Agassiz, British Columbia is a year-round playground just 90 minutes east of Vancouver. Its sandy beaches, swimming, boating and fishing at many of the area's lakes and rivers attract locals and visitors alike. Golfing is a popular pastime in this area as is hiking, mountain biking and snow-skiing at nearby Hemlock Valley. For the adventurous the Agassiz area has two world-class hang gliding jump-off points.
A small community, Agassiz is located in the District of Kent in the Upper Fraser Valley of British Columbia's southwest coastal region. Surrounded by mountains, lakes and the mighty Fraser River it is known locally for its fertile farming country and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in season.
The community is proud of its history and heritage. Cultural events, historical sites and museums such as the Kilby Store at Harrison Mills or the Agassiz Museum offer glimpses of the past.
The community of Agassiz, with a population of just over 6,000, resides at the intersection of Hwy 9 and Hwy 7, approximately 120 km (75 mi) east of downtown Vancouver via the Trans Canada Hwy (Hwy 1) and Hwy 9. Alternatively, you can take Hwy 7 east to Agassiz. Travelling from the east Agassiz is 33 km (20 mi) west of Hope on Hwy 7. From Sumas, Washington, USA, Agassiz is 56 km (35 mi) north via Hwy 1.
Kilby Historic Site's showcase is the 1906 General Store Museum. You can experience a slice of country life from over 100 years ago in the Kilby General Store which housed the heritage Post Office, plus the family's living quarters in the back of the store, all lovingly restored. The Manchester House Hotel, plus galleries and exhibits showcase artifacts from the era. Interpreters dressed in period costume can answer your questions as you explore this historic site.
Europeans first came through the Agassiz area on their way to the Fraser Canyon during the gold rush of 1858. One of the first families to settle in the region was the Agassiz family after which the town was named.
In 1889, what is now the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, was established as one of the first five experimental farms in Canada. The facility was created to assist newcomers in learning about farming in this fertile area which grew to become the area's primary economic activity.
During the early part of the 1900s road construction began providing an economic generator from 1901 to 1940. In 1926, the completion of the bridge over the Harrison River provided the first road connection to areas west of Kent and helped to establish Agassiz as a market-oriented agricultural town.
In 1948 a devastating flood on the Fraser River brought an end to hop production in the District. Corn then became the new major crop in the area and Agassiz soon became known as the "Corn Capital of British Columbia."
The Agassiz-Harrison Museum is housed in a Canadian Pacific Railway station built in 1893 and open to visitors to view the stories from Agassiz's past.
Agassiz-Harrison Museum and Visitor Information Centre
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia