Your one-sentence histories of the Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley Current readers deliver 22 personal histories, in single sentences.

By Tyler Olsen | January 17, 2022 |6:00 am

Memories are history. No, they’re not always 100% reliable history. They’re not always broadly reflective. But our first-person histories and memories play a key role in our knowledge of the past, and how we feel about our communities.

Last fall, we asked you to paint your own little picture of the Fraser Valley’s history for us with a single sentence. You came through with a large number of responses of your memories, both recent and distant, of the region. We have collected a small portion of the dozens of responses here. Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

1. 1955: My dad being called out for work on a Sunday [in] July 1955, the day the Mission Bridge collapsed.

2. As we raced south down the gravel road called Mt Lehman, past the dairy and raspberry farms, our newly licenced 16-year-old selves tasted our first real moment of freedom.

3. Chilliwack only had one bus, and my dad was the mechanic who worked on it.

4. 1960, Abbotsford: Every summer my siblings and I were picked up in front of my dad’s corner store on McKenzie Road (it’s still there) in the back of an old flatbed truck with high sides to go pick raspberries.

5. Poppy Estate Golf Course was a sheep field and the Otter Co-op was called the Otter Farmers Institute.

Continues below.

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6. 1960s: Every cow across the road on the Appenzeller’s dairy farm had a Swiss cow bell. Sward Road, Hatzic Lake

7.  1965: Summer excitement abounds riding the strawberry pickers’ bus to the Abbotsford berry fields, imagining all the money earned but in reality basking under the hot sun gorging on the strawberries.

8. 1966: Glaring overhead grated lights reflected the prolonged buzz as the barred door clanged shut, allowing my 10-year-old mind to never want to be on the wrong side of the law again at the Matsqui Institution’s open house.

9. Weekly trips up the long and winding gravel road to visit my Nana at the top of Sumas Mountain (near Udy Road, before Udy Road existed, when Mrs. Udy still lived there), past four-corners where my mom went to the one-room schoolhouse, up, up, up.

10. South Asian-Canadian 100+ year history in the Fraser Valley [is] replete with much adversity faced with great strength of conviction in a colonially hierarchically organized Canada.

11. 1976, Abbotsford: I was leaving the Radio Studio when heard them say, “He served a few years but not enough for murder and he was dating my sister.”

12. My grandpa Alfred Gosling’s comment upon running a red light in downtown Abbotsford and causing an accident: “I’ve been here a whole lot Ionger than those friggin’ lights!”

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13. 1976: Cruising up and down South Fraser Way in Abbotsford as a teenager, making sure to make the loop through the A&W.

14. 1980s, Chilliwack: I hop off the school bus and along with my school mates, we excitedly head down to the frozen Hope Slough by the Menzies Road bridge to enjoy an afternoon of ice skating and hockey.

15. 1983, Abbotsford: My friends and I jump into the swimming pool to cool off after a long day of picking raspberries.

16. 1986: Taking the train from downtown Abbotsford to downtown Vancouver during Expo ’86.

17. Grade 5 at Sardis Elementary: We’d hide behind the bleachers in the gym, trying to ‘see’ the ghosts that we were told lived there. We truly believed that the gym was haunted.

18. 1989: Having secured a teaching position in Chilliwack, I wandered the downtown streets, buzzing apartment managers, looking for frighteningly scarce accommodation.

19. Early 1990s: We would skate on the pond created by heavy rains in the fall on the corner of Young and Chilliwack Central which is now ICBC and Valley Toyota in Chilliwack.

20. 2017: Ice skating on Mill Lake in Abbotsford.

21. June, 2019: The fall of the Dirty Bird spelled the end of memories made at the Flamingo Hotel on King George Hwy Blvd.

22. 2020 Websters Corner: While berry picking, a baby bear dropped into the creek across from us, and as we were running up the hill in case momma was behind him, he bounced back up from where he had dropped down. Amazing!

Our daily newsletter is like our front page. Want to see it before you subscribe? Check out our Jan. 14 edition, featuring a worm farmer, here

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Tyler Olsen

Managing Editor at Fraser Valley Current

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