Sumas Prairie Real Estate & Homes For Sale
Sumas Prairie is a large agricultural and commercial community in the City of Abbotsford, located south of Hwy 1. Sumas Prairie is also a geographic landform — part of the Fraser Lowland — created when Sumas Lake was drained in the 1920's by rerouting the Chilliwack River, exposing a wide swath of fertile farmland. The prairie actually extends southwestwards into the state of Washington's Watcom County, but it's the Canadian community we're interested in here.
To the north of the highway are the communities of Abbotsford East and Sumas Mountain. The west is bordered by Hwy 11 and the community of South Poplar. The Canada-US border is to the south, and the City of Chilliwack is located to its east. Sumas Prairie includes the lower portion of Vedder Mountain, which separates the prairie from Cultus Lake in neighbouring Chilliwack.
More than 3,400 people live in Sumas Prairie. The small farming village of Arnold is located on the Sumas Flats, with about 500 current inhabitants. Sumas Prairie has managed to hold onto its small-town feel and charm, and it has a young vibrant population, with many young families. The median age is 33.9, and the dominant age group is 10 to 19 years (2011 census). The majority of families in Sumas Prairie are two-parent with children at home. There are slightly more men than women, due to the farm labour force that resides in the area. The median household income is $68,361 (before tax), a little higher than that of the City of Abbotsford.
Most homes are single-detached houses, and 68.8% of dwellings are owned. 27.8% of the homes were built between 1961 and 1980. And roughly half were built 1981 and later.
Abbotsford is known as "The City in the Country", and Sumas Prairie has been quick to capitalize on its rich farming heritage. Each year visitors enjoy the Abbotsford Tulip Festival in spring, ice cream cones at Birchwood Dairy in the summer, and exploring corn mazes and shopping for fresh BC produce jams and jellies, and baking at Yellow Barn Country Produce in the fall. The first Craft Beer Corn Maze was held in 2016 to draw attention to the fast-growing hops industry in the Lower Mainland. Another attraction is the family-owned Bakerview EcoDairy. It's the first demonstration farm of its kind in Canada, with 50 cows milked with a state of the art DeLaval robotic milking system. Anyone interested in learning how their food is produced is welcome to visit the farm, 7 days a week.
86.7% of Sumas Prairie's land is devoted to farming. There are many egg, poultry, hog and dairy farms on the Sumas Flats. Hay and fodder crops are the most common, followed by fruits, berries (blueberries, raspberries, cranberries) and nuts; then corn, followed by vegetables. Each summer, popup stands will appear, selling local berries and fresh Fraser Valley corn. Agriculture has historically been one of the economic backbones of the City of Abbotsford.
One of Sumas Prairie's historic landmarks is the restored BC Electric Sumas Substation. Known to locals as The Power House, the mansion was built in 1906 by the B.C. Electric Corporation, as a substation for powering Vancouver’s interurban streetcars. The last British Columbia Interurban Electric Railway train, running east from downtown Abbotsford to Chilliwack, ran on September 20, 1950. The Powerhouse was useless after that, so they basically abandoned it. The building was a draw for squatters for a while and became somewhat of an artists’ colony in the 80s. But then, 15 years ago, the 12,900 square foot building was purchased and beautifully restored. The 4 level, 8 bedroom estate was listed for sale in June of 2018 for $3.75M.
Sumas Prairie's weather is remarkably comfortable all year round, with warm summers and mild winters. Abbotsford has an oceanic climate, with an average annual temperature of 9.5 °C. Sumas Prairie typically has 53 days a year where the temperature is 0 °C or below. Precipitation averages 1557 mm, and even during a dry summer month, there is still plenty of rainfall for the local farms. During the hottest days of summer, temperatures typically only reach the low thirties Celsius.
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Upper Sumas Elementary is the only school located in Sumas Prairie and teaches students kindergarten through grade 7. Upper Sumas offers a range of programs including athletics, arts and technology, student leadership and homework support.
Between grades 6 to 8, students begin to take the bus northwest across Hwy 1. William A. Fraser Middle School is an active school with about 700 students enrolled in grades 6 through 8. Specialty programs include Fraser Hockey Academy, concert band, jazz band, WEB (Where Everyone Belongs), and aboriginal studies. Abbotsford Senior Secondary School has an enrolment of about 950 students and has been recognized as one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced schools in North America. Abby Senior offers the International Baccalaureate Program (IB), honours program, and specialty programs in law, accounting, business and management, economics, broadcasting, psychology, sports rehab medicine, art, digital art, IT, robotics, dance, theatre, concert band, jazz band, drumline and soccer academy.
More than 35% of Sumas Prairie residents have some post-secondary education. The Abbotsford campus of University of the Fraser Valley (USV) is located in the northwest corner of Sumas Prairie. USV offers more than 100 programs, including master’s and bachelor’s degrees, majors, minors, and extended minors in more than 30 subject areas, and more than a dozen trades and technology programs. There are two colleges located just north of Hwy 1: Sprott Shaw College Abbotsford and Career Gate Community College.
Sumas Prairie has two local shopping centres. Parallel Marketplace is a 71,000 sq. ft. community shopping centre located just off Hwy 1. Anchor outlets include Save On Foods and Bank of Montreal. McCallum Junction Shopping Centre is one of Abbotsford's newest developments. The shopping plaza's anchor store is Cabela's, with 70,000 sq ft of hunting, fishing, and camping gear. Other retailers include Visions, Browns Social House, Saigon, Paw Street Market and Red Wing Shoes.
Two shopping malls are located only a few minutes drive to the west, across the street from each other. Sevenoaks Shopping Centre offers over 100 retail stores, services and food establishments. Anchor stores include Your Independent Grocer, Shoppers Drug Mart, Hudson's Bay, SportCheck, Best Buy, GAP and Sears. And West Oaks Mall has more than 32 brand name stores, including London Drugs, Save-On-Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond.
The rural farming community has no restaurants, but heading 3 - 5 minutes northwest, offers a cluster of dining choices, just north of Hwy 1 and west of Sumas Way (Hwy 11). If you're looking for a family restaurant, The Pantry, Crossroads Restaurant, White Spot or Arc Cafe are likely to hit the spot. For a casual bar setting, or bite after a round of golf, consider The Glen Bar + Grill at Fraserglen Golf Course.
If you've found yourself craving Asian cuisine, you're in luck. Within a few blocks of the Hwy 1/Sumas Way crossing, you'll find Ebisu Sushi, Hiko Sushi, Maru Sushi and U&I Thai Fine Cuisine. For a special family occasion or date night, Ocean Park and Cactus Club Cafe make excellent choices. Ocean Park has a great selection of Italian, Greek and Seafood appetizers and entrees. And their pizzas and steaks are legendary. Cactus Club Cafe offers casual fine dining, with a global menu that showcases local, fresh ingredients.
For a special and truly memorable occasion, Restaurant 62 offers an outstanding farm to table fine dining experience. Chefs Matthew Nichols and Jeff Massey founded the restaurant in 2004 on the simple notions that good food is hard work, and that the ingredients should change with the seasonal availability of the local producers. Restaurant 62's wine list is as impressive as the menu, showcasing all of the world’s top winemaking regions, as well as BC's own standout wineries. They've won the Wine Spectator’s Award for Excellence each year over the past decade.
94.6% of Sumas Prairie's residents drive to and from work. With highways bordering the community on the north and west, there's easy access to a wide range of employment and business opportunities, in Abbotsford's Downtown, Vancouver and Chilliwack. Sumas Prairie is served by three Hwy 1 exits: Sumas Way/Highway 11 (#92), Whatcom Road (#95) and the No 3 Road (#104) to Chilliwack.
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 the region in half. Highway 11 begins at the Huntingdon Canada–US border crossing, passes between Abbotsford Central and Abbotsford East and then through Matsqui, crosses the Fraser River over the Mission Bridge into Mission, where it connects with Hwy. 7.
Central Fraser Valley Transit services Sumas Prairie with 4 bus stops 2nd Ave at Sumas (WB), B at 6th Lane (SB), Sumas 1240 block (SB) and North Parallel at Whatcom (SB). These routes connect with central buses at the Downtown Abbotsford bus exchange. In Downtown Abbotsford, there's also the West Coast Express, a passenger rail service; and there's a Greyhound depot just outside McMillan.
Arts and Entertainment
Abbotsford's art and cultural community are located a few minutes northwest of Sumas Prairie. The Abbotsford Community Library is located near Mill Lake Park. Facilities include full accessibility, wi-fi and public internet stations, a book drop, self-check book drop and colour copying and printing. The library also holds scheduled events like Storytime, Babytime and Kept in Stitches. The UFV Library is also available to the public and is a short drive west of Sumas Way.
Trethewey House Heritage Site features an Arts and Crafts bungalow built in 1919 for timber baron J.O. Trethewey. The house was restored in 1925, and it was declared a municipal heritage site in 1983. The museum site also features Joey’s Playhouse, the Carriage House, Sylvia Pincott Heritage Gardens and the Upper Sumas Train Station.
The Abbotsford Art Gallery showcases the artwork of owner/artist Hong Zhu as well as local artists from the lower mainland of BC. The Kariton Art Gallery holds fine art exhibitions featuring local artists, presented by the Abbotsford Arts Council. The Reach Gallery Museum is a public art gallery and museum, featuring artwork from across Canada. It serves as the host venue for the annual Arty Awards, and is the regional archival repository, housing a significant collection of material culture for the Abbotsford region in its vaults. Live performances can be seen throughout the year at the UFV Performance Theatre, Abbotsford Arts Centre and Gallery 7 Theatre & Performing Arts Society.
The City of Abbotsford has a deep connection with the arts. The Abbotsford Arts Council hosts free music shows at Mill Lake Park, arranges the Christmas Artisan Gift and Craft Fair and Art and Heritage Unity Festival, and gives out the annual 'Arty Awards'. The Arts Council also organizes and maintains the Historical Downtown Art Bench Project.
Sports and Recreation
One of the great advantages of living in the country is the low-traffic streets, and being able to enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride. Arnold Dyke Trail is a 7.36 km level grade trail that's very popular for walking, running, cycling and horseback riding. Located at the end of the dyke trail, just off Hwy 1, Hougen Park is a favourite place to unwind, enjoy a picnic beside the river, or watch a ball game at the baseball diamond. Huntingdon Park offers a large green space and playground near the Canada-US border, in the residential area just off Sumas Way.
Located just east of Sumas Prairie, Cultus Lake Provincial Park has a warm freshwater lake and a large day-use area with picnic tables and hiking trails. The lake is very popular in the summer, for swimming, boating, water skiing, and windsurfing. The small community of Cultus Lake is a vacation hotspot and offers two golf courses, miniature golf, water slides, go-carts, bumper boats, stables and restaurants. There's also a marina, with boat and jet ski rentals.
Just across Hwy 1, to the north, Castle Fun Park is another popular family attraction. The fun park features 18 holes of mini golf and a driving range, a go-cart track, Jungle Golf mini putt and Coral Sea Golf, batting cages and a pitching mound, bumper cars, bowling, Dream Raiders and Typhoon interactive rides, arcade games, a shooting gallery, remote control boats and more.
Fraserglen Golf Course is an enjoyable and challenging mid-length, 18-hole golf course located in Sumas Prairie. The fairways are flat and tree-lined, for an easy walk. The greens are well bunkered, making the course a challenge for golfers of all levels. Fraserglen has teaching professionals on staff, with a wide range of programs, from beginner group lessons to on-course playing lessons.
Investing in Sumas Prairie
Over the past decade, rural properties have increased in appeal to families and investors alike. Having some acreage is ideal for homeowners seeking a secluded luxury property with a long driveway, a self-sustaining hobby farm or horse property; or for the investor interested in purchasing a farm as a business.
With the new Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Abbotsford International Airport, Abbotsford has become a self-sustaining city. Sumas Prairie is just over an hour away from Vancouver, and minutes from the Canadian/US border. A major boom is expected as the city continues to build on its commercial sector.
Sumas Prairie is one of the most desirable areas in Abbotsford to live, for anyone who loves wide open spaces; and with current agricultural zoning that isn't likely to change much. It has great schools, a safe rural environment, and far less traffic. Sumas Prairie is an exceptional place to start and raise a family.
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