The future our mission
|Regional District||Fraser Valley Regional District|
|Population (2006)||City: 34,505
Summers as a child were filled with family road-trips; camping at Harrison Lake or in Manning Park and longer trips through the Okanagan with stays at a cousin’s hobby farm in Salmon Arm. Mission, about an hour outside of Vancouver, was always a marker on these vacations. Leaving the city it was the marker of how much gas we needed. The price of gas drops dramatically when you reach Mission making it the first stop on our journeys. The spot where this price change occurs is marked by an intersection to no place of much significance, each corner of the T hosting a gas station. As of earlier this week the going rate was 104.9 a litter ($1.049) versus the 116.2 charged in the Vancouver and most of the lower-mainland.
On the return trip the abbey atop Mission Hill was a landmark for dinner and a foreseeable end to the drive. As I’d grow restless after hours of driving and long since board of the valley landscape I would bombard my parents with “when do we get there” “I’m hungry” and any number of ploys to get out of the car. Instead of providing me with a time stamp and ETA my dad would point to the abbey off in the norther side of the valley and promise this would be our dinner stop. With this landmark I could see the target approaching and as I got older I altered the question to “when do we get to Mission?” and later to pointing the abbey out and informing the grown-ups this would be our next stop.
Mission has gone from a road-trip landmark to a destination. About a ten years ago my father settled in Mission, purchasing a rancher style house and acquiring a small fleet of cats. While I prefer the bustle and convenience of city living I can appreciate the appeal of Mission. Unlike so many of the municipalities in the lower mainland, Mission has held onto its small town feel. There are the strip malls and massive chain stores that sprawl on the towns edges but the city center remains a four block stretch along the Lougheed highway and the Fraser River, farmlands and wilderness surround the town.
My refusal to drive has limited my trips to Mission but the introduction of the Westcoast Express train line has made it easier. The system is a commuter line running Monday thru Friday, traveling west in the mornings and east in the evenings. On weekends like this, I book off the Saturday and leave work early on Friday returning early on Monday morning. It isn’t the ideal system but it works and the view is lovely.