カナダ・ブリティッシュコロンビア州のローワーメインランド地域における サークル・ファーム・ツアーの意義 [in Japanese] Significance of Circle Farm Tours in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada [in Japanese]
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Presently in developed countries, such as Japan, the most important function of rural areas is still food production; however, since the 1990s there has been a sharp increase in using and consuming rural resources in different ways. Such a phenomenon can be regarded as the "commodification of rural spaces". Since present rural spaces are strongly influenced by commodification, it is important to clarify in what way the commodification of rural spaces has been promoted, and how rural commodification characterizes rural spaces, in order to understand characteristics of present rural areas in economically advanced countries. We have studied the characteristics of the commodification of rural spaces in Japan over the past ten years. By expanding this research theme to British Columbia, Canada, our geographical perspectives on present rural areas will widen and develop. This study examines the characteristics of commodified rural spaces in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The Lower Mainland is a vernacular region but for the purpose of this study is defined as the plain that extends along the lower Fraser River, from downtown Vancouver to 120km east of the city. This is a highly productive agricultural area in which approximately 60 percent of the population of British Columbia is concentrated. There are diversified rural commodities in the Lower Mainland. Heritage tourism, wine tourism, pick-your-own farms, tourist farms are common. It is also popular for urban residents to live in the countryside, which has led to the development of scattered estate homes. Some people have hobby farms on which they raise horses and enjoy horseback riding on Sunday mornings. A unique example of agri-tourism in the Lower Mainland is the Circle Farm Tour, which is a self-guided tour, allowing visitors to explore the rural attractions in the Lower Fraser Valley at their own pace (Hayden, 2015). This was started by the District of Kent for Agassiz/Harrison Mills in 2003 and was later followed by Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley and Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows. In this paper we mainly focus on the Circle Farm Tour in Abbotsford. The program's "roadmap" presents a wide range of high-quality rural attractions, including farm produce markets and shops, tourist farms, pick-your-own farms, wineries, restaurants, garden centres, and other facilities. Based on our interviews with agri-tourism operations and an analysis of their websites, we can find important themes for rural tourist attractions, such as the beautiful landscape, favourable natural environments, family-oriented places, fresh and high quality rural products, family farms and their histories, local products, ecological practices, and a strong connection with local communities. In this region residents from greater Vancouver, Victoria and other nearby cities visit on weekends to enjoy and consume rurality. The commodification of rural spaces in British Columbia, especially those in the Lower Mainland, is much more advanced and diversified than that of Japan, and plays an important role in sustaining rural economies and societies.
- Geospace space
Geospace space 9(1), 63-86, 2016
Japan Association on Geographical Space