Mission’s history goes back to the first inhabitants of the region, the Sto:lo, or the People of the River. People travelling the Fraser River in huge cargo canoes met in the centre of the great river valley where the Sto:lo traded wind-dried salmon, fruits and other goods with clans from the coast and the interior of British Columbia.
The Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre, a recently designated national historic site located east of the urban area of Mission, pays tribute to the early Sto:lo who raised their families 10,000 years ago on the riverbank. Closed until further notice for more information contact Sto:lo Nation 604-858-3366
In 1861 a young French Oblate Priest selected Mission for the site of St. Mary’s Indian Residential School, which included a church, workshops and a grist mill. Local farms then established and included dairy, poultry, hog farming, grain, fruit, berry and vegetable production.
In the mid 1880′s, establishment of railway facilities further focused attention on Mission and facilitated a period of rapid urban growth which included the “Great Land Sale” of 1891. Mission’s considerable lake and forest resources also enabled establishment of hydro electric operations and the creation of a prosperous logging industry.
The area from the Stave River to Hatzic Lake was first incorporated in 1892 as the Municipality of Mission. In 1922 the “Village of Mission” was incorporated, which became the “Town of Mission” in 1957. On November 3, 1969, the Town of Mission and the Municipality of Mission amalgamated to become the current “District of Mission”.
Mission has retained its keen sense of history which is evident in the heritage buildings of its historic downtown core and hinterland. More recent additions to the historic mosaic include Westminster Abbey, Hatzic Rock and the Fraser River Heritage Park. Planned rejuvenation of the Fraser River Waterfront will ensure that history will continue to be an important part of Mission’s future.
Today, Mission is a growing community of over 38,000 residents nestled in the Coast Mountains beside the Fraser River, 70 kms from downtown Vancouver. Residents enjoy Mission’s rich history and strong sense of community, while also retaining the benefit of ready access to the greater Vancouver area.
More historical information can be found on these websites: