Abbotsford has a population of 114,000, and is located about 70 km west of Vancouver, in the centre of the Fraser Valley. The municipality is the recent amalgamation of the Districts of Matsqui and Abbotsford. The community is the main retail hub of the Fraser Valley, and offers great views of the mountains to the North and East The key industries in the community include agriculture (including flowers, chickens, dairy, vegetables, and berries), manufacturing, and government services. There is also the 120,000 sq ft Tradex exhibition space at the Abbotsford Airport (which connects the community to Victoria, Calgary, Prince George and Toronto).
Abbotsford is named for Harry Braithwaite Abbotte, the general superintendent of the Pacific Division of the CPR, who was also brother of Sir John C Abbott, prime minister of Canads from 1891-1892. When the psot office was opened in 1892, the name was shortened from Abbottsford to Abbotsford.
The community provides a variety of housing from single family to townhouses and high-rise apartments. New development is in the Straiton Bowl area, on the slopes of Sumas Mountain. Established urban communities include Clearbrook, Glenn Mountain and Townline Hill, and more rural areas include Bradner, Matsqui Village, Clayburn, Barrowtown, and Huntington. Abbotsford has over 80 churches, catering to a wide variety of religious worship.
The area is served by the Abbotsford School District #34 (http://www.sd34.bc.ca/) which manages 35 elementary, and eight secondary schools. The area also has ten private schools, the Career Technical Centre and two campuses of the University College of the Fraser Valley.
The main business district of Abbotsford is centered is just south of Essendene
(which turns into Old Yale Rd to the east and South Fraser Way to the west) between South Railway and South Fraser Way. This area is also host to the region's biggest street fair, the Berry Festival held early each July.
There is also plenty of shopping along the east-west South Fraser Way/Old Yale Road, including both several malls and a number of smaller shops and services.
The community has excellent recreational facilities and opportunities. The Matsqui Recreation Centre offers a Polynesian look in its wave pool & waterslide, combined with an ice arena. The Abbotsford Recreation Centre offers an Olympic size ice sheet for both hockey and skating, and is adjacent to the MacMillan Pool. The community has 9 lighted sports fields, 41 outdoor and 4 indoor tennis course, and over 100 parks.
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