Discover Delta, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Modernity

Delta, British Columbia, is a city nestled in the Lower Mainland region of Canada, forming part of the Greater Vancouver area. It is strategically located on the Fraser Lowland, south of the Fraser River's south arm. Delta is surrounded by Richmond on the Lulu Island to the north, New Westminster to the northeast, Surrey to the east, the Boundary Bay and the American pene-exclave Point Roberts to the south, and the Strait of Georgia to the west. The city encompasses the nearby Annacis Island, Deas Island, and Westham Island, and is primarily rural, comprising three distinct communities: North Delta, Ladner, and Tsawwassen.

The Rich History of Delta, British Columbia

Before European settlement, Delta's flatlands and coastal shores were home to the Tsawwassen First Nation of the Coast Salish. The land was first sighted by Europeans in 1791 when Spanish explorer Lieutenant Francisco de Eliza mistook the area for an island and named it "Isla de Cepeda". The first European settler in Delta was James Kennedy, who pre-empted 135 acres in what later became Annieville in February 1860. Thomas and William Ladner began farming the area named after them in 1868. Farming and fishing helped the community grow quickly over the next few decades. In 1879, the area was incorporated as a municipality, named "the Corporation of Delta", with the village of Ladner as its administrative centre.

Delta's geography made it a relatively isolated community until the completion of the George Massey Tunnel in 1959, which linked Ladner to Richmond and Vancouver. The opening of the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in 1960 and the rerouting of Highway 99 from the King George Highway in Surrey in 1962 to a new route through Delta ended Delta's isolation and resulted in a massive 400% population growth over the next 20 years. The 1986 completion of the Alex Fraser Bridge connecting North Delta to New Westminster and Vancouver also contributed to Delta's growth. On 22 September 2017, at the request of Delta's council, the Government of British Columbia changed the name and classification of the Corporation of Delta to the City of Delta.

Exploring the Neighbourhoods of Delta, British Columbia

Delta comprises three distinct, geographically separate communities:

  • North Delta (pop: 51,623) is home to over half of Delta's population. It is a largely suburban area in north-east Delta bordered by the Burns Bog and Surrey.
  • Ladner (pop: 21,112) is a 19th-century fishing village in north-west Delta that has expanded into a suburb. Fishing and farming are important industries. Ladner Trunk Road is its main street.
  • Tsawwassen (pop: 20,933) is a suburban community in south-west Delta that calls itself the sunniest place in Metro Vancouver. Luxury waterfront homes line Tsawwassen's coast. Tsawwassen is also home to the busy Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal which links the mainland to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Tsawwassen, together with Ladner, is also known as South Delta.

Demographics of Delta, British Columbia

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Delta had a population of 108,455 living in 38,058 of its 39,736 total private dwellings, a change of 6.1% from its 2016 population of 102,238. With a land area of 179.66 km2 (69.37 sq mi), it had a population density of 603.7/km2 (1,563.5/sq mi) in 2021. In 2011, the median age was 42.8 years old, which is slightly higher than the national median age at 40.6 years old. There were 35,781 private dwellings with an occupancy rate of 97.1%. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the median value of a dwelling in Delta is $562,181, significantly higher than the national average at $280,552. The median household income (after-taxes) in Delta is $71,590, quite higher than the national average at $54,089.

Ethnicity in Delta, British Columbia

As of 2021, Delta's population is 108,455. About 45% of Delta's population are visible minorities, of which there are approximately 28,000 South Asian Canadians, 9,700 Chinese Canadians, and 3,700 Filipino Canadians. There are also about 3,180 Indigenous peoples or 3% of the total population, some from Tsawwassen First Nation, who still hold a fraction of their former traditional territories; the Tsawwassen Lands at the mouth of the Fraser River, which are shared with the Hwlitsum First Nation from the Gulf Islands. Forming over one-quarter (26.1%) of the population, Delta has the fourth largest municipal South Asian population in British Columbia after neighbouring Vancouver, Surrey, and Abbotsford.

The Geography of Delta, British Columbia

Delta is located 27 km (17 mi) south of Vancouver and 22 km (14 mi) north of the Canada–US border at Peace Arch, Surrey. It is bordered by water on three sides: The Fraser River to the north, the Georgia Strait to the west, and Boundary Bay to the south. At 364 km2 (141 sq mi), Delta is the largest municipality in the GVRD; the second largest is its neighbour to the east, Surrey, at 317.4 km2 (122.5 sq mi).

Delta's flat, fertile land has made it one of the most important agricultural areas in Greater Vancouver. The Agricultural Land Reserve regulations preserve most of this land for agricultural use, preventing its conversion to suburban housing. North Delta is also home to the Burns Bog, 40 km2 (15 sq mi) of natural wetlands that are important for wildlife.

Delta includes Annacis Island, an industrial island reached via the Alex Fraser Bridge, which connects Delta with Richmond and New Westminster. Delta also includes a peninsula on the east side of the Fraser River at Delta's northern city limits, which is only accessible via Surrey.

Climate in Delta, British Columbia

Delta is known for its relatively dry and sunny climate compared with other locations in Metro Vancouver. For example, it receives nearly 40% less precipitation than downtown Vancouver and less than half of that of North Vancouver. It has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb) with cooler summers and milder winters than other areas on the Canada–U.S. border, and features some of the mildest winters and lowest diurnal temperature variation in Canada.

Power in Delta, British Columbia

In Delta is the Arnott Substation (ARN), the mainland terminal of the HVDC Vancouver Island circuit.

Transportation in Delta, British Columbia

Public transportation in Delta is a bus system provided by TransLink. There is no rapid transit system in Delta, though the SkyTrain system in Surrey comes within 3 km (1.9 mi) of the city's borders.

Delta is a major transportation hub for the Lower Mainland. Most vehicles leaving Vancouver for the United States pass through Delta's borders. Many vehicles destined for Vancouver Island use the Tsawwassen ferry terminal in Delta.

Highway 99 links Richmond to Delta via the George Massey Tunnel, built in 1959. North Delta is linked to New Westminster and Richmond by Highway 91 and the massive Alex Fraser Bridge (opened in 1986). Delta is linked to Surrey, Langley, and all points eastward by Highway 10. Traffic congestion during rush hour is quite common, although improvements area being made to Highway 91 interchanges at 72 Ave to remove a traffic light as well the ramps from Nordel Way.

Highway 17 in Delta provides a connection to the Tsawwassen B.C. Ferry terminal, which provides car ferry connections to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. In December 2013, north of the current junction with Deltaport Way, Highway 17 will be rerouted upon completion of the "South Fraser Perimeter Road", and will primarily run parallel to River Road through Tilbury and North Delta to all points east. The remaining stretch of Highway 17 north of that point will be renamed Highway 17A.

River Road is also another connector through the municipality. River Road starts in Surrey and heads westbound through North Delta, under the Alex Fraser Bridge, north of Burns Bog, and then terminates at 62B Street, which then turns into Highway 17A.

Like River Road, the western communities of "South Delta" (Ladner and Tsawwassen) are linked to North Delta and communities to the east by Ladner Trunk Road; east of its crossover of Highway 91, the road becomes Highway 10.

56th Street is another major artery in the community, bisecting the Tsawwassen region; it is the only road leading into the community of Point Roberts, south of the Canada–US border.

Delta is also home to Boundary Bay Airport, Canada's seventh busiest airport by aircraft movements. Boundary Bay Airport is primarily used for private aircraft, commercial charters, and flying lessons.

Major Highways in Delta, British Columbia

  • Hwy 10
  • Hwy 17
  • Hwy 17A
  • Hwy 91
  • Hwy 99

Health in Delta, British Columbia

Delta is the westernmost community served by Fraser Health Authority which operates Delta Hospital in Ladner and also funds home and community care. The Delta Hospice Society operates a facility near to the hospital.

Sports and Recreation in Delta, British Columbia

Delta has many minor sports teams in ice hockey, soccer, football, field hockey, baseball, softball, field lacrosse and box lacrosse. Over 160 young people play ringette in Delta. The Delta Ringette Association has 13 teams in 2005. Notable professional sports players from Delta are Jeff Francis (MLB), James Paxton (MLB), Justin Morneau (MLB), Brent Seabrook (NHL), Troy Brouwer (NHL) and Mitch Berger (NFL).

Delta's unique and varying terrain provides a challenging test for many of the world's best cyclists in the Tour de Delta (one day races, for men since 2001, and for women since 2011). Since its first event in 2001, the Tour de Delta has grown to be Canada's largest cycling event, held annually in July as part of BC Superweek.

The Delta Triathlon is also a very popular event, selling out each year in April. The event takes place in Ladner from the Ladner Leisure Centre. Over 500 participants take part, including many from the local South Delta Triathlon Club.

Delta, British Columbia in Film and Media

The town is used as the principle filming location for the TV series Resident Alien. The Heritage Hangar at the Boundary Bay Airport in Delta has been used for a film location in many TV series and movies.

Sister City of Delta, British Columbia

Mangaluru, India (Since 2010)