Clearbrook is a big residential neighbourhood with a lively business strip along South Fraser Way that includes chain restaurants and the low-key Sevenoaks Shopping Centre. Clearbrook Park, with wooded pathways and sports fields, and Fishtrap Creek Park, whose wetlands are home to the endangered Nooksack dace fish, are two of the district’s green spaces. The Reach Gallery Museum shows art, culture, and local history.
Clearbrook is a community in Abbotsford, British Columbia, located in the city’s western outskirts near Clearbrook Road. The area was once called Sandy Flats or West Abbotsford, and it was located in the District of Matsqui’s Poplar district. By the late 1940s, it had been renamed Clearbrook, most likely after Clearbrook Road, which previously stretched from Old Yale Road south across the Canada-USA border to neighbouring Clearbrook, Washington.
The Abbotsford Lumber Company and several smaller logging enterprises severely logged the area in the early twentieth century, leaving nothing except massive stumps and small trees behind. Mennonite immigrants who had fled the Soviet Union in the previous decade, as well as those who had migrated to Canada from Russia beginning in the 1870s, began establishing in the area in 1930. After clearing the ground for several years, these early settlers were able to plant strawberries and raspberries before finally establishing dairy and poultry farms.
Following WWII, a business district began to emerge, with the intersection of Clearbrook Road and South Fraser Way serving as the focal point. Mennonites continued to settle in the area, bringing the population to roughly 4,000 people by 1967. In the 1940s, Clearbrook saw the establishment of a secondary school, the Mennonite Educational Institute, and two post-secondary colleges, Bethel Bible Institute and Mennonite Brethren Bible Institute (the two schools later amalgamated to form what is now Columbia Bible College).
By the 1980s, the area’s population had risen to over 20,000, owing to a massive influx of people from various origins, most notably Sikh and Hindu immigrants from India, primarily from Punjab. Although several Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church congregations, as well as Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) and a Hindu temple, continue to thrive in the Clearbrook neighbourhood, the area is essentially indistinguishable from the rest of what is now Abbotsford.
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