Kent is a municipality of 6,000 people (2016) north of the Fraser River in the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia. It lies north of Chilliwack and south of Harrison Hot Springs and includes the unincorporated villages of Agassiz and Harrison Mills.
Kent is made up of several communities. Agassiz is the district's commercial and industrial centre, and also the largest community. Harrison Mills in western Kent consists of mainly agricultural land. Harrison Highlands (formerly known as Mount Woodside, which is still the name of the mountain that Harrison Highlands is on) is a residential resort development in central-west Kent targeted towards residents from Vancouver. Ruby Creek to the northeast is a mixed rural-residential community. Rockwell Drive, at the eastern shore of Harrison Lake, serves as a residential and commercial resort-like community.
Kent's growth was ignited by the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1858. Shortly after, the first commercial activity in the area took place between the local First Nations people and the Hudson's Bay Company fur traders. Rapid commercial growth followed as boats started to routinely stop in the area en route to the Fraser Canyon.
The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) around 1881 introduced more development along areas in Kent near the Fraser River and Harrison River. In 1895, the District of Kent was incorporated, taking the name of the English county where hops were also an important crop. Shortly after the incorporation, the Canadian Pacific Railway opened, bringing along more commercial activity to the area.
While the traditional economic merchandise in the area are agriculture-related, there has been a diversification since the 1900s. Roads started to be built between 1901 and 1940, becoming one of the major sources of employment. A bridge crossing at the Harrison River opened in 1926, creating the first road connection to the west of Kent.
In 1948, the Fraser River Flood struck and wiped out Kent's hop industry. However, this disaster unexpectedly benefited Kent as corn became the new primary agricultural product of the region, leading to Agassiz's claim as the "Corn Capital of BC"; this claim is still used today.
Mountain Institution, also known as Agassiz Mountain Prison, is a federal maximum-security prison at the western end of Kent Prairie, just north of the foot of what is known as Agassiz Mountain. It was constructed in the 1960s to house Freedomite Doukhobours in the wake of their arrest for various bombings in the Kootenay region. It became the site of a large temporary tenement camp of their followers and supporters.
Like the rest of southwestern British Columbia, Kent enjoys a wet but moderate to mild climate in the wintertime with drier summers, with very few major temperature fluctuations. The warmest months are usually July and August, with an average of 23 °C (74 °F); its coldest month is normally January, averaging 2.5 °C (35 °F).
The easiest way to get in to Kent is by car. The fastest way from Vancouver or Hope is to take the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), exit at Highway 9 and follow it north. A slower but more scenic way is to take Highway 7, which connects Kent to Dewdney, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Vancouver.
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.
- For westbound trips from Toronto to Vancouver, the train stops at 1 Chilliwack station in Chilliwack.
- For eastbound trips from Vancouver to Toronto, the nearest station where train stops is north of the Fraser River at 2 Agassiz station.
The Kent district is rural and sprawling, and there isn't much bus service, so a car is usually necessary to get around. From the Fraser River in the south to the foot of Mt Woodside in the north, Kent is on a very flat river valley, good terrain for bicycling. The townsite of Agassiz around Pioneer Park is on a 19th-century walkable scale; park your car on Pioneer Ave and take a stroll.
By public transit
- BC Transit (Agassiz-Harrison Transit System), ☏ +1-604-795-3838.
- Operates bus route 71 between downtown Chilliwack and Harrison Hot Springs with stops in Rosedale, Popkum, and the Agassiz (within Kent). Operates multiple times per day from Monday to Saturday.
- Operates bus route 72 between Hope and the Agassiz area of Kent. Operates multiple times per day from Monday to Saturday.
- 1 Agassiz Harrison Museum and Visitor Information Centre, 7011 Pioneer Ave., Agassiz (Look for the caboose at the west end of Pioneer Park), ☏ +1 604-796-3545, firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 10AM–4PM, Su 1PM–4PM. The 1893 Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) stationhouse has been transformed into a museum of Agassiz and of CPR history. The quantity and quality of artifacts, in such a small space, is astounding. If the friendly and widely knowledgeable docent Sam is on duty, you are in for a treat. The front desk has maps and brochures for many attractions in the area. The caboose and tiny train car outside are also interesting. By donation.
- 2 Kilby Historic Site, Harrison Mills, ☏ +1 604-796-9576, email@example.com. For 2018: Mar 31–May 13: Sa Su 11AM-4PM; May 17–June 25: Th-M 11AM-4PM; Jun 28–Sep 3: daily 11AM-4PM; Sep 8 – Oct 28: Sa Su 11AM-4PM; Nov 17 & 18 Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival: 9AM-4PM; Dec 8 & 9: Christmas 11AM-4PM. BC’s museum of rural life. Near the junction of the Harrison and Fraser Rivers, the Kilby Historic Site stands as the only reminder of the once thriving community of Harrison Mills. 1906 General Store Museum has a fascinating gallery of product packaging dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. The heritage post office and Manchester House Hotel were an integral part of the Harrison Mills community at the turn of the 20th century.
- 1 Sasquatch Mountain Resort, 20955 Hemlock Valley Rd, toll-free: +1-866-567-6866, firstname.lastname@example.org. Local ski hill.
- 1 The Farm House Natural Cheeses, 5634 McCallum Rd, Agassiz (from the Trans-Canada Highway, take Exit #135 north through Agassiz toward Harrison Hot Springs; at the intersection of Highways #7 and #9, turn right, then take the first left onto McCallum Road), ☏ +1 604-796-8741. M-Sa 10AM-5PM.
- 1 Horn of Plenty Cafe, 2406 Hot Springs Rd, Agassiz, ☏ +1 604-796-2555. Home-cooked meals, good service, reasonable prices, a varied menu.
- 2 Cheam Sushi, 1-7010 Pioneer Avenue/Cheam Avenue, Agassiz, ☏ +1 604-491-8804. Daily 11AM-9PM.
- 1 Kilby Park Campground, 215 Kilby Rd, Harrison Mills, ☏ +1 604-796-9576, email@example.com. On Harrison Bay, a 35-site waterfront campground with picnic tables, a day use area, sandy beaches, nature trails and a boat launch. The park is within walking distance of the museum at the end of Kilby Road. The campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and is open seasonally. A reservation desk is open Apr-Sep M Tu only 10AM-3PM for 17 reservable sites ($6 fee per night). Call to reserve. Check the link below for further information. Basic facilities include pit toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, and potable water. Fees per site (maximum four adults, one vehicle and one RV per site; one additional vehicle is $10): Nov to Feb $15; Mar to mid-May and Oct $25 (seniors $20); mid-May to Sept $30.
- 2 Woodside Inn (formerly the Koffee Kettle Motel), 2226 Lougheed Highway, ☏ +1 604-615-7770. On the Lougheed Highway, the main thoroughfare, but well out in the quiet country. Midway between Harrison Mills and Agassiz. Single and double rooms. Free Wi-Fi. Satellite TV. Kitchenettes in some rooms. Right at the foot of local paragliding hotspot, Mt Woodside. $109/night (Jun-Sep weekend nights $119).
- The nearest hospital is in Chilliwack.
|Routes through Kent|
|Vancouver ← Mission ←||W E||→ Hope → END|
|END ← Harrison Hot Springs ←||N S||→ Chilliwack → END|