BC StoryWalks® to visit this summer

Free family fun: self-guided stories in nature

StoryWalks® are a great way to incorporate family literacy, exercise, fresh air and fun when you’re traveling in BC this summer! These self-guided stories in nature are more popular than ever and you’ll find this free family activity in many parks and school and library properties across the province. (See our list of more than 50 StoryWalks® in 32 BC communities below.)

“It’s been a big year for StoryWalks®,” says Maureen Kehler, Program Manager at Decoda Literacy Solutions, BC’s provincial literacy organization. “Because of the pandemic, many community literacy programs were cancelled, postponed, or were adapted to be delivered virtually.  To support kids reading and learning together with their families, literacy organizations partnered with libraries, municipal governments, community services organizations, school districts, and others to provide a meaningful, educational, active learning experience that was open to everyone.”

What’s a StoryWalk®?

“A StoryWalk® is a way for kids and their adults to have fun together, explore their local parks and trails, be active, and discover new books to read,” says Maureen. “Sometimes it means hopping on one foot or taking giant steps to the next page in the book at the local playground. Sometimes it means wandering through a rainforest, using all one’s senses to experience the canopy above, the flora below, and the rushing river beside; then moving to the next page in a wonderful story.”

Working together for literacy

Over the Spring, Decoda hosted a series of meetings for community literacy outreach coordinators who were interested in creating a StoryWalk® in their community.

“‘Experienced StoryWalkers’ and ‘First Timers’ came together to discuss the best ways to offer this program,” says Maureen. “The sharing was fabulous! The discussion went from lists of book titles; to copyright laws; to how to garner support from local government and other partners; to how to attach the books to the stands; and to how to be cost efficient.”

StoryWalk® history

The StoryWalk® concept was developed by Anne Ferguson in Montpelier, Vermont, who was looking for something that combines three critical elements for overall family health:

  • Early literacy: Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read or write.
  • Family engagement outdoors: Doing things together as a family helps build values, traditions, and rituals that keep children connected to their family.
  • Physical activity: Physical activity fosters psychological well-being, can increase self-esteem and capacity for learning, and can help children handle stress.

Ferguson said the StoryWalk® is a perfect opportunity for parents and other caregivers to be their children’s first teacher and provide positive interactions with books and people.

Do you want a StoryWalk® in your community?

Check with your local library or literacy organization/literacy outreach coordinator – they may have StoryWalk® kits available to borrow.

Or find more information about StoryWalks® on the Decoda Literacy Solutions website.

StoryWalks are often initiated and funded by local literacy organizations, community organizations, libraries, and many are supported by the annual Postmedia Raise-a-Reader campaign held each September during Literacy Month. This year’s literacy month theme is ‘Literacy Connects Us’ and StoryWalks are a great way for families to connect!

About Decoda Literacy Solutions

Decoda Literacy Solutions is dedicated to supporting community-based literacy and learning initiatives for children and families, youth, adults, and Indigenous and immigrant communities. We support community-based literacy programs and initiatives in over 400 communities across BC by providing resources, training and funds.

#WorkingTogether4Literacy

BC StoryWalks® to visit this summer

From Abbotsford to West Kelowna, across BC you can find a StoryWalk® or StoryPath free to visit in many town parks and school and library properties. Several have incorporated Indigenous-themed books for even more learning opportunities.

Below we’ve listed in alphabetical order more than 50 StoryWalks® happening in BC towns during the summer of 2021.

And there are many more out there. Check with the local library or community organization when you’re visiting. How many can you discover this summer?

If you know of a StoryWalk® not listed here, let us know by emailing mkehler@decoda.ca and we’ll add it to the list!

 

 

1.     ­Abbotsford

Location:  McDonald Park, 39451 No. 3 Rd., Abbotsford

Special features: This park is a Dark Sky Preserve.

Featured book: Semá:th X̱ó:tsa: Sts’ólemeqwelh Sx̱ó:tsa/Sumas Lake: Great-Gramma’s Lake – a historical event in the Fraser Valley – the draining of Sumas Lake on  Semá:th First Nation. The book is a collaboration of people from Semá:th First Nation as well as two staff from the Reach Gallery and Museum.

Thanks to: Abbotsford School District,  Semá:th First Nation, City of Abbotsford, Abby Community School Society, Literacy Matters Abbotsford.

 

2.     Ashcroft

Location: The Ashcroft HUB, 711 Hill Street, Ashcroft

Thanks to: Bridging to Literacy, Postmedia Raise-a-Reader

 

3.     Barriere

Dates: Permanent Installation year-round.

Location: Fadear Park, next to the Barriere Library at 4511 Barriere Town Road, Barriere

Special features: Titles are installed year-round in this permanent installation in the park and are changed every 6-8 weeks.  To see what is currently installed or for more information, visit:  https://www.tnrl.ca/explore/library-experiences/storywalk/ or call the Barriere Library at 250-672-5811.
Featured Book: You are a Lion! and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo
Thanks to: Thompson Nicola Regional Library’s StoryWalk at Barriere was made possible by the TNRL, District of Barriere, Yellowhead Community Services – Barriere & Area Literacy Outreach/Raise a Reader Program, Visual Signs and Printing and many generous donations from individual community members.

 

4.     Bella Coola Valley

Location: Bella Coola Elementary School, Mackay Street, Bella Coola

Thanks to: Postmedia Raise-a-Reader and the Bella Coola Learning Society

 

5.     Bowen Island

Dates: July 6 – Sept. 7, 2021

Location: Bowen Island Public Library grounds, 430 Bowen Trunk Rd., Bowen Island

Thanks to: Bowen Island Public Library

 

6.     Burnaby

Location: Edmonds Community School, 765 18th Ave., Burnaby

Thanks to: Frontier College

 

7.     Chilliwack

Dates: July 9 – 30, 2021

Location 1: Sardis Park, 35897 Lake Dr., Chilliwack

Featured book: Too Much Glue

 

Dates: July 9 – 30, 2021

Location 2: Walden Park, 9335 Walden St., Chilliwack

Featured book: Stand Like a Cedar

Halq’emeylem words and their pronunciation are woven into Stand Like a Cedar.

Special features:

  • Get a map of the First Nations Languages of BC along this StoryWalk®.
  • Enter a draw for 1 of 6 $20 gift certificates to The Book Man.

Thanks to: Chilliwack Learning Society and Fraser Valley Regional Library, Postmedia Raise-a-Reader and Decoda Literacy Solutions. RONA and The Book Man for supplies.

 

8.     Courtenay,

Dates: June 28 – July 12, 2021

Location 1: Puntledge Park, 401 Willemar Ave., Courtenay, BC

Special features:

  • Playground, forested trails, an open field area and river and stream access.
  • Take a photo of your visit and share on social media with #cvstorywalk for a prize draw

Featured book: A’ is for Adventure

Thanks to: Comox Valley Lifelong Learning

9.     Dawson Creek

Dates: July & August 2021, Wednesdays, 10 am – 11:30 am

Special features:

  • Summer Fun in the Park weekly outdoor play group with a StoryWalk®
  • StoryWalk® loans to local elementary school

Location & Dates:

July 7: Canalta Elementary, 9101 110th Ave., Dawson Creek

July 14:  Tremblay Elementary School, 11311 13A St., Dawson Creek

July 21: Crescent Park Elementary School, 9300 17th St., Dawson Creek

July 28: Ecole Frank Ross, 1000 92nd Ave., Dawson Creek

August 4: Canalta Elementary, 9101 110th Ave., Dawson Creek

August 11: Tremblay Elementary School, 11311 13A St., Dawson Creek

August 18: Crescent Park Elementary School, 9300 17th St., Dawson Creek

August 25: Ecole Frank Ross, 1000 92nd Ave., Dawson Creek

Thanks to: Literacy Now Dawson Creek and South Peace Child Care Resource & Referral and School District 59

 

10.  Elkford

Location: Boiven Creek Trail, Natal Road, Elkford

Special features:

  • Story changes weekly and are all bilingual in English and French.
  • Participants can pick up a “take and make” package from the library for each story.

Thanks to: CBAL (Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, AFRoS (Association Francophone des Rocheuses du Sud), Elkford Early Years and Elkford Public Library

 

11.  Fernie

Dates: July 7 – July 20, 2021

Location 1:    City Hall, 501-3rd Avel, Fernie

Dates: July 21 – August 3, 2021

Location 2: Boat Launch Trail, 200 4th Ave., Fernie

Dates: August 4  – August 17, 2021

Location 3: Maiden Lake Dyke, Fernie

Dates: August 18 – August 31, 2021

Location 4: James White Park, Mt. Minton St., Fernie

 

Special features:

  • Story changes weekly and are all bilingual in English and French.
  • Participants can pick up a “take and make” package from the library for each story.
  • Scan a QR code to be entered in a draw for prizes!

Thanks to: CBAL (Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, AFRoS (Association Francophone des Rocheuses du Sud), Elkford Early Years and Elkford Public Library

 

12.  Fort Nelson

Location: Community walking trail

Special features:

  • There is a grassy spot with picnic tables that are perfect for families to hang out at the beginning of the community walking trail.
  • Tot Walk and Play Monday afternoons.

Thanks to: Fort Nelson Community Literacy Society and Fort Nelson Family Development Society

 

13.  Hope

Dates: Every Tuesday in July from 9 am – 3 pm

Location: Rotary Trail, 539-501 Wardle St., Hope

Special features: The trail takes you alongside the Coquihalla River and you walk through the forest of towering cedar, fir, and pine trees.

Thanks to: Hope Community Services, Hope and Area Transition Society, CCRR (Child Care Resource and Referral Centre Hope, Decoda Literacy Solutions

 

14.  Kelowna

Location 1: Barlee Park, 1886 Barlee Rd., Kelowna

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Featured book: Bot Bot the Robot Finds His Feelings

Thanks to: Childhood Connections

 

Location 2: Ben Lee Park, 900 Houghton Rd., Kelowna

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Featured book: Trudy’s Rock Story

Thanks to: KCR Community Resources

 

Location 3: Rutland Centennial Park, 190 McIntosh Rd., Kelowna

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Featured book: Be a Good Dragon

Thanks to: KCR Community Resources

 

Location 4: Brandt’s Creek Linear Park (trail begins at Yates and Valley Roads, Kelowna Glenmore

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Featured book: Grumpy Monkey

Thanks to: Okanagan Regional Library

 

Location 5: Osprey Park, 2600 Richter St., Kelowna

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Featured book: The Silly Blue Goose

Thanks to: Project Literacy

 

15.  Kitimat

Location: Hirsh Creek Trail Walk, Dease Lake Highway, Kitimat

Featured book: Carson Crosses Canada

Thanks to: Kitimat Community Services Society

 

16.  Ladner

Location: Milennium Trail, Ladner. Start at Nelson Grove Elementary School, 5500 Admiral Blvd., Ladner

Dates: Ongoing

Special features: Meander through trees on a wheelchair accessible path.

Featured book: Changes monthly

Thanks to: Delta Kids Committee, Child & Youth Committee, Rotary Club of Ladner, City of Ladner

 

17.  Lake Country

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Location 1: Reiswig Regional Park, 3450 Woodsdale Rd., Lake Country

Featured book: The Invisible String

Thanks to: Childhood Connections

 

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Location 2: Kaloya Regional Park, 16061 Trask Rd., Lake Country

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Featured book: Don’t

Thanks to: YMCA Okanagan

 

18.  Miracle Beach

Dates: June 28 – July 12, 2021

Location: Driftwood Marine Park, Clarkson Ave., Black Creek

Special features: Wide, shaded forest bath suitable for strollers.

Featured book: Bucket Filling from A-Z

Thanks to: Comox Valley Lifelong Learning

 

19.  New Westminster

Date: July 2021

Location 1: Sapperton Park, 351 East Columbia St., New Westminster

Date: beginning August 12

Location 2: Tipperary Park, 315 Queens Ave., New Wesminster

Special features:

  • Story boards are available to all organizations in the city.
  • August StoryWalk at Tipperary Park will be outside the local Farmers Market.

Thanks to: Postmedia Raise-a-Reader

 

20.  North Delta

Dates: Ongoing

Location: North Delta Community Park, 11311 84 Ave., North Delta

Special features: Meander through trees on a wheelchair accessible path.

Featured book: Changes monthly

Thanks to: Delta Kids Committee, Child & Youth Committee, Rotary Club of North Delta, City of North Delta

 

21.  Oliver

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Locations: Rotates between park, 2 elementary schools and the Osoyoos Indian Band

Thanks to: Recreation Centre – Town of Oliver

 

 

22.  Osoyoos

Location: Lion’s Park, 8803 Spartan Dr., Osoyoos

Special features: Near lake and children’s park in beautiful Osoyoos.

Thanks to: Literacy Now-Osoyoos Table and Town of Osoyoos

 

 

23.  Richmond

Registration:   www.yourlibrary.ca/events or call 604-231-6412

 

Dates: July 14, 11:30 – 12:30

Location 1: McLean Neighbourhood Park, 22500 McLean Ave, Richmond

Special features: Trees border one side of the playground so will afford shade and allow for skipping or jumping between pages as well as for seeking those elusive elements which extend the story…

Featured book: The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson:  A brave mouse outwits many predators until he meets a monster.

Thanks to: Richmond Public Library, Friends of the Richmond Public Library, Richmond Fitness and Wellness Association (RFWA), Decoda Literacy Solutions

 

Dates: July 22, 1 – 2pm

Location 2: Minoru Park Playground, 7191 Granville Ave., Richmond. Near Brighouse Library.

Special features: A large copse of trees beside the playground and near the pond offers plenty of space for rampaging between trees, maintaining social distancing, and for seeking forest-themed creatures.

Featured book: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey:  What happens when a child and her mother go berry picking at the same time as a mother bear and her cub?

Thanks to: Richmond Public Library, Friends of the Richmond Public Library, Richmond Fitness and Wellness Association (RFWA), Decoda Literacy Solutions

 

Dates: August 11, 11;30 – 12:30

Location 1: McLean Neighbourhood Park, 22500 McLean Ave, Richmond

Special features: Trees border one side of the playground so will afford shade and allow for skipping or jumping between pages as well as for seeking those elusive elements which extend the story…

Featured book: No Dinner! by Jessica Souhami:  How does an old woman outsmart wild animals as she goes to visit her granddaughter who lives on the other side of the forest?

Thanks to: Richmond Public Library, Friends of the Richmond Public Library, Richmond Fitness and Wellness Association (RFWA), Decoda Literacy Solutions

 

Dates: August 19, 1 – 2pm

Location 2: Minoru Park Playground, 7191 Granville Ave., Richmond. Near Brighouse Library.

Special features: A large copse of trees beside the playground and near the pond offers plenty of space for rampaging between trees, maintaining social distancing, and for seeking forest-themed creatures…

Featured book: Stray Dog by Marc Simont:  A family finds a stray dog at a park which leads to great adventure!

Thanks to: Richmond Public Library, Friends of the Richmond Public Library, Richmond Fitness and Wellness Association (RFWA), Decoda Literacy Solutions

 

24.  Salmo

Dates: July 8 and August 26, 2021

Location: KP Park, 201 Riverside Ave., Salmo

Special features:

  • A lovely walk at KP Park, close to the children’s playground and happening during the Salmo Valley Farmers’ Market!
  • Take away craft packages and information from service providers for families of children 0-6 years old.

Thanks to: Salmo Valley Early Childhood Advisory Council and Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy

 

25.  Smithers

Location: Heritage Park, corner of Highway 16 and Manitoba St., Smithers

Special features:

  • Follow the StoryWalk along the gravel footpath called Lois Lane that runs through Heritage Park in downtown Smithers and starts next to the playground.
  • Activity kits for children to take home.

Thanks to: Smithers Community Services Association, Child Care Resource & Referral program at the Northwest Child Development Centre, Postmedia Raise-a-Reader and the Bulkley Valley Community Foundation.

 

26.  Sooke

Location: Sooke Region Museum, 2070 Phillips Rd., Sooke

Special features: Through the museum grounds families can explore stories which change on a monthly basis and keep pace with the celebration, season or topics relevant to that month.

Thanks to: Vancouver Island Library/ Sooke region Museum and Visitor centre.

 

27.  Sparwood

Dates: July 7 – July 20, 2021

Location 1:    Lion’s Park, 401 Cedar Dr., Sparwood

Dates: July 21 – August 3, 2021

Location 2: Lilac Trail, Sparwood

Dates: August 4  – August 17, 2021

Location 3: Sparkwood Heights Park, Sparwood

Dates: August 18 – August 31, 2021

Location 4: Sparwood Public Library, 110 Pine Ave., Sparwood

 

Special features:

  • Story changes weekly and are all bilingual in English and French.
  • Participants can pick up a “take and make” package from the library for each story.
  • Scan a QR code to be entered in a draw for prizes!

Thanks to: CBAL (Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, AFRoS (Association Francophone des Rocheuses du Sud), Elkford Early Years and Elkford Public Library

 

28.  Tsawwassen

Location: Beach Grove Park, 6051 17A Ave., Tsawwassen

Dates: Ongoing

Special features: Meander through trees on a wheelchair accessible path.

Featured book: Changes monthly

Thanks to: Delta Kids Committee, Child & Youth Committee, Rotary Club of Tsawwassen, City of  Tsawwassen

 

29.  Vancouver

Location: Look for green spaces near Vancouver Public Library branches.

Check the VPL website for details.

Thanks to: Vancouver Public Library

 

 

30.  Vernon

Location: Downtown Vernon Business windows

Thanks to: Literacy Society of the North Okanagan, Okanagan Regional Library, Postmedia Raise-a-Reader

 

31.  Westbank/Westbank First Nation

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Location: Westbank First Nation Skate Park, 1880 Quail Lane, Westbank

Featured book: TBA

Thanks to:  Westbank First Nation

 

32.  West Kelowna

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Location 1: Willow Beach Park, 4111 Gellatly Rd, West Kelowna

Featured book: Underwear

Thanks to: City of West Kelowna

 

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Location 2: Kinsman Athletic Park, 3170 Shannon Lake Rd., West Kelowna

Featured book: I’m not just a scribble

Thanks to: City of West Kelowna

 

Dates: July 9 – 18, 2021

Location 3: Westbank Centre Park, 2569 May Street, West Kelowna

Featured book: What’s that awful smell?

Thanks to: City of West Kelowna

 

 

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