This summer many Surrey-area events and attractions have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but not the Bose Corn Maze.
The 25-acre labyrinth is set to open to the public from Sept. 1 to Oct. 12, with a design celebrating the 50th anniversary of Douglas College.
“This is the first time in 21 years we did all the work ourselves,” farmer Mike Bose said about the annual attraction, located at the corner of 64th Avenue and 156th Street in Cloverdale.
Typically a Utah-based maze designer helps the Bose family mark the corn maze, but not so this year, with pandemic-triggered travel restrictions to and from the U.S.
“The designer in Utah sent all the plans, and my son (Kevin) and I marked it out and did it all by ourselves,” Bose explained. “It took us close to two and a half days, which isn’t too bad because we were moving slowly and getting it done right.
“We take great pride in the fact that we actually managed to do this ourselves this year,” he added, “and it’s all good except for the one trail we forgot – but even with the professionals, every year at least one trail usually gets forgotten. So we were out there a couple weeks after the fact, correcting that.”
The six-week season for this year’s maze has been shortened by about 10 days, Bose said.
Earlier in 2020, he and his wife Novy weren’t sure the maze would be cut and opened to the public, given all the concerns about COVID-19.
“We got it done at the beginning of June, the middle of June, the marking out of it,” Bose said. “There was a thought that we would not do it this year, and we had to make a decision in mid-April, whether we were going to plant the field for the maze or not. Once we decided to plant the field, it was a given that we were going to cut the maze, because we were doing it for Douglas College and also by the first week of June we had to either cut it or scrap it, and once you spend the money on seed you better be cutting it so that you have a shot at opening.”
A photo of this year’s maze is posted to facebook.com/Bosecornmaze, and details about operating times and admission fees can be found at bosecornmaze.com. Also, a “Corn Maze Hotline” (778-578-5450) reports current conditions and any changes to operating times.
Every year, the maze is cut into a different design.
This year’s Douglas College-themed maze has some “social-distancing bubbles” built into it, Bose said.
“Some of the trails are almost 20 feet wide. They’re huge, and I had trouble visualizing it when we were marking it, but now that the corn is taller, I can see it, and the bubbles are huge. It’s in the design.”
At first, the design looked a little boring, he said.
“(Novy) was trying to convince them to throw a couple things in there to make it more interesting, but when it became apparent that we were going to be marking this ourselves, we were like, ‘Yeah, OK, we’re going to keep it simple,’” Bose recalled. “But it’s an interesting one, with a big ’50’ in it, and I think it looks pretty good. We put a photo of it on our Facebook page if people want to see a view of it from a drone we had out there at the end of July. It looks fantastic.”
The family’s maze-marking effort this year builds on the job attempted 21 years ago, during that very first year of operation.
“Our very first one we tried to do ourselves,” Bose said, “and we thought we were doing a good job, and one of the trails ran on a 45-degree angle that was supposed to stop on a row marker. We put a flag out every 20 rows by 20 rows, so the first half of the line it stopped right on the marker like it was supposed to. So we carried on and did the second half of the line and it also ended on a marker, just 20 rows off. And we went, ‘Help!’ and the guy from the States came in and helped finish it off.”
The growing season for corn “started off slow” this year because of cold, wet weather, but it’s been a pretty good corn year, Bose said.
“We would have liked a bit better weather in June, but if you’re getting 20-degree days and rain every five to 10 days, that’s actually really good growing conditions with just about everything. And Mother Nature is a far better irrigator than we are. Mind you, our corn is all sub-irrigated, so there’s no pumping involved.”