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Chilliwack The Place To Live

Updated on February 8, 2012

We moved to Chilliwack seventeen years ago. A family of five, husband, wife, three small children ages one year to four years old. We rented a house for the first year and were able to buy a three bedroom double wide modular home the second year. We lived there for nine years until we were able to buy a four bedroom house on a third of an acre. This is where we reside today.

We were not the first of our family to move to Chilliwack, my sister moved here with her two children in 1992 and my parents arrived a couple of months later. Chilliwack was becoming so popular with our family my Grandparents joined us in 1998 and my Aunt in 2001 followed eventually by all four of her children. So Chilliwack is a city where almost my whole family has lived. Even with my sister being the first one to move here she was not!

“1894 - Chilliwack”

The following information was taken from the autobiography of my Great Great Uncle John M. Telford who in 1894 (after leaving his home in Valens, Ontario at the age of 16), arrived in Chilliwack where he would spend the next three years.

“Getting Here”

On Monday morning, November 12, 1894, the day after his sixteenth birthday, John’s father drove him to Shaw Station where he boarded the train to Toronto. That same night the CPR train left the Toronto Station and headed westward with young John aboard, eagerly anticipating the new life these CPR rails were taking him to.

As the train approached the snow covered foothills of the “famous mountains”, passengers were in awe of their beauty and, thinking the foothills were actually the mountains, curled up for a good night’s sleep. John did not sleep but stayed awake to see those wondrous mountains. He states “I am not going to attempt in these notes to describe the mountain scenery. This is for two reasons; first, because my powers of description are too limited; second, many competent persons have already so vividly depicted the beauties and the marvelous wonders of these mountains in both prose and poetry that it is both foolish and unnecessary for further attempts. So often it has been said no descriptive powers can do full justice to their magnificence and liveliness. They must be seen.”

Seven days and nights after leaving his parents home, John Telford arrived at Mission Junction. He and his belongings were then transported to the Fraser River where he boarded a sternwheeler for the last leg of his journey. It was slow traveling against the swift flowing current. When a stop was to be made along the river, the steamer’s nose would be rammed into the mud bank, where passengers leaving would rush off and scramble up the steep bank and others would rush on before the boat nose could free itself from the mud.

Finally, he reached Chilliwack Landing, scrambling off into the mud, getting himself and his luggage (including a trunk) all to the top of the bank the best way he could. His brother George who had come out west before him was there to meet him with his pony “Dandy” and his cart. It was the evening of George’s nineteenth birthday. His sister Maggie was also there as was his sister Jean, her husband Charlie Templar and Jean’s step-children Ada and Frank. He was taken to the Templar home where hugs and tears were in abundance.

His first description of the area was “The hills lifting their heads and watching us from all sides were something new: the climate was different — warm, cloudy and constant rain took the place of Ontario’s cold, sunshine and snow, in the village with houses crowding around and hemming you in instead of isolated rural homes. Yet one soon settles down, becomes adjusted to the environment and in an amazingly short time it begins to feel as if it has always been thus.”

My Great Great Uncle John described the beauty of arriving to Chilliwack like I never could, even though he didn’t end up staying I’m sure he would have been happy to know some of his family found their way here, where his nephew; my Grandfather passed away leaving a little more of the Telford history in Chilliwack.



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