Two decades of change: Mission

Aerial images show how Mission has changed in the last 20 years.

This is one of a series of articles using satellite imagery to chart the changing face of Fraser Valley communities—and the land on which they sit.

Previously: Abbotsford | Langley

If you want to learn about how to use online tools to explore changes across the Fraser Valley, please become an Insider Member. When the series concludes, Tyler will give members a step-by-step guide to how they can use the same techniques to survey changes in their neighbourhood, or across the world. Become an insider here.

Mission is in the midst of a delayed building boom. Developments in the Silverhills area and on the waterfront are likely to bring transformative change in the coming decade. But while town has developed relatively slowly over the past two decades, it’s hardly stayed the same.

  • These images are best seen using a computer or tablet. You can click each image for a larger version.


Mission has a new plan to develop its waterfront. But the area largely remains industrial, as it has for decades.

Like elsewhere, Mission’s industrial areas have seen a gradual intensification, with parking areas replaced by buildings—albeit very small ones in Mission’s case. The disappearing parking lots also has a trickle down effect, with those that remaining (like the one in the right-most circle) becoming increasingly crowded.

Since 2008, the largest changes can be seen in the new fill deposited on either side of the Abbotsford-Mission bridge. That material came from dredging while the city created a new poop pipeline.

North Mission

The most significant development in Mission has taken place at its northernmost extent in Cedar Valley, where houses and townhomes projects have gradually added to the community’s residential bulk. Most, new projects, however, have filled in large parcels between existing subdivisions, with little new development beyond the previous extent of concentrated home-building.

West Mission

Two decades have seen significant industrial expansions on the western edge of town. Walmart also arrived in town, while Fraser Health opened The Residence In Mission (TRIM) to provide long-term care for seniors.

The forests

Much of northern Mission comprises forests that the city itself manages—and profits from. This aerial gives a glimpse at the regenerative properties of those forests, with new cutblocks appearing and old ones slowly regrowing. Within those clearcuts, isolated and small stands of remainder trees are visible. You can also view the expansion of gravel mining in the area.

Fields and dreams

Some of the most intersting community-level growth has taken place in a small neighbourhood on the western edge of town where the houses are large and the pools are blue. The area has seen significant building in the last 15 years with new multi-million-dollar homes filling greenspace. New fields have also been constructed at the nearby Mission Sports Park.

The prisons

Finally, Mission has long been home to Mission Institution, a set of minimum- and medium-security facilities with space for more than 500 prisoners.

In 15 years, the federally run facilities have grown considerably. But long on the outskirts of town, Mission itself is approaching, as the new homes on the bottom right portion of the image demonstrate.

New trails have also sprouted just to the east of the medium security compound. That land is also owned by the federal government.

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