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Chilliwack is a Canadianmarker city in the Province of British Columbiamarker. It is a predominantly agricultural community with an estimated population of 80,000 people. Chilliwack is the 2nd largest city in the Fraser Valley Regional Districtmarker after Abbotsford. The city is surrounded by mountains and recreational areas such as Cultus Lakemarker and Chilliwack Lake Provincial Parksmarker. There are many outdoor opportunities in the area, including hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and golf. Chilliwack is the location of the head offices of the Fraser Valley Regional Districtmarker.

History

Between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago the Sto:lo arrived in the Chilliwack area. At the time of their first contact with European it is estimated that there were as many as 30,000 people living within Sto:lo territory.

In 1857, gold was discovered in the Fraser Canyonmarker. By 1858, over 30,000 gold miners had trekked to the goldfields, most travelling through the Chilliwack area. By the mid 1860's several farms had grown up around the steamboat landings on the Fraser River called Miller's Landing, Sumas Landing and Chilliwack Landing.

The Township of Chilliwack was incorporated in 1873, the third municipality in British Columbia. Initial settlement was along the Fraser River at Chilliwack Landing. Steamboats were the main mode of transportation, carrying goods and passengers between Chilliwack and New Westminstermarker.

With little room for expansion along the river, the commercial area of the town moved south to the junction of the New Westminster-Yale Wagon Road, Wellington Avenue and Young Road, called "Five Corners." A large subdivision called Centreville was built In 1881. The name Centreville was replaced In 1887 by the more popular "Chilliwhack." The area was incorporated in 1908 as a separate municipality, the City of Chilliwack. The City and the Township co-existed for 72 years. In 1980 they merged to form the District of Chilliwack. The District of Chilliwack became the City of Chilliwack in the early 1990s.

The spelling of Chilliwack is sometimes a matter of confusion. Prior to the amalgamation of the City of Chilliwack and the Municipality of Chilliwhack, there were two different spellings. Upon amalgamation, the spelling of the City was used. Archaic spellings include Chilliwhyeuk and other versions closer to the original Halkomelem, the language of the Sto:lo communities around Chilliwack and Sardis.

Geography

Vedder River


Chilliwack is located in the upper Fraser Valley, 100 kilometres (60 mi) east of Vancouvermarker on the Trans Canada Highway. The city is bounded on the north by the Fraser River, and on the south by the Canada-United States border.

Surrounded by tall mountain peaks (such as the dramatic Mount Cheammarker and Slesse Mountainmarker) and mighty rivers (the Fraser and Vedder), Chilliwack's natural setting is magnificent. Some have argued that the city itself, once a small agricultural town, "has become an example of sprawling suburbia and bad city planning." Efforts to revitalize the languishing downtown, and to curb the spread of housing subdivisions into valuable farmland, have proved challenging.

Climate

Chilliwack's mild climate with limited extremes provides excellent growing conditions for a wide variety of crops and agricultural products. The highest temperature recorded in Chilliwack was on July 29, 2009, and the lowest recorded temperature was in 1968. Precipitation falls mostly as rain, with snow limited, for the most part, to the surrounding mountains.

As Chilliwack is situated at the end of the Fraser Valley, it is one of the wettest cities in the valley. Rain clouds funnel to the end of the valley as they are pushed over the mountains usually during the winter months, when some locals claim that it is not uncommon for it to rain during the entire month. Summers in Chilliwack are usually sunny and hot, with long days (light out until well after 10pm in June with dusk that lasts for hours).

Due to its location at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley, there is some debate about Chilliwack's air quality. It is often said that air pollution from Vancouver and other "up wind" cities accumulates at Chilliwack, particularly during the summer months. However, the complexities of the Lower Mainlandmarker airshed with its microclimates and point source pollution (for example aerosols from farms) along with the increasing and ubiquitous presence of automobiles, make such generalizations problematic. The air quality in the Fraser Valley has reportedly been improving in recent years, not declining as commonly believed. Air quality has been the subject of a recent Spare Our Air campaign and a protest against the construction of a power plant in nearby Sumas, Washingtonmarker.

Demographics

(according to Statistics Canada 2006 census)
  • Population: 69,217
  • Growth Rate (2001-2006): 10.6%
  • Total Private Dwellings: 27,929
  • Area: 260.19 km².
  • Density: 266.0 people per km².


People from Chilliwack



Economy

Chilliwack's primary industries are agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. The city is particularly famous for its fishing, golf, hiking and year round whitewater rafting. The Canadian military used to have an army training base in Vedder Crossing, but it was closed in the mid 1990s. Today all that remains is the Army's area support unit or ASU. The remainder of the base has since been converted into the Canada Education Park, which houses the RCMP's Pacific Regional Training Centre (PRTC) and is the site of the new eastern campus of the University of the Fraser Valleymarker (UFV). UFV's current campus is on Yale Road.

The largest industrial operations in Chilliwack are:

Agriculture
  • Rainbow Greenhouses (115 employees, 45 seasonal employees)
  • Inline Nurseries (40 employees, 70 seasonal employees)
  • Unifeed (80 employees)
  • Fraser Valley Duck & Goose (70 employees)
  • Canfor Nurseries (65 employees)


Food Processing
  • Vantage Foods (110 employees)
  • Johnston Packers (85 employees)
  • Fraser Valley Meats (56 employees)
  • Natrel/Sealtest (45 employees)
  • Coast Mountain Dairy (45 employees)
  • Rogers Foods (20 employees)


Manufacturing
  • Uneeda Wood Products (180 employees)
  • Masonite International (178 employees)
  • IMW Industries (150 employees)
  • TY-CROP Manufacturing (140 employees)
  • Visscher Lumber (126 employees)
  • Westeck Windows (94 employees)


Retail and Wholesale Trade
  • Overwaitea Food Group (450 employees)
  • Real Canadian Superstore (340 employees)
  • Canada Safeway (178 employees)
  • Wal-Mart (156 employees)
  • Canadian Tire (125 employees)
  • Sears Canada (108 employees)


Technology
  • Stream International (900 employees)
  • Murphy Air (40 employees)
  • TEKSmed Services (32 employees)


Tourism
  • Best Western Rainbow Country Inn (83 employees)
  • Rhombus Hotel (64 employees)
  • Cultus Lake Park Board (50 employees)
  • Minter Gardens (50 employees)


Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack

Chilliwack was home to Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack (CFB Chilliwackmarker), which closed in 1999 due to defense cutbacks as a result of the end of the Cold War in 1991.

The base was first opened in 1941 as Camp Chilliwack after Canada's 1939 entry into the Second World War. A few months after the outbreak of the Second World War in the Pacific after the sudden attack on the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbormarker, the camp was expanded to garrison Canadian Army units for the defence of Canada's West Coast. The base was a garrison for army units, but also a recruit training facility; 112 Canadian Army Basic Training Centre, and A6 Canadian Engineering Training Centre was housed at Chilliwack for the duration of the war until its end in 1945.

During the Cold War, the base was used as a permanent training and garrison facility for the Canadian Army units of British Columbia. The based housed the Royal CanadianSchool of Military Engineering, formerly A6 Canadian Engineering Training Centre, and also housed 58 Field Engineer Squadron which was transferred from CFB Esquimaltmarker on Vancouver Island.

Upon the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, the base was renamed Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack (CFB Chilliwackmarker). The base housed:
  • Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering (formerly Royal Canadian School of Military Engineering)
  • Canadian Forces Officer Candidate School (CFOCS) (transferred in 1971 to CFB Chilliwack)
  • 1 Combat Engineer Regiment (formerly 58 Field Engineer Squadron)


In 1994, the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was transferred from CFB Esquimaltmarker to CFB Chilliwackmarker, the last unit to be transferred to the base.

Due to Department of National Defence cutback due to the end of the Cold War, the base was closed in 1997. The CFOCS, was transferred to Area Support Unit St-Jean in Quebec (ASU St-Jean), the CFSME transferred to CFB Gagetownmarker, 3 PPCLI and 1 Combat Engineer Regiment were transferred to CFB Edmontonmarker.

The base, which consisted of 2 areas, Vedder Creek, which contained the barracks and schools, was mothballed and sold for civilian development, while the Chilcotin Training Area, or better known as Area C, is still operational and is part of Western Area Training Centre (WATC).

Area C is used by the Primary Reserves units of British Columbia for field training and for the use of its firing ranges. The ASU is also used by Cadets for field training. The ASU also houses supply depots for supplying the Canadian Army units of 39 Canadian Brigade Group, and the cadet units of BC.

Public Transportation

The public transit system is operated by Chilliwack Transit, which is partly funded by BC Transit.

Education

School District 33 Chilliwack contains a total of 31 public schools. The two main high schools, Sardis Secondary School (grades 10-12) and Chilliwack Secondary School (grades 10-12) are complimented by G.W. Graham Middle-Secondary School which has students from grade 7 to grade 12 and focuses on Fine Arts. There are five Middle Schools each taking grades 7 to 9.

Post Secondary institutions in Chilliwack consist mainly of the University of the Fraser Valleymarker, a school consisting of over 21000 students over several campuses all over the Fraser Valley. Starting as a college in 1974, it became a university college in 1988 and in 2008 it became a full university.

Arts and culture

Perhaps the best-known musical act affiliated with the city is the band Chilliwack, but while it took the settlement as its namesake, the band actually formed and has always been based in nearby Vancouver. The city of Chilliwack itself has a vibrant(albeit self-contained) musical scene, centring mostly around young ska and punk rock bands. It has given birth to such bands as Abernethy, Slogan, The Lazy Susans, 22 Hookers, A Canadian Werewolf In..., JPMP, New World On Fire, Spindle, Pond Scum, Scantily Clad, Mystery Machine, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, Whitey, Jump Rope For Heart, and Goodnight Medic.

The Paramount theatre had the largest neon sign in B.C. at the time of its building.

The Book Man is the second-largest used bookstore in the province of British Columbia.

Media

The Chilliwack Progress is British Columbia's oldest community newspaper published continuously since April, 1891 with the same name in the same community.

Sports

Chilliwack is home to the Western Hockey League's Chilliwack Bruins, who play at the Prospera Centremarker. The expansion franchise began play for the 2006-2007 season.

The city's Junior "A" team, the Chilliwack Chiefs, moved to Langley, British Columbia to make way for the Bruins.

Chilliwack is home to the Canadian Junior Football League's Chilliwack Huskers, who play at Exhibition Stadiummarker.

Chilliwack has also hosted the 2007-2008 Synchronized Skating Canadian Championships at the Prospera Centre.

References

  1. History of Chilliwack
  2. Economic Sector Profile: Technology/Advanced Manufacturing, Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, 2008
  3. Economic Sector Profile: Food Processing, Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, 2008
  4. Economic Sector Profile: Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, 2008
  5. Economic Sector Profile: Retail and Wholesale Trade, Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, 2007
  6. Economic Sector Profile: Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, 2008
  7. Economic Sector Profile: Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, 2007


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