Abbotsford is a city of about 140,000 people 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). 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), with daily, non-stop flights to and from: Edmonton, Calgary, and Victoria, plus connections and stop over flights to other domestic and international destinations. Weekly winter charter flights are offered to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Scheduled airlines include Airspeed Aviation and WestJet. Transat Holidays is the primary tour operator.
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.
YXX is approximately 80 minutes away from YVR, 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 BC Highway 1 (the 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 connects Abbotsford to Vancouver, Kamloops, and Kelowna.
- [dead link] Rider Express, toll-free: . Bus service from Calgary to Vancouver, daily, via Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Hope, and Revelstoke (British Columbia); Canmore, Lake Louise, and Banff (Alberta).
- BC Transit offers bus routes from Abbotsford to Langley, Mission, and Chilliwack.
- The fare from Abbotsford to Aldergrove is $2.75. There are no transfers between BC Transit and Translink. The Translink fare on weekdays before 6:30PM is $2.50 to Surrey, $3.75 to New Westminster and Burnaby, and $5.00 to Vancouver. Evenings and all day weekends and holidays, the Translink fare is a flat $2.50 (adult).
- Any Translink valid fare proof of payment transfer may be upgraded on the bus and at SkyTrain/SeaBus ticket vending machines for two-zone or three-zone travel with Translink. You can travel up to 90 minutes for each cash fare or FareSaver ticket in the Translink zones purchased.
- BC Transit transfers are valid for up to 90 minutes for travel on BC Transit routes only.
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 CAD$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.
Located 15 minutes north of Abbotsford, in Mission, this commuter rail service travels westbound to Vancouver during the morning rush hour and eastbound to Mission during the evening rush hour. Fare prices for travel from Vancouver Waterfront Station are: $10.25 one-way, $19.00 return (adult).
Provides passenger train service to Abbotsford (the station is listed under "Matsqui, BC").
Abbotsford is rather spread out, so a car is very helpful.
The city does have a public transit bus system that can get visitors between major shopping areas. For routes and schedules, visit the official site.
The widest selection of auto rentals are available at and near the Abbotsford International Airport (YXX). Some auto rentals are in the city.
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.
Other popular activities include visiting Clayburn Village Store for tea or coffee, learning about our pioneer heritage at Trethewey House Museum and unique shopping in Historic Downtown Abbotsford. For kids, the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery and Castle Fun Park are popular spots.
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 Abbotsford International Air Show (Trans-Canada Highway 1 to exit 87 (Clearbrook), follow signs for airshow to King Road.). 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.
- The Dog Show at Tradex. One of the biggest in Canada.
- Agrifair. A popular country fair and rodeo. It is held annually on B.C. Day long weekend.
- Vancouver Motor Cycle Show. One of the largest of its kind in Canada held annually in February at Tradex.
- Berry Festival. At the end of July celebrates Abbotsford's status as the "Berry Capital of Canada."
- 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.
For a unique shopping experience, be sure to check out Historic Downtown Abbotsford and Clayburn Village Store in the community of Clayburn Village.
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, plus one indoor mall - Sevenoaks Shopping Centre. Almost all of Canada's major retailers can be found in Abbotsford.
There are many places to eat in Abbotsford.
- 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
- 1 Dragon Fort, 2421 Pauline St, ☏ . Fantastic Chinese place with excellent lunch specials.
- [dead link] Town Hall (Duke of Dublin Irish Pub), 33720 South Fraser Way, ☏ . Excellent $4.00 breakfast on weekends after 10:30AM.
- Airfare Lounge, 33790 Essendene Ave, ☏ . Great small bar in the middle of downtown Abbotsford, open seven days a week. Drink specials start at $2, and there is often live music (every Wednesday local band Harma White puts on a fantastic show).
- 1 Sweet Dreams Luxury Inn, 32288 King Rd, ☏ . Just south of Highway #1. Beautiful location. Innkeepers Dorothy and Friesen provide a place of tranquility and luxurious comfort.
- 2 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.
- Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre (Quality Hotel & Conference Centre), 36035 North Parallel Rd.
- Best Western Regency Inn & Conference Centre, 32110 Marshall Rd.
- Best Western Bakerview (Travelodge by Wyndham Abbostford Bakerview), 1821 Sumas Way.
- 3 Coast Abbotsford Hotel & Suites, 2020 Sumas Way, ☏ .
- Alpine Motor Inn, 32111 Marshall Rd.
- Columbia Bible College. For budget travellers, Columbia Bible College offers its dorms for overnight accommodation from May through August.
- For RV travellers, Walmart offers free overnight parking.
- Casa Jolo B&B, 34826 Marshall Road, Abbotsford BC, V2S 7S2, ☏ . Near Highway #1.
|Routes through Abbotsford|
|END ← Vancouver ←||W E||→ Chilliwack → Edmonton|
|Vancouver ← Langley ←||W E||→ Chilliwack → Hope|
|END ← Mission ←||N S||→ → becomes → Sumas → Seattle|