The Chilliwack Tulip Festival was a flower festival on a farm in Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley in the spring. It’s about a 90-minute drive from Vancouver.
The outdoor attraction’s opening day was April 19th, 2023 (which was a week later than the year before). Its last day of the season was May 14th, 2023 (which was Mother’s Day). When they are in full bloom, the fields are impressive! People travel from all around the region to see the flowers.
Note: As of the summer of 2023, the Chilliwack Tulip Festival is moving to a new venue in nearby Agassiz. In 2024 it will be called the Harrison Tulip Festival. It’s with the same owners, just at a different location. Also, as of 2023, the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival also has a new name and address. It’s also now in Agassiz and operating as the Harrison Sunflower Festival.
In this article you’ll find the following information:
Click on any of the above links to jump to a specific topic, or continue reading to learn all about the event.
The Chilliwack Tulip Festival
Formerly called Tulips of the Valley, the Chilliwack Tulip Festival was the Lower Mainland’s original tulip festival. It was also Western Canada’s largest. 2023 marked the festival’s 17th year. With over 20 acres of beautiful fields, the attraction was definitely worth checking out!
At the attraction, on a sunny day, the fields were amazing! They featured some 30 different varieties of tulips and more than 7 million flowers in total over the course of the festival! Adding extra colour to the venue were fields with five kinds of hyacinths and 16 types of daffodils. There were approximately 15 acres of tulips, 3.5 acres of double daffodils and two acres of hyacinths (although they aren’t all blooming at the same time).
2023, however, was the final year of the festival being in Chilliwack. The event is rebranding to the Harrison Tulip Festival and is moving to Agassiz, where the original Tulips of the Valley festival took place. The same goes for the tremendously popular Chilliwack Sunflower Festival which is rebranding as the Harrison Sunflower Festival.
Both the Harrison Tulip and Sunflower festivals will be held at 5039 Lougheed Highway in Agassiz. That’s about 30 minutes away from the old site. As of late August 2023 there aren’t yet many details posted about the new event but it’ll be held in the spring of 2024 and likely be pretty similar in details and pricing compared to the old Chilliwack festival.
Keep reading below to see what the old Chilliwack Tulip Festival was like.
Tulip Festival Location
The Chilliwack Tulip Festival took place in Chilliwack on a real working farm at 41310 Yale Road close to Exit #109 just off the Trans-Canada Highway.
Note: The farm is located in Chilliwack, not Abbotsford.
Driving from the Vancouver direction, on your way to the Chilliwack venue you’ll likely see signs to the Abbotsford Tulip Festival along the way. The festival in Abbotsford is a nice event too – just smaller and a bit more expensive. The Chilliwack Tulip Festival is just another 10 minutes or so further down the road.
Festival Dates & Hours
The opening date for the Chilliwack Tulip Festival in 2023 was Wednesday, April 19th. In 2022 the season began on April 11th and it ran until May 1st. In 2023, however, because of the unusually cold spring, the last day of the season was May 14th.
In 2023 the venue was open between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm daily, plus from 6:00 am until 7:00 am on weekends for people wanting to see the flowers at sunrise.
Festival Admission Rates
In 2023 tickets could only be purchased online. If you bought them by 8:00 pm the night before your visit, you could save about $5. Tickets were also non-refundable.
In 2023, on weekends, tickets for children ages 3 to 12 cost $12 when purchased in advance and $17 when purchased on the day. Tickets for people with disabilities or for seniors ages 65 and above cost $15 in advance or $20 on the day (which was about $3 more than last year). For adults and kids ages 13+, the cost was $20 for tickets bought the day before or earlier, and $25 when purchased on the day of your visit. Children ages 2 and under were free.
Admission rates on weekdays was less expensive. Tickets for seniors and children between ages 3 and 12 cost $7 in 2023 when purchased in advance and $10 on the day. For adults and teenagers, the cost was $13 for tickets bought the day before or earlier, and $18 when purchased on the day of your visit. For seniors and people with disabilities, the price was either $10 or $15 depending on when you bought your tickets. There were no special rates for families.
Special Passes & Discounts
The Chilliwack Tulip Festival typically offered a number of ways to save money. In addition to the above-mentioned discounts for seniors and people with disabilities, there were also Weekday Season’s Passes, Full Season’s Passes, special Photographer Passes and Local’s Day specials.
In the past there were Early Bloom Season and Late Bloom Season tickets. Early in the season there were far fewer flowers in bloom, which is why they offered admission at a reduced rate. In 2023, however, standard rates applied throughout the season.
In past years you could get a Weekday Season’s Pass or a Full Season’s Pass. With the latter you could go on Saturdays, Sundays and on statutory holidays, plus every other day of the week.
The Weekday Season’s Pass used to be good Monday to Friday on non-holiday weekdays during regular (non-sunrise) hours of operation. The cost in the past, in years before COVID, had been $25 per adult and $20 for youth and seniors, inclusive of taxes and online fees. This was a great deal! Unfortunately, however, the festival in 2023 did not sell Weekday Season’s Passes.
In 2023 only Full Season’s Passes were available and they cost $100 (which was $10 more than last year).
Full Season’s Pass
Full Season’s Passes allow access to the venue during regular hours seven days a week throughout the festival’s run. The cost in 2022 was $90 for all ages.
The same as in previous years, these passes had to be purchased online in advance; they were not available at the gate.
On Thursdays in 2023, folks ages 13+ with a permanent address from Abbotsford, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Harrison, Hope, Maple Ridge, Mission, Langley or the Fraser Canyon could pay just $10 at the gate. Fraser Valley residents who were between the ages of 3 and 12, meanwhile, could get in for half that price.
Locals Days pricing was only available at the gate, not online.
Weekend Sunrise Openings
Sunrise Openings were a special time on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between just before sunrise and regular opening hours when visitors could watch the early morning sun appear over the tulip fields (assuming good weather).
During the Sunrise Openings the venue opened about 30 minutes before sunrise, which was enough time for photographers to find ideal spots to take their pictures from.
The actual time of sunrise varies over the course of the month. In Chilliwack at the beginning of April sunrise is at around 6:30 am. By the end of the month the sun starts appearing as much as 40 minutes earlier!
In 2023 Sunrise Openings happened on just select Saturdays and Sundays, and full regular rates applied.
Sunrise Openings Tips
Below are a couple of suggestions to keep in mind when Sunrise Openings were available.
TIP #1: Check the weather forecast before you go. If the sky is overcast and the sun can’t peak through, there obviously won’t be much of a sunrise.
TIP #2: Plan to arrive as close to opening time as you can as you’ll want to leave time to find a good spot and for unexpected delays. Also, the magic of the morning light begins before the sun actually starts to appear.
Below are other valuable things to know about the Chilliwack Tulip Festival (and will hopefully apply to the new Harrison festival as well).
- Dogs on leash were welcome.
- Parking was free.
- The site was non-smoking.
- Food trucks were on-site daily.
- Cut and potted tulips were usually available for sale on-site.
- Accessibility: There was limited handicapped parking. Also, wheelchairs and walkers were able to make it up to the edge of the fields by the parking lot fairly easily. On dry days wheelchairs were able to get around some, but not all, of the bark-mulch paths around the field. In wet weather, however, the venue was not recommended for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers with small wheels or people with mobility challenges.
Tips & Advice
Below are some more tips to help you make the most of your experience at the Chilliwack Tulip Festival.
TIP #1: Take a picnic or, better yet, try some of the festival’s food truck fare.
TIP #2: Take good walking shoes, but ones you don’t mind getting dirty. If wet weather, then wear boots.
TIP #3: Go on a sunny day when the colours are at their most magnificent.
TIP #4: Go on a weekday if you can. Weekdays are slightly less expensive than weekends and the crowds are less.
TIP #5: Check out the Field Report before going to see what state the flowers are in. At the beginning of the season there are usually just daffodils and hyacinths, but no tulips, which can be disappointing for some. The Field Report lets you know what to expect during the week of your visit.
TIP #6: If you plan to visit the Chilliwack Tulip Festival several times, get a season’s pass! The passes are a great deal for people who love flowers and for folks who want to accompany friends and out-of-town visitors on different occasions.
TIP #7: Gas is usually cheaper in the Fraser Valley than in Metro Vancouver. So don’t forget to fill up your tank while in Chilliwack.
TIP #8: If you love flowers, be sure to check out the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival which runs in the late summer. It’s at the same venue and is run by the same folks who put on the tulip festival. It too is impressive!
About Chilliwack’s Tulip Festival
The Chilliwack Tulip Festival was a great concept. Onos Greenhouses grows the tulips for its bulbs which the company uses in its greenhouses to grow more tulips. The farm sells its cultivated tulips throughout Western Canada and parts of the United States.
Instead of just growing the tulips and then cutting them right away for sale, the festival invited the public to come see them at their peak. It meant a feast for the eyes and extra income for the farmer and festival organizers. It was a win-win for everyone!
Tulips of the Valley (then called the Chilliwack Tulip Festival, now called the Harrison Tulip Festival) has been running since 2006. It took a year off in 2016 but has been back in operation since 2017.
For more details about the festival see the Chilliwack Tulip Festival website.
To learn more about the venue’s other former annual festival, which took place in the fall, click Chilliwack Sunflower Festival.
For ideas on other things to do in the area click Fraser Valley.