Abbotsford is a Canadian city in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, adjacent to Metro Vancouver. It is the 5th largest municipality in British Columbia and the 37th largest in Canada, home to 128,940 people (2006). Its Census Metropolitan Area numbers 159,020 people (23rd largest in Canada in 2006).
Abbotsford is the third most ethnically diverse city in Canada, after Toronto and Vancouver. It is also home to Abbotsford International Airport, which serves as a reliever airport to Vancouver International Airport.
The municipality's southern boundary is the Canada-US border, which it shares with Whatcom County. In Canada, it is bordered by Langley to the west, Mission to the north, and Chilliwack to the east. Much of Abbotsford has dramatic views of Mount Baker, which is less than 100 km from the city. To the north, the southernmost Coast Mountains are visible.
Maclure transferred the title to his son, John Charles Maclure, who then sold it to Robert Ward. Ward then filed a town site subdivision on 9 July, 1891. The Maclures named Abbotsford after a family friend Harry Abbott, the Western Superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Also, in 1891 the CPR built a railway line through the area that connected Mission with Sumas, Washington. This route was that of the rail connection between Seattle and Vancouver until the completion of the New Westminster rail bridge.
The Village of Abbotsford was incorporated in 1892. At that time Robert Ward sold many of the lots to private investors, however he sold off a significant portion to the Great Northern Railroad’s subsidiary company the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway.
British Columbia Electric Railway arrived soon after in 1910, ensuring a rapid rate of growth that has continued to this day. The most notable natural disaster to ever hit Abbotsford was a major flood in 1948.
1972 saw the amalgamation of the Village of Abbotsford and the District of Sumas in the District of Abbotsford. The District of Abbotsford amalgamated with the District of Matsqui in 1995 to become the City of Abbotsford.
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.
Abbotsford's largest religious group is Christian at 61.4% of the population, with associated Lutheran and other Protestant denominations and the Anabaptist (Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church) being the largest congregations. The next largest religious group are the Sikhs, comprising 13.4% of the population. The city contains the first Sikh temple built in Canada, which is also one of the oldest in North America.
The largest racial group is Caucasian, comprising approximately 79.6% of the population. This includes English, German, Canadian, Scottish, Dutch, Irish, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, Hungarian, Russian, Polish, Danish and Spanish. (see table below)
The next largest racial group in Abbotsford is South Asian (countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) comprising 14.9% of the population. This is followed by East and Southeast Asian at 4.71% and Aboriginals at 2.2% of the population (3.4% of which includes Metis and indigenous peoples from other parts of Canada and the United States).
English is the primary language spoken, with 71.2% of the population having it as their first language. Punjabi is the second most spoken language.
23.8% of the city's population was born outside of Canada. Of that percentage, a majority is from South Asia, followed by groups from Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Latin America. In previous decades similar figures applied to the Mennonite population.
|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%|
|misc. European, 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.|
|2>Métis, First Nations, Inuit, Native Americans, Alaska Natives|
|3American, Canadian, Québécois, Newfoundlander, does not include aboriginal peoples|
|4incl. 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|
Post Secondary institutions in the city include the University of the Fraser Valley, two religious institutions: Columbia Bible College and Summit Pacific College, as well as career colleges such as Sprott Shaw Community College, Vancouver Community College, CTC Changes Training Centre and CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care.
There is also 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.
As of July 20, 2006, the Abbotsford metropolitan area (which includes Mission) has 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.
Abbotsford is served by the Abbotsford International Airport, located in the southern part of the municipality. It 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 close proximity to Vancouver's eastern suburbs. The airport is also the home of the annual Abbotsford International Airshow.
The Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League (Junior B level) play at MSA Arena, which is Abbotsford's 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 started 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 and Brad Petoom. Abbotsford is home to the Abbotsford Rangers 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, 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 Coah Al Friesen, won the 2008 TELUS BC Boys ‘AAA’ Provincial 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, Bryn Keys, and Brodie Henderson (http://www.abbotsfordrugby.com/).
|North: Mission,Fraser Valley H|
| West: Langley Township|
Abbotsford completely surrounds Upper Sumas 6
|East: Chilliwack, Fraser Valley E, Yarrow|
|South: Sumas, Washington|