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Mission, the core of which was formerly known as Mission City, is situated on the north bank of the Fraser River, overlooking the City of Abbotsford to the south. Mission is a smaller, rural, bedroom community of the Fraser Valley, with a population of approximately 37000. Read more
Unlike the other Fraser Valley municipalities, Mission is mostly forested upland with only small floodplains lining the shore of the Fraser River. Home Buyers can search for beautiful property, in a quiet, serene and beautiful atmosphere. Over 40% of Mission is actually tree farm, making it only one of two communities in B.C. with municipal tree farms.
Because of Mission’s Rural Nature and distance from the hustle and bustle of Metro Vancouver, Property Prices are relatively low. Single Family Homes start at only $200,000. This area is perfect for investors, retirees and first time home buyers, as well as growing families that are searching for large homes on acerages.
The Town of Mission City had an interesting beginning as a land promotion. The town’s core commercial properties and residential streets were auctioned off at the “Great Land Sale” of 1891, with buyers.
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, and all rail traffic between Vancouver and the United States was necessarily routed through Mission until the New Westminster Bridge at New Westminster was built in 1904. 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. This small commercial strip, called First Avenue, is only four or five blocks long and was one of the principal commercial centers of the Fraser Valley for many decades
The western part of the district, the Stave Valley, is largely rural and forested but its watercourse is home to what was the largest hydroelectric project in British Columbia until the Bridge River Power Project opened in 1961.
It was built by the British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) to provide power to the electric street railway and interurban system in Vancouver. The Stave Falls Power Co. operated a light-gauge railway for passenger and freight service up the lower canyon of the river to the dam at Stave Falls. During the construction of the Ruskin Dam (completed 1931) the railway was rebuilt at a higher elevation so as to skirt the new Hayward Lake reservoir. The rail line has long been discontinued, but the old grade and its trestles are now part of a recreation trail circling the reservoir.
The building of the Highway 1 freeway on the south side of the Fraser in the early 1960s brought huge population growth and large shopping malls to formerly rural Abbotsford, Matsqui, Sumas and Langley; as a result Mission lost its “anchor”, the main Eaton’s department store in the Valley, and the town’s Main Street businesses lost much of their business to the new shopping malls a few minutes away across the river. This process was accelerated with the opening of the new bridge in the mid-1970s.
Encouraged by a new commuter rail line direct to downtown Vancouver, the West Coast Express, has reversed this trend.