Abbotsford, British Columbia
|City of Abbotsford|
Partial Abbotsford skyline from Mill Lake
|Nickname(s): "Abby", City in the Country, Raspberry Capital of Canada|
|Motto: "Unus Cum Viribus Duorum" (Latin)
"One with the strength of two"
|Region||Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland|
|Regional district||Fraser Valley|
|• Mayor||Bruce Banman|
|• City||375.55 km2 (145.00 sq mi)|
|Elevation||38 m (124 ft)|
|• Density||355.5/km2 (921/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|Postal code||V2S–V2T, V3G, V4X|
|Area code(s)||604, 778|
Abbotsford is a city located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, adjacent to Greater Vancouver. With an estimated population of 133,497 people as of the 2011 census, it is the largest municipality of the Fraser Valley Regional District, the fifth-largest municipality of British Columbia, and the largest outside of Greater Vancouver. The Abbotsford–Mission metropolitan area of around 170,191 inhabitants as of the 2011 census is the 23rd largest census metropolitan area in Canada. Abbotsford has the third highest proportion of visible minorities among census metropolitan areas in Canada, after the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Vancouver CMA. It has also been named by Statistics Canada as Canada’s most generous city in terms of donations for nine straight years, though it is notably less charitable to its homeless population.
The community of 375.55 square kilometres (145.00 sq mi) is the largest city by area in British Columbia. It is home to the University of the Fraser Valley, TRADEX and Abbotsford International Airport, which hosts the Abbotsford International Airshow.
The municipality's southern boundary is the Canada–United States border, across which is Sumas, Washington. In Canada, it is bordered by the Township of Langley to the west, the Fraser River and the District of Mission to the north, and the City of Chilliwack to the east. Much of Abbotsford enjoys views of Mount Baker (to the southeast, in Washington State) and the Coast Mountains (to the north).
- 1 History
- 2 Government
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Climate
- 5 Economy
- 6 Education
- 7 Arts, culture and heritage
- 8 Transportation
- 9 Media
- 10 Sports
- 11 Crime
- 12 Cityscape
- 13 Sister cities
- 14 Notable people
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 External links
Abbotsford's colonial development began when the Royal Engineers surveyed the area in response to the Gold Rush along the Fraser River in 1858. This led to the building of Yale Road (today Old Yale Road), the first transportation route to link the Fraser Valley. Settlement grew and the production of butter, milk and tobacco began by the late 1860s. In 1889, former Royal Engineer John Cunningham Maclure applied for a Crown Grant to obtain the 160 acres (0.65 km2) that would become Abbotsford.
There is some controversy over the origin of the Abbotsford name. The most commonly cited origin is that Maclure named the land Abbotsford after family friend Henry Braithwaite Abbott, the Western Superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Until 1922 the name was spelled Abottsford. Maclure's sons later stated that the property had actually been named for Sir Walter Scott's home, Abbotsford, while in his later years Maclure himself claimed that the naming had been "a combination of two ideas".
The title passed hands to Robert Ward, who filed a townsite subdivision on July 9, 1891. Also in 1891, the CPR built a railway line through the area that connected Mission with the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway at Sumas, Washington. This route was the only rail connection between Vancouver and Seattle until 1904. The Village of Abbotsford was incorporated in 1892. At that time Robert Ward sold many of the lots to private investors, but also sold off a significant portion to the Great Northern Railway’s subsidiary company the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway. The British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) arrived in 1910. The Interurban, as the BCER tram linking Abbotsford with Vancouver and Chilliwack was called, was discontinued in 1950, but BCER's successor BC Hydro retains the right to re-introduce passenger rail service. Service to Vancouver runs from neighbouring Mission by way of the West Coast Express.
The most notable natural disaster to hit Abbotsford was a major flood of the Fraser River in 1948.
The amalgamation of the Village of Abbotsford and the District of Sumas into the District of Abbotsford occurred in 1972. The District of Abbotsford amalgamated with the District of Matsqui in 1995 to become the City of Abbotsford, raising the population significantly.
The City of Abbotsford comprises a council-manager form of local government. The mayor and council were elected on November 19, 2011. The mayor is Bruce Banman. Councillors elected in 2011 are: Patricia Ross (10.6% of popular vote), Henry Braun (8.5%), Les Barkman (6.6%), Simon Gibson (5.5%), Bill MacGregor (5.5%), John Smith (5.3%), Dave Loewen (5.3%), Moe Gill (5.2%). School trustees elected are: Cindy Schafer, Stan Petersen, Korky Neufeld, Shirley Wilson, Rhonda Pauls, John Sutherland and Preet Rai.
The Abbotsford flag and coat of arms are the same, featuring straight, diagonal crosses representing Abbotsford as at a "crossroads". At the centre is a strawberry blossom to symbolize the local berry industry. The flag of Abbotsford was originally blue in colour. The change to green was initiated in 1995 when the District of Abbotsford and the District of Matsqui amalgamated to create the City of Abbotsford.
|Sources: Statistics Canada|
Ethnicities and visible minorities
The largest racial group is European Caucasian, comprising approximately 73.6% of the population. This group includes German, Dutch, British, Irish, Scandinavian and Slavic ethnic origins. The next largest racial group in Abbotsford is South Asian (countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka) comprising 19.1% of the population. This is followed by Aboriginals at 2.9% of the population (which includes indigenous peoples from other parts of Canada and the United States) and Chinese at 1.69%.
More than a quarter (26.1%) of the city's population was born outside of Canada. Of that percentage, a majority is from South Asia, followed by groups from China, South Korea, Southeast Asia and Latin America. English is the primary language spoken, with 78.7% of the population having it as their first language.
|Ethnic Origin||Population||Percent of 156,640*||Comments|
|misc. British Isles, n.i.e.**||2,265||1.45%|
|North American Indian||5,335||3.41%||incl. First Nations, Native Americans and Alaska Natives|
|Aboriginal from Central/South America||40||0.03%|
|misc. Latin, Central or South American, n.i.e.**||160||0.01%|
|Dutch (Netherlands)||16,645||10.63%||% not incl. Frisians or Flemish|
|misc. Scandinavian, n.i.e.**||310||0.20%||may include Sami and Kven|
|misc. Slav (European)||40||0.03%|
|Ethnic groups in Europe, n.i.e.**||260||0.17%|
|misc. African, n.i.e.**||130||0.08%|
|misc. Arab, n.i.e.||75||0.05%|
|misc. South Asian, n.i.e.**||820||0.52%|
|East or Southeast Asian, n.i.e.**||85||0.05%|
|*Percentages total more than 100% due to multiple responses e.g. German-East Indian, Norwegian-Irish-Polish.|
|**Not included elsewhere.|
|***Not otherwise specified.|
|Ethnic Origin by Regional grouping||Population||Percent of 156,640|
|British Isles origins||65,495||41.81%|
|Other North American origins3||31,870||20.34%|
|Latin, Central and South American origins4||2,070||1.32%|
|Western European origins5||46,395||29.62%|
|Northern European origins6||12,140||7.75%|
|Eastern European origin7||21,765||13.89%|
|Southern European origins||7,470||4.77%|
|Other European origins8||840||00.54%|
|West Asian origins11||410||00.26%|
|South Asian origins||25,800||16.47%|
|East and Southeast Asian origins||7,375||4.71%|
|Footnotes to Ethnic Origin by Regional Grouping|
|1Census Canada does not distinguish between European and North American French origins. This category includes Acadians; Québécois-only (not multiple responses) are in North American origins.|
|2Métis, First Nations, Inuit, Native Americans, Alaska Natives|
|3American, Canadian, Québécois, Newfoundlander, does not include aboriginal peoples|
|4Including aboriginal people of South and Central America|
|5Germany, Austria, Benelux, Switzerland|
|6Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland|
|7Slavic and Baltic countries, plus Hungary and Albania|
|8Roma (Gypsy), Jewish, Basque, misc. Slav|
|9Excluding Arab countries of the Maghreb, including Afrikaners and other white South Africans|
|10Including the Maghreb/North Africa|
|11Afghan, Iranian, Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Turkish, Georgian, Armenian|
|12Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand|
|Canada 2011 Census||Population||% of Total Population|
|Visible minority group
|Other visible minority||355||0.3%|
|Mixed visible minority||575||0.4%|
|Total visible minority population||38,700||29.6%|
|Total Aboriginal population||5,230||4%|
Although British Columbia is the least religious province in Canada, the majority of Abbotsford's population is Christian, with 61.4% of the population. The Lutheran and Anabaptist (Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church) denominations make up the largest congregations. The next largest religious group is Sikh, comprising 13.4% of the population. The city contains the first Sikh Gurdwara built in Canada (in 1911), and the oldest in North America. A National Historic Site, located on the neighbourhood, it is now over 100 years old.
- Population (2007): 131,827
- % Change (2001–2006): 7.2
- Resident labour force (2001): 58,140
- Dwellings (2006): 45,286
- Area (km2): 359.36
- Density (persons per km2) (2006): 344.7
- Gross income of population (2002): $2,337,376,686
- Average household income (2001): $56,165
- Average individual income (2001): $26,794
|Climate data for Abbotsford International Airport|
|Record high Humidex||18.8||20.0||24.8||31.2||39.5||38.6||46.2||43.4||40.1||31.2||21.0||18.9||46.2|
|Record high °C (°F)||18.1
|Average high °C (°F)||6.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.6
|Average low °C (°F)||0.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−21.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||211.7
|Rainfall mm (inches)||193.6
|Snowfall cm (inches)||18.5
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||20.1||16.2||19.1||16.3||14.4||13.0||7.3||7.1||9.6||15.8||20.8||19.8||179.5|
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||18.2||15.4||18.6||16.3||14.4||13.0||7.3||7.1||9.6||15.8||20.2||18.2||174.1|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)||3.7||1.9||1.4||0.3||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||1.3||3.6||12.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||68.3||99.0||131.5||171.5||208.7||213.7||276.7||263.2||201.9||122.6||64.7||64.9||1,886.7|
|Percent possible sunshine||25.2||34.6||35.7||41.8||44.1||44.2||56.7||59.1||53.3||36.5||23.4||25.2||40.0|
Like many locations of a similar latitude, Abbotsford has four distinct seasons. However, the proximity to the Pacific Ocean provides milder winters, along with much greater rainfall than inland areas of the country. The influence of the Pacific also makes the transition between seasons more gradual compared to locations further inland.
Spring starts out cool and generally showery before gradually turning warmer and drier. Below freezing temperatures may occur overnight into May, and snow may fall until the end of April, but it normally melts quickly. Normal daytime highs range from near 10 °C in March to the low 20's in June. During periods of warmth, temperatures can reach into the mid 20's C during March and April, and can exceed 30 °C from May onwards.
Summer on the west coast is known for its relative dryness. It is not uncommon to receive little or no rainfall for weeks at a time. August averages only 20% of November's rainfall, and only about 16% of annual precipation falls between June 1 and October 1. Un-watered grass often turns brown in July, and may not need to be cut until September, when significant rains become more likely.
Rain that falls during summer is normally quite light, but can occasionally come in the form of thunderstorms.
Summers in Abbotsford are relatively warm, and can become quite hot on occasion. The average daily high in August is 23.8 °C, but highs over 30 °C are not uncommon. The highest temperature ever recorded was 38.0°C on July 29, 2009 at Abbotsford Airport.
Nights are usually fairly comfortable, even when the days are hot. It is rare for the temperature to stay above 20 °C at night, often falling as low as 10 °C. During warm spells, the temperature may range by as much as 20 °C in 12 hours (for example; a morning low of 11°C and an afternoon high of 31 °C).
Autumn is characterized by increasingly unsettled and cooler conditions. Temperatures may still reach the mid or even upper 20's C at first, but rainfall becomes more frequent and temperatures drop in October. Frost may occur in late September, and at any time during October.
October 1 heralds the unofficial start of the rainy season, but the heaviest rains occur in November, which averages 234.3 mm of rain and 6.3 cm of snow (240.9 mm combined). According to Environment Canada, Abbotsford is the fourth wettest of 100 major cities in Canada, with 1573.2 mm of combined rain and snow annually. A weather pattern known as the Pineapple Express often brings significant rainstorms in autumn and winter.
The earliest snowfall has been known to occur at the end of October, but more frequently occurs in November. In milder years, there may be no snow until December. Occasionally, there will be a spell of sub-freezing weather in late November or early December. This may be accompanied by snow and high winds, but is usually short-lived.
With a mean temperature of about 2.5 °C in January, Abbotsford's winters are cool, but relatively mild compared to most of Canada. However, the overcast and damp conditions may be subjectively less pleasant than colder sunny weather.
The coldest month on record at Abbotsford International Airport is January 1950, with a mean temperature of −8.6 °C (an average high of −4.7 °C and an average low of −12.4 °C). It was during this time that Abbotsford also set its all-time record low temperature of −21.1 °C, on the 18th of that month.
Snow occurs frequently in the surrounding mountains, but less often closer to sea level. There is a general misconception by visitors and residents in other parts of the country that the area does not receive any snow at all, but the truth is that Abbotsford averages 63.5 cm of snow per year, and there has never been a winter when traceable snow has not been observed at both Abbotsford International Airport and Vancouver International Airport. As a matter of fact, Environment Canada currently ranks Abbotsford 44th and Vancouver 59th under the category "Most huge snowfall days (25 cm or more)" out of 100 major Canadian cities, placing them above cities such as Calgary (74th place) and Toronto (99th place).
Snow in Abbotsford tends to be quite wet, which when combined with typical winter temperatures rising above and falling below freezing throughout the course of the day, can make for unusually slippery road conditions. Years or even months with snowfall surpassing the 100 cm mark are also not completely exceptional; the former occurred twice in the 1990s, while January 1954 saw more than 140 cm of snow. Snow can fall at any time between October and May.
Snowfall accumulations tend to vary greatly by year and season. During the winter of 1990–1991, 152.3 cm fell; the next winter, only a trace of snow was recorded. In the year 1996, 199.2 cm (over six feet) was recorded; the next year, only 6.2 cm fell. Serious snow storms occurred most recently in December 2008, when as much as 60 cm fell in the days leading up to Christmas. Abbotsford can expect a White Christmas once every five years on average.
62% of Abbotsford residents work in the city of Abbotsford itself. Most of the remaining 38% commutes to Mission, Chilliwack or Vancouver and its suburbs (primarily Surrey and Langley). More than 25% of Abbotsford's work force commutes to Abbotsford from other municipalities.
The Conference Board of Canada has identified the local economy as one of the most diverse in the country. Abbotsford's main industries are agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and retail. The city earns the highest dollar per acre of agricultural land in the country, greater than the Niagara Region and the North Okanagan. The city is home to three federal prisons, each of which employs more than 500 officers and support staff. There is also a growing aerospace industry led by Cascade Aerospace and Conair Group Inc.
46 public elementary, middle, and secondary schools are administered by Abbotsford School District . This includes a virtual school called "Abbotsford Virtual School" that offers more than 30 semestered online courses. This school offers a unique animation and modeling program that teaches students aspects of the video gaming industry.
Post Secondary institutions in the city include the University of the Fraser Valley, religious institutions such as Columbia Bible College and Summit Pacific College, as well as career colleges such as Career Gate Community College, Sprott Shaw College, Vancouver Career College, Métis Skills & Employment Centre, and CDI College.
Arts, culture and heritage
The Abbotsford Arts Council hosts a number of free local events including music in Mill Lake Park, the Arty Awards and more recently, the Christmas Artisan Gift Fair. It has been involved in projects such as the Abbotsford “Unity Statue”, Abbotsford Christmas Craft Fair, Art in the Park, Abbotsford’s Art and Heritage Unity Festival, and the Historical Downtown Art Bench Project. As well as maintaining the Kariton Art Gallery which features and hosts exhibitions from local artists of all mediums residing in the lower mainland.
The Reach Gallery Museum features exhibitions from across Canada and around the world, as well as the work of local artists. It houses a heritage archive, runs special events, programs and courses and seeks to promote local arts and culture.
Gallery 7 Theatre & Performing Arts has been one of Abbotsford only performing arts organizations since 1991 and operates out of Mennonite Educational Institute. They produce four mainstage productions every year.
Air links are provided by the Abbotsford International Airport. The airport is one of the fastest growing commercial airports in western Canada, and acts as a reliever airport for Vancouver International Airport. WestJet provides regular scheduled service from the airport, due to its proximity to Vancouver's eastern suburbs. The airport is also the home of the annual Abbotsford International Airshow.
Major transportation routes leading into Abbotsford are the Trans-Canada Highway (#1), Abbotsford-Mission Highway (#11) and the Fraser Highway (#1A). Access to the United States is via the Huntingdon border crossing.
Due to its proximity to Vancouver, most Vancouver television and radio stations are also available throughout the Fraser Valley, although in a few cases there are repeater stations licensed to different centres in the region. Some stations from Washington State, USA are also available in the Fraser Valley due to its proximity to the border. The first radio station in the Fraser Valley was CHWK Chilliwack established in 1927, the company established CFVR in Abbotsford in 1962. Initially the station originated local programming in the morning and then repeat the Chilliwack broadcasts the rest of the day.
As far as print goes, The Abbotsford News is the dominant newspaper in Abbotsford with some 90 years of history behind it.
Since 2008 Abbotsford Today has been providing local and community news about Abbotsford on the web with an emphasis on citizen journalism.
In October 2013 Black Press, owners of the Abbotsford News, announced the News would own the Abbotsford Times effective December 2013.
Abbotsford's Jane and Gerry Swan Track at Rotary Stadium is home to the Valley Royals Track & Field Club, who have produced numerous Olympians including two for the 2008 Olympics. Rotary Stadium was also home to the defunct Canadian Junior Football League's Abbotsford Air Force.
The Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League (Junior B level) play at MSA Arena, which is Abbotsford's 2nd largest arena at just over 400 seats. Abbotsford was considered as a possible home for the Chilliwack Chiefs (Junior A), who were forced to move in 2006 when the Chilliwack Bruins (a WHL expansion team) took over their arena, Prospera Centre. Abbotsford would have become the home of the Chiefs if the city had supported them in building a new arena; instead, the Chiefs moved to Langley. Ironically, construction has now been completed in Abbotsford on a far bigger sports & entertainment centre (with 7,500 seats).
Abbotsford Minor Hockey is one of the largest associations in British Columbia with more than 1000 players registered from the ages of 5 through 18 years old. This association is recognized by many as a model and a leader in the development of minor hockey programs, and several Abbotsford-raised players have gone on to the highest levels of this sport. In the 2005–2006 hockey season, Abbotsford's Bantam AAA team were ultimately the Western Canadian Bantam Champions, and eight individual players from this team (the most ever) were selected in the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft. <http://www.abbotsfordminorhockey.com/>
Abbotsford has a superior Youth soccer program, winning 2 national titles, and numerous provincial titles. It is also home of soccer all stars Sophie Schmidt, Brad Petoom and Adam Lang. Abbotsford is home to the Abbotsford Mariners of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League, the highest level of amateur soccer in North America.
Abbotsford is home to many high school sports, with Abbotsford Collegiate, W.J. Mouat Secondary, Rick Hansen Secondary, Robert Bateman Secondary, St. John Brebeuf Secondary, Yale Secondary, and the Mennonite Educational Institute, among others, doing very well in track and field, volleyball, basketball, and football. These schools have consistently ranked among the highest in the province. The Yale Secondary Senior Boys Basketball Team, under Coach Al Friesen, won the 2008 ‘AAA’ provincial boys' basketball championship.
Abbotsford's rugby club supports three men's teams, two women's teams, U19 men's and women's, U15 U16 and U17 men's, and a great mini rugby program. Many of Abbotsford's players have gone on to play for Canada, such as Erin Lockwood, Ryan McWhinney, Scott Hunter and Brodie Henderson.
In Olympic sports, Abbotsford's Alana Kraus has won medals in short-track speed skating.
||Ice hockey||Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre||
||Arena football||Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre||
||Ice hockey||MSA Arena||
||Rugby||CFV Exhibition Park||
As of July 20, 2006, the Abbotsford–Mission metropolitan area had the highest property crime rate and the second highest violent crime rate for cities with a population of 100,000 to 500,000 in Canada.
The metropolitan area had the highest rate of homicides nationally for two years running (2008 and 2009) with a rate of 5.22 homicides per 100,000 population, compared with the national average of 1.81. In 2010, the rate was 2.3.
The City of Abbotsford has its own municipal police force, one of eleven municipal police forces in British Columbia. It is the third largest municipal police force in British Columbia (behind Vancouver and Victoria). As of 2006, the Abbotsford Police Department employed nearly 200 officers and 80 civilian employees.
The Abbotsford Police Department was officially formed in 1995 when the District of Matsqui and the District of Abbotsford amalgamated to become the City of Abbotsford. Prior to the amalgamation, the District of Matsqui was patrolled by the Matsqui Police and the District of Abbotsford by the RCMP. During the referendum citizens elected to keep a municipal police force.
These places represent parts of the city that have more than one neighbourhood in them.
- Abbotsford East
- Abbotsford West
- Central Abbotsford
- Sumas Mountain
- Sumas Prairie
- Eagle Mountain
- Glen Mountain
- McKinley Heights
- Mount Lehman
- North Poplar
- Sandy Hill
- South Poplar
|Township of Langley (Aldergrove)||Chilliwack|
|Lynden, Washington||Sumas, Washington
|Maple Falls, Washington|
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- WS Crockett 1905 Abbotsford Adam and Black London
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- In 1976, the amalgamation with the District of Sumas raised the population. Previous figures were for the square mile of Abbotsford only.
- In 1995, the amalgamation with the District of Matsqui raised the population.
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- Joe Millican For the commute the car is king. Abbotsford News. April 17, 2009
- [dead link]
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- 2008 AAA Boys Provincials Archived July 21, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Abbotsford Rugby website
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