Abbotsford: A ‘city in the country’

By Marlene Eisner
March 23, 2023

The city of Abbotsford is located on S’ólh téméxw, the unceded, traditional, ancestral shared territory of the Semá:th First Nation and Mathekwi First Nation in the central Fraser Valley, covering approximately 389 square kilometres. With an estimated population of 153,524, it is the largest municipality in the province outside metropolitan Vancouver. Often referred to as a “city in the country”, Abbotsford is bordered by the Township of Langley to the west, the city of Mission to the north, and the city of Chilliwack to the east, with views of Mount Baker to the southeast in Washington and the Coast Mountains to the north.

The economy

Abbotsford is surrounded by agricultural lands that anchor the economy, with 1,307 area farms that support a wide range of crops and livestock production, from fruit trees and tree nuts to poultry, eggs, cattle ranching and dairy. There is also a dynamic business community that continues to expand, with specialized manufacturing and aerospace sectors as well as healthcare, social assistance, retail and construction.

The outdoor life

If you like being in the great outdoors, Abbotsford is for you, especially if you love to hike, mountain bike, fish, farm or golf. For the truly adventurous, Sumas Mountain, one of the area’s tallest mountains, is just a short drive from the city. The 10-kilometre Discovery Trail links east and west Abbotsford while the 2.2-kilometre Mill Lake Loop is an easy walk. For those who prefer a more laid-back outdoor experience, Mill Lake Park is a popular place for picnics, fishing, and more.


If you’re looking to own a home, Abbotsford might be a good option since it happens to be one of the province’s most affordable major cities, with an overall cost of living set at 22 per cent lower than the provincial average. Housing costs in Abbotsford are 11 per cent below the national average and 81 per cent below British Columbia’s average. If you’re thinking of raising a family, the Abbotsford School District has 46 schools — 30 elementary schools, eight middle schools, one combined middle-secondary school, and seven secondary schools.

About Marlene Eisner

Marlene Eisner is an award-winning print and online editor and journalist. She has written on many topics including new homes and condos in Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver, and has been the editor for numerous magazines and newspapers in Quebec and Ontario.

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