Mission, British Columbia Canada

Discover Mission, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Nestled in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, Mission is a city that has grown from a district municipality incorporated in 1892 to a vibrant city. It has expanded over the years to include additional villages and rural areas, and in 1969, it incorporated the original Town of Mission City, a long-standing independent core of the region.

Mission is bordered by the city of Abbotsford to the south and the city of Maple Ridge to the west. To the east, you'll find the unincorporated areas of Hatzic and Dewdney. The city is situated on the north bank of the Fraser River, backed by mountains and lakes, and overlooks the Central Fraser Valley, 65 km southeast of Vancouver.

The Geography of Mission, British Columbia

Unlike other Fraser Valley municipalities, Mission is primarily forested upland with only small floodplains lining the shore of the Fraser River. The city was once the heart of the berry industry in the Fraser Valley, with "Home of the Big Red Strawberry" as Mission's slogan in the 1930s and 1940s.

The southern part of the municipality is bounded on the west by the lower reaches of the Stave River, which consists mostly of the lakewaters of two hydroelectric reservoirs, Stave Lake and Hayward Lake. Over 40% of Mission is a tree farm, making it one of only two communities with municipal tree farms. Mission's tree farm celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.

The eastern boundary of the municipality roughly coincides with the division between the Mission upland and the alluvial floodplain of Hatzic Prairie. The unincorporated communities from Hatzic eastwards through Dewdney and Nicomen Island to Deroche are part of the social and commercial matrix centred on Mission.

The History of Mission, British Columbia

The Town of Mission City took its name from the local St. Mary's Mission and Residential School established in 1861 and began as a land promotion. The town's core commercial properties and residential streets were auctioned off through James Horne's auction, the "Great Land Sale" on May 19, 1891. Soon afterwards, Harry Brown French, an American from New York, came to the city and founded the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce on June 19, 1893. It was the first Board of Trade in B.C.

At the time of founding, the swing-span Mission Railway Bridge opened in 1891 was the only crossing of the Fraser River in the Fraser Valley below the Alexandra Bridge. The rail bridge at Mission doubled duty as a one-way alternating vehicular bridge until 1973, when a long-promised new Mission Bridge was finally completed.

Mission City's original retail core was in the small area of lowland between the CPR mainline and the river. Following the great flood of 1894 a few years after the town's founding, the core was relocated just north of the rail line at the foot of the hillside rising above the rail junction.

Transportation in Mission, British Columbia

Transportation infrastructure in Mission includes Abbotsford-Mission Highway 11, and the Lougheed Highway 7. Mission is also accessible through commuter rail, the West Coast Express, which runs five trains in each direction a day, five days a week, between Vancouver and Mission City Station. Bus service in Mission is served by the Central Fraser Valley Transit System connecting with the City of Abbotsford, as well as TransLink with service to Coquitlam Central Station via route 701.

Mission differs from some of the other Fraser Valley communities because of its access to the Fraser River. The Fraser near Mission is for the most part undeveloped and unspoiled which makes Mission the launch point for many water-based activities that happen year-round.

Climate of Mission, British Columbia

Mission has an oceanic climate due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. However, Mission has plentiful rainfall all year round, with a drying trend in the summer.

Demographics of Mission, British Columbia

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Mission had a population of 41,519 living in 14,098 of its 14,701 total private dwellings, a change of 7.7% from its 2016 population of 38,554. The community has a young population, with a median age of 36.4, according to the 2001 Canadian census.

Ethnicity in Mission, British Columbia

The largest group is European Canadian, comprising approximately 74% of the population. There is a sizeable First Nations community, forming 8.6% of the population. The largest visible minority group in Mission are South Asians, primarily Indo-Canadians comprising 10.7% of the population.

Neighbourhoods in Mission, British Columbia

Mission's neighbourhoods include a number of rural localities which were part of the District Municipality before amalgamation and which still have some strong local identity. These include Cade-Barr, Cedar Valley, Clay Road, Cherry Hill, Deroche, Dewdney, Historic Downtown, Historic Central Mission, Hatzic, Hillside, Ferndale, Keystone Road, Silverdale, Silverhill, Stave Falls, Stave Gardens, Ruskin, Steelhead, Richards Road, and West Heights.

Sister Cities of Mission, British Columbia

Mission has a sister city relationship with Oyama, Shizuoka, Japan, since October 1996.

Freedom of the City in Mission, British Columbia

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the City of Mission: Abraham "Abe" Neufeld in 2007, Valerie Billesberger, James "Jim" Hinds, Glen Kask, and Doug Pearson, all in 2022.