Abbotsford is located in the southern portion of the province, along the Canada/ United States border, and near the communities of Langley, Mission, Chilliwack, and Maple Ridge. Over 141,000 people reside in the city’s more than 375 square kilometre area. The city’s northern edge meets the Fraser River, and there are a few lakes located within the city’s boundaries, including Laxton Lake and Mill Lake, as well as the large Fishtrap Creek. Abbotsford’s public transportation system and proximity to the Canada/ United States border provide residents with access to larger urban centres in BC, as well as towns and urban centres in the state of Washington (US).
Abbotsford’s average house prices are mid-range, from $400,000 to $600,000. In the northern section of the city, single-family homes are mostly larger, newer builds with higher price tags, and there is high-priced vacant land available as well. The city’s central section has a mix of older and newer single-family homes at varying price points, as well as affordable condo options, and high-priced vacant land. Abbotsford’s southern section offers older and newer single-family homes on larger lots, as well as condos and townhouses. Commercial properties are available mostly in the central section of the city.
Abbotsford has a tight rental market, with vacancy rates that have been slowly decreasing over the past several years, ranging from under 1% to 3%. Employment growth has seen more young people looking to rent, and more people coming to the city to work, often looking for rental accommodations. Although a number of new rental units have been built over the past several years, the supply has not been enough to keep up with the demand in the city, and newer, larger buildings tend to have the lowest vacancy rates. The demand for rental units has meant an increase in rent costs. Average rent costs in Abbotsford range from $590 for a bachelor apartment to $980 for a three-bedroom (or more) apartment. Rent in newer buildings tends to be higher than rent in older buildings. Houses, row houses, townhouses, and condos are also available for rent, though these tend to cost over $1,000 a month.
Abbotsford’s economy is diverse, with major industries including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, justice/law, retail, aviation and aerospace, film and television, and transportation. The city’s agriculture industry produces local meat, seafood, dairy, fruits and vegetables, flowers, and shrubs, and offshoots of the industry include local beer brewing and winemaking, food processing, and food export/transportation. About two-thirds of Abbotsford residents work in the city, while another one-third commutes to communities such as Vancouver, Mission, or Chilliwack. Healthcare institutions such as Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, as well as community health services, together make up the largest employer in the city. Abbotsford’s unemployment rate is normally at about 6%, which is similar to the national rate.
The Central Fraser Valley Transit System, operated by BCTransit, services about 20 routes throughout the city with a fleet of over 40 vehicles, as well as routes to Mission, Hatzic, and Aldergrove. Residents can travel to Mission via bus to connect with West Coast Express passenger rail services to Vancouver. Other modes of transportation in the city include Greyhound (long-distance bus), VIA Rail (train), and the Abbotsford International Airport.
The Abbotsford School District operates close to 50 elementary, middle, and secondary schools in the city, including Alexander Elementary, Jackson Elementary, Centennial Park Elementary, Godson Elementary, Mountain Elementary, Dormick Park Elementary, Abbotsford Middle School, William A. Fraser Middle School, Abbotsford Senior Secondary School, Yale Secondary, and W. J. Mouat Secondary. Private school options are also available.
Post-secondary institutions in the city include the University of the Fraser Valley, CDI College, Vancouver Career College, Sprott Shaw College, Columbia Bible College, Métis Skills and Employment Centre, Summit Pacific College, and Career Gate Community College.
Castle Fun Park is an amusement park featuring go karts, multiple mini golf courses, batting cages, bumper cars, arcade games, bowling, sports games, a shooting gallery, remote control boats, a laser maze, and an activity area for younger children. The park hosts birthday parties and other events, and has onsite concessions with snacks, pizza, and beverages.
The Reach Gallery Museum is a public art gallery and museum featuring exhibitions of visual arts and historical pieces, with a focus on Abbotsford’s cultural heritage. The museum showcases work by local, national, and international artists, and hosts various events and private functions throughout the year.