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Abbotsford, British Columbia (Canada)

Fraser Valley Regional District

Last modified: 2012-08-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: british columbia | abbotsford |
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[Abbotsford, British Columbia] image by Blas Delgado

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The City of Abbotsford was formed in 1995 from the merger of the District of Abbotsford and the District of Matsqui (pron. MATTS-kwee). The District of Abbotsford, incorporated 1972, itself was an amalgamation of the Village of Abbotsford (inc. 1924) and the District of Sumas (inc. 1913). This is one of the few examples of amalgamation in BC, unlike the trend toward Mega-Cities in Central Canada.

Abbotsford sits on the south shore of the Fraser River, with Mission to the North (across the Fraser), Langley Twp. to the West, Chilliwack to the East, and Sumas, Washington, USA to the South. There is a border crossing to Sumas WA, and an international airport. Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), which now is served by scheduled airlines carrying passengers across Canada, is still the home to one of the largest air shows in North America, held each August. Abbotsford is in the Fraser Valley Regional District, but participates with the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

Current Flag

The new arms were granted to the new City in 1995. They take the pattern of the old Abbotsford arms and add the Green colour from the Matsqui arms. The crest is the Thunderbird from the Matsqui arms, recoloured. The crest has become the main logo of the City, but does not appear on the flag. The supporters were also changed. The flag is a banner of the new arms.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

The grant of arms, supporters, flag and badge of Abbotsford was issued on 25 October 1995 (The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, Vol. III, p. 59).

The flag is presented as a banner of the arms.

The coat of arms is described as follows:

Vert a cross and saltire merged Or voided Azure and overall in centre point a bezant charged with a strawberry flower proper;

Issuant from a mural coronet Gules masoned Argent bearing a frieze of alternating maple leaves and mullets Argent a representation of a northwest coast First Peoples thunderbird Or edged Sable embellished Gules;

On a grassy mound Vert set with a strawberry plant between daffodils proper and rising above barry wavy Argent Azure and Argent two lions Or armed langued and gorged with collars the rim heightened with raspberries all Gules;



The gold disc and cross symbolize Abbotsford, known as the “hub” of the Fraser Valley. The strawberry flower is the fraise of the Fraser clan, and is a reference to Simon Fraser, the namesake of the valley. With the amalgamation of the Districts of Abbotsford and Matsqui in January 1995, a primary colour of the former Abbotsford arms was changed from blue to green to reflect the dominant colour taken from the Matsqui arms. The green is also a reference to the rich agricultural lands, meadows and forests associated with the City of Abbotsford.

The mural coronet denotes that these are the arms of a municipality. The red masonry is a reference to the Clayburn brick industry. The band of white stars and maple leaves honour the City of Abbotsford as an historic gateway to the international border with the United States of America. The thunderbird is taken from the crest of the District of Matsqui and commemorates the unique culture and contribution made by the First Nations from the area.

The lions represent the multicultural heritage of Abbotsford’s citizens. They are made distinctive to the City of Abbotsford by their collars featuring raspberries coronets, a reference to the abundant raspberry growing industry. The lions stand on a grassy mound referring to the lands of the City. The daffodils represent its floral riches, and the strawberry flowers allude to the market gardens as well as specialized agricultural production. The wavy bands representing water symbolize the rivers and other bodies of water in the City of Abbotsford.

UNUS CUM VIRIBUS DUORUM, meaning “One with the strength of two”, was the motto of the District of Abbotsford. This Latin phrase represents the strength derived from two separate municipalities becoming one."
Ivan Sache, 2 August 2010

Flag 1992-1995

[Abbotsford, British Columbia] image by Blas Delgado and Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

On the twentieth anniversary of incorporation (1992), the District of Abbotsford was granted a coat of arms by the Canadian Heraldic Authority. These arms had a Blue background, and featured straight and diagonal crosses forming a pattern reminiscent of the Union Jack, apparently representing Abbotsford as the "crossroads", at the centre is a strawberry blossom, representing the local berry growing industry, and also the Fraser River. The flag was a banner of arms.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

Flag pre-1992

[Abbotsford, pre-1992] image by The Flag Shop Vancouver through Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

There was also a "letterhead logo" flag used by the District of Abbotsford in its pre-heraldic days: an "A" with a wheel, and the city's name in a curved font (no date known, but a very 70s or early 80s graphic design style). The wheel-spoke design influenced the District's coat of arms, which later gave way to the current arms and flag.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

Police Flag

[Abbortsford Police] image by Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

Abbotsford Police Department is one of the few independent city police forces in BC. Prior to amalgamation, Matsqui had its own police force, and Abbotsford an RCMP detachment. After Amalgamation the new force took the Abbotsford name, and many of the Matsqui symbols. Their flag is reminiscent of the old Matsqui Flag. It features the full Coat of Arms of the City on a Green-White-Green Canadian Pale, with "ABBOTSFORD" written above, and "POLICE" written below, in straight horizontal lines, in sans-serif capitals.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

Matsqui District Flag

[Matsqui district, British Columbia] image by The Flag Shop Vancouver through Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

The District of Matsqui had a coat of Arms granted by the College of Heralds in England. The full achievement (shield, helm, mantling, crest, but no supporters or compartment) was placed on a Green-White-Green Canadian Pale. The arms included two winged wheels (Abbotsford Airport was in Matsqui District), two sprigs of Strawberry plants, and a beehive kiln. The Thunderbird crest (which faces the sinister) was adapted to become the crest of the new city. The flag bore the legend "DISTRICT OF MATSQUI" in an arch across the top, and "B.C. , CANADA" straight across the bottom, with a large gap after BC, and the comma more or less centred.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005