In pursuit of Fraser Valley wine

Tanks, Mt Lehman winery

As mentioned previously on this site, Fraseropolis — the sometimes quarrelsome  liaison of Fraser Valley County and Vancouver County — produces two thirds of the agricultural wealth in British Columbia. This output includes wine grapes.

The Wine Institute of B.C. recognizes the Fraser Valley (including Metro Vancouver) as a wine producing region. There’s room for a little caution here, since most of our locally-produced wine isn’t produced from local grapes. Putting aside the industrial-scale use of Californian and Chilean product, the Vancouver-area wineries that want a “VQA” sticker (made in B.C.) truck in most of their grapes from the sunny Okanagan Valley, four or five hours away. The issue on the Pacific Coast, I think, is the relative shortage of hot, sunny days, combined with a fewness of vines. Continue reading

They’re spending money in Downtown Abbotsford

Montrose Avenue, Abbotsford Abbotsford is the largest city in the Fraser Valley Regional District.  It’s the product of a series of mergers, the latest being with the District of Matsqui in 1995.

The old Village of Abbotsford, like Cloverdale and Aldergrove, also described in this series, Montrose Avenue, Abbotsfordwas a stop on the vanished Interurban commuter rail line.  It’s been renamed Downtown Abbotsford, and the city government has taken steps to dress it up and attract customers… Continue reading

Mission City: small-town roots, suburban realities

First Avenue, Mission

In most of our cities, it’s too late to cry about the shift of commercial activity from high streets to asphalt plazas; the deed is done.  If the high street is going to survive, it must function primarily as the core of an urban village, and gather new residents around it, especially seniors, within a walkable area.

Mission City is an example: a townsite in the District of Mission, a Fraser Valley municipality with a population of about 37,000.  Mission grew up as a mill town, and is still home to the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau (“The Recognized Authority Since 1915”).  The premiere shopping venue is The Junction, a plaza constructed in the 1990s.  There’s a new neighbourhood shopping centre up by the high school, and another one in development on Highway 7. Continue reading