Life In Chilliwack

The city of Chilliwack is located one hour east of Vancouver in the beautiful Fraser Valley. Chilliwack is a community of 90,000 people that is well known for a wide range of outdoor recreation activities, like hiking, water sports, camping, mountain-biking and fishing. Chilliwack’s quality of life is enhanced with a variety of arts, culture, entertainment and sports options.

Combined with easy access to the city of Vancouver for day and weekend getaways, there are endless entertainment opportunities to enjoy. With affordable real estate in well-planned neighbourhoods, Chilliwack provides a laid back lifestyle often associated with smaller towns while also appealing to people who are used to living in bigger cities.

The pace of life in Chilliwack provides more opportunities to spend time with family, and a quality of life that will have you calling it home before you know it.

How did Chilliwack get its name?

The word Chilliwack is the name of a local indigenous tribe as well as a geographic description of the area. Originally spelled Chilliwhack, this “Halkomelem” word means “quieter water at the head” or travel by way of a backwater.

The archeological record shows evidence of Stó:lō people in the Fraser Valley, or S’ólh Téméxw, 10,000 years ago. Permanent structures in the Chilliwack area date from around 5,000 years ago. At the time of the first contact with Europeans it is estimated that there were as many as 40,000 people living within Stó:lō territory.

In 1857, gold was discovered in the Fraser Canyon. By 1859, over 40,000 gold miners had trekked to the goldfields, most travelling through the Chilliwack area. By the mid-1860s, several farms had grown up around the steamboat landings on the Fraser River.


The Township of Chilliwack was incorporated in 1873, the third municipality in British Columbia. Initial settlement was along the Fraser River at Chilliwack Landing. Steamboats were the main mode of transportation, carrying goods and passengers between Chilliwack and New Westminster. After the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, many residents began to cross the Fraser River at Minto Landing to catch the train at Harrison Mills.

With little room for expansion along the river, the commercial area of the town moved south to the junction of the New Westminster-Yale Wagon Road, Wellington Avenue and Young Road, called “Five Corners”. A large subdivision called Centreville was built in 1881. The name “Centreville” was replaced in 1887 by the more popular “Chilliwack.” The area was incorporated in 1908 as a separate municipality, the City of Chilliwack. The city and the township co-existed for 72 years. In 1984, they merged to form the District of Chilliwack. The District of Chilliwack became the City of Chilliwack in early 1999.

Chilliwack has the highest average annual temperature in Canada at 10.5ºC.

The average daily maximum temperature in January is 6.1ºC, with night time low of 0.8ºC.

Warmer temperatures start in April and extend through October. The summer time high in July is 24.5ºC, with a night time temperature of 13ºC.

Temperature (°C)

Average 3.8 5.2 8.4 11 14.3 16.6 18.9 19.2 16.3 11.6 6.2 3.8
Average high 6.5 8.5 12.2 15.2 18.9 21.3 24 24.6 21.6 15.4 8.8 6.3
Average low 1 1.9 4.5 6.8 9.7 11.9 13.7 13.7 11.1 7.7 3.5 1.2


Monthly Rainfall (mm) 199 153 167 136 112 93 61 55 89 172 250 223
Monthly Snowfall (cm) 26 13 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 17


Chilliwack residents have a connection to community and love to live and work here. It will not take you long to connect and become a part of a community or neighbourhood group here in Chilliwack.

Urban growth throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley has brought much prosperity to Chilliwack. Business development and residential growth over the past 20 years has created a prosperous community with an outstanding quality of life.

While housing affordability and location are two of the biggest factors for people to move to Chilliwack, other key features that draw people here include excellent education and healthcare systems, diverse shopping and dining choices, limitless recreation and leisure activities, significant growth and development and increasing business and employment opportunities.

Visit Business in Chilliwack to read our full community profile.

Full Community Profile

Getting Around

In addition to a public bus transit system, the city also has inter-urban bus services with Ebus and the Fraser Valley Express (66 FVX). The 66 FVX is a limited-stop express service designed to connect Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Langley to Metro Vancouver’s TransLink transit system.

Chilliwack encourages bicycle travel by incorporating designated bike lanes on a variety of roads throughout the community. Currently there are 175 lane kilometers of existing bike lanes with additional lanes being added every year. An investment of $8.5 million has been budgeted over the next 10 years for the City’s bike lane network.

By Air

For regional and international air travel, scheduled flights are available from Abbotsford International Airport (40 km from Chilliwack) and Vancouver International Airport (100 km from Chilliwack). 

Chilliwack Airport (YCW) services an estimated 60,000 air movements annually. It can accommodate some heavy aircraft, but it primarily services pilot training and recreational flights from all around BC and south of the border.

By Sea

Chilliwack is just located an hour and a half away from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Car and truck transportation to Vancouver Island and the surrounding islands is provided by BC Ferries, with two main ferry terminals at Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay.

Deep sea transportation is handled by Port of Vancouver, which operates 28 deep-sea and domestic marine terminals and services several passenger cruise lines and commercial shipments.

By Rail

Chilliwack has multiple train stops and is a major interchange point between CN Railway and Southern Railway of BC, where loaded cars are redistributed for US destinations.


The BC Ministry of Health has overall responsibility for ensuring that quality, appropriate, cost effective and timely health services are available for all British Columbians. Fraser Health serves the healthcare needs of about one-third of the BC population, from Burnaby to Hope.

Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH) has been serving the community of Chilliwack since 1912. CGH today is a sophisticated, fully functional hospital that offers exceptional healthcare services to our community. Chilliwack is also only 25 minutes away from the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre. Chilliwack has ten walk-in clinics. The clinics provide healthcare after hours and on weekends and also provide relief for the Emergency Room of Chilliwack General Hospital.

Chilliwack Division of Family Practice is a community-based group of family physicians working together to achieve common health care goals. The Division works collaboratively with community and health care partners to enhance local patient care and improve professional satisfaction for physicians.

If you are new to Chilliwack and don’t yet have a family doctor, you can call PAM (Patient Attachment Mechanism) to add your name to a list to be matched with a primary care provider, as spaces become available. Call 604-795-0034 or toll-free 1-844-795-0034.

Chilliwack Healthier Community is a network of local partners focused on affordable and accessible housing, mental health, public safety and healthy lifestyles. Partners include government, community agencies, law enforcement and businesses.

Chilliwack Hospital Foundation is a local community foundation dedicated to raising funds to support and purchase medical equipment for the Chilliwack General Hospital. All funds raised in our community stay in our community.

The Chilliwack Youth Health Centre provides free, drop-in, confidential access to integrated medical and mental health services to youth and young adults ages 12-26 years in a non-threatening, youth-friendly environment.

Finding a School

The Chilliwack School District (SD #33) is a learning community of over 14,000 students, served by 1,800 teachers and support staff. Chilliwack is home to 20 elementary schools, 6 middle schools and 3 secondary schools as well as alternative programs, continuing education, and distance learning programs. French Immersion is offered at six schools in Chilliwack.

Chilliwack is home to several independent schools. These schools generally provide the standard curriculum plus a special area of focus, such as Christian education.

Post Secondary

The University of the Fraser Valley is a fully accredited, public university that enrolls approximately 15,000 students per year. UFV has campuses and locations in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Hope and Agassiz, and a growing presence in Chandigarh, India.

UFV is large enough to offer variety, and yet small class sizes allow you to get to know your instructors and learn in a hands-on environment. UFV offers more than 100 programs, including two master’s degrees, 15 bachelor’s degrees, majors, minors, and extended minors in more than 30 subject areas, and 15 trades and technology programs.

The Sprott Shaw College campus in Chilliwack is home to small class sizes and the Sprott Shaw Advantage: employment assistance, lifetime refreshers and upgrading, employer warranty, and monthly start dates. Programs offered include business administration, early childhood education, health care/veterinary, hospitality, and technology.

Vancouver Career College offers accelerated, practical career training programs and courses led by instructors with industry experience. The Chilliwack campus offers programs in art and design, technology, health care, social services, and more.

Trades & Technology

Located next door to the main UFV building at Canada Education Park, UFV’s Trades and Technology Centre features several training opportunities including Agriculture and Horticulture, Aircraft Structures, Architectural Drafting, Automation and Robotics, Heavy Mechanical Trades Foundation, Hospitality Event Planning, Joinery, Electrical, Plumbing, and more.

Food and Agriculture Institute

Agriculture students at UFV have the opportunity to study at the eco-friendly Food and Agriculture Institute (FAI), a new facility that features one of the tallest greenhouses in North America and a spacious demonstration barn. With UFV’s agriculture programs, students gain theory, core principles, and practical training in horticulture, integrated pest management, and livestock production. UFV’s new production and laboratory facility allows students to get valuable hands-on training.

The Food and Agriculture Institute (FAI) at UFV works to support and steward agriculture both regionally and abroad. FAI conducts policy research to support the farm sector and support applied research into the crops of tomorrow.

Canada Education Park

The Canada Education Park is a multi-agency educational partnership that brings together some of the nation’s most respected education, training and research facilities and partners including the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pacific Region Training Centre (RCMP PRTC), the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the City of Chilliwack, Canada Lands Company and the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation.


The Chilliwack Fire Department is committed to community safety through public education, code enforcement, fire suppression and rescue services.

The Chilliwack RCMP are committed to providing the highest quality of policing services to Chilliwack. Its members are dedicated to protecting life and property while preserving the peace. Through the implementation of crime prevention and education programs, the RCMP work closely with citizens, businesses and community groups to promote safe homes and communities.

Chilliwack Search and Rescue is a 100% volunteer-run technical rescue organization that provides lifesaving services 24/7/365 for Chilliwack and surrounding areas.

The City of Chilliwack is dedicated to ensuring our city is safe through its many public safety initiatives including emergency preparedness, crime prevention, flood prevention and public health.


Are you planning to immigrate to BC? You should visit Welcome BC where you can explore the range of programs that may allow you to become a permanent resident and where you can find the information you’ll need to prepare for your arrival in BC. Once you’re here, whether you are a temporary or permanent resident of BC, a naturalized citizen, or a refugee, there are services and programs to meet your needs. Find out what they are and how you can access them.

Chilliwack Community Services offers support and services to newcomers in Chilliwack. The Immigration Services program provides newcomers the help they need to become contributors to the economy and full participants in the community.

Several schools and organizations in Chilliwack offer English as a Second Language courses, including Chilliwack Community Services, Chilliwack Learning Society, Chilliwack School DistrictUniversity of the Fraser Valley and Chilliwack School District International Student Program.

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