Chilliwack is a Canadian city in the province of British Columbia. It has long been a predominantly agricultural community, but with an estimated population of 80,000 people, it has become more urban. Chilliwack is the second largest city in the Fraser Valley Regional District after Abbotsford. The city is surrounded by mountains and recreational areas such as Cultus Lake and Chilliwack Lake Provincial Parks. There are many outdoor opportunities in the area, including hiking, horseback riding, biking, camping, fishing, and golf. Chilliwack is the location of the head offices of the Fraser Valley Regional District.
Between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago the lived in the Chilliwack area. At the time of the first contact with Europeans it is estimated that there were as many as 40,000 people living within Stó:lō territory.
In 1857, gold was discovered in the Fraser Canyon. By 1859, over 40,000 gold miners had trekked to the goldfields, most travelling through the Chilliwack area. By the mid-1860s several farms had grown up around the steamboat landings on the Fraser River called Miller's Landing, Minto Landing, Sumas Landing and Chilliwack Landing.
The Township of Chilliwack was incorporated in 1873, the third municipality in British Columbia. Initial settlement was along the Fraser River at Chilliwack Landing. Steamboats were the main mode of transportation, carrying goods and passengers between Chilliwack and New Westminster. After the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, many residents began to cross the Fraser River at Minto Landing to catch the train at Harrison Mills.
With little room for expansion along the river, the commercial area of the town moved south to the junction of the New Westminster-Yale Wagon Road, Wellington Avenue and Young Road, called "Five Corners." A large subdivision called Centreville was built in 1881. The name Centreville was replaced In 1887 by the more popular "Chilliwhack." The area was incorporated in 1908 as a separate municipality, the City of Chilliwack. The City and the Township co-existed for 72 years. In 1984 they merged to form the District of Chilliwack. The District of Chilliwack became the City of Chilliwack in the early 1990s.
The spelling of Chilliwack is sometimes a matter of confusion. Prior to the amalgamation of the City of Chilliwack and the Municipality of Chilliwhack, there were two different spellings. Upon amalgamation, the spelling of the City was used. Anglicized spellings include Chilliwhyeuk and other versions closer to the original Halkomelem, the language of the Stó:lō communities around Chilliwack and Sardis. In Halq'eméylem (Halkomelem), Chilliwack means "as far upriver as you can go before having to switch to a pole". It is also the name of a river (the Chilliwack River), and group of aboriginal people, the Ts’elxweyeqw.