Past Cities

Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Abbotsford is a city in British Columbia, Canada, located in the Fraser Valley region. The city was incorporated in 1995, although its history dates back to the early 19th century when the first European settlers arrived in the area. The city was named after Harry Braithwaite Abbott, a British Columbia politician who served as the premier of the province from 1900 to 1902.

Before the arrival of Europeans, the area that is now Abbotsford was home to the Sto:lo First Nations people. The Sto:lo people lived along the Fraser River and were primarily a fishing community. When the first European settlers arrived in the area in the 1820s, they traded with the Sto:lo people and established farms and homesteads along the river.

The first permanent European settlement in the area was established in 1858 by James Douglas, the governor of the colony of British Columbia. Douglas established a farm and trading post on the south side of the Fraser River, which became known as "Douglas Island". The settlement grew rapidly, and by the early 1860s, it had become a major transportation hub for the region.

In 1889, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, which connected Abbotsford to Vancouver and the rest of the country. This led to an increase in immigration to the area, particularly from Eastern Canada and Europe. By the early 1900s, Abbotsford had become a thriving agricultural community, with dairy farming, berry growing, and poultry farming being the main industries.

During World War II, Abbotsford played an important role in the war effort. The Abbotsford Airport was used as a training base for British Commonwealth Air Training Plan pilots, and the city's agricultural products were used to feed the troops.

In the post-war era, Abbotsford continued to grow, with the population increasing from 1,500 in 1945 to over 100,000 in 2021. The city's economy diversified, with manufacturing, retail, and service industries becoming important employers.

One of the biggest events in Abbotsford's history was the 1984 Canadian National Exhibition Air Show disaster. During the air show, a jet crashed into the crowd, killing nine people and injuring over 100 others. The disaster led to significant changes in air show safety regulations in Canada.

Abbotsford's geography has played a significant role in its history. The city is located in the Fraser Valley, which is known for its fertile soil and mild climate. This has made agriculture a major industry in the area, and has also attracted retirees and people looking for a rural lifestyle.

In recent years, Abbotsford has faced challenges related to its growing population and urbanization. The city has had to deal with issues such as traffic congestion, housing affordability, and environmental concerns.

Abbotsford has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The city's growth and development have been shaped by its political environment, geography, and economy. Despite facing challenges, Abbotsford continues to be a thriving community with a diverse population and a strong sense of community spirit.