Downtown Abbotsford History


We would like to acknowledge that the land on which Abbotsford is situated on is on the traditional and unceded territory of Sto’:lo

Check out the amazing ON THIS SPOT App that will take you on a walking tour of downtown Abbotsford.  With over 130 years of changes viewed through photos of ‘then and now’ depicting what was noted by then by owner of 160 acres of granted land, John Cunningham Maclure, in 1889 as ‘the promised land’, you will be amazed at how far we have come 

History of ‘the Tree’

During the early spring of 1947 on a Sunday morning, three Alderman, Vic Tessaro, Ted Galbraith and Len Saxbee, drove to the Abbotsford Airport and uprooted a two foot Douglas fir. That’s right, what is now over 85 feet tall, is that two foot tree they dug up in 1947.

Vic, who operated an Esso Service Station located at the junction of Montvue and West Railway St., felt the Village of Abbotsford desperately needed a Christmas tree for future years. That idea got the three friends thinking and planning on where the tree should come from and where it would best serve the community. The three Aldermen decided a perfect location was directly across West Railway St. from Vic’s Service Station and adjacent to Buckerfields Feed Store. There she is to this day, being enjoyed by thousands each year during the Christmas season while adorned with lights, and also throughout the year as she sits nestled in her little corner pocket park.

With a plan in place and an adventure on their minds, Vic’s absence from Church was duly noted by parishioners but Vic had previously informed his wife, Jane, that he had an important “Civic Duty” to perform and it was a secret duty. The three made their way to what we now know as Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), and found the perfect little tree to transplant.The Abbotsford Downtown Business Association began its annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration in Historic Downtown Abbotsford in 1989. We invite everyone to bundle up and join in the festivities as we light the Christmas tree for the 27th time on November 25th from 3-9pm. The streets will be shut down to vehicle traffic, Santa and Mrs. Clause will arrive at approximately 6 pm and tons of fun activities and great vendors will be onsite leading up to the lighting of the tree at approximately 6pm. Enjoy all this while being entertained at the Aldergrove Credit Union Community stage at the corner of West Railway and Essendene Ave. Be sure to join in on the Christmas carol sing-a-long just before the tree lights up.