Chilliwack Cultus Lake, Photo Destination BC Local Wanderer

Travel Spotlight

Chilliwack

Chilliwack is a popular outdoor adventure playground. Surrounded by stunning mountains, lush forests and an abundance of lakes and rivers, the area is popular for hiking and biking, golf, camping and trophy-size fishing. Watersports are a huge attraction and bring visitors to this area to enjoy the many opportunities from kayaking to whitewater rafting.

As well as outdoor adventure, agriculture is a mainstay of life and employment in the area. People travel miles to enjoy the abundance of produce, and in particular to experience the sweet Chilliwack corn.

The region is affectionately called “The Wack” by locals.

Gargantuan Stainless Steel Sculpture by Kevin Stone, Chillwack

Gargantuan Stainless Steel Sculpture by Kevin Stone, Chillwack

 

Location

Chilliwack is located at the end of the upper Fraser Valley, 100 km (60 mi) east of Vancouver on the Trans-Canada Highway, Highway 1. The city is bounded on the north by the Fraser River, and on the south by the Canada-United States border. Huntingdon Border is the nearest crossing and is located at the end of Highway 11 between Abbotsford and Sumas, 3 km (2 mi) south of Highway 1.

A Step Back in Time

Between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago, the Sto:lo arrived in the area. At the time of their first contact with Europeans, it is estimated that there were as many as 40,000 people living within Sto:lo territory. The word Chilliwack is the name of a local Indian tribe as well as a geographic description of the area. Originally spelled Chilliwhack, this “Halkomelem” word means “quieter water at the head” or travel by way of a backwater.

In 1857, gold was discovered in the Fraser Canyon and by 1859, over 40,000 gold miners had trekked to the goldfields, most travelling through the Chilliwack area. The main mode of travel was by steamboat from New Westminster to this area and by the mid 1860s several farms had grown up around the steamboat landings on the Fraser.

The Township of Chilliwack was founded in 1873, and the commercial area of the town moved south from the river 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 which was replaced in 1887 by the more popular “Chilliwhack.” The area was incorporated in 1908 as the City of Chilliwack. The City and the Township co-existed for 72 years until 1980 when they merged to form the District of Chilliwack. It became the City of Chilliwack in the early 1990s. Today, some 80,000 people live in the area.

Contact Information

Tourism Chilliwack

Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989