Self Guided Historic Walking Tour of Abbotsford - Matsqui Village
History & heritage
Writing & literature
Nestled in the heart of the Fraser Valley, almost halfway between Greater Vancouver and the Coquihalla Mountain range, lies the city of Abbotsford. Sprawled across the rich farmland of the lower mainland, each corner of this city tells a different story, but none are quite like the Village of Matsqui. Part of the traditional territory of the Matsqui First Nation, the land under Matsqui village was not settled by British immigrants who colonized vast swaths of the Lower Mainland, but by a collection of settlers from Scandinavia. While they, like the British, were drawn to the Canadian west by promises of free land and a fresh start, they were a national minority in a largely British colonial landscape. Yet their rich culture, religion, and traditions have left a subtle, but undeniable mark. Much like the traffic that passes through Matsqui on the way to Mission, after the 1930s, much of the development that changed the face of the Fraser Valley passed Matsqui by. The village today has changed little from its early days as a pioneer town, and many of the buildings retain their rustic, turn of the century charm. In this tour, we wander through the village of Matsqui, using its historic buildings and landscapes to discover the roots of this frontier village, which is equal parts Canadian west coast, American midwest, and Northern European. This short tour begins on Riverside Street, in between Elizabeth and George. The first two stops explore the land's original inhabitants, the Sto:lo, and their ongoing struggle with colonial legacies. Then we continue north on Riverside to learn the various factors behind the Scandinavian immigrants' decision to settle in British Columbia. Next, we stop at Matsqui's beautiful, and eye-catching church, to learn a little about Lutheranism and other Scandinavian values and traditions. From there, we turn right onto St. Olaf street, named after the patron saint of Norway, and walk in the footsteps of the settlers as the community took shape around them. Then, as we continue up St. Olaf, we learn about the role of women in the community, the rise of the town, the architecture that characterised this period in Matsqui, and uncover stories from the community's pioneer school. Finally, we turn right onto Wallace, where we find out how Scandinavians in Matsqui eventually became one with their new homeland.
This event is free.
On This Spot
On This Spot guides people on a tour back in time, showing & telling the history that surrounds them. On each spot, users will find themselves standing in the footsteps of a photographer who took a historic photo. On site tourists/users can use the built-in camera feature to create their own then-and-photos, which can be shared on social media and saved as a digital souvenir. Selections of these photos are chained together into walking tours that take a deep dive into local history. On This Spot strives to make history engaging, educational, and accessible to all with a focus on easy to use features and a succinct writing style. The aim is to create an intuitive user experience that provides historical unparalleled depth without overwhelming or confusing users.
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On This Spot guides people on a tour back in time, showing & telling the history that surrounds them. On each spot, users will find themselves standing in the footsteps of a photographer who took a historic photo. On site tourists/users ca...