Set in a friendly country atmosphere, the picturesque agricultural community of Agassiz is located at the junction of Highways 7 and 9, 35 km southwest of Hope.
In 1867, Lewis Nunn Agassiz, a retired captain of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, settled in the Fraser Valley with his wife and young family. His homestead, called Fernie Coombe, soon became the first store and post office, and with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, the little farming community began to grow.
The main crops were potatoes, root crops and hops, along with dairy and beef cattle. The verdant hop fields were a replica of those same fields in Kent Count, England, the origin of the many Englishmen who had settled in the area.
Today, the rural setting of farms and wilderness enhances the community of Agassiz, which strives to maintain its small town values and caring attitude. From community events to Dairy Farms, to a major downtown revitalization, to tons of green space, Agassiz has it all for the resident and the visitor.
Location: Agassiz is located on the Lougheed Highway (Highway 7), on the north bank of the Fraser River, 22 miles (35 km) southwest of Hope and 72 miles (115 km) east of Vancouver. To the north of Agassiz is the community of Harrison Hot Springs (5 miles/8 km).
Transport yourself right back to the 1920s at the Kilby Store and Farm (Kilby Historic Site), an authentic five-acre heritage site along the banks of the Harrison River. Costumed interpreters show you country life as it was early last century. Visit the old-style Post Office, pantry and kitchen, and the graceful rooms of the Manchester House Hotel above the Store. On the farm you’ll meet the chickens, cows, sheep and pigs, and find a terrific tree house in the Orchard Playground.
Housed in the oldest wooden railroad station still in existence in BC, at over 100 years old, the Agassiz-Harrison Museum offers a unique look into the area’s past. The museum features displays of period clothing, artifacts, photos of pioneer life, and changing displays of life in the area over the last 100 years, starting with the flood of 1894 and the following year’s incorporation.
Experience the exhilaration of catching the Big One, the White sturgeon, the largest freshwater fish in North America. Growing to over 1,000 lbs, many sturgeon in the 100 to 200 lb range are caught in the Fraser River, testing the skills of the best anglers skills with their long powerful runs. Chinook and sockeye salmon also return to the Fraser in vast numbers every summer.
Hemlock Resort is located 8.5 miles (14 km) north of Hwy 7 from Harrison Bay. This is a small, regional winter recreation destination that is also beginning to develop its trails for summer use by mountain bikes. Because of its low elevation and close proximity to the ocean, Hemlock Valley fares better in some years than others. The depth of its snowpack depends on a pattern of sustained cold weather. Despite Hemlock Valley Ski Area’s low elevation, local skiers and snowboarders make the most of its three chairlifts (one triple, two double), which access its rolling, contoured bowl – when it’s open. The season here runs from December to March. Skiing & Winter Activities in the Fraser Valley.
Golf: Golfers have two courses to choose from in Bridal Falls; The Falls Golf and Country Club, a dramatic 18-hole, par-71 championship course with panoramic views of the Fraser Valley, Mount Cheam and the Coast Mountain Range, and the attractive 9-hole Mountain Brook Golf Course set in a natural forest at the base of Cheam Mountain. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Camping: There’s camping west of Harrison Lake on Harrison Bay, where vehicle/tent campsites are located just south of Hwy 7 beside the beach at Kilby Provincial Park. The setting is lovely, but there’s not much privacy between sites here. The beach at Kilby is particularly popular with waterskiers…but don’t forget your wetsuit! The beach is also popular with anglers, trumpeter swans and a thousand or more bald eagles that come here to feast on the annual salmon run in late autumn. Camping in the Fraser Valley
Sasquatch Provincial Park is named after the region’s most famous semi-mythical beast. While keeping your eyes peeled for shaggy hominids, enjoy scenic trails and backwoods hiking in this park, one of the finest (and probably spookiest) in British Columbia. The park touches on four lakes, two of which – Deer and Hicks – are well suited to exploring in small boats. Trout fishing is popular in these two stocked lakes. Paddle to isolated Sandy Beach at Hick’s south end, well worth the journey. Miles of logging and Hydro power roads run through the hills surrounding the two lakes, perfect for a moderately challenging but lengthy mountain bike ride. An easy walking trail loops around Hicks Lake. If you camp at Deer Lake, watch for white-coated mountain goats on the steep-sided slopes of Slollicum Bluffs that rise above the lake’s north side. Early in the morning is the best time to see them as they pick their way along the bluffs.
One of the area’s most beautiful views is the cascading Bridal Veil Falls in the scenic and picturesque Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park south of the town of Bridal Falls. The falls are a short 15-minute walk along a well-modulated trail.
Come and experience first-hand the friendly atmosphere of the small-town country fair at the Agassiz Fairgrounds during September. The Agassiz Fall Fair and Corn Festival, rated one of the best Country Fairs in BC, promises something for everyone. Festivities include rides, games, a Talent Show, the Saturday morning parade through downtown Agassiz, and a Petting Zoo.
Agassiz-Harrison Mills Circle Farm Tour: A celebration of past and present, this tour is a rich mix of wonderful things to see, do, smell, and taste. See bison roaming the fields, watch artisan cheese and hand-crafted pottery in the making. Take a guided tour of a diary farm, revisit a 1920s active farming community, smell fresh coffee being roasted and 30 different varieties of tulips. Taste uniquely blended teas, heirloom tomatoes, gelati ice cream, Russian Red garlic, hazelnuts, corn, strawberries, and fresh veggies. Check with the Visitor Centre for more details.
To the north of Agassiz, on Highway 9, the resort town of Harrison Hot Springs puts recreation and health at the forefront of living. Beat those hot summer days by swimming, canoeing, sailing and fishing, and if you absolutely need to do something educational, this is one of British Columbia’s richest areas for rockhounding, especially for unearthing some spectacular fossils.
South of Agassiz at the junction of Highway 9 and the Trans-Canada Highway is the community of Bridal Falls, nestled on the floor of the Fraser Valley at the foot of the 2107-meter Mount Cheam. Attractions near Bridal Falls include Bridal Veil Falls, the dinosaur theme park of Dinotown, Trans Canada Water Slides, and Bridal Falls Bumper Boats.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on a driving Circle Tour. Head north out of Vancouver for the scenic Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island Circle Tour, or stay on the intensely scenic Sea to Sky Highway, passing through the magical winter resort town of Whistler and Coast Mountains Circle Tour. To explore the rural farmlands and forests of the fertile Fraser Valley, take the Fraser Valley Circle Tour, travelling outbound on the scenic route north of the historic Fraser River, returning westwards along the Trans Canada Highway 1 to Vancouver. Circle Tours in British Columbia.