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ACTION OUR CULTURALLY DIVERSE CITY Abbotsford is a healthy city, distinguished by its $2-billion agriculture sector, and its diverse, multicultural population. With steady industrial growth and strong residential and commercial development, the city continues to enjoy growth and prosperity. In this 4th annual edition of Abbotsford in Action, The News examines the community’s economic engines in 2013, and provides a special, in-depth look at the city’s dynamic, colourful diversity spanning centuries.



2 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION


Vibrant city Fifth largest in B.C.


hen the Village of Abbotsford first formed in 1889, no one could have predicted the growth that would eventually occur. The number of households in Abbotsford has more than doubled in the past two decades. BANMAN According to BC Stats, Abbotsford had a population of 140,235 in 2012. And as the population increases, so does the demand for housing and family services – which require more schools, recreational opportunities and facilities as well as artistic and cultural experiences. Residential areas have grown so quickly that high-density planning is a major mandate of council. “In the past 124 years, Abbotsford has grown from a tiny farming community to the fifth largest city in province of British Columbia,” said Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman. “With this growth comes the need for infrastructure investment in our community. As a city, we have made substantial additions to our local facilities; we have a state-of-theart health care facility, entertainment and sports centre, a brand new cultural centre and an international airport that is continually growing.” The Abbotsford Regional Hospital and a host of civic amenities prove that the infrastructure is in place to attract more families, professionals and businesses.

Abbotsford boasts a high ratio of people who both live and work in the community, as well as a population that’s projected to remain relatively young while becoming more diverse. Although much has changed, agriculture is still the biggest economic force in the city. “It would be difficult to over-emphasize the economic impact of agriculture in Abbotsford,” said Banman. “Agriculture-related economic activity in our city amounts to approximately $1.8 billion annually.” Once the centre of commercial activity, Historic Downtown Abbotsford has become a “destination” for visitors and locals alike. Abbotsford’s retail sector changed forever in 1975, when the Sevenoaks Shopping Centre was built. It has grown to 562,328 square feet and more than 100 shops. The construction of West Oaks Mall and its 30 stores furthered the retail trend. The construction of the 44-acre Fraser Valley Auto Mall in 1992 pushed expansion even farther west. Just recently, the $200-million Highstreet shopping centre adjacent to the auto mall fully opened, creating yet another retail destination with its sought-after retail stores. “As a local business owner and as mayor, I am extremely proud of Abbotsford. I invite everyone to come and visit our city and see what we have to offer,” Banman said.

Read about History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5-6 Commercial. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8-9 Industrial. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Airport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Residential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-14 Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-28 University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Agriculture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31-32 Arts/culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33-34 Campus of care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Health care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37-38

Publisher: Andrew Franklin Editor: Andrew Holota Contributors: Kevin Mills Alex Butler Alina Konevski Vikki Hopes Dan Kinvig Jason Roessle John Morrow Design: Susan Lanphear


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A parade on Essendene Avenue in July 1913.

A gold rush start Town carved out of bush


riginally inhabited by the Sto:lo people – their territory covered most of the lower Fraser River, area from Richmond to Yale – Abbotsford owes its creation to the gold rush. The first wave of European settlers in the Fraser Valley arrived in the mid-1800s, drawn by the discovery of gold just south of Yale. By December 1858, an estimated 30,000 people – including many miners travelling north from San Francisco – had made their way up the river. The gold fever paved the way for the establishment of many Fraser Valley towns. The 160-acre tract of bush land that became the Village of Abbotsford was originally obtained in 1889 by John Cunningham Maclure, a former Royal Engineer who had helped to survey the territory for Britain during the gold rush. The origin of the name “Abbotsford,”


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according to a 1924 letter from J.C. Maclure Jr. to the Abbotsford Board of Trade, is a combination of two ideas. The name commemorates a friend of the Maclure family, Harry Braithwaite Abbott. It is also a reference to Sir Walter Scott’s home, Abbotsford Castle in Scotland.

The first major industrial presence of the new village was the Abbotsford Lumber Company, owned by the Trethewey family. The company fuelled the growth and ethnic diversity of Abbotsford, attracting workers from China, Japan, Europe and India.

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The first immigrants from India’s Punjab province arrived in the early 1900s. In Abbotsford, the first gurdwara (temple) was constructed in 1911 on South Fraser Way. The Trethewey family, the city’s largest employer of Sikhs at that time, donated free CONTINUED ON A6


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lumber to build the temple. That temple, now a national historic site, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011.


Today, Abbotsford is the third most ethnically diverse city in Canada, after Toronto and Vancouver, and has the highest proportion of people of South Asian origin per capita of any Canadian city.

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Abbotsford also has a strong Mennonite presence that dates back to the 1920s. Many members of Christian Anabaptist denominations migrated to Abbotsford from the Prairies and Russia, and the first Mennonite church was built in the 1930s using lumber from the dismantled mill at Mill Lake. Agriculture has long been a driving force in Abbotsford’s economy. The region’s agricultural potential was expanded in 1924, when drainage of Sumas Lake was completed to reclaim more than 30,000 acres of fertile land on the Canadian side of the border. A new dike system to limit the Fraser River flood threat was begun, but in 1948, the region was inundated with water once again. More than 200 square kilometres of territory was under water at the height of the flood; 16,000 people were evacuated; and damages were estimated at $20 million. Today, the communities spawned by the Fraser are protected from the river’s wrath by over 300 kilometres of dikes between Agassiz and Delta.

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8 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

Growth anticipated As the population of the city continues to expand, so does the need for more commercial development.

The Mennonite Central Committee has acquired the land along Gladys Avenue and plans to relocate and consolidate all of its offices in this area.

Several new commercial centres are underway, including a project on South Fraser Way at the old Hall Pontiac auto sales business.


Commercial energy City planning on how to manage growth

Highstreet The 600,000-sq.-ft. mall project includes tenants such as Walmart, London Drugs, Marshalls and Cineplex.


ccording to BC Statistics population projections, by the year 2036, Abbotsford will be home to 212,000 people. It’s a growth rate of approximately 50 per cent over the next quarter-century. So the question is not will the city grow, but rather how do you manage that growth?

Four years ago, Abbotsford attracted Shape Properties’ 600,000-sq.-ft. mall project, called Highstreet. Now almost complete – tenants including Walmart, London Drugs, Marshalls and Cineplex have already opened – Highstreet is poised to redefine shopping in Abbotsford. A new Sandman Hotel is also under construction close to the Highstreet project.

Another potential city centre could encompass the University of the Fraser Valley and Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

People need to understand that Highstreet kept a number of businesses in Abbotsford working. MAYOR BRUCE BANMAN

The Mennonite Central Committee has acquired land on Gladys and will relocate and consolidate all of its offices in the area. Construction is underway next to the new federal corrections facility that opened last year.

“We need to find, somehow, about 40,000 jobs. There is always going to be that balance between lifestyle versus land use. Do we want people to have to travel east or west in order to find work?” asked Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman. But the need for commercial industry is two-fold. It provides jobs for the growing population as well as services.

The old Clayburn Brick Plant site, which has now been cleared, can also be developed. “South Fraser Way is ripe for development as well,” said Banman, who also pointed to the Clearbrook and McCallum Road corridors as areas suited for commercial growth. The 600,000 sq.ft. Highstreet mall project off Hwy.

1 near the Mt. Lehman interchange is redefining Add to the equation that shopping in Abbotsford. Abbotsford is centrally located and serves a regional market, and commercial planning becomes even more important. “People need to understand that In recent years, clusters of commercial Highstreet kept a number of businesses and residential development have begun in Abbotsford working, that may not have redefining the landscape. Abbotsford now survived the economic downturn. There consists of many “centres.” is more concrete in Highstreet than there “I can see where we will have mini- is in BC Place. It is the largest shopping centres throughout the city. People are mall built in the last 20 years between always asking ‘where’s the city’s core,’” Vancouver and Calgary.” said Banman, adding that it’s difficult to Highstreet was not Shape’s only name just one area. investment in Abbotsford.

The newest cluster of development is located at Mt. Lehman Road.

Banman said that project is still in the pipeline and will likely be triggered once the Vicarro Ranch housing development (also on Sumas Mountain) becomes a reality. Other groupings of development are happening, or expected to happen, across the community. Improvements in the historic downtown core and the expansion of the railway district along Gladys Avenue are also ongoing.

Issues such as land use planning, transit, densification and affordability all become increasingly important as the population expands – as does the need for commercial growth.

University District has been proposed

Whatcom Road. That 135,000-sq.-ft project on the south side of Sumas Mountain is anchored by Thrifty Foods. Plans are in place for phase two of that site.

The Vancouver-based company also built the Parallel Marketplace in the area of

Another potential town centre is the proposed University District, which could create a new hub around the University of the Fraser Valley and the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, near the McCallum Road Highway 1 interchange. It lays out the vision for what will be an emerging neighbourhood centred around the university in the next 10 to 20 years. A combination of commercial and residential structures and the need to accommodate the future growth of UFV are planned. This trend of commercial growth has been occurring for years. In the last CONTINUED ON 9



Abbotsford A new Sandman Hotel is currently under construction near the Highstreet project.

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Annual growth CONTINUED FROM 8

few decades, much of Abbotsford’s retail began spreading west from the original downtown. When the big box phenomenon took hold, many such stores were built along South Fraser Way, and the sector continues to grow south along Sumas Way.

One of the advantages that Abbotsford has, according to Banman, is the fact that “we are surrounded by such rich farmland that will never be developed.”

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He can’t imagine development on Matsqui or Sumas Prairie. “We will always have agriculture as a backbone of our economy.”




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Proximity to larger communities Abbotsford is well placed to benefit from having four sizeable cities nearby.


Specialty aerospace and defence contractor Cascade Aerospace is located at Abbotsford Airport.

Hub Fire Engines and Equipment has been building fire apparatus continuously since 1955 at its facility in Abbotsford.

Space to grow If 300 acres in Bradner are removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve, it’s estimated that could create 5,000 new jobs in a new industrial park.

Industrial destination Airport a ‘hidden gem’ for city, says mayor


bbotsford is the fifth-largest city in B.C., with numerous transportation spokes going through it. The city is also within an hour’s drive of the four larger municipalities, making it an attractive location for industry. A major developer of industrial land across B.C., the Emerson Real Estate Group has proposed a new 300-acre industrial park on the city’s western border, in the Bradner area. The company cites the above factors, as well as a readily available workforce, as making Abbotsford a logical place for industry to set up shop. Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman said one of the biggest debates is what to do with the Bradner lands.

A large industrial area exists in the Mt. Lehman area off Highway 1 in west Abbotsford. A proposal now exists to create additional industrial space further to the west in Bradner, north of the freeway.

An airport is a huge economic driver for the city and I think we are just now starting to seek the recognition of the industry. MAYOR BRUCE BANMAN

“That is currently in front of the Agricultural Land Commission to see whether they will be allowed to take those lands out [of the reserve] or not. That would be a huge economic boon to the city – a potential 5,000 jobs on a regular basis.” He expects a decision from the ALC in the new year, hopefully before spring. “If it doesn’t come here, it will go somewhere else,” he said, noting the location is close to Highway 1, making it an attractive site. It isn’t the only industrial activity in the community. To meet the need for more space, the city has developed a 43-acre industrial park, west of Clearbrook Road and north of King. The area could carry up to a million square feet of new industrial floor space, and create between 2,000 and 2,500 new jobs. The value of industrial building permits the city issued for industrial development has hit $4.47 million so far in 2013. That’s down compared to the $10 million issued at the same time in 2012 and $11.6 million in 2011.

While not overly concerned, Banman is looking to bring more money into the city. “I believe the easiest way to get money to flow into Abbotsford is for us to simplify the zones that we have, to paint a clear picture for future developers of what it is we want and where, and to remove the uncertainty of the goalposts constantly moving.” He said if developers get their end of the work done properly, the city has to as well. Abbotsford is, after all, a transportation hub. The Abbotsford International Airport, railways, the Trans-Canada Highway and the U.S. border crossing at Sumas are all major transportation arteries that pass through the city. “The real hidden gem for Abbotsford is the airport,” said Banman. The rapidly developing airport, which recently received $30 million in upgrades and expansion, is an alternative to the Vancouver International Airport, and is developing into a hotbed for industry, including high-tech business. It is the base for companies such as Cascade Aerospace, a specialty aerospace and defence contractor which has a contract with Lockheed Martin to support Canada’s fleet of CC-130J Super Hercules tactical lift aircraft. Awarded in March 2010, that agreement was worth $27 million for the first five years of a 20-year contract. Cascade already had the Optimized Weapons Systems Management contract for fleet management of Canada’s legacy fleet of 32 C130 Hercules aircraft. Cascade also has contracts with international Canadian aerospace manufacturers such as Bombardier and CAE, and with operators such as WestJet, First Air and Lynden Air Cargo. Just recently, the company announced its first international military contract, which it signed with the Canadian Commercial Corporation. Cascade will be modernizing

two Mexican Air Force C130s, and providing operational and technical training for military personnel. Banman said that aerospace technology is the fifth largest industry in Canada. “An airport is a huge economic driver for the city and I think we are just now starting to seek the recognition of the industry. “We have the minds. I believe there are over 900 skilled tradesman that work at Cascade. When you start to have a nucleus like that, it starts to build on itself.” He also pointed to Conair as a success story. “Conair now has the world’s first jetpowered water bomber.” Chinook Helicopters has offered flight training at the airport since 1982, and in September 2009 underwent a major expansion to a 15,000-sq.ft. training facility. Hub Fire Engines and Equipment is the oldest manufacturer of fire apparatus in Canada. The McCallum Road company opened its doors in 1955 and has been building every day since, according to Hub’s Glen Berger. They are a specialty builder and typically serve smaller and volunteer departments from Saskatchewan westward. Abbotsford also has natural resources that attract industry, with some of the largest sand and gravel deposits in the Lower Mainland. That business, which attracts companies including Lafarge, Fraser Valley Aggregate, Mainland Gravel and Pan Pacific Aggregates, generates approximately $45 million annually. There is an estimated one-to-six ratio of spin-off jobs from gravel, including mechanics and fuel sales.


Flying into financial success Abbotsford International Airport looking at its best year


he Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) continues to be a major economic generator for the region. This year is shaping up to be the airport’s best year financially PASTRO and, barring a bad winter, should end the year earning just over $2 million in net income, not including revenues from Airport Improvement Fees. This is roughly $568,000 over plan and, according to airport general manager Mike Pastro, “is a testament to our lean and efficient organization and our emphasis on being fiscally prudent. The Airport Authority, management and staff of the airport take great pride in delivering good financial results. Our original mandate was to not be a burden on City of Abbotsford taxpayers.

The 2013 airshow’s main attraction, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, put on another spectacular show.

and now calls Abbotsford Airport home. Northwestern Air also started providing flights from Red Deer and Kelowna to YXX in 2013.

Abbotsford International Airport is projecting close to 108,000 take-offs and landings in 2013.

in 2012 and the projected numbers for 2013 are expected to be around 480,000 due to a reduction in one Cancun charter as well as some recent flight cancellations due to fog.

“Not only do we continue to be self-funded, we are accumulating healthy reserve funds that will be needed for future restoration, replacement and expansion projects at the airport.”

Aircraft movements (take-offs and landings) in 2013 are expected to be close to the 108,000 movements that took place in 2012.

The airport is the workplace for over 1,400 employees and generates total annual wages of approximately $50 million. Cascade Aerospace and the Conair Group are the two largest employers on site.

The 2013 airshow was another success, despite budget sequestration in the United States which prevented U.S. military aircraft from participating.


Security EXPO was also well attended, having 375 delegates and 50 exhibitors. A capital project to upgrade the airport portion of Mt. Lehman Road, as well as the Liberator Avenue entrance to the terminal, is currently underway. The $1.5-million project will see the construction of a dedicated bike lane, curb installation, new entrance signs, and improvements to street lighting, overhead signage, and landscaping. In 2013, Alpine Aerotech, a certified Bell Helicopter repair and overhaul company, purchased Canadian Heli Structures


A total of 490,636 passengers used YXX





Why Invest at YXX? •

• •

Approximately 87 hectares (215 acres) of land immediately available for airside and groundside development Low construction costs – Most available land is fully serviced with excellent granular soil Competitive lease rates, flexible lease terms, and City tax incentives Abbotsford Shell Aerocentre FBO and world class flying schools including Coastal Pacific Aviation and Chinook Helicopters Excellent Airport infrastructure, including CAT 1 Instrument Landing System, on-site aircraft rescue and firefighting, and a full service Air Terminal Building with Customs and passenger screening facilities

• •

• •

WestJet continues to be the major air carrier and the airport is proud to have such a dedicated partner. According to Pastro, “WestJet’s CEO Gregg Saretsky has stated that he loves the Abbotsford Airport because it’s like Costco – simple, low-cost, and efficient.” Pastro adds, “We work hard at maintaining a low-cost environment for WestJet and other airport users and in nurturing the business partnerships that we have with all of our airport-based businesses.” Despite all of the other accomplishments, Pastro reiterates, “that our single most important objective is to operate a safe airport, and we have a very dedicated team of professionals who work hard to get the job done.”

Contact Us

Established aerospace community with Cascade, Conair, University of the Fraser Valley Aerospace Centre and others Daily commercial flights with approximately 500,000 passengers annually High public visibility with Airshow, Aerospace EXPO, Tradex, and commercial jet traffic Close proximity to Highway 1, Vancouver, US border, and rail The Abbotsford/Lower Mainland region has a vibrant economy, growing population, and an established, highly-trained workforce Progressive Airport and City management team that is eager to make development happen at the Airport!

Mike Pastro General Manager Tel: 604-864-5642 Email: Abbotsford International Airport 30440 Liberator Avenue Abbotsford, BC V2T 6H5 604-855-1001

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Approximately 500,000 guests processed annually via daily jet serviced Àights with domestic/trans-border and international connections available, along with several daily Intra-BC Àights.


12 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

Protected land Around 75 per cent of Abbotsford’s total area (39,000 ha) is protected by the Agricultural Land Reserve.


Development on Eagle Mountain in east Abbotsford continues to climb up the slopes overlooking Sumas Prairie.

With a shortage of building lots, the city is encouraging more densification in certain sectors of Abbotsford.

Living in the future Densification a key strategy

Good pricing Lower housing prices in Abbotsford have led to an influx of new residents to this community.


s Abbotsford’s population steadily climbs, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find room for residential

growth. Developers are faced with the challenge of finding new space in a community where approximately three-quarters of the city’s 39,000 hectares of land is protected by the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

affordable housing strategy. Perhaps the best example is the micro-home project on Braun Avenue. Located adjacent to historic Downtown Abbotsford, the two apartment buildings will contain 64 micro-suites, consisting of about 280 sq.ft. each of living space for seniors from the Lynnhaven Society.

“We have to look at densification,” said Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman.

Legal suites About 10 per cent of Abbotsford’s urban housing stock is made up of legal secondary suites, which provides a mortgage helper to some.

I think carriage homes are a way of providing affordable housing for some people. MAYOR BRUCE BANMAN

The increasing interest in the area may be due to the lower cost of owning a home here, compared to living in neighbouring areas. According to figures provided by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, the benchmark price for the average detached house in Abbotsford, as of September 2013, is $433,200. That’s a bargain compared to Langley ($558,000), Cloverdale ($578,200) and White Rock/South Surrey ($859,600). But not everyone can afford to live in a detached home. One of the city initiatives that has been adopted in the last few years is the

was one of the first to find private sector affordable housing. That secondary suites.

“This allows people to take a portion of their home, provide affordable housing for someone who needs it and provide a mortgage helper for themselves,” said Banman.

The city is dotted with developments that will expand the living room for residents but still preserve the city’s land.

Perhaps the largest example of densification in the city is the 26-storey residential/ commercial complex – Mahogany at Mill Lake – which was announced three years ago. When completed, the tower will be the tallest structure in the city. With the population expected to continue to rise over the next quarter-century, new homes will be in high demand.

Abbotsford communities solutions to includes legal

Legal secondary suites make up approximately 10 per cent of Abbotsford’s urban housing stock. Estimates of unregistered units reported by the city ranged from 900 to more than 2,000.

“We have a shortage of building lots in Abbotsford at the moment. But there is enough confidence in the economy that people are starting to plan for the future,” he said.

This city has numerous developments that will provide more housing but still preserve the city’s agricultural land.

affordable housing for some people.”

New construction continues to dot the landscape in Abbotsford. JOHN MORROW PHOTO

Banman said construction is well underway and should be complete by the summer of 2014. “That’s already starting to revitalize and change the downtown core,” he said. The city has also been examining its policy on carriage homes (those with guest suites or secondary suites), to increase housing options. “One of the proposed areas for carriage homes was off of McMillan Road. I think carriage homes are a way of providing

In the east, Vicarro Ranch on Sumas Mountain is a planned residential development that will include 1,400 units of townhouses and apartments. Its six clusters of single-family, duplex, townhomes and condominium units will be separated by open space and park land, and will encompass 395 acres. Still in the planning stage, Banman said it remains to be seen what the final design will look like. “What it does say is that the area is ready for development.” Phase eight of the Auguston residential development, located on Sumas Mountain, is ready to begin. It will introduce another 100 lots to the market. “Phase eight is getting close to the digging in the dirt phase … I believe the go-ahead is imminent.” One area that Banman is excited about is the McCallum corridor, specifically the site of the old MSA Hospital. CONTINUED ON 14


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to someone in need with a donation to the

Did You Know The Food Bank and Christmas Bureau operate 100% on donated food, money, supplies and services.

The Food Bank serves working people with low incomes, people in poverty and the homeless.

People come to the Food Bank every month.

(40%) of these are children.

To operate the Food Bank and Christmas Bureau for a full year.

Help us to GIVE JOY this Holiday Season. Phone

Visa card donations donations Visaand and Master Mastercard are phoning are accepted accepted by by phoning

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14 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

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By fall 2013, the city had processed $28.9 million worth of new residential buildings permits.

$38M in permits CONTINUED FROM 12

“The former hospital site is sitting there, waiting to be developed. That’s partly Fraser Health Authority.” He called it a rare thing to have 14 acres sitting in the middle of the city that is ripe for development.

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commercial and residential buildings,” said Banman. By mid-September 2013, the city had processed $28.9 million worth of new residential building permits. In 2012, the city recorded a total of $38.1 million in building permit value over the same period of time.


Abbotsford’s a popular place Local residents boast roots from regions all over the world.

The Abbotsford Multicultural Festival has been running strong for six years, celebrating all cultures that make up this community.


Proudly diverse Abbotsford has a rich culture and history


lthough the city began as a humble farming community tucked away from the bustle of the West Coast, Abbotsford now boasts one of Canada’s most diverse communities, and one that immigrants continue to choose as their own.

Canadian average of 26 per cent. That would place Abbotsford-Mission in fifth place by foreign-born residents nationally, behind Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary.

Residents have roots in regions all over the world, including the British Isles (40 per cent), Germany (20 per cent), the Punjab in India (20 per cent), the Netherlands (11 per cent), France (nine per cent), Ukraine (five per cent), Russia (five per cent), China (two per cent), and South Korea (one per cent). One in 20 people are aboriginal and trace their Canadian roots back 10,000 years.

Of particular note is the fact that Abbotsford-Mission has become a key destination for Indian Punjabis, whose population in the area has doubled in the past decade. In all, 17 per cent of residents are Sikh – the highest proportion in Canada. Abbotsford is slated to continue developing its diversity. A recent study predicted that the proportion of foreign-born residents in Abbotsford-Mission will rise to 29 per cent by 2031, higher than the projected

The University of the Fraser Valley has capitalized on the strong South Asian presence in the city and created the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies to conduct frontline research promoting cooperation between Canada and South Asian nations.

Diversity expected to increase The Abbotsford-Mission CMA is projected to have 27 per cent of its population listed as foreign-born, three per cent higher than the provincial average.

And of course, in such a multicultural community there are myriad festivals and events celebrating it all. One of the biggest is the annual Abbotsford Multicultural Festival, also called Abbyfest. In its sixth year, the festival celebrates the cultures that form the community and features entertainers and cuisines from around the globe.

About 40 languages are spoken within city limits. While most people’s mother tongue is English, 17 per cent of the population speak Punjabi, five per cent speak German, and one per cent speak Dutch. With its reasonable cost of living, beautiful surroundings, and strong economy, Abbotsford is a strong draw to immigrants. Newcomers account for much of the city’s population growth in recent years and make up a quarter of all residents. Among those, 15 per cent of all immigrants in the Abbotsford-Mission area arrived in the last seven years. Half of all immigrants were born in India; nine per cent in the U.K.; and four per cent in the U.S.

woven into the fabric that we call Abbotsford today,” says Dorothy van der Ree, executive director of the MSA Museum Society.

One in 20 people in Abbotsford are aboriginal and can trace their history back 10,000 years.

The annual Sikh parade takes to Abbotsford’s streets every autumn and has thousands of people participating in the day-long event.

Finally, residents are more faithful than the B.C. average. Two-thirds adhere to a religion, compared with 56 per cent province-wide. In light of the large Sikh population, the most frequently reported religion in Abbotsford is Sikhism, ahead of Christianity and Roman Catholicism, according to the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Meanwhile, a strengthening network of community groups keep Abbotsford’s rich culture and history alive. One is the MSA Museum Society, which serves as the memory of the community by preserving and interpreting its history. “There are so many ethnicities that have

The Fraser Valley Ukrainian Cultural Society hosts an annual New Year’s Eve dinner and dance to celebrate the Ukrainian New Year in mid-January. The Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards also recognize the best practices of Fraser Valley organizations, initiatives and businesses in promoting the diversity of the community. As well, an innovating four-day 200-kilometre bicycle trip, called Cycling for Diversity, promotes multicultural cohesion with stops in Abbotsford, Mission, and other municipalities in the Lower Mainland. Over the last century, the City of Abbotsford has blossomed into a rich multicultural community full of interest and vibrancy.

The annual Sikh parade happens in Abbotsford each fall and thousands of people attend.

Population grows The Indian Punjabi population has doubled in Abbotsford over the past 10 years.

There are so many ethnicities that have woven into the fabric that we call Abbotsford today. DOROTHY VAN DER REE


16 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

ACS focuses on respect 80-plus programs promote inclusive community


respect for all people is built into the foundation of Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) – the organization’s statement of diversity outlines an intent to reflect a full spectrum of people in their volunteers, board and staff. “We are children, youths, adults and seniors. We are of all races, all religions, all cultures, all abilities, all sexual orientations, all genders and all economic levels. We speak many languages. We value diversity.”

Serving 40,000 Statistics Canada predicted that in 2031, 39 per cent of Abbotsford’s population may be visible minorities.

In addition to celebrating diversity in the workplace, ACS promotes an inclusive community through the more than 80 programs they operate – providing assistance and services for children, families, youth, seniors, the disabled, and multicultural and immigrant services. One of the programs at ACS – Diversity Education and Resource Services (DEARS) – provides workshops and resources about the importance of celebrating diversity to employers, students and community members. DEARS co-ordinator Danica Denommé said that while all ACS programs place a high importance on diversity, the focus of DEARS is to provide educational opportunities to help others in the community learn about ways of incorporating diverse community members and using diversity as an advantage.

Abbotsford is home to about 80 different churches and temples representing a wide variety of religions.

Discrimination unfortunately happens. It happens and people want to know that they have someone to call.” DANICA DENOMMÉ

The diversity education program is the only one of its kind in British Columbia and has been a part of ACS’s work for about 25 years. DEARS also provides a resource for people who have faced discrimination in Abbotsford, connecting those affected by discriminatory acts to support through ACS or other organizations. Denommé said this could mean helping those who’ve experienced violence by connecting them with police, or addressing other discriminatory acts through the Fraser Valley Human Dignity Coalition, a group of citizens that work to address issues of hate and biased activities in Abbotsford. Denommé said often ACS’s work sometimes involves simply providing an ear for someone who has experienced a traumatic incident of discrimination and finding the best way to help. “Discrimination unfortunately happens. It happens and people want to know that they have someone to call.” Denommé said Abbotsford has also had many successes in fostering an inclusive society, and ACS often works in partnership

Bereaved Canuck Place mother Nelia and her daughter Grace

DEARS co-ordinator Danica Denommé says working towards a harmonious community has always been a ALEX BUTLER PHOTO part of life in Abbotsford.

with community organizations, service providers, the City of Abbotsford, the Abbotsford Police Department and the University of the Fraser Valley. The Abbotsford Building Connections (ABC) project is run in partnership with the city and made possible with a grant from the federal government. The threeyear project aims to built intercultural and interfaith connections through twinning activities, and seeks to connect leaders of faith communities, business associations and residents of different backgrounds to help build a more inclusive community. ACS also hosts the Diversity Networking Series, which help businesses and organizations network and share best practices in diversity. With Abbotsford’s diverse religious community – the city is home to about 80 different churches representing a variety of religions – creating connections between faiths is important. Denommé said Abbotsford is “the perfect place” for interfaith work. DEARS runs the Bridges of Faith program, which hosts events to bring together members of different

religious communities and has brought in members from 24 different faiths. Abbotsford also has a high immigrant population. Statistics Canada predicted that by 2031, as much as 29 per cent of the population will be foreign-born. Denommé said this highlights the importance of hiring with diversity in mind and integration of newcomers into the labour market. Denommé said emphasis needs to be put on helping immigrants to Abbotsford find meaningful work and helping people find employment that fits their needs and their skill set. ACS programs such as Skills Connect for Immigrants help immigrants find meaningful work and encourage them to become members of the Abbotsford community. Denommé said the community must acknowledge the foundations of diversity that are already built into Abbotsford’s core. The city is built on the traditional home of Sto:lo First Nations, and Denommé said that working towards a harmonious community has always been a part of life in Abbotsford.

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Recent arrivals 15 per cent of all immigrants in the Abbotsford-Mission area arrived in the last seven years.

Albert and Sia Mackoty came to Abbotsford after civil war drove them from their homes in Sierra Leone. They now enjoy a peaceful life with their children Anthony, VIKKI HOPES PHOTO 2, and Emmah, 3.

‘Everything is good’ Couple from Sierra Leone make a home in Abbotsford


lbert and Sia Mackoty know what it’s like to live in fear and uncertainty, and they feel fortunate to be able to offer something better to their children. The Mackotys were born in Sierra Leone, Africa, but are now settled in their new home – Abbotsford – where they are grateful for the freedom and security they do not take for granted. Their history together began in the late 1990s, when they were teens and part of the same church group in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Both had moved away from their families to live in isolated villages, so they could attend school in the city. The country was in the midst of a civil war and, in 1997, rebel forces occupied the city. The rebels blocked off the only road leading to and from Freetown. Kids stopped

going to school, food became scarce, and terror hung in the air. Sia’s cousin, who worked for a church organization and with whom Sia was living, was invited to leave the country by boat with a group of missionaries with whom she had been working. She invited along Sia, who had no opportunity to contact her mom, dad and younger sister before leaving. The group travelled for days on a small ferry, northward along the coastline, until they reached Gambia. Sia and her cousin stayed in a refugee camp, then rented a place of their own before being sponsored to come to Canada by Highland Community Church in Abbotsford. They arrived in December 1998, but it was many years later before Albert came to Canada. He was living with his uncle during the

civil war, and they did not want to abandon their property in Freetown. The rebels had been driven out of the city by the United Nations and West African peacekeeping forces, and 20 family members soon moved in with Albert and his uncle, believing they were now safe. In the early morning hours of Jan. 6, 1999, they were awakened by the return of the soldiers, who stormed into their home, screaming at them to leave. The soldiers set the home on fire as the family fled, and bombs exploded around them. The civil war ended in 2002, and Albert was studying accounting at a community college in Freetown when he came across Sia’s uncle and received word that she was alive and well in Canada.

Worldwide roots Residents have roots in regions all over the world, including the British Isles (40 per cent), Germany (20 per cent), the Punjab in India (20 per cent), the Netherlands (11 per cent), France (nine per cent), Ukraine (five per cent), Russia (five per cent), China (two per cent), and South Korea (one per cent). One in 20 people are aboriginal and trace their Canadian roots back 10,000 years.

It’s the peace of mind – just being safe and all the opportunities the kids will have... ALBERT MACKOTY

Her family has also survived and was CONTINUED ON 18


18 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

Now in our 47th year

A better life in Canada CONTINUED FROM 17

“It’s the peace of mind – just being safe and all the opportunities the kids will have, (such as) to go to school,” Sia said.

back in their village. Albert and Sia reconnected through email, and the pair were married in 2003 when Sia returned to Sierra Leone for a visit.

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It took three years for the immigration process to be complete, and Albert was able to join his wife in Abbotsford in January 2007. The couple now have two children – Anthony, 2, and Emmah, 3 – and Albert works as an accountant at Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford. They live in a comfortable two-storey home in a peaceful family-oriented neighbourhood. Although they miss their family members, who still live in Sierra Leone, they are happy to have a better life in Canada.

Albert said he appreciates the good health care system and the opportunities for employment. The couple recently adopted four-yearold Obediah, the son of Sia’s sister, who died in early 2012 of malaria and typhoid. His biological father is not involved in his life, and he has been living with Sia’s mother in a village with no clean running water or schools. The citizenship process is nearing completion, and the couple hope to have Obediah living with them early in the new year. Albert said he wants his new son to have the same feeling he experiences every day. “I wake up in the morning and everything is good,” he said.

Civil war in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s created many refugees as people were driven from their homes, or fled areas in fear.

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20 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

Building a Better City Economic prosperity is the key to a healthy and diverse community. Abbotsford needs sustainable jobs in our community that support our people, and we need to create the best possible conditions for business to thrive and grow. As always, City Council will continue to ensure that the services to support the needs of our residents are in place. Beyond this however, City Council has recently set out some key objectives for 2014 that will help us get to where we want to be. 1. Continue Improving our Financial Outlook Council is committed to achieving a 0% or less City Budget for 2014. Through the Core Service Review process that took place this year, we have found efficiencies across the organization and are committed to passing along those savings to our residents. We are also finalizing our Long Term Financial Planning process and aligning our organizational plans so that in the future, as we plan for growth we ensure there are mechanisms in place to support it. 2. Undertake Official Community Plan (OCP) Review Process In a community the size of Abbotsford, the Official Community Plan (OCP) operates as an overarching vision and policy document that guides decisions on planning and land use management. The OCP is accompanied by a wide range of policy, plans and regulatory documents that are foundational to our future growth and development. Council is committed to ensuring a healthy Public Engagement process takes place in 2014 in conjunction with the update of our OCP. Your input will help to drive how the city develops over the coming years so make sure you have your say.

3. Focus on Economic Development Strategies The Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Prosperity was announced in November, 2011. The intent behind the Task Force was to develop a series of initiatives that would address the objective of making Abbotsford the “friendliest” City in British Columbia for business, and a livable City where people can live, work and play. The final report and implementation plan from this task force will be key to helping drive and support Economic Development activities in the coming year. 4. Finalize the Agriculture Strategy The goal of the City’s Agriculture Plan is to ensure the City’s agricultural industry continues to grow and flourish over the long-term. The first component of the Plan to be adopted by Council is the Agriculture Strategy, which is intended to be a “living document” that will act as an “economic development plan” for agriculture. The Agriculture Advisory Committee has identified a select group of Agriculture Strategy policies for implementation to support this plan. 5. Focus on Addressing Key Social

this goal we need to develop strategies with our community partners and other levels of government to ensure that all of the support services we need are in place. A key component of this will include the development of a “housing first” strategy, as identified in the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy document to effectively respond to the root causes of homelessness. 6. Finalize the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) Abbotsford’s Community Sustainability Planning Initiative (CSPI) represents the City’s ongoing effort with our community partners to grow and function in an integrated way to support the community’s fiscal, economic, environmental and social needs today and in the future. The intent of the CSPI is to provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to sustainability enabling the community to build on existing sustainability successes and take the next steps toward building a sustainable community. Mayor Bruce Banman

A healthy community means that all members of the community are in a safe place, with adequate support. To meet

How Can You be Involved? Official Community Plan (OCP) Update The OCP is one of Abbotsford’s most important guiding documents. It is a long term plan that reflects the community’s values with a vision, goals and objectives. Sustainability, land uses, transportation, development, servicing, parks and urban design are all topics that appear in the OCP and that help shape the City’s future growth. The OCP is the master plan for our community. It is important for residents, property owners, community groups, developers and investors to learn about where and how future growth in Abbotsford may occur. Additionally, City Council is guided by the OCP when making decisions about zoning, development and servicing. The OCP update provides an opportunity to

capture the interests, priorities and ideas of the community and form a long range plan about the kind of city Abbotsford will be in the future. The City has evolved considerably since 2005, when the current OCP was created, and has adopted several new masterplans and high level guiding documents. While much of the OCP’s current content remains useful and relevant, a major review of the OCP will ensure that the plan reflects the current principles and visions and responds to future growth projections, community aspirations, and market trends. Also, a key part of the OCP Update process will be to develop a more integrated and systematic approach to planning at a neighbourhood scale.

An update to the OCP is a great opportunity to engage citizens in planning for our City’s future. The engagement and consultation process is intended to include a number of opportunities for the public to share their ideas, such as an interactive website, community surveys, workshops, design charrettes, neighbourhood cafes, ‘kitchen table talks’, information booths at community events and school class visits and activities. These opportunities will be available throughout the planning process for the public to share their ideas and provide input. Watch for your opportunity to become involved. More information will be available on the City’s website at www.abbotsford. ca, via Facebook and Twitter and in the local newspapers. Watch for information in 2014.


Updating the Zoning Bylaw Makes for Better Business The District of Matsqui and the District of Abbotsford amalgamated in 1995, which saw a consolidation of the two municipalities’ zoning bylaws. The consolidated bylaw has not had a comprehensive review in over ten years, and has provided significant challenges to property and business owners proposing to make simple property improvements. The Zoning Bylaw update is currently underway and public and stakeholder consultation is anticipated in early 2014. The target completion date for the update is summer 2014. This comprehensive update will improve the City’s regulations, provide a legally resilient accessible document, decrease staff time needed for each development application, and advance the vision of the Official Community Plan while providing better service to our customers.

Ready for Take-off: YXX Leading the Way for New Opportunities Significant growth and new opportunities at the Abbotsford International Airport have prompted a proactive approach for new development with land-use policies and commercial terms. The airport is working toward expanding Abbotsford’s existing aerospace industry and attracting new companies. To support this goal, the airport has partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley, as well as Conair and Cascade Aerospace to ensure that business development strategies are well supported with training and expansion opportunities. The vision to leverage the airport as an economic catalyst, create jobs and develop industry is well on the runway to success.

Examples of improvements include: • Clarity – for all users, public, staff and judiciary • Conciseness – by removing extraneous and needlessly repetitive material • Causation – so that the zoning bylaw achieves the intent of the Official Community Plan • Compliance – with both provincial legislative authorities and judicial decisions The public and the development industry will be invited to consultation and information sessions throughout the process to ensure their input and feedback is considered as these changes take place. All amendments will be advertised in the local newspapers,

posted on the city website, and via Facebook and Twitter. For more information, email or call 604-864-5510.

Top Reasons to Invest YXX: • Approximately 87 hectares (215 acres) of land immediately available for airside and groundside development • Low construction costs – most available land is fully serviced with excellent granular soil • Competitive lease rates, flexible lease terms, and City tax incentives • Abbotsford Shell Aerocentre FBO and world class flying schools including Coastal Pacific Aviation and Chinook Helicopters • Excellent Airport infrastructure, including CAT 1 Instrument Landing System, on-site aircraft rescue and firefighting, and a full service Air Terminal Building with Customs and passenger screening facilities YXX. • Established aerospace community with Cascade, Conair, University of the Fraser Valley Aerospace Centre and others • Daily commercial flights with approximately 500,000 passengers annually • High public visibility with Airshow, Aerospace EXPO, Tradex, and commercial jet traffic • Close proximity to Highway 1, Vancouver, US border, and rail • The Abbotsford/Lower Mainland region has a vibrant economy, growing population, and an established, highly-trained workforce • Progressive Airport and City management team that is eager to make development happen at the Airport!


22 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

Diverse Community and Proud of it! The City of Abbotsford received a grant in 2010 from the Federal Government of Canada (Canadian Heritage) to implement a three-year community diversity project. As the third most diverse city in BC, this was a natural fit!

Today, the Welcoming Communities project takes off from the successful completion of 3-year grant project “Abbotsford Building Connections” which forged several interfaith and intercultural connections throughout the Abbotsford community.

The Abbotsford Building Connections (ABC) project was developed and its goal was to provide information to the community on the importance of embracing diversity and learning about the many cultures that make up the City of Abbotsford. The City of Abbotsford gave its commitment to promoting diversity and equality in our community with a goal to make a difference.

The Welcoming Communities Action Plan Project is funded by the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills and managed by Abbotsford Community Services. The Action Plan is a community plan that sets out activities to increase the integration and access to services by new immigrants in our community and to help equip employers, businesses, and the wider community with the resources needed to support the integration of new immigrants.

City of Abbotsford: Ethnicity 15.8%


19.4% 20.5%

English East Indian Canadian German Scottish


Three partners joined the City in the development and implementation of the Project Plan: School District #34, Abbotsford Community Services and the Centre for Indo Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Through this project, the City, in close partnership with Abbotsford Community Services presents unique opportunities to maintain its demonstrated effectiveness and leadership in managing the growing diversity of Abbotsford.

Source: 2011 National Household Survey*

City of Abbotsford: Period of Immigration 16%



11.3% 12.1% 26.3%

Before 1971 1971 to 1980 1981 to 1990 1991 to 2000 2001 to 2005 2006 to 2011

Source: 2011 National Household Survey* *This is provided as information only. The City of Abbotsford cannot guarantee the accurateness of the information presented. 2011 National Household Survey data should be used with caution, especially when using data at small geographic scales or making comparisons to historical Census data.

Diversity Networking Series 2.0 Last fall, a partnership with Abbotsford Community Services launched the first Diversity Networking Series, a program for business and organizational leaders to appreciate the advantage of growing their businesses in a multicutural community such as Abbotsford. The Networking Series discussed topics like media and marketing, organizational development, hiring for diversity and valuing diversity in business. The series was well attended and is running again this year. For more information about the Diversity Networking Series 2.0, please contact the Diversity Education and Resources Services (DEARS) at Abbotsford Community Services through Danica Denomme danica.denomme@ or Med Manzanal, City of Abbotsford at, and check out the website at

Building a sustainable, vibrant and prosperous community





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24 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

The 2002 ceremony designating the 1911 Gur Sikh Temple a National Heritage Site was a major event. In addition to the marching band and other entertainment, many dignitaries – including then Prime Minister Jean Chretien – were on site to celebrate.

An historic home for Sikhs South Asians now make up one-fifth of the city’s population


he very first Sikhs to enter B.C. felt at home in the agricultural landscape of the Lower Mainland, as it reminded them of landscapes back home. Ever since, Abbotsford has been adopted by thousands of people from Sikh and other South Asian cultures as a place to settle down.

set eyes on the province. Members of the next contingent, arriving to Victoria in 1902, decided to stay permanently.

In 1897, Punjabi soldiers who were part of a diplomatic trip were the first Sikhs to

One newspaper headline from that time enthusiastically proclaimed: “Turbaned men


The first arrivals found jobs as labourers in the forestry, fishing, and railway industries. Between 1904 and 1908, about 5,000 Punjabi men arrived to B.C.

excite interest: Awe inspiring men from India held the crowds.” Immigration continued steadily through the decades, gaining vigour since the 1970s. Today, South Asians from a variety of cultures make up one-fifth of the city’s population, the highest proportion in Canada.

created a uniquely rich culture in Abbotsford, a centrepiece of which is the Gur Sikh Temple. Built between 1908 and 1911, the temple has become the oldest surviving Sikh temple in Canada. It was designated a National Historic Site in 2002. As the City of Abbotsford has integrated Sikh culture into existing Canadian patterns,

The strong historical Sikh presence has



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Rich culture CONTINUED FROM 24

so too does the temple blend a square-edged

Ground was broken in 2013 on a new Hindu temple by the Fraser Valley Hindu Cultural Society and construction is now underway.

Western architectural style with an interior that meets the needs of devotees. There is a prayer hall, a holy room for scriptures, and a communal dining room, a popular gathering place. Helping to make Abbotsford feel like home to newcomer Sikhs is the Khalsa Diwan Society. Since 1906, the society has brought members of the community together. It is the first and oldest surviving religious society in North America. Drawn by the rich culture sprouting from those first intrepid Sikh migrants, South

Visible minorities Visible minorities make up 26 per cent of Abbotsford’s population. Seventeen per cent of residents are Sikh – the highest proportion in Canada. After English, Punjabi is the language most commonly spoken at home. A full 17 per cent of residents use it with their families.

Asians representing different countries and cultures continue to choose Abbotsford as their home. International immigrants are the biggest source of newcomers to the city, half of whom are from India. There are now Sikh, Buddhist, and Hindu temples. A new Hindu temple by the Fraser Valley Hindu Cultural Society is under construction. The Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley, opened in 2006, and conducts economic and social research to promote co-operation and trade






S H O P P I N G • D I N I N G • B E A U T Y & H E A LT H




between Canada and South Asian nations.



A participant in the Nagar Kirtan procession in Abbotsford twirls a Chakar, used in a form of martial arts. The annual JOHN MORROW PHOTO fall Sikh event includes the singing of traditional hymns and the viewing of the holy scriptures.

S H O P P I N G • D I N I N G • B E A U T Y & H E A LT H






Built between 1908 and 1911, the Gur Sikh Temple has become the oldest surviving Sikh temple in Canada. It was designated a National Historic Site in 2002.






Historic Downtown Abbotsford is a pedestrian-friendly people place; a thriving neighbourhood alive with unique shops ranging from vintage malls, sporting goods, clothing stores, crafts of all kinds, salons, spas and gyms. Food! You won’t find a more diverse selection of eateries as Downtown Abbotsford boasts; wine, tea and coffee shops, 50’s diners, bakeries, delis, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and the best “just like mom made it” you’ll ever taste; you name it, you’ll find it, in Historic Downtown Abbotsford. Historic Downtown Abbotsford with its cobblestone sidewalks is a clean, picturesque and engaging residential and shopping district that is the preferred location for retail, professional and service businesses. Our downtown is a source of community pride and a desired destination for residents and visitors.


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The First Nation Sto:lo in Valley for 10,000 years


or about 10,000 years, the Sto:lo Nations have been fishing and residing along the waterways of the Fraser Valley. The two local member tribes, Sumas and Matsqui, once counted a significant portion of modern Abbotsford as their land. In fact, it was the early tribes that assigned Sumas Mountain its name. “Sumas” translates as “gap left when a large chunk broke away.” It is said that during a great flood ages ago, people from ancient tribes had boarded rafts and tied them to the mountain to keep safe. But when that mountain section broke off, the tribe members floated away to modern-day Washington state. Sumas Mountain became the traditional territory for the local Sumas tribe. The now dry Sumas Lake, the streams feeding into it, and the southwest quarter of Nicomen Island on the Fraser River also once belonged to the Sumas. At one time, the tribe was large enough to support four separate villages.

The Sto:lo are aptly named the “people of the river.” By residing near major water bodies such as the Fraser River and Sumas Lake for millenia, fishing was once the dominant economic activity for member tribes. Until 1924, Sumas Lake spanned 10,000 acres between Abbotsford and Chilliwack, about three times the size of Cultus Lake. It connected the Vedder River to the Fraser River. Fishers on canoes floated between the two waterways, around Sumas mountain, and onto the north banks of the Fraser. The Sumas would live in the middle of the lake in houses on stilts.

The Matsqui band’s traditional territory covered the stretch of river from Sumas Mountain to Crescent Island, the land between Abbotsford and Aldergrove, and south to Nooksack territory in Washington. The tribe’s main village was once in Clayburn.

The government drained the lake to create more farmland in the early 1920s at a cost of $4 million using some of the largest water pumps available at the time. It sold the resultant plots of farmland known for rich and moist soil to private landowners. The Sumas and Matsqui lost some of their traditional ways of life, as well as the land the lake had covered. Some preparation has been undertaken for a federal restitution claim by Sumas First Nations.

Today, the reserve land and band office occupy the corner of Harris and Glenmore Roads in north Abbotsford, and serve 249

The waters of the Fraser Valley remain just as important to the local Sto:lo tribes today as they have been for generations past.

Its land has shrunk in the last century, and the band now has one office on Sumas Mountain serving 282 registered members.

Mrs. August Jim from Kilgard was one of the last fluent speakers of the Halkomelem language with the Fraser Valley dialect. Halkomelem was used by Coast Salish tribes from around the Fraser River delta and THE REACH P134 southeastern Vancouver Island. Photo circa 1920.

members. Overall, about five per cent of Abbotsford’s population self-identifies as aboriginal.

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Mennonites at heart of community Early settlers from Prairies and Europe started local farms


ith a firmly grounded culture of hard work, faith, and family, the Mennonite community is in the heart of Abbotsford. Early settlers provide the classic image of agricultural life in the Fraser Valley.

Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir, remain staples of the community. It was a do-it-yourself time. In the school’s initial years, when repairs or upgrades were needed, classes would sometimes pause and students would contribute volunteer labour, such as cementing the auditorium floor.

By 2008, the Mennonite community had grown to approximately 16,000 in Abbotsford.

The hard work paid off. The school has blossomed into the Mennonite Educational Institute. MEI is B.C.’s largest private school with 1,322 students in grades K-12.

But it began modestly. The first Mennonite settlers to the city arrived in 1931, coming from the Canadian prairies. Nearly all had migrated to Canada from the Soviet Union in the 1920s, with some having migrated earlier.

The strength of B.C.’s Mennonite community now lies in Abbotsford. Both the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches and the Mennonite Church BC have their headquarters in the city, as do the Mennonite Brethren Missions and Service International, the Mennonite Central Committee of BC, Communitas Supportive Care Society (formerly MCC Supportive Care Services), and the Mennonite Historical Society of BC.

They started farms on land in Clearbrook that the Matsqui Municipality reserved for them. Within a year, members had formed their first church, the South Abbotsford Mennonite Brethren. The next priority became developing an education system that would preserve the Mennonite faith and culture. In the early days, there was also an emphasis on preserving the German language – the mother tongue for many first settlers. That first church in 1932 was the foundation for the large scale Mennonite education system known today. South Abbotsford Mennonite Brethren started the community’s first Bible school in 1936, which grew into the modern

Thousands of students have passed through the Mennonite Education Institute in its long history in Abbotsford, THE REACH P4431 including the students pictured working with a teacher on the 1952 school yearbook.

Columbia Bible College. In 1944, the same church opened a Christian high school, at the time the first private school in the region. The school began with just 200 students

and a supportive community. It followed the provincial curriculum, but added particular emphasis on religious instruction, music, and drama. Even today, Mennonite choirs, such as the

Community members have served in political positions from the school board to parliament. Today, there are at least 22 Mennonite church congregations in Abbotsford with a total of 7,000 registered members. Twenty-one per cent of Abbotsford’s residents are ethnically German, many of whom are likely the descendants of the original German Mennonite settlers.

British Columbia

Relief, Development and Peace in the name of Christ Relief – MCC is concrete and hands on. MCC addresses basic human needs such as water, food, and shelter in times of disaster. Overseas, much of this work is done through local churches and groups that are rooted in the local community and have a good sense of whatʼs needed. Here at home, it includes volunteering at our Material Resources Centre, making a blanket or assembling the contents of a kit for people in need. Development – MCC helps people help themselves. A success story for us is when a community no longer needs us. Over the years MCC has learned that there is not one, simple solution. Issues like poverty, oppression, injustice and climate change must be addressed. Weʼve learned that relationships matter and so we work with partner organizations and the church, building bridges that connect people and ideas across cultural, political and economic divides. Here at home, that includes serving people with HIV/AIDS, building relationships with our aboriginal neighbours, addressing issues surrounding homelessness and poverty and more.

Peace - MCC values justice and peace.

MCC is committed to Christʼs call to non-violent peacemaking. This includes loving those who might be considered the enemy. MCC works with local churches and community groups to enable them to better respond to the needs within their own communities. Whether overseas or here at home, we consider all of what we do to be peace-building work – feeding the hungry, enabling a child to go to school, supporting people in abusive relationships or exploring what it means to be a people of peace.

You can help change lives! Find ways to give at: or call 604-850-6639 toll free 1-888-622-6337


University delivers economic boost Overall impact of half a billion dollars to local economy from UFV


djacent to the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre in what is emerging as a “university district,” the Abbotsford campus of the University of the Fraser Valley is a major hub of activity in the community. And across town in the Abbotsford civic complex, the UFV Clearbrook Centre is home to the university’s Continuing Studies division and Applied Business Technology program.

many of whom are staying home instead of leaving town for university, and others who are drawn to the community for their education. Approximately 800 international students study at UFV annually, from more than 50 countries around the world. They provide an additional boost to the local economy and a connection to the global one. Each spend an average of $40,000 a year when they are here – that’s a $30-million boost to Abbotsford’s economy from UFV’s international students alone.

Having a university within its borders is a bonus for any city. Professionals thinking about where to settle and businesses looking to relocate are drawn to places that can offer the benefits a university can provide. These include a locally educated workforce, ongoing educational opportunities for employees and their families, and the enhanced cultural opportunities that a university brings to a community. UFV annually brings guest speakers, athletic events, forums, workshops, and other special events to the city.  The new student union building, currently under construction and slated to open in early 2015, will add even more spark to the cultural life of Abbotsford. UFV administrators, faculty, students, and alumni work closely with a variety of corporate and public service partners to build and maintain a close relationship with the community. UFV is gaining a national reputation for excellence in undergraduate education.

All told, a conservative estimate of UFV’s overall economic impact on the Fraser Valley is half a billion dollars annually.

The University of the Fraser Valley generates an estimated overall economic impact on the Fraser Valley of FILE PHOTO half a billion dollars annually.

The university is evaluated through a wide variety of surveys conducted by external bodies. In the annual Canadian University Survey Consortium, graduating students rated UFV highly in areas including student growth and development, skill development, quality of teaching and education, and the percentage of graduates who have secured employment. UFV has received five years of top grades in the Globe and Mail University Reports, earning A-level grades in class size, quality

of teaching and learning, student-faculty interaction, and instructors’ teaching style. There are also direct economic benefits to having a university in Abbotsford. A workforce of 1,500 employees, many of whom live and shop locally, means a boost to the real estate and retail sectors. UFV’s annual operating budget for 2013/14 is approximately $100 million. That’s a lot of funding coming into the local economy in the form of wages, supply procurement, and other contracts. 


Add to that nearly 16,000 students,

And once UFV’s graduates – more than 1,800 of them every year – hit the employment market, they have an additional impact on the local economy. There are now more than 30,000 alumni of UFV. Chances are that there are many among the business people, teachers, nurses, farmers, social workers, tradespeople, child care workers, and other professionals you encounter on a daily basis. UFV is now working with the City of Abbotsford to create a university district surrounding the Abbotsford campus. This would encourage the development of university-friendly activities, such as student residences, technology-based businesses, recreation facilities, services and retail outlets in the surrounding area. 





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30 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

Local Clinic Unveils New Laser Therapy Centre A

nnouncing the immediate offering of MLS Laser Therapy in the Abbotsford area. The addition of this exciting and effective technology is part of Cascadia Chiropractic Centre’s continued investment in advanced technologies and progressive procedures in the chiropractic/ podiatric/pain management field. Laser therapy has been used effectively for many years, but advances in technology have produced “the next generation of laser therapy” with the new MLS (Multi-wave Locked System) Laser Therapy which uses specific wavelengths of light to treat painful and debilitating conditions. With laser therapy Dr. Simpson Leung can offer relief to those suffering with both chronic and acute ailments such as back and joint pain, tendinitis, arthritis, disc disease and sprains and strains without the use of painful injections or potentially habit forming drugs. “We are very excited to be able to offer this new and dramatic treatment option to patients,” Dr. Leung said. Laser therapy is painless, with treatments usually

Dr. Leung and his friendly, knowledgeable staff welcome you! lasting several minutes, and most patients see positive results in just 1-3 treatments. “When a physical condition or injury affects mobility or quality of life, there is one goal: a rapid return to every day activities. We now have the most advanced equipment on the market to deliver these results; results that include a very rapid reduction in pain, strong anti-inflammatory effect, and immediate improvement of

local blood circulation,” states Dr. Leung. “More and more, our patients are looking for effective treatment options that are less invasive, have no side effects, provide rapid results and speed the healing process. Laser therapy provides us with an opportunity to meet the needs of our patients, and offer the highest levels of care possible.” Dr. Leung summarizes, “We pride ourselves on staying on the

COMMONLY TREATED CONDITIONS: • Arthritis (knees, hips, hands etc.) • Bursitis • Sciatica • Chronic and acute pain • Neck, back and shoulder pain • Muscle sprains/strains • Inflammation, swelling and edem edema ma a

leading edge of technology, and educating our patients on the various levels of care available. Laser therapy is the future of the chiropractic/podiatric/pain management industry, and we feel our patients deserve to have that option when choosing the best care for themselves.” For additional information about laser therapy, contact the staff at 604-853-4441.


• Plantar Fasciitis (heel/ arch pain) • Tendinitis and ligament injuries • Post-surgical swelling • Degenerative joint and disc disease • Trigger points and sore muscles

• Drug-free, rapid relief of pain • Strong anti-inflammatory effect • Immediate improvement of local blood circulation • Rapid resolution of swollen areas • Accellerated tissue repair and cell growth

• Rapid repair of superficial injuries such as wounds and ulcers • Reduces scar tissue formation • No known side effects • Non-surgical, painless and non-invasive

Dr. Simpson Leung CASCADIA CHIROPRACTIC CENTRE 101-34143 Marshall Road, Abbotsford

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The Fraser River flood plain and Sumas Prairie – which was a lake drained in 1924 to create farmland – boast highly fertile soils.

The Fraser Valley once produced more than 40 million pounds of raspberries, most originating from Abbotsford.

Fraser Valley is B.C.’s bread basket

The green machine Agriculture worth $1.8 billion in Abbotsford


bbotsford has been recognized as the most productive farm community in all of Canada.

The Fraser Valley in general is the bread basket of B.C., and this city is the epicentre of production. The Valley produces more than 70 per cent of B.C.’s dairy products, berries, vegetables, poultry, eggs, pork, mushrooms, floriculture and nursery products. Abbotsford farmers work the fertile soil of Matsqui Prairie in the historic Fraser River flood plain, and Sumas Prairie – which was mostly a lake bottom before Sumas Lake was drained in 1924 to create more farmland. Modern producers have built on the agricultural foundation of their farming forebears to create some of the most productive farms in Canada. A study by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce pegged the earnings at $7,410 per acre. It found that farming supports

more than 11,000 jobs, and generates $1.8 billion in annual economic activity. One in four private sector jobs in the city rely on agriculture. The city has also developed into a hub for B.C. agriculture’s office jobs. There are 25 different producer associations, which concern themselves with the promotion and marketing of these food products, located in Abbotsford. What’s more, a large Ministry of Agriculture office employs more of this sector’s experts. “Agriculture has always been and will always be that safety net, that backbone economic driver of Abbotsford,” said Mayor Bruce Banman. “It’s amazing how many trickle down jobs it creates.”

BERRIES Blueberries have become the key crop. Consumer demand for these healthy little fruits spiked after researchers found they


have anti-cancer, anti-aging and hearthealth properties. There are now 23,000 acres of blueberry plants in B.C., growing some 105 million pounds in 2012, an estimated 40 per cent of that is grown in Abbotsford. The Fraser Valley once produced more than 40 million pounds of raspberries – most of it from Abbotsford. However, that is slowly being replaced by more lucrative blueberry production, and has been reduced to about 25 million pounds – 20 million from Abbotsford.

Abbotsford is in the centre of a highly productive agricultural region that accounts for upwards of 70 per cent of the province’s dairy products, berries, vegetables, poultry, eggs, pork, mushrooms and more.

Barns the length of a football field on Sumas and Matsqui Prairies are the home of the Abbotsford poultry industry, which supplies one-third of the province’s poultry business.

Agriculture has always been and will always be that safety net, that backbone economic driver of Abbotsford.

Chicken, turkey and egg production generates about a quarter billion dollars




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every year. According to government statistics, the Fraser Valley provides 87 per cent of the province’s broilers (chicken meat), 98 per cent of the turkeys, 100 per cent of the broiler breeders (hatching eggs) and 79 per cent of the eggs. Abbotsford farmers account for approximately half of that product. Part of the reason is the city’s central location and the producers’ close proximity to local processing plants and markets.



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There are 100 dairy producers in Abbotsford, who ship approximately 140 million litres of milk per year – about 20 per cent of the province’s production. They are part of a strong Fraser Valley milk business. The province as a whole has about 70,000 cows that produce almost 700 million litres of milk, and the Fraser Valley produces approximately 73 per cent of that.

ON THE GROW Abbotsford’s mild climate, by Canadian standards, gives farmers an opportunity to grow a rich variety of field crops. There are significant quantities of broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Heppell’s Potato Corp. plants 650 acres of potatoes

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Abbotsford has recently been experiencing a boom in the greenhouse industry, producing cucumbers and peppers.

on Sumas Prairie. Almost half of the province’s mushroom crop is grown in Abbotsford, with 106,000 square metres in production here. There has also been a recent boom in the greenhouse industry, producing cucumbers and peppers. Greenhouses offer about 700,000 square metres of growing space in Abbotsford, which represents about 13 per cent of B.C.’s greenhouses. The Bradner area has a rich heritage in the bulb-growing industry. Abbotsford’s daffodils alone are estimated at being worth $3.5 million per year, and the total bulb industry a blooming $6.5 million. Poultry and livestock have to eat, and the feed business in Abbotsford is worth between $250 and $350 million per year, led by Ritchie Smith Feeds, the largest local supplier.



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The city is home to hatcheries and supply businesses and companies that provide services such as hauling and cleaning. The net result is the poultry business makes up more than 40 per cent of the agricultural job market.










The Reach Gallery Museum is capable of hosting world class travelling exhibitions.

First class talent Arts and entertainment in the city


ith Abbotsford’s high-calibre music and art venues, the long list of local, national, and international talents that have performed in the city just keeps getting longer. As the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) continues to grow its reputation as a first class facility, more and more big name acts are adding the city to their concert tour schedule.

local facility, Abbotsford also has an artistic gem in the community. The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford opened its doors in the fall of 2008. Located on Veterans Way, the Reach is a 20,000-sq. ft. building containing an exhibition hall,

Ten years ago, the idea that Abbotsford could host country stars like Reba McEntire and Dean Brody or rock legends KISS and ZZ Top would seem next to impossible.

The facility will host theatrical productions including Beauty and the Beast and Sesame Street Live. Abbotsford doesn’t just host stars, it has plenty of its own. Singers like Jacob Hoggard and Mission’s Carly Rae Jepsen, turned their appearances on Canadian Idol into music careers. While the performing arts has a top-notch


For years Kariton Gallery was the main outlet for artistic expression. The Ware Street gallery is operated by the Abbotsford Arts Council and hosts as many as a dozen shows a year.

Seating up to 8,500, the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre has hosted top shows such as Cirque Musica.

Other local venues include the Abbotsford Arts Centre and the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, which has showcased community theatre and concerts for years.

But now the AESC, located on King Road, has hosted those stars and more. Capable of seating up to 8,500 for concerts, almost any show business name can be attracted. Since opening in 2009, the venue has hosted the Tragically Hip, Megadeth, the Trans Siberian Orchestra, John Fogerty, Stone Temple Pilots as well as familyoriented shows such as the Harlem Globetrotters, Sesame Street Live and Disney on Ice. This year brought in top acts like Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Gurdas Mann and Mötley Crüe. AESC was also picked as the only Canadian stop on the latest tour of Cirque Musica – a circus accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra.

The Reach says, “To me, the arts… are a way of bringing people together and finding our similarities and ways to connect and see the world differently. I think that’s important to any community around the world.”

Art flourishes

Fraser Valley Stage, a non-profit theatre group with a membership of more than 60 performers, has been presenting musical theatre for almost four decades.

The arts are alive in Abbotsford, including theatre performances, concerts, and shows featuring the work of local and international artists throughout the year in a wide range of venues.

Another local theatrical group, Gallery 7 Theatre, presents its shows at the Mennonite Educational Institute Secondary school.

archives, two multi-purpose studios, two community exhibition spaces, art collection storage and museum artifact collection storage. It is capable of hosting world class travelling exhibits. The Reach hosts exhibitions such as The Navy: A Century in Art, a travelling exhibit from the Canadian War Museum. To complement the exhibit, the gallery featured a local perspective of the war through local artifacts and photos in Our Communities Our Stories. Suzanne Greening, executive director of

The Valley Concert Society brings classical music to life with a series of shows at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, a site that also hosts the Fraser Valley Symphony performances. For those looking for outdoor performances in the summer, the Envision Concert in the Park Series hosts a variety of musical acts at Mill Lake Park. For intimate winter performances, the Envision Coffee House Concert Series brings the audience and performers together at local coffee shops. Violinist Calvin Dyck’s popular Songs Strings and Steps concert series combines music and the visual arts in an annual showcase of local talent.

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A number of big name shows have come through the doors at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports JOHN MORROW PHOTO Centre this year, including Michael W. Smith



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A trio of health care projects Campus of Care brings together three facilities ne of the nation’s most innovative health projects brings together three dynamic health-care partners on one site.


under construction and is expected to open in 2014, offering programs and services to people 19 years and older who are dying and their families.

The Dave Lede Campus of Care – named for the project’s biggest donor – is located on Marshall Road adjacent to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

It is named for Dave Holmberg Jr., who passed away in March 2011 at the age of 48. For more information,

It includes Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, the Abbotsford Hospice Society’s Holmberg House, and Matthew’s House, a respite facility for kids with severe disabilities.

Matthew’s House, a program of Communitas Supportive Care Society, is nearing the end of construction. The 4,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art residence will provide a home away from home for up to five kids at a time who have complex physical needs.

The City of Abbotsford contributed the land, and all three facilities have conducted extensive fundraising campaigns for capital and operating costs.

Medical necessities such as overhead tracking systems for transferring and full wheelchair accessibility will be complemented by a multi-sensory playroom and an outdoor playground.

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, which also has a location in Vancouver, completes construction in fall 2013. Verifying the building safety and systems will run through January 2014. The 20,000-sq.ft. $13-million facility will operate 10 beds for children under the age of 19 who have life-threatening illnesses. The facility provides specialized pediatric palliative care and support for families, backed by a diverse group of health-care professionals, support staff and volunteers. An individual program is designed for each child to best meet the needs of the family. Services include 24/7 doctor



Overnight guest suites allow family members to remain close while taking a step back to refuel themselves. The Dave Lede Campus of Care brings together Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, the Abbotsford Hospice CAMPUS OF CARE ILLUSTRATION Society’s Holmberg House, and Matthew’s House.

and nursing support; end-of-life care; pain and symptom management; respite care; school, music and play therapy; counselling services; and more. For more information, visit canuckplace. org.

The Abbotsford Hospice Society (AHS) is building a 20,000-sq.ft. resource centre and adult hospice and is currently in the midst of a three-year, $12 million fundraising campaign. The home-like facility is currently

The home is funded completely through the generous support of individuals and community partners. It is expected to open in mid-November 2013. Matthew’s House is named in memory of Matthew Froese, who had severe disabilities and died in August 2010 at the age of nine. For more





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State-of-the-art health care Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre serves the Valley


This year, the UBC Family Practice Program also expanded its residency program. There are currently 13 family practice residents at ARH, of which two or three will look at starting their own practices in Abbotsford.

The 300-bed facility opened Aug. 24, 2008 on Marshall Road, replacing the 55-year-old MSA Hospital and becoming the first integrated hospital and cancer centre in Canada.

Recent developments also include an expansion of the seniors’ clinic and, most recently, the addition of the Breast Health Clinic that opened its doors in June 2011 and has already seen more than 800 patients.

growing, vibrant community requires a state-of-theart health care facility that can keep up with demand.

The Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre (ARHCC) is such a place, serving 150,000 residents in the immediate area and a regional population of 330,000.

At about 660,000 square feet, ARHCC includes MRI services, general surgery, nuclear medicine, renal dialysis, specialized obstetrics, a special care nursery area, pediatric services, critical care and cardiac care, and regionalized psychiatry in- and out-patient care and other specialized services. The Abbotsford Cancer Centre is the fifth of BC Cancer Agency’s cancer centres and provides treatment and care for the region, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, patient and family counselling, nutrition, genetic counseling, and pain and symptom management.  The project is the first acute-care hospital and cancer centre to be built in B.C. using a public-private partnership model, at a cost of $355 million for construction and equipment and with an annual budget of $171 million.  The hospital is managed by Access Health Abbotsford (AHA) Ltd., which is jointly owned by Fraser Health and the BC Cancer Agency – an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority – with facilities management provided by three private partners. Recent program expansion includes housing the Abbotsford Youth Health Clinic, the Psychiatric Outpatient Day Care program, and a provincial pilot program supporting stroke patients in the START (Stroke Assessment, Rehabilitation and Transitions) clinic. The Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre serves a JOHN MORROW PHOTOS population of 330,000 in the region.

If the program is successful, it will become a permanent addition to the wide array of services provided at ARH.

In addition, clinical programs are expanding, including the emergency  program with the introduction of expanded trauma services, and the critical care programs with the introduction of renal replacement therapy treatments for the critically ill and 24/7 intensivists (specialized ICU physicians).   “The expanding role of ARH has made it part of the three largest centres for acute care service delivery in Fraser Health, next to Royal Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital,” said Fraser Health site director Mark Goudsblom.  Abbotsford residents and hospital staff are fortunate to have access to the latest in health care technology. When the hospital was built, 11,000 new pieces of equipment were added, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), two computed tomography (CT) scanners that were better and faster than earlier models, and updated computer technology to enable more efficient access to patient records.   The new hospital has also benefited the community from an employment standpoint, including 400 additional nursing jobs and 400 extra support positions.  In total, about 2,500 people are employed at the hospital and 120 at the cancer centre. This is in addition to about 400 employees with private partners including Sodexo, Johnson Controls Inc., Intercon and Impark.

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The bond of sports S ports have a powerful ability to build bridges between ethnic communities, and Paul Gill has been uniquely positioned to witness that phenomenon over his four decades on the Abbotsford athletic scene.

These days, the 47-year-old serves as head coach of the Rick Hansen Hurricanes senior football team – a position he’s held since 2003. His Hurricanes won the AAA provincial title in 2004. Abbotsford’s diversity, Gill says, is one of the things that “makes this town so neat. “You can see it on the diamond, you can see in on the hockey rink, you can see it on the football field, and on the rugby pitch,” he said. “Athletics, in general, is a great way to come together. “When you put your helmet on and your teammate has on the same jersey as you, you’re brothers now. That’s the thing about sports – walking down the street, you wouldn’t have that. Sports create that bond.” Gill acknowledges that it wasn’t always easy for him being an ethnic minority playing sports, particularly in hockey, where he was occasionally the target of racial taunts. “It was always opponents. It’s never teammates or coaches,” he said. “I didn’t let those things bug me, because that’s just ignorance of people who don’t know any better. You just play through that stuff, and that’s where your mental toughness and



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Rick Hansen Hurricanes football coach Paul Gill has witnessed the power of sports to bring together individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

character is huge.” On the gridiron, Gill was one of only a handful of Indo-Canadian players on the Abby Senior football team, and it was a similar ratio with the Hurricanes when he began as an assistant coach in 1997. But over the past 15 years, he’s seen a dramatic shift. “When I first started coaching, we had three or four Indo-Canadian kids playing football,” he said. “Now, if you look at our roster, we’ve got three or four who aren’t Indo-Canadian.” That transition, according to Gill, is a product of changing demographics, as well as the increased receptiveness of Indo-Canadian families to put their kids in traditional North American sports. Gill’s current players may not fully comprehend at this point just how enduring the bonds they’re forming with teammates will turn out to be, but their coach, with the benefit of hindsight, gets it.

Butchs Brake & Muffler Ltd. is family owned and operated. Butchs opened in Surrey in November of 1994 and opened their second location in Abbotsford in April of 2009.

a church or the Abbotsford community get together to help a friend or member of their congregation – they are just so overjoyed. Not only does Butchs offer special pricing and discounts for these repairs, but are making new friends in their community.

Being residents of Abbotsford they thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to show the Abbotsford community that the business of repairing their vehicles didn’t have to be a horrible experience. When customers are armed with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision about their repair, the stress disappears!

Butchs mechanics are regularly sent for training courses and have some of the most highly trained professionals in the Lower Mainland. From Diagnostic technicians to oil change technicians, all of their staff are trained to the highest standards.    

At Butch’s Brake & Muffler, they listen to their customers and involve them in the decision process for their repair. They like to make a “living” not a “killing”, therefore trying to keep their service at a price point that is affordable.

“For what others can’t or won’t do we specialize in.”

At Butchs Brake & Muffler, they are grateful to help various local church’s and their members by getting them back on the road. It is a very wonderful experience for Butchs to see members of

“I can go anywhere and be treated like a nobody but I come to Butchs because they treat me like a somebody.”

Referrals are a huge part of Butchs success.



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“Still today, my best friends are guys I played hockey and football with,” he said.

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During his teenage years, Gill was one of the highest-profile Indo-Canadian athletes in the city. He was one of the only Indo-Canadians playing rep hockey locally, and he also captained one of Abbotsford’s most memorable high school football teams – the 1984 Abby Senior Panthers won the city’s first-ever B.C. championship.


38 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

Dynamic sports Thriving athletic action in Abbotsford hether you enjoy sports as a participant, a fan, or both, Abbotsford’s thriving athletics scene has something to pique your interest.


basketball and soccer programs have been competing in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), the nation’s top post-secondary sports league, since 2006.

Abbotsford is one of just 10 cities in Canada that play host to a professional hockey team. In the fall of 2009-10, the Abbotsford Heat began play in the American Hockey League, North America’s top minor pro hockey circuit, which serves as the primary developmental league for the NHL.

UFV’s volleyball and golf teams compete in the PacWest, B.C.’s college sports conference, while Columbia Bible College provides a crosstown rivalry in volleyball. The CBC Bearcats also have a PacWest basketball program.

The Heat play out of the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, which seats 7,046 fans for hockey. The AESC, which opened in the spring of 2009, has hosted a variety of sporting events including the Harlem Globetrotters, motocross, monster trucks, and the Masters Grand Slam of Curling. Other local sports facilities include Exhibition Park, a 23,000-sq.ft. recreational area which features the 5,000-seat Rotary Stadium, along with facilities for baseball, soccer, rugby, rodeo, cricket and BMX. Rotary Stadium has hosted an abundance of major sporting events, including B.C. Lions training camp, several national track and field championships and the B.C. Summer Games. Other key city-operated facilities include MSA Arena, a 900-seat ice rink that hosts the Abbotsford Pilots junior B hockey team; Abbotsford Recreation Centre, which features an Olympic-sized ice sheet, an indoor pool, and two gymnasiums; and Matsqui Recreation Centre, home to a wave pool and ice rink. Abbotsford is one of only 10 Canadian cities that hosts a professional hockey team. The Heat play out of JOHN MORROW PHOTO the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

Abbotsford boasts a vibrant university sports scene. The University of the Fraser Valley’s

In the high school realm, Abbotsford is home to perennial powerhouse programs in nearly every sport, including basketball, football, volleyball, wrestling, rugby and track and field. Ledgeview Golf and Country Club has proven to be fertile soil for golf luminaries, sending forth the likes of former PGA Tour pro Ray Stewart; 2005 NCAA champ James Lepp and Nick Taylor, the world’s former No. 1-ranked amateur and current PGA Tour Canada standout. Among Abbotsford’s elite sports clubs, the Valley Royals track and field program, Magnuson Ford Mariners FC soccer association, Matsqui Blades speed skating club and Twisters Gymnastics have all sent athletes to the Olympic Games. Other high-calibre sports associations train athletes in hockey, baseball, fastpitch, swimming, football, rope skipping, figure skating, cheerleading, rugby and lacrosse, to name a few. Abbotsford also offers plenty of choices in terms of recreational leagues for adults, with options ranging from curling to basketball to slo-pitch to touch football.

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40 November 2013 / ABBOTSFORD IN ACTION

November 26, 2013  

Section Z of the November 26, 2013 edition of the Abbotsford News