Chilliwack is a city of 84,000 people (2016) to the east of Vancouver. It lies in the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD).
In Halq'eméylem, the language of the Stó:lō First Nations (Aboriginal) communities around Chilliwack and Sardis, Tcil'Qe'uk means "valley of many streams". It also lends its name to the Chilliwack River, and group of Aboriginal people, the Ts’elxweyeqw.
Chilliwack is surrounded by tall mountain peaks, such as Mount Cheam and Slesse Mountain, and large rivers (the Fraser and Vedder).
The city, once a small agricultural town, has become an example of sprawling suburbia and bad city planning. Efforts to revitalize the languishing downtown, and to curb the spread of housing subdivisions into valuable farmland, have proved challenging.
The archeological record shows evidence of Stó:lō people in the Fraser Valley, or S'ólh Téméxw, 10,000 years ago. Permanent structures in the Chilliwack area date from around 5,000 years ago. At the time of the first contact with Europeans it is estimated that there were as many as 40,000 people living within Stó:lō territory.
In 1857, gold was discovered in the Fraser Canyon. By 1859, over 40,000 gold miners had trekked to the goldfields, most travelling through the Chilliwack area. By the mid-1860s, several farms had grown up around the steamboat landings on the Fraser River called Miller's Landing, Minto Landing, Sumas Landing and Chilliwack Landing.
The Township of Chilliwack was incorporated in 1873, the third municipality in British Columbia. Settlement took place along the Fraser River at Chilliwack Landing. Steamboats were the main mode of transportation, carrying goods and passengers between Chilliwack and New Westminster. After the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, many residents began to cross the Fraser River at Minto Landing to catch the train at Harrison Mills.
With little room for expansion along the river, the commercial area of the town moved south to the junction of the New Westminster-Yale Wagon Road, Wellington Avenue and Young Road, called "Five Corners". A large subdivision called Centreville was built in 1881. to the city's identity.
North side: Also referred to as "Chilliwack Proper Village West", the north side covers the area from the Trans-Canada Highway in the south, to the Fraser River in the north, and includes the communities of Camp River, Chilliwack Mountain, Downtown Chilliwack, East Chilliwack, Fairfield Island, Rosedale and Popkum. Downtown Chilliwack is the historical urban centre of the city. Several cultural attractions, such as the Prospera Centre, Chilliwack Cultural Centre and the Eagle Landing Shopping Centre are located there, as well as key government buildings, such as city hall, FVRD offices, and the Provincial Court of British Columbia.
South side: The south side includes the communities of Atchelitz, Cultus Lake Park, Greendale, Ryder Lake, Sardis, Promontory Heights, Vedder Crossing, and Yarrow. Sardis is the urban core of the south side and is a popular shopping destination.
Drive east on Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) from Vancouver for about 100 km until you get to the city center. You will see the "London Drugs" and "Cottonwood Mall" sign before Exit 119.
- Ebus, toll-free: +1 877-769-3287. 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. 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, ☏ +1-778-382-7729, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. This service provider also offers a weekly route between Kalso and Calgary via Nelson.
- Rider Express, toll-free: +1-833-583-3636. 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. From Calgary, this service provider offers routes that enable passengers to reach Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon.
- VIA Rail Canada, toll-free: +1-888-842-7245. 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.
Chilliwack has an airport popular with recreational pilots, but no scheduled commercial flights. The closest commercial airports are Abbotsford (YXX IATA), Bellingham Washington (BLI IATA), and Vancouver (YVR IATA).
There is one main road in Chilliwack, which has two names. From the highway at Exit 119, running south it's called Vedder Road all the way to Yarrow, and running north it's called Yale Road.
Go north on Yale Road, you'll find old downtown, with a variety of restaurants, quaint shops, and some nice parks.
Go south on Vedder Road, and you'll pass through the commercial centre of the city, but soon enough you'll be through the city and into the suburbs, where you can find Vedder Crossing, the Vedder River, Cultus Lake, Yarrow, and the Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park.
By public transit
- BC Transit (Chilliwack Transit System), ☏ +1-604-854-3232. Covers the main parts of Chilliwack with about a dozen routes. Transit is centred on Cottonwood Mall and Yale Road in downtown Chilliwack. The cash fare is $2 ($1.75 for seniors) in 2022.
- Operates bus route 66 between Burnaby and downtown Chilliwack with stops in Langley and Abbotsford. Operates multiple times daily.
- Operates bus route 71 between downtown Chilliwack and Harrison Hot Springs with stops in Agassiz. Operates multiple times per day from Monday to Saturday. From Agassiz, there is a connection directly to Hope.
- 1 Chilliwack Cultural Centre, 9201 Corbould St, ☏ +1 604-394-7469. A performing arts venue located in downtown Chilliwack. The building is home to the Chilliwack Players' Guild (the resident theatre company), as well as the Chilliwack Academy of Music.
- 2 Chilliwack Museum and Archives, 45820 Spadina Avenue, ☏ +1 604-795-5210, email@example.com. M-W, F 9AM-4:30PM, Th 9AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-4PM (closed Su and holidays). In the 1912 former city hall on Spadina Avenue, which is a National Historic Site of Canada. Adults $3, Seniors (60+) and students (13-17) $2. Kids (under 13) free. Free on Th.
- 3 Chilliwack Military Museum, 45915 Wellington Ave, ☏ +1 604-769-3833, firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Sa noon-4PM. Located on former Chilliwack military base. The museum has numerous Canadian military artefacts.
- 1 Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park (from Highway 1, take exit 135). In Rosedale, which is adjacent to the east of Chilliwack, is Bridal Veil falls, a beautiful waterfall accessed by a brief walk from the parking lot. Free.
- 2 Bridal Falls Waterpark, 53790 Popkum Rd S, Rosedale (roughly a block away from Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park), ☏ +1 604-794-7455, toll-free: +1-888-883-8852, email@example.com. Operates only during the summer. This waterpark does not have slides that drop as high as Cultus Lake Waterpark, but it is less expensive and less crowded.
- 3 Cultus Lake Park. Try in the summer for a refreshing dip or stay in one of the lakefront campgrounds. Weekends tend to be overcrowded. About 10 km south of Chilliwack.
- 4 Cultus Lake Waterpark, 4150 Columbia Valley Way (From Vancouver, get off the Highway at Yarrow/No 3 Road, and follow the signs to Cultus Lake. It will be on your left hand side, a little ways down Columbia Valley Road.), ☏ +1 604 855-7241. 10AM-6PM. A fun summer attraction for kids and adults, and a nice way to pass a very hot day. Twilight rates are available, and while it's not the sort of place you need to go often, it's a good a one-day outing from much of the Lower Mainland, especially with kids. Best bets are late June and early July, or rainy days, as it can often be very busy. Full pass $22.86.
- Hike! There are lots of nice trails in and around Chilliwack. A good place to start is the 5 Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park where you can find several trails that are easy to get to by road and of varying lengths.
- Fishing is popular on the 6 Vedder River. Make sure you're in season and that if you need a licence you obtain one. Licences can usually be obtained at bait shops, and some other places too.
Annual events and festivals include:
- Christmas Craft Market
- Chilliwack Art of Wine Festival
- Fraser Valley Culture and Craft Beer Festival
- Fraser Valley Women's Expo
Chilliwack is well known for its fresh corn on the cob, always sold uncooked with the husk still over the corn. When in season, expect to find stands set up with signs that read "Chilliwack Corn." These stands can be found in much of the Fraser Valley and sometimes can be found in Vancouver. While the corn is delicious and it will be fresh at these stands, expect to pay a significant premium compared to buying corn at a grocery store. Expect to find this corn around August and September.
- 1 Sparkes Corn Barn, 46265 Prairie Central Rd, ☏ +1 778-704-0671. One of numerous seasonal stands that sell Chilliwack corn.
- 2 The Book Man, 45939 Wellington Ave, ☏ +1 604-792-4595, firstname.lastname@example.org. 9:30AM-5:30PM daily, holidays 10AM-5PM. New and used books.
A number of pottery artisans operate in the area. Call the studios to confirm they will be open.
- 3 Schellenberg Pottery (No 3. Rd at Kirk Ave), ☏ +1 604-823-4490.
- 4 Greendale Pottery, 110 - 45473 Ariel Place, ☏ +1 604-846-6440.
- 1 Toyko Japanese Grill, 45886 Wellington Avenue (In the Royal Hotel), ☏ +1 604-795-2931. M-Sa 11:30AM-9PM. Closed Su. Sushi roll, teriyaki, tempura, udon and lunch boxes.
- 2 Beethoven's Pizza, 4125 Columbia Valley Hwy, Cultus Lake, ☏ +1 604 858-7766. noon-8PM daily. Fantastic pizzeria in the Cultus Lake area. It's pretty well-priced, pizzas are enormous and delicious, and service is really friendly. Probably the best place for pizza in the Chilliwack area.
- 3 Boston Pizza, 45305 Luckakuck Way (By Cottonwood Mall), ☏ +1 604 858-3333. 11:30AM-10:30PM daily. The Chilliwack location of a large chain of restaurants, Boston Pizza has good food at decent prices.
- 4 Bozzini's Restaurant, 45739 Hocking Ave (corner Hocking & Yale), ☏ +1 604 792-0744. 11AM till late. Chilliwack's best casual dining. Open for lunch & dinner.
- 5 Mandarin Garden Buffet, 45295 Luckakuck Way (Next to the Freeway and west of Cottonwood Mall), ☏ +1 604-858-9836. Sa-W 11:30AM-2:30PM, 4:30-8:30PM (closed Th). Chinese buffet. Lunch, dinner, large selection and very popular. Lunch $16.95, dinner $21.95.
- 1 Bozzinis, 45739 Hocking Ave (corner of Yale & Hocking), ☏ +1 604 792-0744. 11AM - late. Casual dining open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner, & late night snacks.
- 1 Comfort Inn, 45405 Luckakuck Way, ☏ +1 604-858-0636. Check-in: 4 pm, check-out: 11 am.
- 2 Hampton Inn by Hilton Chilliwack, 8050 Lickman Road, ☏ +1-604-392-4667. A variety of hot and cold breakfast options, fitness facility, indoor swimming pool and hot tub. From $149.
- 3 Riverbend Guest House B&B and Cabin (Riverbend B&B Guest House), 50691 O'Byrne Road (10 km up Chilliwack Lake Road, turn left onto Slesse, Right onto O'Byrne), ☏ +1 604 769-3474. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. Less than a 5-minute walk to the Chilliwack River, it is near fishing, kayaking, rafting, sight-seeing, and hiking. Guided fishing adventures on the Fraser River available. From $95.
- 1 Chilliwack General Hospital, 45600 Menholm Rd, ☏ +1 604-795-4141. Has an emergency department that operates 24/7.
|Routes through Chilliwack|
|Vancouver ← Abbotsford ←||W E||→ Hope → Edmonton|
|Vancouver ← Abbotsford ←||W E||→ Hope → Kamloops|
|Harrison Hot Springs ← Kent ←||N S||→ END|