Chilliwack is located in in the upper Fraser Valley, 100 kilometres east of Vancouver. The city is bounded on the north by the Fraser River, and on the south by the Canada-United States border.
according to Statistics Canada 2001 census)
Growth Rate (1996-2001): 4.6%
Total Private Dwellings: 25,119
Area: 257.96 sq. km.
Density: 243.9 people per sq. km.
Sometime between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago the Sto:lo first arrived in the Chilliwack area. At the time of first contact it is estimated that there may have been as many as 30,000 people living within Sto:lo territory.
In 1857, word spread that gold had been found in the Fraser River canyon area and by 1858 over 30,000 gold miners found their way to the goldfields. Almost all of the miners travelled through the Chilliwack area. By the mid 1860's a handful of farms were established around the Fraser River steamboat landings called Miller's Landing, Sumas Landing and Chilliwack Landing.
The Township of Chilliwhack was incorporated in 1873, the third oldest municipality in British Columbia. Initially the settlement was concentrated along the Fraser River at Chilliwack Landing. Here the steamboats (the main mode of transportation between Chilliwack and New Westminster), arrived and departed goods and passengers.
Since the small community had little room for expansion along the river, the main commercial area of the town moved up the road to the junction of the New Westminster-Yale Wagon Road, Wellington Avenue and Young Road. The centre came to be called Five Corners.
In 1881 a large subdivision called Centreville was developed. In 1887 the name Centreville was replaced by a more popular name, Chilliwhack, and the area was incorporated in 1908 as a separate municipality, the City of Chilliwack. The City and the Township co-existed for 72 years, and finally in 1980 they merged to form the City of Chilliwack.
The spelling of Chilliwack is sometimes a matter of confusion. Prior to the amalgamation of the City of Chilliwack and the Municipality of Chilliwhack, there were two different spellings. Upon amalgamation, the spelling of the City was used.
Chilliwack's mild climate with limited extremes provides excellent growing conditions for a wide variety of crops and agricultural products. The average temperature is 1.6 degrees Celsius in January and 18 degrees Celsius in July. Precipitation falls mostly as rain, with snow limited, for the most part, to the surrounding mountains.
As Chilliwack is situated at the end of the Fraser Valley, it is one of the wettest cities in the valley. Rain clouds funnel to the end of the valley and, as they are pushed over the mountains, drop their cargo. This occurrence is most frequently seen in November and December, when locals claim that it is not uncommon for it to rain during the entire month.
Due to its location at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley there is some debate about Chilliwack's air quality. It is often said that air pollution from Vancouver and other "up wind" cities accumulates at Chilliwack, particularly during the summer months. However, the complexities of the Lower Mainland airshed with its microclimates and point source pollution (for example aerosols off-gassing from agricultural waste products) along with the increasing and ubiquitous presence of automobiles, make such generalizations problematic. There is general agreement that, as with other urban-rural parts of the world, there has has been a decline in the air quality of the Fraser Valley. This has been the subject of a recent Spare Our Air campaign and a protest against the construction of a power plant in nearby Sumas, Washington.
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