a tree. A rock in a wooden house with a label saying it’s its home. Sculptures made from objects that are or quickly becoming outdated. A wooden telephone… an old fashioned telephone like you’d see in the movie Mary Poppins.
Trees with faces, fairy doors and hidden compartments that need to opened are what we got to explore in these wacky woods. Gregory had a blast. Knocking on the fairy doors, opening mailboxes to find a surprise, checking out the hidden log capsule (Instagram video’d below) and so much more. Not to mention the Huckleberries throughout the forest that are oh so yummy.
Gregory made Grandma stop and pick him manyHuckleberries. She happily obliged and they snacked together. It’s really nice seeing them make memories together like this. Definitely a family activity, bring the children, bring the grandparents. Then head further in to Fanny Bay and find the coast line to have a beach day or something after.
The Farting Trees
In the middle of the woods… well, I’m unsure exactly where it is in the woods. Somewhere in the woods there is a bench, a shoe on a stump, and a group of trees with a fairy door at the base. These trees talk, meaning they moan, groan and make all sorts of sounds you’d imagine you’d hear in Lord of the Rings from the Tree Ents. It’s actually pretty sweet.
It’s also loud. So loud in fact, that when we first heard the noise we stopped thinking there was a speaker hooked up somewhere and we needed to listen better. Stopping in this area twice to listen, we concluded it was the trees talking. Playing with Gregory a little, it also sounded like farts. Grown women, a toddler, fart jokes, in the middle of a forest. If we aren’t the kind of people you want to be around, I don’t know what kind of entertaining life you live.
There are lots of quotes, sayings, questions and prompts throughout the woods. Some made you laugh, some made you smile, and others made you stop and scratch your head. While I enjoy laughing and smiling, it was an experience like I haven’t had before in these woods as a result of the latter.
“DO NOT DIE BEFORE YOU ARE DEAD.”
“HANDLE WITH CARE PLEASE.
- 2 HYDROGEN ATOMS
- 1 OXYGEN ATOM”
“REMOVE FROM ME VANITY AND LIES, GIVE ME NEITHER POVERTY NOR RICHES.”
“CULTURE IS THE ORGANIZATION OF DIVERSITY AND NOT THE REPLICATION OF UNIFORMITY. DIVERSITY CAN NEITHER BE SWEPT OR RULED OUT OF LAW BY A SINGLE SYSTEM OF CULTURAL BEHAVIOR.”
“ALL OF THE NEXT GREAT WARS WILL BE FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHTS TO WATER.”
Many times I stopped and was so thankful that my mom was there also keeping an eye on my son. Purely because I quickly became so lost in thought over the words written on wood in these wacky woods. I appreciated it, some things I didn’t understand, and others started a discussion with Momma Bear.
Rad Photo Dump
Before You Go
I hope you enjoyed our Canada Day adventure to the Wacky Woods, special guest starring Momma Bear. It was a lot of fun, and something that I didn’t know existed. If you’re ever on Vancouver Island driving North, pull off to Fanny Bay and check out this forest. It’ll take maybe an hour, longer or shorter depending on your timeline and pace. You won’t regret it.
Looking for another adventure? Check out the Othello Tunnels in Hope. Or drive the opposite direction to Whistler and Check out the Shannon Falls before hiking the Stawamus Chief. Not wanting to go on a road trip? No worries, Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is in North Vancouver and is an excellent day hike for families. Don’t forget about Lighthouse Park and Cypress Falls either. All RAD adventures that we’d recommend.