McGregor Says: Spending the day at Aldergrove Beach

We all enjoyed a fairly decent Canada Day weekend last week, not hot enough to cause a sunburn and not so wet as to dampen events around the community.

During a conversation about past long weekend activities someone mentioned that one of their favourite pastimes as a Langley kid was going to Aldergrove Beach on hot summer days.

Yes, there was a beach in Aldergrove, situated where the Aldergrove Regional Park is now. If you walk west from the parking lot, there is a large expanse of gravel and some quiet trails. But there used to be a huge man-made lake on that spot and it was anything but quiet on a summer day.

The free pool was opened as “Aldergrove Beach” in 1963 by property owner Harry Keillor, and taken over by the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now known as Metro Vancouver) in 1969. It served as a close-to-home summer vacation destination for thousands of Langley and Abbotsford residents until it was shut down in 2011 because of new B.C. Public Health Act regulations that defined the “lake” as a public swimming pool requiring an operating permit.

With a stroke of a pen, summer days were changed forever for many families.

The pool was a large oval surrounded by white sand that was perfect for spreading blankets or setting up lawn chairs. In the middle of the ‘lake’ a four inch pipe gushed cold water up in a fountain and a common dare was to swim out there and see how long you could hold onto the pipe.

You had to get there early. The parking lot and the beach filled up quickly and you wanted to find a spot where you could get some sun, watch the kids, put your cooler and picnic basket under the shade of the trees and be not too far away from the toilets, changing rooms and concession stand.

There was a floating dock in the middle and it was just deep enough to dive off, although the signs told you not to. There was a roped off area for the little kids and often mothers would  yell at bigger kids who were chasing each other around in the little kids’ area.

In the summer of 1969, the site was the location of the Aldergrove Beach Rock Festival. Fresh on the heels of Woodstock, many music festivals sprang up in small towns across North America. Some of the big acts at the three-day event were The New Vaudeville Band and Guitar Shorty, Black Snake and Trooper.

Canadian singer Valdy, was inspired to write his hit song,  Play Me a Rock and Roll Song  after being heckled and booed for playing his folk songs on the Aldergrove stage.

It was a big deal for us country boys to wander through the steady, heavy crowds, 25-30,000 people over three days, in the thick smell of pot smoke, watching our old swimming hole being transformed into a rock concert.

I have no doubt many local families went there in the evening after a hot day in the fields for a quick dip to cool off. It was close by, it was free and you always saw someone you knew at the little country swimming hole.

Somehow, no matter how much we had eaten, I always got talked into stopping at Dairy Queen on the way home, because a day at the beach always has to end with ice cream.  At least that’s what McGregor says.

Just Posted

Toad tour comes up dry in Langley

Hot weather blamed for absence of toadlets near breeding area

VIDEO: History of Langley pioneer Philip Jackman comes alive in new novel

Book by Virginia Cooke details the life of Jackman, a Royal Engineer and Reeve of Langley

Trinity Western University players help Canada to second medal ever at Pan Am Cup

With the medal, Canadian team also qualifies for the 2019 Pan American Games

Aldergrove Fair Days gets ‘Down on the Farm’

Something for everyone at the 106th annual Aldergrove Fair

UPDATE: Strong showing by Langley Selects at 10-day tournament

Twelve teams competed in round-robin series

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Coco the cat survives horrific house fire wrapped in a blanket

Found in the laundry hours after Chilliwack firefighters douse blaze that destroyed five structures

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

Aldergrove Youth Soccer registration underway

Kids from U11 to U18 need to register so that teams can be formed, games organized

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Aldergrove ‘hoops’ boys raise cash

Successful fundraiser for the Aldergrove boys’ basketball team

Otter Co-op’s CEO top of the class

Jack Nicholson receives 2018 B.C. CEO Award in the Large Company category

Most Read