Mission - British Columbia

In the early years of Mission, city planners built the area to resemble small Southern Ontario towns, to make it more appealing and to encourage buyers. In 1891, core commercial properties and residential streets were auctioned off in the “Great Land Sale.”

The town centre was in a low lying area between the CPR railway and the Fraser River, but after the great flood of 1894, the cities main core was moved north to a small commercial strip only a few blocks long. It was a major commercial centre for the Fraser Valley for many decades and boasted lively trade industry and social community.

Today, Mission has two hydroelectric reservoirs cutting through the municipality: Stave and Hayward Lake. Until the 1950s it was the largest hydroelectric project in South Western BC. It once provided power to the electric street railway and parts of Vancouver.

Today, in addition to its hydroelectric power industry, Mission also has large forestry and agriculture sectors. However, there are few new local employment opportunities so most residents commute to nearby cities for work.

For residents who work in downtown Vancouver, they can hop on the local West Coast Express train. They can also carpool and use the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes along Lougheed Highway and the Trans Canada Highway.

An attractive feature of Mission, is the real estate prices. Mission has the lowest average housing costs in the Fraser Valley. In January 2007, the average house in Mission costs about $349,000—the average in the Fraser Valley that month was $416,000.

Mission’s most famous landmark, attracting thousands of visitors each year, is the Westminster Abbey. There are Benedictine monks who live at the abbey and they have learned to be self-sufficient. The Abbey’s most recognized feature is the abbey church and the 10 bells in the tower. The monks welcome visitors at certain times of the day and hold regular services.

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