The UFV Agriculture department is nestled in Chilliwack, located in the beautiful historic Fraser Valley of southwestern British Columbia. The Fraser Valley has some of the most fertile agricultural land in the world, thanks to geographic forces of glacial intrusions, a gentle climate, and the mighty Fraser River.
See the City of Chilliwack website for more information on city life, maps, photos, etc .
Satellite Image from space and map of the Fraser Valley
Aerial View of CEP. UFV Campus situated in Parcel B.
Photos used with permission by the Chilliwack Museum . The Chilliwack Museum and Archives owns copyright of this digital collection. This digital collection may only be used for educational non-commercial purposes including any fair dealing for the purposes of private study or research, or use in schools. The Copyright Act of Canada prohibits unauthorized use of this digital collection .
Agriculture was (and still is) a driving force in the settlement and development of the lower mainland, due to the wonderful soil fertility of the area and population growth. Because of this, the demand for more fertile land was on the rise, which could be met by draining Sumas Lake, a large tidal lake located between Abbotsford and Chilliwack. In the lowland area between the cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack, a great opportunity was apparent with wonderful soil, but the area was at the mercy of this tidal lake and flooding abounded.
Beach scene. Sumas Lake before draining. Circa 1910.
Sumas Lake as seen from Majuba Hill in 1910.
View of Sumas Lake from Vedder Mountain in 1915. Note the B.C. Electric Railway Line in the foreground which had to go around the lake.
In 1918, the Chilliwack and Vedder Rivers were redirected away from Sumas Lake to the Sumas River, which drained into the Fraser River. The new drainage canal was named Vedder Canal. The canal was excavated using a large suction dredge and draglines. As well, a system of dykes to protect the lowland were developed at this time.
Dam and pump station at Barrowtown looking east along the Sumas River and Sumas Mountain. Circa 1923
Dredging the Vedder Canal: approximate site of present crossing. Circa 1924.
Sumas Prairie following draining in the 1920's.
Hand painted photo of bridges at the Vedder Crossing area in 1943.
In 1920, construction began on a pump station. The Barrowtown pump station went into service in 1923. Once drained, the Sumas 'Flats', aka Sumas Prairie (the old lake bed), was protected from flooding via the dyke systems. It continues to be in operation today and is responsible for regulating the water levels in the Sumas Prairie. Farmland in the Sumas Prairie is among the most productive in Canada.