Sparks and Brownies and Fish (oh my)

The 54th Brownies and 27th Guiding (Sparks & Brownies) units recently had a fun-filled, fish-filled sleepover in the local Steveston and Richmond communities. The visited the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, ate fish and chips at a local restaurant, and then returned to Richmond Guide House for a fun sleepover with fish-themed crafts and activities.

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Did you know the Gulf of Georgia Cannery offers tours specifically catered to Girl Guide programming? The excellent staff at the cannery have developed a program for girls to explore their local cultural and natural heritage through stories, activities, and a guided tour. The cannery was built in 1894 and it is fascinating to learn about the history of the fishing industry, the people who worked there, and the ways that this effected the local communities.

The group then took a lovely stroll through historic Steveston, ending up at the Sockeye City Grill for a delicious meal of fish and chips. The staff was impressed by how well mannered this large group of Sparks and Brownies was, and the girls and leaders all thoroughly enjoyed their meals.

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After supper the group enjoyed a ride on local public transit, riding the bus to Richmond Guide House, one of our favourite local spots for Guiding sleepovers. There the group did a variety of fun activities including a bright colourful fish-themed craft before finally getting some sleep.

It was a fish-tastic time. And a great oppor-tuna-ty to learn all about fish and the local community.


Circus Sleepover

Girls from several Brownies units in Burnaby Mountain District gathered last weekend for the first sleepover of the year! Used as a way to kick off the Guiding year, this sleepover at West Coast Area’s own Richmond Guide House, was a big hit with all of the girls.


They started the event by exploring the city of Richmond! The group went on a tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery where they learned a lot about the local history of people and industry in that area. They also took a Once Upon a Time walking tour, seeing sites in the community of Steveston which have become famous as Storybrooke in the popular television show.


Back at the Guide house, the girls embraced their circus theme for the rest of the night. At this circus, tents were used for sleeping, not performing — despite it raining in the night, the girls slept in tents in the secure backyard. What a great way to start girls with camp skills! Girls (and even some of the leaders) learned a thing or two about setting up tents. And by not dedicating sleeping space inside, the group had lots of space for awesome circus themed activities.


The girls worked through stations including drama games, songs, and dance. The event earned girls the Arts to Go: Circus challenge for exploring all these different areas. Their craft was cool little acrobat dolls that had a marble inside which made the figures tumble down a slope on the right kind of surface.


They ate some carnival type snacks (sliders, ribs, corn on the cob, mac ‘n cheese) before making a “dessert craft” of circus trains made out of graham crackers, animal crackers, and smarties wheels held together with frosting. The girls got a chance to try making balloon animals, and even had a talent show, before ending the evening with an indoor “campfire” with glow sticks.

Over all it was a fun and memorable way to get the Guiding year going. It was a great preview of some of the fun activities these Brownies will experience in their regular units.

Interested in joining the fun? It’s not too late. Even though all the units have started meeting for the year, we do take registrations all year ’round and most Burnaby Mountain units still have space available to welcome new girls. Registration is available online at

Gulf of Georgia Cannery/Richmond Guide House Sleepover

At the end of September the girls and leaders of the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies had an incredible overnight experience combining a tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and a sleepover at Richmond Guide House.

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Some of the leaders outside the Cannery as the girls gathered for the event

Everyone met at the cannery, which is a Parks’ Canada National Historic site. Two enthusiastic tour guides took everyone around the facility, showing how salmon was fished and canned and west coast.

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The start of the tour, near a display about old time fishing techniques

It was fascinating to learn about what the conditions were like for the people working in the cannery, to see the machines, and understand some context about the west coast fishing industries.

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The girls were a rapt and well behaved audience

The girls especially enjoyed some hands-on activities designed to give them an appreciation for the weight of the fish, how they moved fish around the cannery, and even learning how much a Brownie’s weight of salmon would have been worth (answer: about $20!)

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One Brownie using a tool to move rubber fish from one bin to another. It was heavy, hard work!

After the tour the girls had a fish and chips dinner in the cannery’s ice house. A huge thank you to friend of Guiding, Dave’s Fish and Chips, who prepared our delicious meal for wonderful value. Everyone then rode the bus back to the Richmond Guide House where they settled in to the sleepover portion of the evening.

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A koi fish wind sock — fish theme, get it?

The girls worked together to cook some stone soup for mug-up, made a craft of koi fish wind socks, sang campfire songs, and went to bed (at a very reasonable time, the leaders are pleased to add!).