Fraser Valley History
The history of the Fraser Valley began long ago, when the Fraser River took shape. The first people settled here over 10,000 years ago, taking advantage of the area’s beneficial geographical position. First settlers relied on the Fraser River for its ample resources and transportation routes. They traveled up and down the river and traded with other tribes.
The first Europeans to travel the Fraser Valley were Simon Fraser and his party. In 1808, they started their expedition down the Fraser River and traveled down to the Pacific Ocean. In 1858, the gold rush was on and gold was discovered Hill’s Bar (now a ghost town located to the south of Yale), followed by the miners settling in the Fraser Valley.
In the coming years, merchants and businesspeople together with their families settled in the Fraser Valley and started building towns and communities. Roads and railroad were built, the population was growing, and eventually Europeans displaced the first settlers. In the 1870s, the Canadian Pacific Railway route stretched along the Fraser River and the cities of Chilliwack (1873) and Abbotsford (1892) were founded.
In 1998, the Fraser River was nominated as a Canadian Heritage River thanks to its rich cultural and recreational heritage.