Surrey’s first sunflower festival raises money for BC Cancer Foundation

The festival will be held until Sept. 3

Genaris Properties' principals at the Surrey Sunflower Festival pictured right to left: Akash Villing, Harman Dhillon, and Dharam Dhillon. (Submitted)

Genaris Properties’ principals at the Surrey Sunflower Festival pictured right to left: Akash Villing, Harman Dhillon, and Dharam Dhillon. (Submitted)

Sunflower season is here in Metro Vancouver, and for the first time, Surrey is having a sunflower festival to not only celebrate these flowers in full bloom, but raise funds for the BC Cancer Foundation. 

The Surrey Sunflower Festival is hosted by Genaris Cares, the philanthropic arm of Genaris Properties, a Metro Vancouver real-estate developer. The BC Cancer Foundation is the largest philanthropic supporter of cancer research and care in the province. 

Located at 4334 186 Street in Surrey, the festival is open Thursdays from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and Fridays through Sundays from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm until Sept. 3. The Surrey Sunflower Festival invites visitors to stroll through a four acre blooming sunflower maze, participate in a scavenger hunt, check out photo opportunities and concession stands, and play some games. 

The festival is part of the Genaris Cares initiative, Genaris Properties’ multi-year pledge to raise $1.25 million for the BC Cancer Foundation where the funds will help support a variety of initiatives, specifically focusing on the expansion and development of BC Cancer in Surrey.

Marketing Director of Genaris Properties Bernita Ling says the three creators, Harman Dhillion, Akash Villing, and Dharam Dhllion grew up in the Fraser Valley and wanted to not only give back to the BC Cancer Foundation, but create something interactive for the community in order to contribute giving back. 

“[Genaris Properties] selected the BC Cancer Foundation because within the community, in this Fraser Valley region, cancer is one of the growing illnesses that a lot of people are affected by,” Ling says. 

Genaris Cares chose to host a sunflower festival as the flower naturally faces the sun and for many, it symbolizes hope. 

“Sunflowers bring [you] joy,” Ling says. “[Hope is] something we definitely need for people who are going through cancer or for people that have lost [someone] because of cancer.” 

To honour friends and family members who’ve been affected by cancer, the festival features a board called “The Genaris Cares Wall” where visitors can leave a message for someone who may be fighting cancer, someone they may have lost, or a general message for everyone. 

“We want people to walk away with positivity, but also be reminded that there’s this larger cause we’re all fighting,” Ling says. 

“We all know someone who’s gone through cancer.”

The festival also features 10 different varieties of sunflowers and a “u-pick” station which allows visitors to create their own flower bouquet to take home. 

Genaris Cares hopes this festival will provide a space for celebrating and honouring everyone in the community who has been impacted by cancer, while raising awareness around the needs for more investment in care and treatment facilities in Surrey. 

People of all ages are encouraged to visit the Surrey Sunflower Festival to get involved with and support the local community. Ling says it is also a great festival for students to attend so they can enjoy the last bits of summer before the fall semester starts. 

“It is a reminder of the greater cause, of trying to support others in the community. It’s a way [for students] to contribute [in giving] back.” 

Entry tickets are $10 each plus tax, and all the net proceeds are donated to the BC Cancer Foundation. To learn more about the Surrey Sunflower Festival, to purchase tickets, and to donate, head to their Instagram page @surreysunflowerfestival