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Located in southwestern British Columbia, the Abbotsford Destination comprises cities such as Agassiz, Princeton, Chilliwack, and its namesake, Abbotsford. Abbotsford is notably the largest city by area in British Columbia, as the city comprises a total of 144.92 square miles. Characteristic of an oceanic climate, Abbotsford generally receives temperatures varying between 33 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Snowfall occurs in the city most commonly during the months of December and January. According to people who have visited the area, it is recommended that tourists come between mid-July and late August if they plan on engaging in warm-weather activities. Considering that the Abbotsford Destination geographically contains several lakes—including Stave Lake, Alouette Lake, Harrison Lake, Chehalis Lake, Chilliwack Lake, and Pitt Lake—the area frequently receives those who desire to pursue outdoor activities or lake recreation such as canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, to name a few. Western Canoeing and Kayaking is a paddle sports store that is established in Abbotsford. There, visitors can rent lake recreation equipment and purchase camping supplies. Another attraction aside from outdoor recreation is the Reach Gallery Museum. People can tour the museum and view the showcased exhibits that regard the art, culture, and historical significance of Abbotsford.
The Abbotsford Destination is located in southwestern British Columbia. A few cities and urban areas that are located throughout the destination include Princeton, Chilliwack, Agassiz, Sunshine Valley, Hope, and Abbotsford. Situated between the Fraser River to the north and Canada’s border with the United States to the south, Abbotsford covers a total land area of 144.92 square miles. The metropolitan area, however, encompasses 234.26 square miles. Abbotsford is reportedly the largest city by population in the Fraser Valley Regional District as recent estimates suggest that roughly 168,773 residents live within the city, as of 2022. The population is presently growing at a rate of 2.20%. A diverse range of racial demographics constitutes the population, taking into account that over 26% of residents were born in a country other than Canada. Many of these people are from India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Agriculture is a primary industry in Abbotsford, in addition to transportation, manufacturing, and retail. The production of nearly 50% of chicken eggs and dairy milk from the entirety of British Columbia accounts for about one billion dollars of total sales from agricultural businesses in 2021. This is a significant growth since the year 2010 which accumulated $635,000,000 from agricultural businesses. Apart from the city’s agricultural industry, Abbotsford also receives a considerable number of tourists annually. One particular attraction that draws several visitors to the city is the Reach Gallery Museum, a site that emphasizes the art, history, and cultural heritage of Abbotsford through visual arts. The Reach Gallery Museum often puts forth an effort to engage the community by hosting tour exhibitions and art programs.
Many tourists take interest in the outdoor recreational activities that can be found in Abbotsford as the city comprises about 2,500 acres of forested areas with 157 parks that are open to the public. Sumas Mountain Regional Park is a 1,471-acre park where visitors can go fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. The Chadsey Lake Trail winds through the Sumas Mountain Regional Park leading visitors to Chadsey Lake, hence the name. Tourists can also explore the Abbotsford Destination via helicopter as the Compass Heli Tours takes people on a flight above the Coast Mountains in southwestern British Columbia. Furthermore, the city’s golf courses draw a fair amount of people, with a couple of the most notable courses being the Fraserglen Golf Course and Ledgeview Golf.
To the west of Abbotsford, the city is bordered by the township of Langley, while the north is bounded by the city of Mission, and the east is encompassed by Chilliwack. Abbotsford is the largest city by area in the province of British Columbia. Though the city itself is fairly urban without mountainous regions, a view of Mount Baker (to the southeast, in Washington State) and the Coast Mountains (to the north) can be seen from Abbotsford. Several urban towns and cities dot the Abbotsford Destination; however, the southeastern regions contain a number of nature reserves, including Cascade Recreation Area, Skagit Valley Provincial Park, EC Manning Provincial Park, and Cathedral Provincial Park.
Wildlife is fairly abundant in Abbotsford as sightings of bears, coyotes, cougars, deer, skunks, raccoons, pigeons, and crows occur frequently. Fraser Valley’s Conservation Officer Service highly encourages the community and visitors to dispose of any potential attractants that may appeal to any of the aforementioned animals. Curbside waste is considered the most common attractant to bears as there were over 160 black bear reports made in Abbotsford from January 2020 to May 2021 and the primary cause was traced back to curbside waste.
Those who have previously visited Abbotsford have described the summer season to be “warm" and “partly cloudy,” in contrast to the winter months which have been said to be “very cold” and “wet” with frequently overcast skies. Past tourists have also noted that any time between mid-July and late August is the “best time of year to visit” the city. Cloud cover varies seasonally, though the month of August is relatively clear as about 66% of the time is classified as either clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy. Temperatures generally range between 33 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of the year. An average daily high of 71 degrees Fahrenheit is typical throughout the warm season from June to September. August tends to be the hottest month of the year as temperatures rise to about 77 degrees Fahrenheit on average. As for the coldest month of the year, December, the average daily high is around 42 degrees Fahrenheit, occasionally dropping to 34 degrees Fahrenheit.
Several miners were drawn to what is now known as Abbotsford at the time of the gold rush in 1858. Following the establishment of the Clayburn Brick plant, a number of European and Sikh settlers came to the area circa 1905. The goal of the Sikh settlers was to acquire farmland and to work at the Abbotsford Lumber Company. In 1911, the Gur Sikh Temple was constructed and is now currently known as the oldest existing Sikh temple in North America. This site is also acknowledged as a National Heritage Site. The next peoples that inhabited Abbotsford were Dutch Mennonites who came to gain agricultural land, similar to the Sikhs. Many of the Dutch Mennonites came from settlers who had spent the preceding 200 years in Prussia and Russia after having left Holland and Switzerland prior to their arrival in Canada. With the intent to provide services and employee housing, the Clayburn Company built Clayburn Village which ultimately became British Columbia’s first “company town.” Abbotsford had been a part of the district of Matsqui at this time, and it wasn’t until 1995 that Abbotsford and Matsqui were amalgamated into one city. This led to Abbotsford becoming the third youngest incorporated municipality in British Columbia. A few sites that reflect this history can currently be found in Abbotsford such as the Gur Sikh Temple and Clayburn Village.
In 1948, a natural disaster occurred which involved the flooding of the Fraser River. This event was reported to be the “most devastating flooding to hit Greater Vancouver.” Over 2,300 homes were demolished and 16,000 people were displaced. Abbotsford and Langley were the two areas that were affected the most. Southwestern British Columbia was cut off from the rest of Canada in terms of transportation as the Canadian National Railway line and the Trans-Canada Highway railways were flooded. During the latter end of the flooding when water levels subsided, 10 people were found dead and 1,500 were left homeless. Approximately $150 to $210 million dollars in damage had been inflicted on Abbotsford and the surrounding cities.