Abbotsford Real Estate & Homes
Abbotsford was established in 1858 when the Royal Engineers were surveying for gold. In the 1860’s the small town began producing milk, butter and tobacco. Abbotsford became an official town after John Cunningham applied for a Crown grant and bought the first 160 acres. Then in 1891 a railway was built through the area, connecting it to Mission, Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railways. The City of Abbotsford resulted from first an amalgamation of the Village of Abbotsford with the District of Sumas in 1972, to form the District of Abbotsford, and a further amalgamation with the District of Matsqui in 1995.
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Abbotsford has one of the most diverse populations in Canada. The largest population is European Caucasians, making up 73.6% consisting of German, Dutch, British, Irish, Scandinavian and Slavic. Abbotsford also has a large South East Asian population of 19% which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The population of Abbotsford has a median age of 40, with most residents raising a family with at least 2 children. Amenities and communities reflect this family orientation. The city is surrounded by productive farmland, and has become known as the berry capitol of Canada.
The weather in Abbotsford is quite comfortable all year round, with warm summers and relatively mild winters. It's an oceanic climate. There's just enough summer precipitation for the area not to be classified as warm-summer mediterranean. The average annual temperature is 9.5 °C. The hottest days of summer are typically in low thirties Celsius. Abbotsford typically will have 53 days a year where the temperature is at 0 °C or below. Precipitation averages 1557 mm, and even during a dry month, there is plenty of rainfall.
Abbotsford is divided into four sections, Central Abbotsford, East Abbotsford, West Abbotsford and the up-and-coming University District. Central Abbotsford is mostly made up of commercial properties, East Abbotsford has a plenty of farm land, some large homes and beautiful views. West Abbotsford is a mix of commercial buildings and homes, while the UDistrict is a joint effort between the City of Abbotsford and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV).
The economy in Abbotsford is stable and diverse. The main industries are agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, retail, and the health industry. The city’s largest employer is the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre with 2,500 employees. The city also has 3 federal prisons that employee 200-500 officers and support staff. Abbotsford also has a growing job force in the aerospace industry. It is also surrounded by very fertile land, with opportunities in farming.
The unemployment rate in Abbotsford is 6.4% (2014 Stats Canada), slightly higher than rest of Canada, at 5.7%. 65% of the population of Abbotsford both live and work in the city with the highest sector of employment being in trades, followed by construction, health care, manufacturing and transportation. Abbotsford is close enough to Metro Vancouver to make commuting a popular option.
Abbotsford has 46 public elementary, middle and secondary schools, and there is also a virtual school that offers more than 30 courses a semester. There are 30 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, 7 secondary schools and 2 schools that combine middle and secondary classes. In addition to the public schools, there are also several private schools like the St. John Brebeuf Secondary School, Mennonite Educational Institute, the Abbotsford Christian School and the Dasmesh. The city also has many institutes for higher level learning which includes the University of the Fraser Valley, Columbia Bible College, Summit Pacific College, Career Gate Community College, Sprott Shaw College, Vancouver Career College, the CDI College and the Metis Skills and Employment Center.
Abbotsford has three distinct shopping areas. There is the Sevenoaks, Highstreet and the Downtown Historic District. Shopping centers include Sevenoaks and Highstreet as well as West Oaks Mall. There is also a bustling Sunday Flea Market.
Abbotsford has a wide range of places to dine, with several breweries, wineries, cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to choose from. Some of the local favourite places to eat are the Bow and Stern, Brambles Bistro, Duft and Co. Brickhouse; and a great place to bring the family is the Boardwalk Cafe and Games, which features local entertainment and over 300 table top games. If you're planning a special evening, you'll probably love Restaurant 62.
There are several modes of public transportation in Abbotsford, including the city busses and the West Coast Express, which is the passenger rail service. Abbotsford also has an international airport and several major highways. Hwy 1 connects Abbotsford with Vancouver, with a commute time of roughly an hour. The Abbotsford-Mission Highway, also known as Highway 11, is a 17 km (11 mi) long expressway that runs through the Fraser Valley, essentially cutting it in half. Highway 11 begins at the Huntingdon Canada–US border crossing, passes through Abbotsford and then Matsqui, crosses the Fraser River over the Mission Bridge into Mission, where it connects with Highway 7.
Arts and Entertainment
Abbotsford is deeply rooted in the arts and entertainment scene. The Abbotsford Arts Council puts on free music shows in Mill Lake Park, they are in charge of giving out the Arty Awards, the Christmas Artisian Gift and Craft Fair, the Art and Heritage Unity Festival and the Historical Downtown Art Bench Project.
Abbotsford also has several art galleries. There is the Kariton Art Gallery, which features local artists, and the Reach Gallery Museum, which also features local artists, as well as other artists from around Canada and the world. The Gallery 7 Theatre and Performing Arts Centre, which operates out of the Mennonite Education Institute, puts on four main stage productions every year.
Sports and Recreation
Abbotsford shines when it comes to sports and recreation. With the surrounding mountains and lakes as a beautiful backdrop, there are many outdoor activities to discover, both in winter and summer. Swimming, running, hiking, fishing, golfing and horseback riding are just a few options to enjoy the outdoors. Abbotsford has well maintained parks with meandering trails, foot bridges and ponds. The Discovery Trail runs from East to West across the city and is completely paved, making it a favourite with runners, cyclists and skaters.
Some other popular parks and trails include the Matsqui Trail, the Sumas Mountain Trail; both popular with hikers. Willband Creek Park, Chadsey Lake, Fishtrap Creek and Mill Lake Park are great for picnics and fishing. Most areas are dog friendly. Abbotsford also has a local farmers market, a skydive center with training available, a rock-climbing gym, and a wake boarding park. There are also many other fun places to go as a family, like the indoor trampoline park, Castle Fun Park and several escape rooms. Other enjoyable pastimes inclued a paintball park, a virtual reality arcade and a cinema.
Investing in Abbotsford
Abbotsford is an exceptional place to start and raise a family, or extend your education and career. It's only an hour away from Vancouver and minutes from the Canadian/US border. There are fantastic school options and plenty of family-friendly, as well as, dog-friendly venues, both indoor and outdoors.
The economy is well established and stable, with growth in the aerospace sector. Abbotsford is an ideal place to live if you love spending time outdoors, and with your community. The city has a population of just over 141,000, and just over 45,000 live in private dwellings (2016 Census); and it continues to grow. The cost of living in Abbotsford is very manageable.
One of the primary reasons Abbotsford is so appealing is the cultural diversity, community support and the family-friendly lifestyle. There are plenty of educational and job opportunities, and its location makes it an easy commute to Metro Vancouver.
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