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Abbotsford, British Columbia (Canada)

Fraser Valley Regional District

Last modified: 2018-07-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: british columbia | abbotsford |
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[Abbotsford, British Columbia] 3:5 (1:2 usage) image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18


See also:


Abbotsford

The City of Abbotsford was formed in 1995 from the merger of the District of Abbotsford and the District of Matsqui (pron. MATTS-kwee). The District of Abbotsford, incorporated 1972, itself was an amalgamation of the Village of Abbotsford (inc. 1924) and the District of Sumas (inc. 1913). This is one of the few examples of amalgamation in BC, unlike the trend toward Mega-Cities in Central Canada.

Abbotsford sits on the south shore of the Fraser River, with Mission to the North (across the Fraser), Langley Township to the West, Chilliwack to the East, and Sumas, Washington, USA to the South. There is a border crossing to Sumas WA, and an international airport. Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), which now is served by scheduled airlines carrying passengers across Canada, is still the home to one of the largest air shows in North America, held each August. Abbotsford is in the Fraser Valley Regional District, but participates with the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005


Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.

Design

The flag of the City of Abbotsford has a green field with a yellow disc in the centre, approximately three-fifths the height of the flag. Eight yellow bars run from the disc to the edges and corners of the flag. The width of each bar is slightly less than one-fifth the height of the flag. In the centre of each bar, one-third its width, is a blue stripe running from the edge of the disc to the corner or the middle of the edge of the flag. Centred on the disc is a stylized flower composed of a central disc surrounded by a ring of ten smaller discs, all in yellow, over five white petals surrounding the ring, their edges touching and the uppermost pointing to the top of the flag. Extending from each junction between the petals is a small pointed leaf (sepal) in light green.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Symbolism

Abbotsford is known as the “Hub of the Fraser Valley” and the flag is a symbolic depiction of this slogan. The bars represent the roads in the area, with the central disc representing Abbotsford at the centre of the crossroads. The green field represents the agricultural fields, meadows, and forests within Abbotsford. The green was derived from the flag of the District of Matsqui (which amalgamated with the District of Abbotsford in June 1995 to become the City of Abbotsford). The strawberry plant (Fragaria sp.) is called a “fraise” in heraldry. It is a pun on “Fraser” for Simon Fraser, the fur trader and explorer who mapped much of British Columbia, for whom the valley and river were named in about 1808. The plant also represents the strawberry itself, an important agricultural product of the area. The flag is a banner of the city’s arms.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Selection

The city applied to the Canadian Heraldic Authority for a grant of a flag. Adopted 25 October 1995.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Designer

Robert D. Watt, Chief Herald of Canada, Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Blazon

The grant of arms, supporters, flag and badge of Abbotsford was issued on 25 October 1995 (The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, Vol. III, p. 59).
http://archive.gg.ca/heraldry/pub-reg/project.asp?lang=e&ProjectID=576

The flag is presented as a banner of the arms.
http://archive.gg.ca/heraldry/pub-reg/project-pic.asp?lang=e&ProjectID=576&ProjectElementID=2027

The coat of arms is described as follows:
"Blazon

Arms
Vert a cross and saltire merged Or voided Azure and overall in centre point a bezant charged with a strawberry flower proper;

Crest
Issuant from a mural coronet Gules masoned Argent bearing a frieze of alternating maple leaves and mullets Argent a representation of a northwest coast First Peoples thunderbird Or edged Sable embellished Gules;

Supporters
On a grassy mound Vert set with a strawberry plant between daffodils proper and rising above barry wavy Argent Azure and Argent two lions Or armed langued and gorged with collars the rim heightened with raspberries all Gules;

Motto
UNUS CUM VIRIBUS DUORUM.

Symbolism of Coat of Arms

Arms
The gold disc and cross symbolize Abbotsford, known as the “hub” of the Fraser Valley. The strawberry flower is the fraise of the Fraser clan, and is a reference to Simon Fraser, the namesake of the valley. With the amalgamation of the Districts of Abbotsford and Matsqui in January 1995, a primary colour of the former Abbotsford arms was changed from blue to green to reflect the dominant colour taken from the Matsqui arms. The green is also a reference to the rich agricultural lands, meadows and forests associated with the City of Abbotsford.

Crest
The mural coronet denotes that these are the arms of a municipality. The red masonry is a reference to the Clayburn brick industry. The band of white stars and maple leaves honour the City of Abbotsford as an historic gateway to the international border with the United States of America. The thunderbird is taken from the crest of the District of Matsqui and commemorates the unique culture and contribution made by the First Nations from the area.

Supporters
The lions represent the multicultural heritage of Abbotsford’s citizens. They are made distinctive to the City of Abbotsford by their collars featuring raspberries coronets, a reference to the abundant raspberry growing industry. The lions stand on a grassy mound referring to the lands of the City. The daffodils represent its floral riches, and the strawberry flowers allude to the market gardens as well as specialized agricultural production. The wavy bands representing water symbolize the rivers and other bodies of water in the City of Abbotsford.

Motto
UNUS CUM VIRIBUS DUORUM, meaning “One with the strength of two”, was the motto of the District of Abbotsford. This Latin phrase represents the strength derived from two separate municipalities becoming one."

http://archive.gg.ca/heraldry/pub-reg/project-pic.asp?lang=e&ProjectID=576&ProjectElementID=2023
Ivan Sache, 2 August 2010


Flag 1992-1995

[Abbotsford, British Columbia] image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

The City of Abbotsford has flown three previous flags: two from the District of Abbotsford and one from the District of Matsqui. On 22 June 1993 the Canadian Heraldic Authority granted a flag to the District of Abbotsford exactly like the current one, except the field is dark blue rather than green (in some depictions the white petals have light blue highlights).
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

On the twentieth anniversary of incorporation (1992), the District of Abbotsford was granted a coat of arms by the Canadian Heraldic Authority. These arms had a Blue background, and featured straight and diagonal crosses forming a pattern reminiscent of the Union Jack, apparently representing Abbotsford as the "crossroads", at the centre is a strawberry blossom, representing the local berry growing industry, and also the Fraser River. The flag was a banner of arms.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005


Flag pre-1992

[Abbotsford, pre-1992] image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

The previous flag had a dark blue field with abbotsford in yellow sans-serif letters running from the lower hoist to the upper fly. The “a”, much larger than the other letters, encircles a stylized eight-spoked wheel and its “tail” underlines the rest of the name all the way to the fly edge. The wheel refers to the district’s location at the crossroads of the Fraser Valley.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011 


Matsqui District Flag

[Matsqui district, British Columbia] image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

The flag of the District of Matsqui was a Canadian pale design of dark green-white-dark green, with the coat of arms of the district in the centre two-thirds the flag’s height with DISTRICT OF MATSQUI arching above it and B.C., CANADA in a straight line below, all in green sans-serif letters.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011 

The District of Matsqui had a coat of Arms granted by the College of Heralds in England. The arms included two winged wheels (Abbotsford Airport was in Matsqui District), two sprigs of Strawberry plants, and a beehive kiln. The Thunderbird crest (which faces the sinister) was adapted to become the crest of the new city.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005


Police Flag

[Abbortsford Police] image by Dean McGee, 9 August 2005

Abbotsford Police Department is one of the few independent city police forces in BC. Prior to amalgamation, Matsqui had its own police force, and Abbotsford an RCMP detachment. After Amalgamation the new force took the Abbotsford name, and many of the Matsqui symbols. Their flag is reminiscent of the old Matsqui Flag. It features the full Coat of Arms of the City on a Green-White-Green Canadian Pale, with "ABBOTSFORD" written above, and "POLICE" written below, in straight horizontal lines, in sans-serif capitals.
Dean McGee, 9 August 2005