Abbotsford News: Covering the community for 90 years

The Abbotsford News has just completed a year-long celebration of its 90th anniversary. Enjoy reading some stories from the past.

Abbotsford News: Covering the community for 90 years

The following is a collection of different stories, from the 1920 to the 1980,  that have appeared in the pages of the Abbotsford News during the past 90 years.


Thursday, Nov. 20, 1924


Village Sidewalk Work Underway

Contractor Fred Culliton has the concrete sidewalk work on Gladys avenue now in full swing, and given half decent weather will have the job complete within a few more days. He has complained, however of being bothered by that species of pest with a mania for inscribing initials, hieroglyphics and even poetry upon the wet walks. Dogs and meandering cats have also left tracks of their curiosity upon Abbotsford’s first piece of concrete sidewalk. But residents along the street are not complaining.


Local Basketball Club Gets Frank Publicity

Members of the Abbotsford basketball club, suspended by the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada for several infractions of amateur regulations, have been reinstated by the powers that be. The suspension was lifted on the condition that the players “meet all financial obligations and promise to behave as good amateurs should.”


Mission Hotel Total Loss Through Fire

The Mission Hotel was destroyed by fire of unknown origin. The blaze was first noticed by the crew of a passing freight train at 1:30 a.m., but by the time volunteer fire fighters arrived on the scene, it was out of control. The hotel was one of the best-known in the Valley and a landmark of Mission, having been built in 1891. A piano and a little furniture was saved, but insurance would cover the loss.


Thursday, July 16, 1925


Mrs. Swift Elected To School Board By Substantial Vote

For the first time in its history, the Abbotsford School Board includes a woman member, Mrs. T.A. Swift. She defeated J.J. McPhee by a 33-13 margin. Her presence on the ballot boosted interest in the board’s annual meeting, which was attended by “the most representative gathering of ratepayers assembled in connection with school affairs in recent years.”


Canada’s Affairs Discussed at Railway Meeting

The annual shareholders’ meeting of the Canadian Pacific Railway was hailed as “one of the most important financial events of the year” given the organization’s position “as a great national institution the activities of which touch every branch of Canadian life.” Shareholders discussed decreased earnings in 1924.


Thursday, July 16, 1925


Sumas Lake Bed Leased to Sugar Refiners—Rumor


Reeve Lamson of Sumas has been unofficial approached by Engineer Moe of the Dyking District, who wished to learn if the Municipality would be willing to relinquish that area of the reclaimed lake lands within the municipal district. The Council has the matter under advisement, and has communicated the suggestion to White and Whiteside, the Corporation’s solicitors, in the expectation of learning the motive behind the Government’s indirect “feeler.”

Current rumor among some of the Sumas Prairie farmers is to the effect that plans are underway for the lease or sale of the entire lake area of 12,000 acres, which include some 46 square miles of lands within the Sumas municipality, to  the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company. Representatives of the big sugar corporation have been active around Victoria lately, so it is claimed, and a Sumas farmer with relatives experienced in growing beets for the refinery company in Idaho reports that a number of these American growers have been notified to be read to move into Canada within the near future. It is common knowledge that “beet blight” has put the sugar company to great trouble in placing its third factory in a suitable location, and it is quite feasible that the Sumas area is contemplated. The News for in touch with Mr. Pettingill, field manager of the Company, yesterday, but he was not in a position to give any information, claiming he knew nothing of such plans. We passion the rumor for what it is worth.


Wednesday, April 6, 1927


Morning blaze destroys $70,000 property and store stocks in Abbotsford

The Haddrell block, which included the Abbotsford hotel and adjoining store buildings, went up in flames in an early-morning fire caused by a faulty chimney in the hotel. An adequate supply of water from a recently installed system narrowly averted destruction of the entire east end of the town.


Sumas farmers organize selling co-operative

Farmers on the Sumas Prairie decided it would be to their advantage to sell their products collectively, and formed a co-operative association.


Wednesday, April 6, 1927


Matsqui Council


In response to a petition from Peardonville Community Association, Matsqui Council decided at Saturday’s meeting to erect road signs from the Yale road south to the customs office at the boundary. Other signs will be erected as required in other parts of the district.

The Salvation Army grant was raised $75, following an appeal by Staff Captain Bourne.

The Council granted a petition from J. McTavish and others for straightening and draining a portion of the Dennison road.

The tax dispute of F.E. Tilley was settled by the Council refunding the amount in error.

Cr. Gledhill was authorized to open, at his discretion, the west end of Towlan road at the request of C. Chaffey.

Petitions of K. Ogat and N. Oye for grading of their road from the Mt. Lehman road, also that of Nels Olund for the Coghlan road east of Mt. Lehman road, were allowed.

The council has been approached by private parties with a request that they be allowed to tap a supply of water to be found in land reserved at the base of Sumas mountain. As this is a potential source of supply for Matsqui village the Council will fully investigate the matter before acting.


Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1935


Nooksack Did Not Flood, Sumas Officials Declare

With Sumas Prairie covered in flood waters, officials from both sides of the border disagreed as to the cause. Bruce Dixon, inspector of the dykes, said that the Nooksack River in Washington State overflowed its banks and joined the nearby Sumas River. “The Sumas was unable to carry the tremendous flow of water and swept over the Sumas Prairie area,” he said.

Whatcom Country officials, however, denied that the Nooksack overflowed anywhere during the flood. “The floods of Sumas Prairie were all caused by rainfall, the melting of ice and snow in the district.”


Benefit Show in Theatre Tomorrow, 3-Hour Program

The Abbotsford Theatre and the Abbotsford, Sumas and Matsqui News sponsored a fundraising movie night to benefit needy families affected by the flood. The seven-picture slate included the feature film “Once in a Lifetime,” and a Disney cartoon, “Mickey’s Nightmare.”


Wednesday, Sept. 18, 1935


Hop Industry Worth Half-Million Dollars Yearly To This District

The local hop-growing industry was reported to generate $500,000 annually, most of which was “immediately disbursed in this part of B.C. in the purchase of supplies, and payment of taxes and labour.” The article emphasized, though, that it was necessary to maintain tariff protection to prevent a flood of lower-priced imported hops from the U.S. and other countries.


Fair Board Receives $100 Grant From Victoria

The Central Valley Fair Association was set to host its first fall fair in Abbotsford. The event featured a sports program of 25 races, and a tug-of-war tournament with four teams entered.


Wednesday March 29, 1939


Royal Train To Stop At Mount Lehman

Success has attended continued efforts of Reeve George A. Cruickshank of Matsqui to secure for the children and citizens of the Matsqui-Sumas-Abbotsford area at least a glimpse of Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they pass through the Fraser Valley en route home after a visit to the Pacific Coast. When it was found impossible to have the plans providing for the Royal Party to entrain on the C.N.R. at New Westminster altered to permit a motor tour of the Fraser Valley, Reeve Cruickshank sought to secure at least a brief stop in Matqui by the Royal Train.


H.J. Barber Flys Home From Ottawa

Chilliwack member of parliament H.J. Barber was invited to take one of the initial flights on Canadian Airways before regular passenger service commenced on the trans-Canada airline. “The greatest thrill of all,” Mr. Barber said, “came when we reached the mountains, but I must confess the thrill was multiplied when the Fraser Valley loomed below.”


MSA Hospital Shows Small Profit In 1938

The hospital’s annual report showed that it had been possible to operate the hospital at a small profit the previous year, but $16,236 had been written off in bad debts.


Wednesday, July 5, 1939


High School Staff and 1939 Senior Matriculation Class

A front-page photo of the Grade 12 class at Philip Sheffield High School indicated there were 19 graduating students.


$3,000,000 Program Includes Completion Matsqui-Clayburn Rd.

The provincial government announced funding to complete black-top surfacing on Riverside Road between Clayburn station and Matsqui Village. Among the other projects to be funded were two miles of the Trans-Canada Highway, which still left seven miles to complete between Chilliwack and Hope.


Wednesday, Dec. 27, 1939


On A Pick and Shovel Job in France

A front-page photo supplied by the British War Office featured a working party from a Scottish regiment setting out for a day of shelter building in the front-line trenches in France.


Two Busses Are Ordered For Schools

A final decision had been made to purchase two new, modern school buses for the MSA Educational Area. The buses, to be delivered in March, each had a 55-passenger capacity.


Wednesday, Nov. 26, 1947


Langley Pilot Escapes Injury In Plane Crash

Leslie Kerr, a 19-year-old pilot, had a narrow escape when the Tiger Moth plane he had rented from the Royal City Flying Club stalled in mid-air. After dropping from an altitude of about 1,600 feet to a short distance above the ground, the engine caught again but died before Kerr could regain altitude. The plane landed in a clump of trees and Kerr’s only injury was a cut on the forehead.


School Building Program Planned By Local Board

Questioned about the possibility of a school building program, School District No. 34 advisory board told the local PTA that they would have to vote on a bylaw “very soon.” It would be necessary to take out a loan to pay one-half of the cost of a new school, the balance being financed by the provincial government.


Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1948


A.S.M. News Dons Its New 8-Column Dress

This week The News is presented to its readers in a brand new eight-column dress which replaces the six-column format in use for many years. The change was made to enable this publication to keep in stride with progressive weekly newspapers throughout Canada.


25 Modern Homes to be Built On McKenzie Rd. by Coast Firm

Arrangements have been completed for the commencement of construction of 25 modern homes in the Abbotsford district to relieve the present housing shortage. Land has been purchased on the McKenzie Road, just north of the Dave Gosling home in Sumas municipality. The land was formerly of the Andy Clausen estate…

The homes, of which there are three different types, will contain four and five rooms plus laundry rooms and full plumbing. Prices of the homes will range around $5,000 with minimum cash payments required of $1,000 to $1,200.


Vote on Waterworks Bylaw In Abbotsford Thursday

Abbotsford property owners will go to the polls Thursday to vote on a $20,000 bylaw to provide funds for the renewal of a large part of the local waterworks system and extensions to meet increasing demands for water services. Balloting on the plebiscite will take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the office of the Corporation of the District of Abbotsford.


Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1948


Reeve Will Supervise All Sumas Paving


Two-man committees were formed to supervise various work in Sumas municipality at the first meeting of the newly formed municipal council held in the Upper Sumas School Monday afternoon.

One councillor was appointed chairman and another his assistant, both to serve for six months.

W. Fadden was appointed chairman of the grader committee with the assistant of J. Peers; J. Starr is an assistant to W. S. Buchanan in charge of all the trucks, J. Starr was chosen chairman to handle bridge repairs with the help of W. Fadden.

Brush, shovel and gravel pit operations were placed in the hands of J. Peers, with the aid of W. S. Buchanan.

Reeve Alex Hougen will be in charge of all hard surfacing in the municipality and will have the assistance of the councillor of the district in which the work is being done.

Replacing J. Starr and J. Peers on the finance committee are W. Fadden and W. Buchanan and chosen to represent Sumas on the M.S.A Hospital Board in place of Reeve Hougen is J. Peers.

J. W. Winson, Sumas police magistrate, will again represent Sumas as representative on the board of the Fraser Valley Union Library.


Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1948


Bradner Growers Ship Greenhouse Daffodils; Prepare for Bulb Season


Out in the Bradner district, bulb growers are making final preparations for what may prove to be the most successful season since Fenwich Fatkin founded the industry in the area just before the First Great War.

A number of growers have been shipping small quantities of daffodils and other cut flowers to the Coast market for the past ten days and shipments became general on Monday. These flowers have been raised in heated greenhouses and are rich in color. Among those fortunate enough to have their blooms come on ready for the earlier shipments were J. A. Charmichael, D. L. Baker, W. Baites, C. N. Upchurch, president of the Bradner Bulb Growers’ Association, and Oscar Vidman.

Fenwick and Les Fatkin, delayed slightly by a disastrous fire at their bulb farm in November, were among those who shipped cut flowers on Monday.

Field flower shipments will probably begin about the end of March, the outdoor growing season being a little late, due to the heavy rains with have occurred in the district during the past month.

Generally speaking, the weather is considered favorable for outdoor growth and daffodil fields are expected to burst into color in March if Jack Frost stays well in the background.

Typical of the growers in the Bradner district is Wessel (Bill) Bales, who specializes in bulbs and flowers on his 18-acre farm northwest of Bradner station on the BCER.

Bill recently shipped 2000 lovely Pink Pear hyacinth blooms to the coast after bringing them to maturity in his greenhouse.


Wednesday, May 19, 1948


Giant Air Show Planned for Abbotsford Airport

Jet-propelled planes, the “latest thing in aircraft,” were to be showcased at the International Air Show, July 1-3. The show, sponsored by the Abbotsford Lions Club and the Chilliwack branch of the Royal Canadian Flying Club, featured planes manoeuvring in the sky and displayed on the runways.


Flood Prevention and Emergency Committee Now Being Organized

The Mission Board of Trade, in an effort to combat a repeat of the Fraser River flood of 1936, called for the department of public works to provide a bulldozer and other equipment to raise the Dewdney dyke at least two feet. The Red Cross also offered to provide emergency equipment in the event of a flood, and recommended the board name a committee to prepare for emergency measures.


Wednesday, June 2, 1948


Fraser Flood Covers Matsqui Prairie

Over 10,000 acres of mixed farmland on Matsqui Prairie was flooded when the Fraser River poured in through a large gap in the dyke at Gifford. Army, Navy and Air Force units co-operated with civilians on dyke reconstruction and evacuation. The Abbotsford Airport became an evacuee centre, as approximately 30 people and 400 head of cattle took refuge there.







Wednesday, June 2, 1948


Women Play Big Part in Current Crises


Women of the M.S.A Area, nurses and social welfare workers have played a big part in meeting the flood threats and supplying the needs of all persons affected by the break in the dyke at Gifford.

Hundreds of women volunteered for emergency work in refreshment centers as soon as the need became apparent. Volunteer workmen were served with hot coffee, soup and sandwiches as they toiled on the dykes in Ridgedale and Gifford and lunches were also provided in the Eagles Hall, Abbotsford.

Women also took care of a large amount of the office work at relief committee headquarters in Abbotsford.


Wednesday, Jan. 25, 1950


B.C. Police Report Busy Year In 1949

Abbotsford’s three-officer detachment of the B.C. Police recorded 298 individual offences in 1949, and brought 285 of them to “successful conclusions.” Six motor vehicles were reported stolen and each one was recovered by police, as were three stolen bicycles. All six persons reported missing, including one child, were found. Seven people were killed and 54 injured in 336 car accidents.


Wednesday, Jan. 25, 1950


Here’s What it Looked Like in ’35


From the files of The News of January and February, 1935, come these pictures of the ice story and subsequent flooding of Sumas Prairie at that time. Some are B.C. Electric publicity department photos, others are taken by cameramen of the Vancouver Daily Province and the Vancouver Sun. They afford a measure of comparison of the 1935 story with that of recent snow and ice conditions in the MSA area.

Top left is a view of the B.C. Electric interurban right-of-way near Vye January 20 or 21, 1935. It appeared in The News under date of January 23. The lineman’s nightmare pictures here was duplicated over a wide area of the Fraser Valley Friday morning.

Top right view is at Huntingdon BCER crossing at the same date. Interurban service was interrupted for a month in 1935, but the B.C. Electric obtained a small gasoline locomotive from the Great Northern Railway which maintained an emergency service for a time. Light and power service to Chilliwack was out for three weeks, to many rural homes in the valley for months.

Top  center is a view of storm damage, which appears to be Vye road, but which The News cannot positively identify. It was not printed in issues subsequent to the 1935 storm, but indications link it with that period. Any reader who can identify location and date is requested to communicate with The News.

Lower center is a picture which was published February 6, 1935, showing the Trans-Canada highway under flood near Kennedy Ridge. Rapid thaw plus lack of power for Sumas pumping system caused widespread flooding, evacuation of residents and their livestock following the silver thaw. Among the hardest hit enterprises were the old Spencer and Totem tobacco plantations. At the former, large greenhouse collapsed from snow and flooding. Power boating on Sumas was common sight in February of 1935.


Wednesday, Oct. 19, 1955


They Opened New Senior High School

“You are most fortunate,” Hon. Ray Williston told MSA district citizens who filled Abbotsford Senior High School’s gymnasium-auditorium for the official opening ceremonies of the new school. The minister of education unveiled a bronze plaque bearing names of the trustees, board officials and firms connected with construction of the handsome structure prior to declaring it officially open.

District’s school construction program of recent years has placed it in an enviable position in respect to school facilities, said Hon. Mr. Williston. He paid tribute to the quality of teaching staffs in District 34.

Other areas in the province are not so fortunate, the minister declared.

Prayer of dedication was pronounced by Rev. Norman Calland.

Brief greetings were expressed by Reeve Alex Hougen of Sumas; Reeve James Reid of Matsqui; Commissioner M. M. Shore of Abbotsford; Rev. A. B. Patterson, MP; and Hon. W. K. Kiernan, minister of agriculture.

Presentation of the building was made by Robt. Berwick, representing its architects, and Walter Douglas, for the contractors, to Mrs. G. E. W. Clarke, chairman of District 34 board of trustees. She in turn presented the keys to Principal E. W. Burton.

Other platform guests included Trustees Reg. Ball, A. M. Fleet, Frank DeFehr, H. C. Walker, Dr. H. E. Cannon, and Geo. Heppner. Mrs. Clarke made special mention of the board’s regret at the recent retirement of Trustee Heppner. M. W. Warwick, president of the MSA branch of the B.C. Teachers Federation, was also a platform guest.

Two selections were rendered by a student choir led by John Wittenberg, eliciting words of praise from Hon. Mr. Williston.


Community Recreation Plan Gains Wide Support

Five community organizations endorsed the MSA Recreation Association’s plan to provide skating and curling facilities as part of a comprehensive recreation project for the area.


Friendly Leader Wins Heart of Valley Youngsters

World Chief Guide Meets Members of Her Family

Guiding, already del established in the Fraser Valley, received an added vibrancy of spirit from Saturday’s visit of the World Chief Guide to 2000 Guides, Brownies and their leaders at Abbotsford airport.

“The best passport in the world,” Lady Baden-Powell told her “family,” “is the Guide badge. It takes you across all frontiers of race and language.”

Vigorous and jolly, the World Chief Guide said warmly, “I am so glad to see you all. I shall carry away with the a very lovely impression.”

Impressiveness of the great rally of uniformed Guides and Brownies was enhanced by the bright autumn sunshine streaming into the drill hall doorway where Girl Guide Commissioners formed a guard of honor for the distinguished and friendly guest.

Accompanied by her traveling companion Mrs. Grant Pepler, provincial Girl Guide commissioner, Mrs. Max Wright, and by division and district commissioners of the Fraser Valley, Lady Baden-Powell mounted the platform to take the salute from smartly uniformed Girl Guide companies from New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Mission City, Agassiz, Maple Ridge, Fraser Canyon, Chilliwack, MSA area, Cloverdale-Langley-Aldergrove district, south and north Surrey districts and from Surrey-Delta district.

Color party, bearing two world flags and two Union Jacks, comprised Diane Smith and Darlene Borg of Matsqui, Pamela Warwick, Ita Segal and Barbara Crowley of Abbotsford, Marlene Gosling and Robin O’Neill of New Westminster, Donna Neilson of Agassiz, Kay Pallot of Haney, and Madeline Barber of Port Coquitlam.

Brownies of the North and South Fraser divisions “poured in like turning on a tap” as lady Baden-Powell later described their hand-in-hand skipping entry to the tune of Here we go round the mulberry bush.” “And when you have a good thing,” she enthused, “you like lots of it.”

Promoting “lots of it” is the job to which the World Chief Guide is happily dedicated. In her vigorous and warm-hearted way, she made this apparent in speeches at the rally, at the commissioners’ tea, and at the MSA guiders’ dinner in the evening. “This is on your shoulders now, bless you,” she told them all.

This generation of Guides and Brownies as well as Scouts and Cubs, is “as fine a lot as there has ever been,” she declared firmly. Young people, she believes, will go to the good rings as readily as to the bade and “It’s up to us to give them the good,” Many potential leaders, she thinks are “hiding out in the committees,” And this is surprising to a woman who sees so clearly that “in forty years we have proved ourselves to have an unbelievably good influence everywhere.”

Guiding, like scouting, is a tool with which we can build a world fellowship, the World Chief Guide is convinced. “This is a game,” she said, “with its deep purpose behind it.” She compared it, also, with the harnessing of Niagara Falls.

“After meeting Lady Baden-Powell,” one local guide captain remarked, “I’m afraid I’m going to be in guiding for life.”

Illustrating the need for more guiders, the World Chief Guide told of a retiring commissioner making her farewell rounds to companies and packs, finding three forlorn little girls standing wistfully outside one meeting place. Refusing her invitation to “come along in,” they explained that “We’re the waiting list.”

wTo the girls at the great rally, though, Lady Baden-Powell was just “a mother or grandmother meeting her family for a nice little talk” in which she reminded them that “smiling is just as catching as measles and a whole lot more useful.”


Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1956


Prepare To Aid Hungarians

The Hungarian Refugee Emergency Aid Council, comprised of a local groups including the Vancouver City Council, YMCA, YWCA and the Red Cross, requested that Abbotsford Airport be made available as a receiving centre for evacuees following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.


Even The Stars Are Different Here

One refugee from Budapest who had already arrived in Abbotsford was alarmed at spotting a red star outside his window when he woke up in the morning. It turned out to be a sign for a Texaco gas station, and the individual was greatly relieved to hear it had nothing to do with the Communist party.


Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1956


Fog Sends Air Traffic to Abbotsford

Airport Like Big City Terminal


Activity at Abbotsford airport during the past week has reached proportions of a big city air terminal. Increased  commercial and military traffic in and out of the port was caused by the re-routing of flights from the fogbound Vancouver airport.

Between Thursday and Monday, well over 150 planes landed and took off from the Abbotsford station.

Abbotsford port was closed by fog most of Tuesday, but heavy traffic started again today with Vancouver airport still fogged in.

Saturday, the port was the start and finish of a successful mercy flight to Quesnel. RCAF was unable to take off from Vancouver, and called for help from the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. plane picked up a Vancouver medical team at Abbotsford and made the return trip.

All commercial airlines mad Abbotsford their base. Canadian Pacific Airlines’ Mexico, trans-Pacific, Northern and Eastern B.C. runs originated from Abbotsford. Trans-Canada Airlines used the base for its trans-Canada flights, as did the pacific Western Airlines.

Several military planes also landed at the base.

Extra activity meant in increased burden of work for the six-man staff of the department of transport, radio division, and the port’s caretakers.

Indicative of the overworked conditions of the staff during that period, one employee brought the same lunch to work four days in a row. He did not get time to eat it.


Wednesday, Aug. 15, 1962


Valley investors have big stake in Lynden oil well

Officials with Can-American Petroleum Ltd., a company financed largely through capital from the Central Fraser Valley, had high hopes for their first oil and gas well south of the border. Approximately 75 shareholders were from the Matsqui-Sumas-Abbotsford area.


Estimated 14,000 watched thrilling aerial displays

The 1962 Air Show featured sky diving, flight demonstrations and aerobatic displays.


Wednesday, Aug. 15, 1962


Suggests Home Nursing Service


Matsqui council has asked for additional information before making a decision on the proposal that a home nursing care service be included in the program offered by the Upper Fraser Valley Health Unit.

Suggestion has ben make by unit director, Dr. A. S. Arneil of Chilliwack. Estimated cost of the service to the municipality is 10 cents per capita.

Dr. Arneil proposes that the unit finance the cost of providing nursing in the home for persons who are prescribed the service by doctors.

Council will ask Dr. Arneil to present council with more details at the next council meeting.

Third reading was given Monday to a bylaw regulating blasting in the municipality. Permits will be required between April 15 and May 31, and none will be issued for blasting within one half mile of the fur farms during that period.

Council will also regulate the posting of signs within the municipality under a new bylaw introduced for the first time. Bylaw must pass two more readings before becoming effective.

Council has indicated it is prepared to appeal to the court of revision of the assessment roll on behalf of groups of rate payers who they consider are receiving unfair treatment under re-classification of assessments.

Matsqui has submitted a resolution for presentation to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Kamloops next month calling for a complete review of assessment practices.


Wednesday, Jan. 20, 1971


Kiernan cuts arena ribbon

Lions Club president Tom Ruben perhaps summed it up when he said “It was you who made this possible” in his speech at the arena opening ceremonies Saturday afternoon.

Speaking on behalf of the Abbotsford Lions, Mr. Ruben, whose organization was probably the major reason for this area finally getting an ice arena, detailed all the effort that went into passing the arena vote, building it and equipping it. He said, in reference to equipment, that it was not so much the club as the people who “bought the peanuts, raffle tickets and contributed to the club’s many fund raising activities” that made the facility we can now be so proud of.

Official opening involved many local politicians in addition to MLA Hon. Kenneth Kiernan who cut the ribbon and MP Jerry Pringle. Although there were many speeches, Mr. Ruben must be given credit for making the event enjoyable and entertaining, giving praise where praise was due. Unfortunately, he and all the other speakers labored under a poor public address system but as this facility had not been used before, it did a creditable job and according to Sumas Mayor Kenneth Thompson, chairman of the arena committee, the trouble is only temporary. This condition was, however, so slight that it did not really interfere with the proceedings.

In addition to the Lions Club, other local service clubs represented were the Kinsmen and Rotary. Also represented was the Abbotsford chapter of DeMolay which provided hockey nets.

To end the ceremonies and officially open the arena for use Hon. Kenneth Kiernan clipped the ribbon with scissors provided by lovely Miss Abbotsford Sharon Wood.


Co-ordinate buses and plows – Ferguson

Future mayor George Ferguson – then a Sumas alderman – was quoted in the newspaper after gaining the full support of council on a suggestion that snow plows and school buses be co-ordinated so that bus routes would not have to be closed due to bad weather.


Douglas to talk

Tommy Douglas, who pioneered universal health care during his tenure as premier of Saskatchewan, was to be the guest speaker at the Burns supper at the Legion auditorium. He was the federal New Democratic Party leader at that point.


Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1972


Amalgamation decision today

People have been talking for years and years about amalgamation of the MSA community. Today it’s happening. At least the SA part anyway as owner-electors in Sumas and Abbotsford go to the polls to decide whether or not the two municipalities will unite to become one.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. this morning (Wednesday) and will close at 8 a.m. this evening. As soon as polls close, switch on radio station CFVR and listen for the results.

The News is sponsoring the airing of the amalgamation question and the broadcast will feature both Sumas Mayor George Ferguson and Abbotsford Mayor Peter Crocker.


Charges made about operation of arena

Charges of “shoddy and incompetent methods of operation at MSA Arena” were laid at the civic properties and recreation commission meeting. The allegations, made by a former arena employee, concerned poor maintenance of the Zamboni, the lack of a first aid room, and that the suspension lights were not adequately attached to the roof.


Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1972


Recent Drug, Alcohol Survey Shows Lack of Communication to be of Major Concern


“We do not think that drugs are the major problem in this community. They are only a symptom of the fundamental lack of communication between youth, families, schools and the community at large,” says Allison Andres, research director on a drug survey made between May and September of this year in the MSA and Mission areas.

Project was undertaken under the Opportunities for Youth program by 12 senior students from the area and received a $19,500 grant from the federal government. It was endorsed by the Upper Fraser Valley Health Unit, Abbotsford Rotary Club, MSA Community Services, Mission, Abbotsford and Sumas councils, RCMP (Mission), The News, School Districts Abbotsford and Mission, Evangelical Lutheran Church (Mission), Mission Community Services, St. Andrew’s Church, MEI and M.E. Pringle M.P.

More than 4,000 students were contacted in the two school districts with the survey being based on a cross section of 459 students who co-operated and gave interviews lasting from one to two hours.

Purpose of the study was to determine the amount of drug use (both hard and soft) in the youth of the community, to determine the degree of alcohol used and to determine the attitudes of user and non-users of drugs and alcohol.

This all took place during the summer vacation.

Allison Andres says the general lack of communication seems to be fostered by our highly competitive society and exists in all parts of the world. “The whole of society is questioning its values,” she told The News adding “Traditional sources of influence such as schools, churches, families and the community at large are not reaching youth as effectively as they might,”

Some of the important findings of the survey, which has not yet been officially released, are that, of the 459 interviewed, 153 young people between the ages of 13 and 18 were illegal users of drugs and that seven out of 10 of those interviewed used alcohol. Of these, about 44 per cent were using alcohol regularly. By area, 91 of the students interviewed came from Mission and 368 from MSA. Only 18 of those interviewed had parents who were divorced and 447 had both parents living.

It is interesting to note that the survey showed 266 out of the total 459 who believed they should have a religion and 271 who thought there should be changes made in the school system.

Regarding attitudes, the study shows a significant difference between user and non-users of drugs and alcohol. Users showed far more alienation towards society and a greater sense of powerlessness.

“They feel people won’t listen to them and that they have n o control over their own lives,” said the research director. “They are less sure of what is normal—what is right or wrong.”

Study has now gone to the advisory council on drugs, alcohol and tobacco rehabilitation in Victoria.

Those taking part with Allison Andres were Tim Roberts, Dale Pattison, Jane King, Cheryl Davies, Molly Krautter, Bil Hinde, Iris Switzer, Alma Code, Dorothy Williams, Art Martens, Ed Woods and Wally Filipowski.


Wednesday, July 11, 1973


Bridge opening attracts crowds

Mission Bridge, “a bridge for people, not cars,” was officially opened on Saturday afternoon by Premier David Barrett with the expected pomp and ceremony. Premier made reference to the “bridge for the people” in his remarks prior to unveiling a plaque, one of which will be located at each end of the structure.

He said he hoped the crossing would serve to strengthen communities on both sides of the river. “I want you to realize that this is a bridge for the people, not automobiles,” the premier stated, adding that he hoped citizens would get together to use the bridge with a sense of purpose. He said he did not want to see a car carrying only one passenger using the bridge. The bridge was provided as a social convenience, he concluded.

Crowd in excess of 1,500 persons, many of them pioneers of the central valley, crowded around the ceremonial platform located on the north end of the new structure.


Grosvenor centre to be Seven Oaks

It was announced that the shopping complex under construction at the corner of South Fraser Way and Gladwin Road would be named “Seven Oaks, Clearbrook shopping centre.” Oak trees were to be planted on the site. The official sod turning had been delayed because the Duke of Westminster, set to preside over the ceremony, was unable to attend on the originally scheduled date.


Wednesday, Feb. 4, 1976


Abbotsford’s worst fire wipes out jobs, incomes

Nineteen businesses were destroyed in a Fraser Park Shopping Centre blaze. Initial analysis from the fire marshall indicated it started in the rear portion of the Fraser Park Cafe. Abbotsford mayor George Ferguson called the fire “a major calamity to the district,” and Reid Properties, owners of the shopping centre, were uncertain as to whether they would rebuild.


Wednesday, Jan. 5, 1983


Three-fold celebration for Fraser Valley Sikhs

It was a three-fold celebration for thousands of Fraser Valley Sikhs Saturday – their $2.4 million temple was opening; Guru Gobind Singh, 10th Guru of the faith, was having a birthday; and it was New Year’s Day.

Ceremonies began in the morning as the Sikh’s holy book was carried in a processional from the old temple to the new building.

Crowds of well-wishers and members of the congregation then climbed the flights of stairs to catch their first glimpse of the temple’s main hall – dominated by a huge ceiling dome.

It was a new experience for many non-Sikh visitors and dignitaries who learned something of the faith’s rituals – first, never wear shoes into a place of worship, and second, not to enter the main hall before donning white scarves (provided by the Sikhs).

Inside, members of the faith line up before an altar to give monetary offerings and praise, before finding a spot to sit on the burgundy-carpeted floor.

Nachatter Singh Gill thanked the congregation who “so openheartedly gave donations” toward building the new temple.


Wednesday, Jan. 5, 1983


Charge Laid in Rempel Murder


Garry Chris Simpson of Mission has ben charged with first degree murder in the brutal slaying of Carole Rempel at Abbotsford Airport Dec. 12.

The 26-year-old Mission man, who up to the time of his arrest was working as a janitor at the airport, was charged in Matsqui Provincial Court Tuesday afternoon.

Simpson stood before a hushed courtroom as Judge E.A. Sather read the charge, his wife looking on from the front row of the gallery. Behind her sat members of Matsqui Police Service and Rempel’s friends.

Simpson was remanded in custody to Jan. 10, allowing him time to consult with a lawyer. In the interim he will be at the Lower Mainland Correctional Centre (Oakalla).

A Matsqui Police detective said Simpson was interviewed last week because he worked at the airport. He was released, although police say they had taken “an extremely strong look at him.”

The detective said police needed a break in the case at that time, and “it came over the weekend.”

Simpson had been working for a small janitorial company less than two months and was unemployed prior to taking that job.

He had been living in Mission “a couple of months” and was originally from Abbotsford.

Police say rewards of $2,500 from the municipality and $1000 from a private fund were not factors in Simpson’s arrest.

Rempel’s body was found in a washroom at Frontier Helicopter Ltd. on Sunday, Dec. 12. She had been severely beaten.

The 21-year-old Clearbrook pilot was an employee at Frontier Helicopter and, during her spare time, occasionally went to the airport to study for a college course. It was one of those occasions that the killer struck.


Wednesday, Jan. 5, 1983


Mayors Say Sharing Tax Revenues is Good Plan


If you live in Matsqui or Abbotsford but work in a major industry just outside your home municipality, should your town council be able to tax that industry to help pay for costs of running the community in which you live?

According to Matsqui Mayor Harry DeJong the idea of regional taxation is a good one. It’s something DeJong says would limit “controversy and competition between municipalities.”

And whether the idea becomes a reality may depend of a Union of B.C. Municipalities Task Force which is studying the scheme in hopes of determining policy for municipal boundary extension.

DeJong says the concept has been batted about for years and was a “strong platform” of former municipal affairs minister Bill VanderZalm.

The mayor says there’s “a lot of merit” to the idea, “particularly if it applies to an attractive rate of taxation against industry.”

DeJong adds the plan would help several municipalities, especially those not suited to industrial development.

Abbotsford Mayor George Ferguson says “There’s two sides to that coin” but he adds that regional taxation would “get rid of this clamoring of (municipalities) trying to hog” tax bases.

Ferguson said the scheme would solve arguments between municipalities “if they knew they’d get their fare share” of tax revenues from large industries.

“Say C Street was developed fully, obviously that would have some bearing of Matsqui, Huntingdon, Sumas Mountain and maybe Langley District,” Ferguson said.

The next question is which municipalities should share those tax revenues, if any.

“Some don’t want to share that base with somebody else,” the mayor said, pointing out that an industry’s home municipality spends a great deal of money of servicing and upgrading for major developments.

Ferguson said the idea may come closer to reality as regional governments become stronger. Further joint projects undertaken at a regional level will put more decision-making there, and less on individual councils.