Please note the lights are now down for the season
FOR SHINE BRIGHT EVENT INFORMATION: CLICK HERE
Through the creation of 16 individual light designs that are illuminating the Historic Downtown this March, we invite you to come together and share some of the many things that make Mission unique.
As you start your journey through Downtown, use this blog to learn more about the representation and symbolism of each lamplight design.
Don't forget to also check out the businesses that have Shine Bright special offerings! Available for only a limited time.
I love Mission - Symbolizing the I Love Mission initiative created at the start of the pandemic to offer support to local businesses. This group also created the Shine Bright event.
I Love Mission, a partnership between the City of Mission, Tourism Mission, the Mission Downtown Business Association, The Junction Shopping Centre, Mission City Record, Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures North Fraser, and the Mission Folk Music Festival, was initiated in 2020 to support the local business community with marketing, education, and support at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its purpose was to develop a strong shop local focus, with the branding “I Love Mission” to Shop Local, Eat Local, Support Local, and Celebrate Local.
I love Mission provided free educational webinars, marketing materials and promotional opportunities to the business community.
Some of the I Love Mission highlights include:
- Menus and Melodies - partnering musicians with local restaurants
- $6,000 Christmas Gift Card Giveaway- thanks to the Downtown Business Association
- Mission Movie Moment Map - a self-guided walking tour of film locations
- Mission Movie Moment Event – a free Hallmark movie showing (that was filmed in Mission)
- Partnership with the Mission City Farmers Market – bringing new entrepreneurs to a retail venue
- Shine Bright Mission – a free community event with unique Mission-themed lights.
As the program winds down, the I Love Mission team would like to thank the public for their continued support of our local businesses and acknowledge all of the hard work our First Responders undertook during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
For more information: mission.ca/ilovemission
Raceway Trophy – For Mission Raceway Park which has been breaking records for 70 years. The home of autocross, circuit lapping, drag racing, drifting, and motocross in the Fraser Valley.
The trophy represents Mission Raceway Park’s impressive achievements since its first drag racing event held on August 26, 1965.
Operated by the BC Custom Car Association, the first racetrack was located across the railway tracks where the Junction Shopping Centre and Industrial Park are located today. In 1979, motocross races were held for the first time and the following year, demolition derbies, drag boats, and off-road races were added.
The present-day track opened on the weekend of March 14-15, 1992 with 230 competitors and 5,000 spectators during the two-day event. That year the raceway hosted 58 events, including drag racing on a quarter-mile track; motocross racing over newly constructed hills and jumps and through bogs; and mini-sprints where small race cars, powered by motorcycle-type engines, who competed on an oval track.
Attracting competitors and fans from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada, not only is Mission Raceway Park renowned as one of the fastest and best-run tracks, it is also BC’s first 230-mile-per-hour drag strip and has been honoured nine times as the NHRA Track of the Year.
For more history: missionraceway.com/history
For the race schedule: missionraceway.com/events/
Waterfall - Highlighting the stunning waterfalls the area boasts, with the most popular being Cascade Falls, Steelhead Falls, and Rolley Falls.
Chasing waterfalls is a popular pastime with some impressive options close to home, so much so that Hallmark filmed a movie all about it! (Chasing Waterfalls – 2021).
Cascade Falls: Sits in a 22-hectare park just east of Mission. This stunning 30m drop waterfall changes with the seasons with the heady rush of the spring runoff to a winter paradise, complete with icicles on a snowy day. Hike the short 1km steep incline through a forested trail to access viewing platforms and walk the FREE suspension bridge that spans Cascade Creek.
Did you know it is the featured waterfall in the Twilight Movie series – Breaking Dawn Part 2?
Rolley Falls: Is located in Rolley Lake Provincial Park, and offers a 4.7 km loop trail that features a beautiful waterfall with a moderate gain. A great trail for all levels of hiker and is a good place to bring your dog (on their leashes, of course). Alternatively, access from the Stave West Forest and Recreation Area.
Steelhead Falls: Close to Hayward Lake, with the parking lot access from Dewdney Trunk Road. A gorgeous waterfall at the end of a quick 1km hike with bridges, water routes, natural growth, and the sound of the raven calling will make you feel at one with nature without going too deep into the wilderness. A great location for a family hike, this short 2km roundtrip distance makes it easier for little feet to enjoy the adventure with you. Note: due to rocky paths, tree roots and stairs, this trail is not suitable for strollers.
For more adventures: tourismmission.ca
Painter’s Palette – To embody the vibrant arts community, which includes a wide array of artists, writers, actors, sculptures, potters, filmmakers, and organizations including the Mission Arts Council.
The painter’s palette symbolizes the kaleidoscope of the artistic spirit, creative aspirations, and cultural endeavors in Mission. Mission has been home to internationally recognized artists and writers over the decades, with local talent excellence in visual, performing, and literary arts.
Among the earliest of these artists was Thomas Fripp, an internationally known artist and photographer. Described by his colleagues as “the most outstanding watercolor artist in Western Canada,” he lived in Hatzic from 1893 to 1923 where he established a farm.
In 1897, Fripp married Gertrude Murill and had three children. They lived in a cottage built for them on Henry Street to which he added rooms, including a studio. Following a farming accident, Fripp returned to his first love: landscape painting.
Though B.C. had no art market in those rugged early days, it certainly had many landscapes to inspire Fripp. His favorites were the view of Hatzic Lake from Neilson Park and the head of Stave Lake. Spending his summers exploring, sketching, and painting and his winters fine-tuning his art, Fripp produced hundreds of superb landscapes. He was also a talented photographer and the Mission Community Archives house some of his images of early Mission.
With so many opportunities to experience or participate in art in Mission, check out a few of the many options available:
Mission Arts Council & Gallery: missionartscouncil.ca
The Clarke Theatre: clarketheatre.ca
Opening Nite Theatre: www.openingnitetheatre.com
Downtown Murals: https://www.downtownmission.ca/downtown-murals
Parks and Recreation Programming:mission.ca/city-hall/departments/parks-recreation-and-culture/register
Mission Library: www.fvrl.bc.ca/locations/mission.php
Fraser Valley Academy of Dance: https://fvad.ca/
Railway Bridge – An iconic symbol of the rich local history and connections to the river and railway. With the unique multi-cultural heritage and collective memory now preserved by the Mission District Historical Society.
This bridge icon represents the CPR Bridge, built between 1889 and 1890. The original structure was constructed of wood and had a 233-foot swing span allowing vessels to pass through. In 1903 the swing span was converted to steel, along with the remainder of the bridge by 1910.
The bridge was a major transportation corridor across the Fraser River that connected Mission to the American border at the Sumas-Huntington crossing – a first in BC! With the promise of new markets and employment provided by the new railway link, there was an influx of people, resulting in a boost in land sales and construction, transforming Mission into a “boom town.”
With the gradual shift from horses to cars, the Mission City branch of the Auto Club of BC successfully rallied with the support of communities throughout the valley to have the bridge planked for vehicles in 1927.
Today, the bridge just carries rail traffic, as its dual role for transporting trains and vehicles came to an end on July 7, 1973; when the four-lane Mission Bridge was opened by Premier Dave Barratt for vehicle traffic.
Visit Mission Harbour for a great view of the bridge, Mount Baker, and the Fraser River.
For more information on Mission’s rich history: missionarchives.com
Big M – Representative of art in public places, the Big M monument was commissioned to celebrate Mission’s 125th anniversary and symbolizes the community's blue-collar roots.
Created by Mission artists Dean and Christina Lauze, the “Big M” incorporates relics and industrial elements representative of Mission and its storied past that encompass:
The Stó:lō people, Mission's first inhabitants, the Leq’á:mel, Semá:th, Kwantlen, Sq’éwlets, Máthexwi, and Katzie whose lifestyle and traditions, included fishing for salmon and sturgeon.
The CPR Bridge which was the first railway link to the United States in BC that transformed Mission into a “boom town” in the 1890’s.
The chief industries of agriculture, forestry, and commercial fishing, through which Mission became known as “Home of the Big Red Strawberry,” the “Cedar and Shake Capital of Canada,” and the “Sturgeon Capital of the World.”
Some of the major attractions which put Mission on the map including the Western Canada Soap Box Derby and drag racing at Mission Raceway Park.
Mission’s Veterans who valiantly served during the two World Wars to the present in order to preserve freedom and justice at home and abroad.
The 125th anniversary of Mission’s incorporation as a municipality in 1892, and Canada’s 150th birthday in 2018.
The “Big M” located at 7337 Welton Street, in Downtown Mission, and is a great spot to take a selfie.
Movie Clapperboard – Mission shines as a locale to many TV shows, feature films, and Christmas movies, with our historic Downtown and forests often stealing the show.
Our Downtown streets, forests, and businesses often step in as quaint American towns, adding a sprinkle of snow and a dusting of movie magic to complete the look.
Productions have included the X Men (Powerhouse), Riverdale (Rocko’s Diner), Twilight – Breaking Dawn (Cascade Falls), The Art of Racing in the Rain (Mission Raceway Park), and Playing with Fire (Downtown Mission).
The list goes on, like the end credits of a movie!
Go on a self-guided tour of all the movie locations with Tourism Mission’s – Mission Movie Moment Filming Locations Map. Choose whether you are an Adventure Buff who likes a good mystery with a slice of sci-fi on the side; or Tender Hearted who sighs at those romantic Hallmark gestures and looks to take a dreamy stroll through the park. Follow the itinerary of your choice for a showstopping day out, and make sure you check out Tourism Mission’s very own movie at https://tourismmission.ca/mmm/
Poppy – A powerful symbol of remembrance, the poppy commemorates Mission’s Veterans who have served and continue to serve during times of war, conflict and peace.
The poppy represents Mission’s Veterans whose contribution to the defense of Canada has been an impressive one. More than 4,000 men and women from Mission have come forward to serve during times of war, conflict, and peace. At least 166 of them made the ultimate sacrifice and did not return to their loved ones. In 2006, Mission adopted a policy to incorporate a poppy on signage for any streets named after a Veteran. Mayor James Atebe stated at the time: “We are proud to have taken this step to recognize those whose sacrifice guaranteed our freedom and I hope every time we see the poppy on those signs we remember.”
A symbol for the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual fundraising campaign, the poppy is also representative of Branch 57 Mission. Since its establishment in 1927, the Mission Legion has provided a collective voice for Veterans and their dependents in need of help; organized Remembrance Day services; helped to establish senior housing and programming; provided scholarships and opportunities for local youth; and sponsored countless good works in the community.
Powerhouse Generator – Showcasing the Powerhouse at Stave Falls Visitor Centre as a former BC Hydro generating facility that now shares the story of hydroelectricity through historic and interactive displays.
The original powerhouse at Stave Falls was once British Columbia’s largest hydroelectric power source. In 1900, the Stave Lake Power Company secured a charter from the provincial government which gave it the right to develop hydroelectric power on the Stave River and to distribute power over the whole of the district surrounding Vancouver.
Following two years of stops and starts, however, the company was bought out by eastern capitalists and reorganized as the Western Canada Power Company in June of 1909. The following year, the company built up the sluice dam that had been erected by the Stave Lake Power Company and constructed a provisional powerhouse next to the Falls. By January 1912, the sluice dam, main intake dam, and powerhouse were completed.
The powerhouse housed two 13,000 horsepower turbines that each powered an 8,825-kilowatt generator. The foundations for the powerhouse were excavated in solid rock and the building, 100 feet wide by 90 feet long, was constructed of steel and reinforced concrete. The dams created a lake of 13 square miles, providing a reservoir of about 171,000 acre-feet. It was the first automated powerhouse in the Commonwealth.
In 1995 the power station was decommissioned and is now a family-friendly tourist attraction and National Historic Site of Canada, with information and many hands-on exhibits that highlight the story of hydroelectricity in the area. The Centre is open seasonally from March to October, located at 31338 Dewdney Trunk Road, Mission.
As part of BC Hydro’s work towards reconciliation, Kwantlen First Nations designed six 25-foot panels across Ruskin Dam depicting the Nations connection to water and the land of the region.
For more information:
Salmon – Representing the salmon and sturgeon, elements of the Leq'á:mel First Nations logo. The City of Mission is located on Leq’á:mel, Semá:th, Kwantlen, Sq’éwlets, Máthexwi, and Katzie traditional territories.
Mission residents are fortunate to live, work, and play in the heart of the Stó:lō Coast Salish territory.
Stó:lō means “People of the River” and the connection to the river has always been important to the local First Nations, including the Leq’amel First Nation, who have the salmon and sturgeon highlighted as part of their logo. The outline of the light represents the salmon and the inner line is the scute of the sturgeon.
The Fraser River provided a transportation route connecting the river-based communities for trade and commerce, as well as vital sustenance from the many varieties of salmon migrating annually.
The traditional language of the Stó:lō, Halq’emeylem, originated in Leq’amel traditional territory and spread up and down the river with variations used on Vancouver Island and Washington State.
In July 2021, a historic agreement was signed between Leq’á:mel, Matsqui, and Sumas First Nations, the Province of BC, and the City of Mission to return traditional lands to the First Nations and establish new public parklands and recreation areas in Mission. https://www.mission.ca/historic-agreement-brings-together-municipal-provincial-and-first-nations-governments/
This, along with the Stave West Forest and Recreation Area, where the City of Mission works alongside Leq’á:mel, Matsqui, and Kwantlen First Nations, and the Province of BC to create an area for family-friendly recreation, all highlights the power of working together, learning from the past, and thinking forward to the impacts our decisions today will have on future generations.
For more information on Stave West go to: https://www.mission.ca/wp-content/uploads/Stave-West-Master-Plan-Final.pdf
Khanda – This is the symbol of the Sikh faith, and represents the Mission Sikh Temple that opened to the public in Mission in 1989.
The symbol of Sikhism, the Khanda, represents the generations of Sikhs who have called Mission their home since the late 1930s. Their temple is a cultural landmark in Mission today, officially opening on Saturday, November 18, 1989 and drawing more than 1,500 people to celebrate the historic occasion.
Built at a cost of $2.8 million, the temple is owned by the Mission Gur Sikh Society which was established to promote the teachings and observations of the Sikh religion and maintain this religious place of worship in the Mission community.
More than a place to serve the spiritual needs of the congregation, the Sikh Temple includes a large community kitchen and eating area for serving free meals to anyone regardless of their religion. The kitchen was also built to accommodate thousands of people for special occasions or during an emergency, therefore establishing the temple as a benefit, not only to Sikhs, but to everyone in the community.
For more historical content: https://missionmuseum.com/local-history/shaping-our-community-prominent-indo-canadian-pioneers/
Tree Cross-Section – To represent the community’s ties and long history with forestry. Mission holds a tree farm licence (TFL#26) which is approximately 10,900 hectares.
Mission forests start just north of Cedar Valley and end 17km up the west side of Stave Lake. Forestry revenues contribute to community assets such as new fire trucks and the Firehall, Leisure Centre upgrades, Boswyk Seniors Activity Centre, a portable sawmill for Mission Senior Secondary, and most recently, a donation for the Mission Memorial hospital.
Mission harvests about 0.7% of its forest annually, and is reforested with species ecologically suited to the area, such as Douglas-fir, Western redcedar, Western white pine, and Sitka spruce. Mission has protected its remaining old-growth forests and has identified additional areas to be protected so that over time, old-growth forests will encompass up to 20% of Mission’s forests.
TFL26 thanks the Mission RCMP, BC Wildfire Service, Mission Fire Rescue Service, BC Conservation Officers, and Mission Search and Rescue who all keep our forests protected and the public safe.
For more information: mission.ca/city-hall/departments/forestry/
Mountains – Congratulations to Elizabeth Gill who won the youth light design contest with her snow-capped mountains. Mission’s notable peaks include Mt. Crickmer and Mt. Robie Reid.
Elizabeth made a great choice with her light design, as Mission is overlooked by mountains in most directions.
Mount Crickmer sits in the Garibaldi Range of the Coast Mountains and is accessible from the Stave West Forest and Recreation Area. This is the highest peak within the City of Mission’s boundaries, with an elevation gain of 1,359 m. Its colonial name is for the Reverend William Crickmer.
Mount Robie Reid sits in the eastern section of Golden Ears Provincial Park, north of Mission and west of Stave Lake. A towering mountain that is difficult to see from Mission, but its snowcapped peak stands out as you enter Mission from the south or west. The colonial name commemorates Robie Lewis Reid, a renowned educator, and historian in BC in the 1900s.
Mount Baker, a volcano in the North Cascades in Washington State, can be viewed from Fraser River Heritage Park and usually sits in a snow-covered blanket even in the height of summer.
Hking these peaks is a little ambitious, but there are plenty of trails and viewpoints. Pick up your copy of the Mission Hiking Guide at the Visitor Centre or view here: https://tourismmission.ca/category/outdoor-adventure/
Rainbow – To highlight the community’s pride and importance of being a safe and inclusive space for all its residents and supporting diversity through programs such as the Fraser Valley Youth Society.
Mission values and celebrates the diversity within the community including age, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and culture. We pride ourselves on the way the community comes together to offer opportunities for our residents to work together and learn from each other.
In 2022, Fraser Valley Pride moved to Fraser River Heritage Park and will remain as a Mission-based celebration for 2023. In 2022, Fraser Valley Pride moved to Fraser River Heritage Park and will remain as a Mission-based celebration for 2023.
The Fraser Valley Youth Society supports safe spaces for youth in the community and recognizes the Mission Youth Centre and MY House, in addition to space and programs provided by their own organization.
Forest Trail – This symbolizes Mission’s outdoor recreational opportunities including mountain biking, hiking, and fishing on urban and forest trails from Fraser River Heritage Park to Stave West.
Whether you want a quick escape on an urban trail or to be at one with nature on a forest hike, Mission has it all.
For maps and trail information, check out the Mission Parks and Trails Guide: https://tourismmission.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Mission-TrailGuide.pdf
While some trails may only be steps away from the city, make sure to be adventure smart! Don’t forget to trip plan, carry the essentials, and pack in-pack out.
Many say that Mission is where mountain biking began. Whether this is the case or not, one thing is for sure – there is a great selection of trails here, including the Bear Mountain bike trail network:: https://tourismmission.ca/explore_posts/bear-red-mountain-trails/ and the Fraser River Heritage Park trail network: https://tourismmission.ca/explore_posts/fraser-river-heritage-park/
With the great white sturgeon making the Fraser River a world-renowned fishing destination, these giants will test the most seasoned anglers’ skills. Or, if you would like to take the calmer option of viewing them from land, visit Inch Creek Fish Hatchery which is home to two resident sturgeons, Henry and Arnold. For more fishing info: https://tourismmission.ca/your-ultimate-guide-to-fishing-in-mission-bc/
Mission is thankful to our First Responders, including Mission Search and Rescue (MSAR), for their dedication and volunteerism in keeping the community safe for those enjoying recreating in Mission’s spectacular outdoors.
Adventure Smart is a great resource for pre-trip planning: https://www.adventuresmart.ca
Acoustic Guitar – Mission’s musical legacy includes artists like Mart Kenny and Carly Rae Jepsen and events like the Mission Folk Music Festival and concerts in the park.
Home to internationally renowned artists, the acoustic guitar represents Mission’s extraordinary musicians that over the decades have included international jazz musician and bandleader Mart Kenney, country singer Kenny Hess, and singer, songwriter and guitarist Carley Rae Jepsen.
A commanding figure among musicians in Mission for more than a quarter of century as well as a highly talented, self-taught musician and songwriter, Francis Xavier Edwards founded the Mission Folk Music Festival (MFMFS) in 1988. The event started out as an afternoon event featuring a dozen or so artists that attracted 1,000 people.
Adopting the acoustic guitar as an emblem in 1990, the festival developed into a three-day event managed through the Mission Folk Music Festival Society featuring artists from all over the world sharing their songs, dance, cultures, languages and customs. Since the retirement of Francis in 2016, the festival has expanded its community presence through its civic programming and grew its passionate team of community volunteers to over 300 members, some of whom have been with the festival since its start. The festival has built upon the artistic vision and passion for world music that Xavier-Edwards began, and his musical legacy that continues today. As John Vissers, then president of the MFMFS board, stated “to think that we were able to see Buffy Sainte-Marie, Valdy, Loreena McKennitt, Judy Collins, Ian Tyson and other world class artists on stage in Mission is simply amazing.”
With a wealth of opportunities to experience live music in Mission, including the Mission Folk Music Festival, Twilight Concert Series, Mission Coffee House Concert Series, First Friday Downtown, and Clarke Theatre – check out the following websites for more information:
Mission Folk Music Festival: https://missionfolkmusicfestival.ca/
Mission Events: https://tourismmission.ca/events/
Clarke Foundation Theatre: https://clarketheatre.ca/index.html
Mission Downtown Business Association: https://www.downtownmission.ca/events
Thank you to the Government of Canada for funding this event in 2023.