Mission was named for the site's proximity to the historic St. Mary's Mission of the Oblate order of the immaculate Mary in 1861, however the Sto:lo First Nations have inhabited this area for 10,000 years. Today their history and culture is celebrated at Xa:ytem, the oldest known dwelling site in BC.
Located on the banks of the Fraser River, Mission was a forestry and agricultural community. With the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886, the region grew rapidly and in 1891, the first rail crossing linking BC to the United States was opened.
Mission claims fame to being the site of Canada's first and only armed train robbery, when in September 1904 the notorious Billy Miner and two accomplices boarded the train as it left the town.
Located 56 km (45 mi) east of Vancouver, Mission can be accessed via Highways 1 and 11 from the south or Highway 7 from the east or west. From Trans Canada Highway 1, east or west, take Highway 11 north in Abbotsford into Mission. Highway 7 traverses through Mission along the north shore of the Fraser River.
The Xa:ytem historic site, location of the "Hatzic Rock", is situated on 18 acres, just east of Mission on the Lougheed Highway (Hwy 7). Believed to be the site of the oldest dwelling in British Columbia, the boulder marks a location where carbon dating of hundreds of native artifacts indicates that the site is roughly 9,000 years ago. It was designated as a National Historic site in 1992. To the First Nations people, the Hatzic Rock is a rare "transformer site" that depicts the Sto:lo story of 3 chiefs who challenged the Creator, and were turned to stone. The Xa:ytem Interpretive Centre provides information about the site, and preserves this important treasure. Visitors can also view two new pithouses - circular winter homes built beneath the soil -and see superb examples of crafts and artwork.Tours are available.
Spark your imagination! The Power House at Stave Falls offers an exciting all-ages experience, with interactive games and historic displays that tell the story of how power helped build this province. Come experience an authentic 1912 generating station. Other amenities include a 50-seat theatre, a gift shop, and BC Hydro's Hayward Lake recreation site nearby.
Located in downtown Mission, the Mission Museum's permanent displays trace the history of Mission from the first inhabitants in the area, through the arrival of Father Fouquet and his establishment of St. Mary's Mission, to the arrival of the railways and recent developments. Also featured are special displays of kitchen, logging, and farming artifacts from early settlers, as well as the famous Western Canada Soap Box Derby. The Museum offers a wide variety of tours targeted specifically for children, as well as material for adults.
Perhaps Mission's most famous landmark, this beautiful monastery attracts thousands of visitors annually. The Benedictine monks who inhabit the Abbey have created a self-sufficient pastoral lifestyle at this inspiring location, and welcome visitors to their grounds and for services. Westminster Abbey is on a 180 metre elevation above the Fraser River, a 200-acre site that includes the abbey grounds, a farm, and seminary campus. Its most distinctive feature is the cathedral and bell tower with a ring of 10 bells. The views from the Abbey seem to stretch forever, providing a panoramic view of the Fraser Valley, Cheam ramge and Mt. Baker.
Owned and operated by the BC Custom Car Association, Mission Raceway Park is a multi-purpose motorsport facility consisting of a world class quarter mile Dragstrip, a challenging 1.4 mile Roadcourse, and a 2 mile Motocross Track. Sanctioned by the national Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the Dragstrip is often referred to as the "Best in The West" by racers from all over North America, with many record-breaking runs on the track.
Fraser River Heritage Park is located at one of the most breathtakingly beautiful locations to be found anywhere. The site of many community activities, including summer concerts, the park also houses the historic ruins of St. Mary's Mission and Indian Residential School.
Fishing in Mission and the Fraser Valley is second to none. The area has one of the largest populations of sturgeon in the world and enthusiasts come here year round. Salmon fishing on the Fraser River and nearby tributaries is world-class and offers all five species of salmon.
There are several excellent golf courses in and around Mission. Cedar Ridge is a year-round 18-hole par 3 course for both the experienced golfer and beginner. Mission Golf Course is a 9-hole course with a demanding layout set among thickly forrested terrain. Year-round Sandpiper Golf Resort is located east of Mission on the Harrison River. It is an 18-hole par 72 course offering gentle slopes and stunning views of water and mountains.
Many trails from challenging to easy are located in the Mission area. Examples include, Hayward Lake Trail, Experience the River Fraser walk, and Red Mountain. A trail guide is available at the Visitor Information Centre.
Tourism Mission Visitor Information Centre
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia