Surrey’s popular Bose Corn Maze won’t operate for a second straight summer.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic was to blame.
This year, the spring weather was too soggy to plant corn early enough.
Cloverdale-area farmer Mike Bose has planned and operated the family attraction since 1999.
“We got so much rain in the early part of June, four times what we should normally get, and we just couldn’t dry fields out enough to plant (corn) early enough this year,” Bose said Monday (Aug. 8).
“It’s all weather-related,” he added. “We were unsure whether we’d even be planting that field this year. It’s amazing how fast it’s growing – up to eight feet tall now, unbelievable, but we missed our planting window this year.”
Last summer was the first time in 22 years that the corn maze didn’t operate at the corner of 64 Avenue and 156 Street, due to COVID-related uncertainties about gathering restrictions.
Annually, the 25-acre cornfield labyrinth has run from late-August to mid-October.
Without a corn maze for two seasons now, Bose was asked if this is the end of the road for the annual attraction. The farmer paused for a few seconds before replying.
“Never say never, we will see where life takes us,” Bose said. “It’s definitely a change in our lifestyle, and it’s also a change in our pocketbooks, but this year I’m focusing on running for city council and you know, has our climate changed so much that this has become normal?
“I mean, we lost 100 per cent of our winter crop. Our fields were so wet, there was no way to harvest them – 120 acres of crop, gone.”
He elaborated on the subject of growing corn in Surrey.
“After it stopped raining, the weather in June was very conducive to corn-growing, and the last two fields came up in two days. Normally it takes two weeks. We gained back 10 days, but that still puts us 10 to 20 days outside the window. Now, it’s what is the second half of September going to look like. The last four or five years, the second half of that month has been nothing but rain, so there’s a potential that we can’t get the harvester in there to harvest the corn.”
In Chilliwack, Greendale Acres has partnered with Science World for this year’s dinosaur-themed Chilliwack Corn Maze, which opens Aug. 13 with a design featuring a giant Tyrannosaurus-rex and a chicken.
Bose figures the Chilliwack maze is the only one in the region this year.
“The Pitt Meadows one, it’s gone,” he said. “We had three years in a row of bad wind storms, and our corn got knocked down. We found a way to make it work, but it was even worse over there. They had zero revenue for a couple of years and they’d had enough, and have gone a different way, so right now the only one still going locally is the one in Chilliwack. They were late planting but were still in the first half of June when they got their corn in, and it’s grown really nicely there.”
Interviewed last summer, Bose said it costs $6,000 “just to open the gates” of his corn maze, for extra fertilizer, design costs and maintenance.
In 2020, the maze design celebrated the 50th anniversary of Douglas College for a shortened season, from Sept. 1 to Oct. 12. In early October that fall, the maze was temporarily closed for a day or two after vandals struck.