The history of Abbotsford really starts 15,000 years ago, when the Cordilleran Ice Sheet began to recede and split up into smaller pieces, but it was not until 11,300 years ago that the land was re-shaped into its present contour and the Sumas Glacier began to feed into the mighty Fraser River. Since then, this river has been the core of life in the Fraser Valley, as the landscape, flora and fauna shaped itself to fit around it.
When the first humans migrated across the continent, they established themselves along this blue ribbon, which had an abundant supply of salmon, seabirds, edible plants and other necessities of life. The newcomers who arrived here 9,000 years ago were hunter-gatherers, but over time, they became more and more sedentary. They didn’t have to wander across the land to access food and shelter, but could stay right here in the valley. It was the river that made the land fertile, and these first settlers preferred to stay close to it. Slowly, the population grew to the tens of thousands. By the third millennium BC, the culture of The People of the River, the Sto:lo, had become highly evolved.
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