Mission, BC, incorporated as a district municipality in 1969, population 36 426 (2011c), 34 505 (2006c). The District of Mission is located on the north bank ofthe FRASER RIVER, 70 km by road east of VANCOUVER.

Benedictine Monastery at Mission
A major landmark in Mission, BC, is the Benedictine monastic complex, Westminster Abbey (courtesy Dr Noel Hall).

An Oblate priest, Father Léon Fouquet, established a mission on the present site in the early 1860s. Large-scale development began after a Canadian Pacific Railway line was completed in 1885 and a bridge built across the Fraser in 1891. A community known as Mission Junction sprang up and was incorporated as the village of Mission in 1922 (later the town of Mission City, 1958). The surrounding countryside was established as the Corporation of the District of Mission in 1892. In 1969 the corporation and the town were amalgamated to form the present municipality, which has 2 main communities - the central urban area of Mission and Hatzic - and 5 smaller ones: Steelhead, Stave Falls, Silverdale, Cedar Valley and Ferndale. Hatzic, to the east of Mission, is mainly residential and is separated from Mission by land owned, in part, by the province.

Mission's economy is based on lumbering and forestry products, particularly shakes and shingles, manufacturing, government services and small businesses. Tourism is growing in importance. Industrial heritage is preserved at a 1912 generating station at Stave Falls, designated as a national historic site in 2004. Along the Fraser River is another national historic site (designated 1992), Xá:ytem, which is an important archaeological and spiritual site to the Stó:lo Nation of the CENTRAL COAST SALISH. The Xá:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre is one of the many tourist attractions in the Mission area. Another major landmark is the Benedictine monastic complex Westminster Abbey, moved to Mission from Burnaby in 1954. A campus of the University College of the Fraser Valley is located here.

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