Situated between magnificent mountains and teeming with rivers and lakes, Chilliwack has an unbeatable combination of outdoor activities, which explains why people from throughout the Lower Mainland flock to the city and its surrounding area. Though mostly known for its many summer activities, did you know that Chilliwack has fantastic weather year round? In fact, Chilliwack has the warmest average temperature in Canada with an annual average temperature of 10.5° C.
With its warm springs, it’s no wonder that Chilliwack has a long growing season. If living in the area, you can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of a bountiful harvest that’s freshly grown in your community. The warm temperatures also make it possible for you to enjoy a quiet lakeside stroll or fishing outing throughout the year.
Without the congestion found in Metro Vancouver and with a sense of openness not found in neighbouring cities, Chilliwack enjoys all the benefits of the country lifestyle, but with the amenities expected from a city. With Vancouver within reach at 1.5 hours away and a drive to the US border just half an hour away with less wait times than the border crossings further west, anywhere that you want to go is easily within reach.
Although the benefits of living in Chilliwack may be obvious, knowing where exactly within the city you should stay is not. As a general introduction to get you started, here is a guide to the neighbourhoods in Chilliwack.
Located in the north side of Chilliwack, just to the south of Hope River, is Downtown Chilliwack. Downtown Chilliwack, which is known as Chilliwack Proper in town, is the city’s urban centre. As the area from which the city emerged, Chilliwack Proper has a rich past and is the home to a number of historic buildings.
(From being the historic centre of the city, many branches of the government are located in the area, including Chilliwack City Hall, Fraser Valley Regional District Office and the Provincial Court of British Columbia. Perhaps the most famous area in Chilliwack Proper is Five Corners, which is where three roads intersect.)
As the bustling core of the city, Chilliwack Proper is filled with amenities. In addition to lots of dining options and a primary shopping destination, an abundance of entertainment options are available as well with sporting events taking place here. With its many cultural attractions and recreational facilities, you can always find something to do in Chilliwack Proper.
From the convenience of living in the downtown area, there has been a steady rise in development in Chilliwack Proper. Many of the new developments are multi-family residential homes as well as mixed residential and commercial developments.
Located north of Chilliwack Proper, Fairfield Island is the most northern neighbourhood in Chilliwack. With Hope River to its south and the Fraser River wrapping around in the north, the surrounding water gives the neighbourhood the appearance of being an island.
Though it is in close proximity to the amenities of Chilliwack Proper, Fairfield Island is surrounded by nature, and it has a number of parks as well. Gwynne Vaughan Park is 6.8 acres of beautifully landscaped lawns and gardens. In addition to admiring the maintained gardens, you could rent your own plot from the community garden and grow your own fresh flowers or vegetables.
As an established community unobstructed by traffic, Fairfield Island has a peaceful tranquility to it. The community is mostly made up of single-family homes.
Rosedale is a neighbourhood in northeast Chilliwack. It’s a particularly attractive community to stay because of its close proximity to many recreation destinations. It’s located right by Bridal Veils Falls Provincial Park and it’s a short drive away from Harrison Hot Springs.
Right to the east of Rosedale is Cheam Lake Wetlands, which is 230 acres of lake, marsh, and forest. The regional park within the wetlands has floating boardwalks and a viewing platform, which makes it popular for walks and birdwatching for any of the 184 different species of birds that pass through the park. The beaver pond with beaver lodge is also an attraction, with regular beaver sightings in the summer.
You can engage in recreational activities within the community as well. Rosedale Park has a playground, ball fields as well as a skateboard park. With Rosedale being an agricultural community, it has a charming mix of being both rural and suburban.
Chilliwack Mountain is a small mountain that is also the name of a more recently developed neighborhood in Chilliwack. Chilliwack Proper exists to its east, and Chilliwack Mountain drops down to meet the Fraser River to its north.
At the top of Chilliwack Mountain is Hillkeep Regional Park, which is a 36 acre nature reserve. With its outdoor recreation opportunities, you can walk through 2 km of trails through its forests. Rising above its surrounds, Hillkeep Regional Park presents you with spectacular views of the Chilliwack floodlands as well as the Fraser River.
Although Chilliwack Mountain is mostly covered with forests, subdivision development has created some newer homes in the neighbourhood. Some of these homes offer views of the Fraser River and and the Fraser Valley Ecological Reserve, which is one of the few unaltered islands in the Fraser River and protected from any future development.
Located in the heart of Chilliwack is Sardis. As the urban core of the south side of Chilliwack, Sardis has two major malls: Cottonwood Mall and Chilliwack Mall. Sardis also has some of the best restaurants in town and you will have plenty of selection at Restaurants Row, which received its name from its high density of restaurants.
To provide you with a balance from the urban lifestyle, Sardis also has a number of fantastic parks. The Watson Glen Park not only houses the Sardis Library, but the 27.5 acre park offers you plenty of recreational facilities. For a more serene environment, Sardis Park is a 12 acre park that provides you with terrific viewing opportunities of birds, particularly wildfowl. You can view mute swans in the park throughout the year or catch a glimpse of trumpeter swans, which are the largest waterfowl species, in the summer.
As an established community, Sardis has many types of homes, ranging from condominiums and townhomes to single-family homes and gated communities. The south part of Sardis is known as Vedder, which has many newer communities and medium-density residential homes. From its growth in popularity, Vedder now has two-thirds of the population in Sardis.
Promontory is located just east of Vedder. The southwest edge of this neighborhood meets the Vedder River, which is the name of the portion of Chilliwack River in the Fraser Valley floodplain.
With its close proximity to the Vedder River, which is especially popular for kayaking and fishing, there’s lots that you can do here. With its trails and bike paths, you could also enjoy hiking and biking up the hill at Promontory.
Promontory is a new community that was established in 1992. Its subdivisions are known to be particularly family-friendly with single-family homes and townhouses. From the Southern Hillside neighbourhoods in Chilliwack, Promontory has experienced the most growth recently.
Although it shares a name with a lake within its confines, Ryder Lake is another Southern Hillside neighbourhood, located east of Promontory. With a longer history than Promontory, Ryder Lake continues to be a farming-based community with sections protected for continued agricultural use.
With the protected land in Ryder Lake, there are lots of natural environments for you to explore. Up the slopes of the 484 metre tall Mount Thom is Mount Thom Park. The 173 acre park has over 5 km of trails leading through its forests, and Lookout Loop Trail has particularly phenomenal views of Sardis, Promontory and Cultus Lake.
Much of the natural surroundings of Ryder Lake will remain preserved with its protected land, and the city continues to resist higher density rezoning. As a result, this rural community has many estate homes with acreage, though developments continue to occur upland.
Located north of the Vedder River and west of Sardis is the sizeable neighborhood of Greendale. As one of the neighbourhoods that is furthest west in Chilliwack, Greendale borders the east side of the city of Abbotsford.
The area where Greendale exists was once the 10,000 acre Sumas Lake at the foot of Sumas Mountain. The lake was drained in the early 1920s, and much of this reclaimed fertile land is preserved for agricultural use. The land that isn’t dyked to drain Sumas Lake is also the habitat of many species of plants and animals, which you can see at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve. The nature reserve has a number of trails that you can use for a leisurely stroll through the natural environment.
Greendale is a rural community with mostly single-family detached homes. As much of the area is protected as farmland, limited future development is expected.
Yarrow exists just south of Greendale on the other side of the Vedder River. It is one of the most southern neighborhoods in Chilliwack, located at the base of Vedder Mountain.
From its rich farmland, you can enjoy many of the local produce at the Yarrow Farm Market, which has over 30 vendors per week. For leisure, you and your family can enjoy the Yarrow Pioneer Park, which was redesigned in 2010 in collaboration with the community. The 6 acre park features a picnic area, a playground with a natural flowing design and a skatepark.
Perhaps the most famous community in Chilliwack is the Yarrow Ecovillage, which is Canada’s first ecovillage. This member-based community was created with the intention of being socially, ecologically and economically sustainable. With much of the land in Yarrow reserved for agricultural use, most homes in the neighbourhood are single-family homes.
As you can see, Chilliwack has many wonderful neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character. With so many choices, get in touch with Bryan Van Hoepen and his team to gain more detail on a particular neighbourhood or to find out which neighbourhoods have the type of home that you seek. As a top-producing REALTOR® with over two decades of experience in the Chilliwack market, get credibility and accountability when you receive assistance finding a neighbourhood and home that is ideal for you.
Living on the mountains, rivers and lakes is easier than you think. All you have to do is imagine the possibilities of living in Chilliwack.