Abbotsford is a city of about 165,000 people (2021) in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. With mountains visible in nearly every direction, it is in one of the most geographically stunning regions of British Columbia. Abbotsford is an agriculture-based city that is a popular visitor stop over point for U.S. travellers north bound to the Yukon and Alaska and Canadians travelling east and west along the Trans-Canada Highway.
Abbotsford's colonial development began when the Royal Engineers surveyed the area in response to the gold rush along the Fraser River in 1858. This led to the building of Yale Road (today Old Yale Road), the first transportation route to link the Fraser Valley. The settlement grew and the production of butter, milk and tobacco began by the late 1860s. In 1889, former Royal Engineer John Cunningham Maclure applied for a Crown grant to obtain the 160 acres (0.65 km²) that would become Abbotsford.
There is some controversy over the origin of the Abbotsford name. The most commonly cited origin is that Maclure named the land "Abbotsford" after family friend Henry Braithwaite Abbott, the western superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Until 1922 the name was spelled Abottsford. Maclure's sons later stated that the property had been named for Sir Walter Scott's home, Abbotsford, and pronounced it with the accent on ford, while in his later years Maclure claimed that the naming had been "a combination of two ideas".
The title passed hands to Robert Ward, who filed a townsite subdivision on July 9, 1891. Also in 1891, the CPR built a railway line through the area that connected Mission with the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway at Sumas, Washington. This route was the only rail connection between Vancouver and Seattle until 1904. In 1892, Robert Ward sold many of the lots to private investors, and sold a significant portion to the Great Northern Railway’s subsidiary company the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway. The British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) arrived in 1910. The Interurban, as the BCER tram linking Abbotsford with Vancouver and Chilliwack was called, was discontinued in 1950.
- 1 Abbotsford International Airport (YXX IATA), 30440 Liberator Ave, ☏ . Abbotsford is served by the second largest airport in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. YXX's motto is "a good hassle free alternative" to Vancouver International (YVR IATA).
Daily, non-stop flights to Abbotsford from Edmonton (1.5 hours), Calgary (1.25 hours), and Hamilton (5 hours), plus connections and stop over flights to other domestic and international destinations. Weekly winter charter flights are offered to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Canadian airlines operating to Abbotsford:
- Flair Airlines, toll-free: . A low-cost airline with flights across much of Canada.
- WestJet, toll-free: . Canada's second largest airline services with hubs in Calgary and Toronto. It operates across Canada and services international destinations.
In-terminal auto rentals include Avis, Budget and National.
Taxi service is available, but there is no shuttle service nor is there any public transit serving the airport. Two inter-city bus operators stop at the airport, see "By bus" below.
Abbotsford International Airport is approximately 80 minutes drive away from Vancouver International Airport, 60 minutes from downtown Vancouver, 10 minutes from the city centre of Abbotsford, 2 1/2 hours from Whistler, 45 minutes from Harrison Hot Springs, and 40 minutes from Bellingham Airport (BLI IATA) in Washington state.
The city is on Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) , roughly 90 km east of Vancouver (a 60-75 min drive). BC Highway 11 heads south to the U.S. border, where it becomes Washington state highway 9. The drive to Seattle is about 2½-hours.
- Ebus (Stops at Abbotsford International Airport), toll-free: . Travels daily between Kamloops and Vancouver, and Kelowna and Vancouver on two separate routes. Both routes have stops in Merritt, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Surrey. Travel time to Abbotsford from Kamloops is 3.5 hours, from Kelowna is 4.25 hours, from Hope is 1.25-1.5 hours, and from Vancouver is 1.25-1.5 hours. Same day transfers at Kamloops to and from Prince George are available on three days per week per direction.
- Mountain Man Mike's Bus Service, ☏ , email@example.com. Twice per week service between Kaslo and Vancouver with stops in Balfour, Nelson, Castlegar, Christina Lake, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Rock Creek, Osoyoos, Keremeos, Princeton, Manning Provincial Park, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, and New Westminster. Travel time to Abbotsford from Kaslo is 9.25 hours, from Nelson is 8.25 hours, from Castlegar is 7.5 hours, from Grand Forks is 6.25 hours, from Osoyoos is 4.5 hours, form Princeton is 2.75 hours, from Hope is 50 minutes, and from Vancouver is 1.25 hours. This service provider also offers a weekly route between Kalso and Calgary via Nelson.
- Rider Express (Stops at Abbotsford International Airport), toll-free: . Multiple days per week service along the Trans-Canada Highway from between Calgary and Vancouver with stops in Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Golden, Revelstoke, Sicamous, Salmon Arm, Sorrento, Chase, Kamloops, Merritt, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Surrey. Travel time to Abbotsford from Calgary is 12.5 hours, from Banff is 11 hours, from Lake Louise is 10.25 hours, from Golden is 8.75 hours, from Revelstoke is 7 hours, from Salmon Arm is 5.5 hours, from Kamloops is 3.5 hours, from Hope is 1 hour, and from Vancouver is 1.5 hours. From Calgary, this service provider offers routes that enable passengers to reach Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon.
From the US
If you're coming from Seattle or elsewhere along the US West Coast, don't waste your time and money taking transit north to Vancouver and then east to Abbotsford. Instead, save several hours and $50-100 by taking a local bus from Bellingham, WA to the Sumas-Hungtingdon border crossing, crossing on foot, then taking an Abbostford local bus into town. Bus 71x leaves Bellingham's Cordata Station for Sumas four times a day Monday through Friday, twice a day on Saturday (make sure to check the schedules online or with Google Maps before you go). As of July 2019 it costs US$1.00 and takes about 1 hour. From the stop at 1st and Cherry St. in Sumas, walk a few blocks to the border. After passing through, just a couple blocks on the other side you can catch Bus 3 into downtown Abbotsford for C$2.50. It leaves almost every hour, and the fare includes free transfers. The whole process takes less than three hours and costs only a few dollars.
- See also: Rail travel in Canada
- TransLink, ☏ . The main public transit network in the Vancouver area, including: Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and White Rock. Its network includes buses, SkyTrain (rail rapid transit), SeaBus (ferries), West Coast Express (commuter rail), and HandyDART (door-to-door shared-ride service for those who cannot ride public transit without assistance).
- West Coast Express commuter trains travel between 3 Mission City station in Mission (located north of Abbotsford, across the Fraser River) and Waterfront station in Vancouver. Trips operate Monday to Friday. Trains travel from Mission to Vancouver during the morning rush hour and travel from Vancouver to Mission during the afternoon rush hour. Fare prices for travel from Vancouver's Waterfront Station are: $10.25 one-way, $19.00 return (adult).
- VIA Rail Canada, toll-free: . Operates The Canadian up to three trips per week between Toronto and Vancouver with stops in both directions in medium to large cities and tourist destinations such as Sudbury, Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, and Kamloops. This route can offer a scenic view of the Canadian Rockies, depending on the train schedule, as the train operates day and night. This service connects with another route that travels between Jasper and Prince Rupert.
Abbotsford is rather spread out, so a car is helpful.
The widest selection of auto rentals are available at and near the Abbotsford International Airport (YXX). Some auto rentals are in the city.
By public transit
- Operates bus route 21 between Abbotsford and the Aldergrove (central east) area of Langley. Stops in those cities allow riders to transfer to the TransLink public transit network serving those cities. Operates multiple times daily.
- Operates bus route 31 between Abbotsford and Mission. Operates multiple times daily.
- Operates bus route 66 between Burnaby and Chilliwack with stops in north Langley and Abbotsford. Operates multiple times daily.
Abbotsford is well known for its agri-tourism attractions. Tourism Abbotsford publishes annually a Circle Farm Tour Guide highlighting some of British Columbia's most unique rural attractions during the summer. A winter version of the publication is available, named Passport to Christmas.
Abbotsford boasts some of the finest sports facilities and parks in British Columbia which are popular among visitors. Known also as "Sports Town Canada," Abbotsford attracts dozens of provincial and national sports events annually.
During a visit to Abbotsford, be sure to learn more about the City's history, attractions and ethnic diversity by stopping at one of the City's two Visitor Centres on Sumas Way (Highway 11) and domestic arrivals lounge in the Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) Terminal.
- 1 Trethewey House Heritage Site, 2313 Ware St, ☏ . Drop-in tours M-F 1-4PM. Has tours of the site and its heritage buildings, including the house, a carriage house, and a train station. By donation.
- 2 Gur Sikh Temple, 33089 South Fraser Way, ☏ . A Sikh temple built in 1911, that is a National Historic Site. It was built using timber donated by the former mill at Mill Lake and is the oldest example of Sikh temples during the early days of Sikh migration to North America.
- 1 Abbotsford International Airshow (Trans-Canada Highway 1 to exit 87 (Clearbrook), follow signs for airshow to King Road). Canada's national airshow is held the second weekend in August, it attracts visitors from all over the world. Flight demonstrations primarily by Canadian and US craft. Static displays of aircraft, Canadian Forces units, and local police and RCMP detachments. $25/person, up to maximum $80/vehicle.
- 2 Abbotsford Canucks, 33800 King Rd. American Hockey League team, plays at Abbotsford Centre.
- Agrifair. A popular country fair and rodeo. It is held annually on B.C. Day long weekend.
- Berry Festival. At the end of July celebrates Abbotsford's status as the "Berry Capital of Canada."
- 3 Castle Fun Park, 36165 North Parallel Rd (northwest side of the Highway 1 at Whatcom Road interchange), ☏ . 10AM-10PM daily. Features a number of entertainment options for children and adults, including an arcade, lazer maze, mini golf, go karts, and batting cages.
- 4 Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery and Visitor Centre, 34345 Vye Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. By appointment. This is one of several trout hatcheries that stocks lakes in the province for fishing. An option, for keeping children entertained. Offers programs including learn to fish.
- 5 Lotusland Vineyards tasting & tour, 28450 King Rd, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. W-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su M noon-5PM. Grape and fruit wines, made from organic local fruit. Previously known as "A'Very Fine Winery", playing on the names of the owners, Liz and David Avery. Book winery tours 1-2 weeks in advance for groups of 6 or more. Tasting fees waived with purchase. Tasting $2/person, tour+tasting $10/person.
- 6 Mill Lake (about a block south of Sevenoaks Shopping Centre). Enjoy a peaceful walk or run around Mill Lake.
- 7 Tradex, 1190 Cornell St.
- The Dog Show at Tradex. One of the biggest in Canada.
- Vancouver Motor Cycle Show. One of the largest of its kind in Canada held annually in February at Tradex.
- 1 University of the Fraser Valley - Abbotsford campus, 33844 King Road, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a unique shopping experience, be sure to check out 1 Historic Downtown Abbotsford.
For the literary crowd, Hemingway's New and Used Bookstore, located in the heart of Historic Downtown Abbotsford, has one of the largest selections of new and used books in the area. Specializing in fiction and military history, the store holds thousands of titles in numerous categories, and is open 7 days a week.
Rural retailers can be found throughout the City's agricultural areas. Refer to the Passport to Christmas and Circle Farm Tour Guide available at one of two Visitor Centres on Sumas Way (Highway 11) or in the Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) Terminal.
Abbotsford boasts many large shopping plazas. Almost all of Canada's major retailers can be found in Abbotsford.
- 2 Clayburn Village Store, 34810 Clayburn Rd (community of Clayburn Village). A good place to have tea or coffee.
- 3 Sevenoaks Shopping Centre, 32900 S Fraser Way. M-W 10AM-6PM, Th F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Abbotford's large indoor mall with a variety of retailers.
There are many places to eat in Abbotsford.
- 1 Restaurant 62, 2001 McCallum Rd (in the Gateway Building), ☏ . Lunch: M-F 11:30AM; brunch: Su 10AM; dinner: daily 5PM. Executive Chef Jeff Massey (former restaurant Chef of "Coast" seafood restaurant in Yaletown and also Cioppino's) prepares a variety of dishes utilizing local ingredients. Fraser Valley duck duo, pan seared breast of duck over local vegetables with handpicked blackberry jus and confit of duck leg over pistachio whipped potatoes. Restaurant 62 also boasts a wine list with over 200 selections from around the world, and 20 single and blended malts.
- 2 Dragon Fort, 2421 Pauline St, ☏ . Fantastic Chinese place with excellent lunch specials.
- 1 Town Hall (Duke of Dublin Irish Pub), 33720 South Fraser Way, ☏ , email@example.com. Excellent $4.00 breakfast on weekends after 10:30AM.
- 1 Alpine Motor Inn, 32111 Marshall Rd, ☏ .
- 2 Travelodge by Wyndham Abbostford Bakerview, 1821 Sumas Way, ☏ .
- 3 Best Western Regency Inn & Conference Centre, 32110 Marshall Rd, toll-free: .
- 4 Coast Abbotsford Hotel & Suites, 2020 Sumas Way, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 5 Columbia Bible College, 2940 Clearbrook Rd. For budget travellers, Columbia Bible College offers its dorms for overnight accommodation from May through August.
- 6 Clarion Hotel & Conference Centre, 36035 North Parallel Rd, ☏ , toll-free: .
- 7 Super 8 Abbotsford, 1881 Sumas Way (Exit 92 off #1 Trans Canada Hwy), ☏ . Offers 99 rooms,58 in the new hotel addition, and 41 in the motel section. All with fridges and microwaves. Kitchen suites, indoor waterslide, pool, free breakfast included. Surrounded by several restaurants and shopping. Children 17 and under free with accompanying adult.
- For RV travellers, Walmart offers free overnight parking. There are two Walmarts in town, including 8 Walmart, 1812 Vedder Way. .
- The Abbotsford News, ☏ .
- 2 Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, 32900 Marshall Rd, ☏ . Has an emergency department that operates 24/7.
|Routes through Abbotsford|
|Vancouver ←||W E||→ Chilliwack → Edmonton|
|Vancouver ← Langley ←||W E||→ Chilliwack → Hope|
|END ← Mission ←||N S||→ (cars / trucks) and becomes → Sumas → Seattle|