Yarrow, British Columbia
Looking west down Yarrow Central Rd. towards the village centre during Yarrow Days 2018 in Yarrow, BC.
Yarrow is a small community located 90 kilometres east of Vancouver and 12 km southwest of downtown Chilliwack, in British Columbia, Canada. It is in the Fraser Valley at the foot of Vedder Mountain. The village was first settled by Mennonites in the late 1920s, following the draining of Sumas Lake and the reclamation of the former lake bed for agriculture. Yarrow is located within the City of Chilliwack.
Yarrow is at the foot of the Skagit Range of the Cascade Mountains on the Vedder River, near the latter's confluence with the Fraser, which traverses the Lower Mainland, of British Columbia. The Lower Mainland Ecoregion is part of the Pacific Maritime Ecozone. The village of Yarrow lies between Vedder Mountain to the south and Sumas Mountain to the northwest. The climate is temperate with most of the precipitation falling in the winter months as rain. The summer is warm and relatively dry. The fertile upper Fraser Valley supports the growth of many varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs. Yarrow's economy is thus primarily agricultural and includes dairy farms, poultry production and field crops (cole crops blueberries, corn and hay).
The property that was to later become the village of Yarrow was first owned by Volkert Vedder, who pre-empted, or alienated, it from Crown land, beginning in 1862. During the 1860s, Vedder and his sons Adam and Albert amassed a total of 960 acres. With a further Crown grant in 1878, the Vedder Lands eventually totalled 1,200 acres. In 1910, the British Columbia Electric Railway constructed a line from Vancouver to nearby Chilliwack that skirted the edge of Sumas Lake. One of the stations along this line was named Yarrow. The townsite was built on land reclaimed, in part, from Sumas Lake. In the early 1920s, the provincial government built dykes to channel the Vedder River through the Vedder Canal to the Fraser River. This dyking project, which was completed in 1924, opened 12,000 acres (49 km²) of land for agriculture to the west of Yarrow. By 1928, much of the land was owned by Chauncey Eckert. That same year, a group of ethnic Dutch-German Mennonites, who had fled persecution in the Soviet Union, began buying lots of this land from Eckert. They created a Mennonite community that flourished from the late 1920s until the early 1960s. As many Mennonites began to assimilate into mainstream Canadian culture, they moved away from the rural village of Yarrow, and subsequent settlers were of many different ethnic backgrounds. Today, Yarrow functions mainly as a semi-rural suburb of Chilliwack.
On the first weekend of June, residents of Yarrow celebrate their community with Yarrow Days. Festivities begin at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, with a parade down Yarrow Central Road that starts at the Yarrow Community School on Wilson Road and ends at the Yarrow Mennonite Brethren church. Booths located in the park display local crafts, clothes, and homemade food. Particularly popular are the bake-sales and barbecues by members of the local churches, offering ethnic and traditional wares. Performers provide entertainment as residents and visitors make new friends and renew acquaintances. Local merchants offer specials in the nearby shops. Events include a barbecue and dance at the Community Hall on Saturday night and a pancake breakfast at the hall and church service in the park on Sunday morning.
- Environment Canada. Ecoregions of Canada - Lower Mainland. Ecological Framework of Canada. Retrieved on: 2014-08-18
- Fraser Valley Regional District (September 2011). Regional Snapshot Series: Agriculture - Agricultural Economy in the Fraser Valley Regional District.
- Yarrow Research Committee (2002). Yarrow, British Columbia: Mennonite Promise. Vol I, Before We Were the Land’s, 92-93.
- Klassen, Agatha. E. (1976). Yarrow: A Portrait in Mosaic. Clearbrook, B.C.: Klassen
- Yarrow Research Committee (2002). Yarrow, British Columbia: Mennonite Promise
- — Volume I, Before We Were the Land’s.
- — Volume II, Village of Unsettled Yearnings.
- Yarrow Ecovillage website
- Yarrow's Pioneers and Settlers
- Yarrow, B.C. Scenes and Times
- Yarrow Days Parade
- Yarrow Pioneers: Vedder River Flats and Majuba Hill