Living in Abbotsford, B.C. | Canadian Immigrant

Located an hour east of Vancouver, Abbotsford borders Mission to the north, Langley to the west, Chilliwack to the east, and Washington state to the south. This sprawling rural “city in the country” is set against stunning views of B.C.’s Coast Mountains and Washington’s Mount Baker.

Abbotsford is home to Canada’s third highest proportion of visible minorities. Immigrants and newcomers of South Asian descent comprise nearly 20 per cent of the population. A high proportion of Abbotsford’s Indo-Canadian community is Sikh.

The city’s economy depends largely on dairy farming and fruit orchards; known as the Raspberry Capital of Canada, Abbotsford earns the highest dollar per acre of agricultural land in the country. With a lower cost of living than Vancouver and its location along B.C.’s Bible Belt, the area attracts residents who uphold traditional values, want a slower pace and enjoy a small town “feel.”

City of Abbotsford population statistics

Incorporated as a city: 1995
Population: 141,397 (2016 Census), a rise of 5.9% since 2011
Average age: 39
Number of citizens: 125,245
Number of non-immigrants: 98,300
Number of immigrants: 38,220
Number of non-permanent residents: 2,035

Number of immigrants from:
U.S.: 1,420
Americas (other than U.S.): 1,200
Europe: 7,345
Africa: 975
India: 20,400
Philippines: 1,240
Korea: 760

Mother tongue:
English 89,550
French: 1,030
Non-official languages: 45,235

Total visible minority population: 46,635
Chinese: 2,290
South Asian: 35,310
Filipino: 1,570
Black: 1,415
Southeast Asian: 1,540
Latin American: 1,120
Arab: 340
Korean: 1,340
Japanese: 515

Neighbourhoods in Abbotsford

Scenic Mill Lake in Central Abbotsford attracts young families with its spray park and playgrounds, as well as anglers, joggers and nature lovers. This walkable neighbourhood is home to new condo developments, townhouses and older single family homes; it’s also located conveniently close to Seven Oaks Mall and Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

Historic Downtown Abbotsford has recently been revitalized while maintaining its heritage. This thriving neighbourhood has a bustling farmer’s market, street festivals and locally owned shops including bakeries, delis, restaurants and more. New condo developments have recently gone up in the area to accommodate the increase in interest and commercial growth.

Abbotsford West is a growing neighbourhood and home to many of the city’s most expensive real estate. Sprawling nine-bedroom homes co-exist alongside modest, mid-range family homes, apartments and townhouse complexes.

Housing in Abbotsford

Abbotsford’s housing market is priced lower than similar homes in Vancouver, but the prices for single-family homes may still be out of reach for many. Average prices for single-family homes are currently $795,000, while townhomes are at $450,000, and apartment/condos are at $301,00.

Renters should expect to pay between $600 and $800 per month for a bachelor or one-bedroom apartment in Abbotsford. A two-bedroom costs about $945, while a three-bedroom apartment in or around the city currently costs about $1,200 per month.

For more info on rental and housing options, visit:
Abbotsford Rent Hello Apartments
Rent BC

Economy in Abbotsford

Although food processing and agriculture have traditionally comprised a large proportion of Abbotsford’s economy, warehousing, transportation, manufacturing, aerospace, retail, health care, and education also play an important economic role in the city.

Abbotsford International Airport employees a significant number of workers in the area, as do the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, and three federal prisons.

The top five employment sectors (by industry) are:

  • Trade: 14,600
  • Construction: 12,400
  • Health care / social: 10,200
  • Manufacturing: 9,700
  • Transportation / warehouse: 7,800

Cost of living in Abbotsford

Like the rest of the Fraser Valley region, Abbotsford’s cost of living is substantially lower than Greater Vancouver’s. Abbotsford’s housing prices are roughly half of that in Vancouver, and families can live a much better lifestyle at a lower income.

The Living Wage for Families campaign has calculated the basic hourly wage required for a family of four with both parents working full time, year round in Abbotsford to be $17.40/hour (or $61,953) annually; in Vancouver the living wage has been calculated at $20.91/hour.

Transportation in Abbotsford

Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) is one of the fastest-growing commercial airports in Western Canada with regular scheduled passenger service provided by WestJet.

The Central Fraser Valley Transit System offers local bus service for Abbotsford residents. An adult’s monthly bus pass cost $52. Commuters can travel to Vancouver during peak times via the West Coast Express station in nearby Mission.

Taxi fares in Abbotsford start around $1.80 and for an hour of taxi service in the city expect to pay around $40.

Climate/Weather in Abbotsford

Abbotsford’s oceanic climate results in typically short, warm and dry summers, with few days reaching a temperature of more than 30°C. The average temperature in July and August is a comfortable 24°C. The coolest months are December and January, but temperatures rarely dip below freezing. On average the last frost each spring falls around April 7.

Abbotsford is actually a wetter city than Vancouver — the fourth dampest of 100 Canadian cities with approximately 1507 mm of rainfall annually.

Things to do in Abbotsford

The Abbotsford International Air Show is one of the biggest draws to the city and takes place, rain or shine, the second full weekend of August. More than 125,000 people attend each year to watch performances by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and Skyhawks, aviation dare devils and pyrotechnics.

Art lovers will want to visit The Reach, a contemporary gallery and museum that hosts Canadian and international exhibitions, special programs and events. The Reach is also home to Abbotsford’s heritage archives.

Abbotsford’s Entertainment and Sports Centre is a 7,000 seat venue that opened its doors in 2009. This is the place in town to catch a hockey game, indoor festival, or international performance.

For year-round family-friendly entertainment, visit the Castle Fun Park which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Go karts, mini golf, batting cages, bumper cars, bowling and arcade games are all part of the fun!

Nature lovers will enjoy Abbotsford’s easy walking, cycling and jogging trails along the Sumas River and Arnold Dyke. Hikers can trek Sumas Mountain alongside mountain bikers and horseback riders.

Helpful information

These useful resources will help you find your way around the city and the province:
Abbotsford Maps
City of Abbotsford
Province of BC
Tourism Abbotsford