Outreach Education
Walking Tours

Experience Abbotsford’s History

Years to experience

Walking Tours

Our walking tours take you around Mill Lake, Matsqui Village, the historic Downtown Core, or around Mill Lake on a Indigenous Plant Use Tour, in approximately 1 hour. Along the way, our guides make stops to discuss the stories associated with each place, historic vistas or points of interest from a heritage standpoint. These tours are offered weekly during the summer, and as special offerings or booked programs year round.

A walk in the park

Mill Lake

The Mill Lake Walking Tour explores Mill Lake’s storied past as a local and provincial lumber hub. Discover the history of the Lake’s development and learn about the history of the surrounding community.

it takes a village

Matsqui Village

The Matsqui Village Walking Tour focuses on the Scandinavian pioneer families who founded, and quite literally built the Village, once the commercial centre of Matsqui, and also discusses the architecture and heritage value of the village, as well as its urban layout relative to the surrounding areas.

Jane's Walk

Indigenous Plant Use

The Indigenous Plant Use Tour focuses on the many current, historical and traditional uses of various plants found around Mill Lake by the local Sto:lo bands, the Máthekwi (Matsqui) and the Séma:th (Sumas).


beautiful character landscape

Downtown Abbotsford

The hour-long Historic Downtown Walking Tour tells the colourful stories behind the streets, buildings and the eccentric characters who have called the downtown home.

Abbotsford- From Many Villages to City

Outreach program

What makes Abbotsford unique? With this program students will learn about how Abbotsford has grown from the geographically scattered thirteen villages into the large City of Abbotsford today. The program details the colourful stories of the streets, buildings and the characters from all around the world who have called the area home. Students will be given the opportunity to handle artifacts and view pictures from days past and get to explore how communities grow in a healthy way. 

Please note: This program takes place in your classroom and does not take place at Trethewey House Heritage Site. Outreach programs can not be booked with a workshop or tour component. Maximum one class per booking (approximately 25-30 students).

The “From Many Villages to City” Outreach Program has been aligned with BC’s New Curriculum.

Recommended Grades 1-3.

Duration: 1 hour



Sign up for our Trainwhistles and Schoolbells Outreach Program! Trainwhistles and Schoolbells is a standalone program and cannot be combined with other program offerings. Please note: An outreach booking is good for one class; outreach can not accommodate more than one class at a time.


Fill out the Program Request Form and our Programs Manager will confirm the date, time and details of your program, along with payment details.

This Program has been previously known as “Train Whistles and School Bells”

School Programs

Visit the Trethewey House and Heritage Site




Take a journey with us back into the 1920s and explore Trethewey House. This guided tour features stories about Trethewey House, the families that lived in it, how people lived and made a living nearly a century ago.
Duration: 45 minutes





Get up close and personal with the history of Mill Lake! Legacies on the Lake focuses on five key areas associated with the development of Abbotsford and the Mill Lake area. Take a journey through history using the Agents of Discovery app* with the guidance of our staff and learn about the Sto:lo First Nation, the Trethewey Family, the Abbotsford Lumber Company, Milltown, and immigration spurred by mill activity.
Duration: 45 minutes

*One tablet available on-site for class use. To learn about the app, how to download it on personal devices and to download the FREE app, please visit Agents of Discovery.




What’s it for? What can we learn from it? Students will have the opportunity to examine, handle and ask questions about artifacts while learning to assess and interpret objects as primary sources. This workshop has been aligned to fit BC’s New History Curriculum.

Recommended Grades 1-5.
Duration: 45 minutes




Students will have a chance to learn to participate in hands-on activities designed to show how education and school life in Abbotsford has changed since the early 20th Century. This workshop has been aligned to fit with BC’s New History Curriculum.

Recommended Grades 1-5.
Duration: 45 minutes

Want to casually learn about Abbotsford’s history at your own pace?

Why not learn about Trethewey House Heritage Site and the history of Mill Lake Park through missions on the Agents of DiscoveryTM app! Agents of Discovery is an educational platform game which allows those of all ages to get out, move and uncover information about the area’s history through a series of challenges, games and questions that can be solved on their own devices. Visitors must be present on the Heritage Site to complete Agents of Discovery missions as the app uses GPS coordinates.

Heritage Abbotsford Society is proud to currently have two missions available to the public:

Trethewey House Heritage Site mission (location: Trethewey House, Heritage Gallery and grounds of Trethewey House Heritage Site)
Mill Lake Walking Tour mission* (location: throughout Mill Lake Park)

*Please note that completion of the Trethewey House Heritage Site mission is required to obtain the coveted Mill Lake Walking Tour brochure needed to successfully work through the Mill Lake Walking Tour mission. Please show Heritage Site staff in the Heritage Gallery proof of completing the Heritage Site mission to unlock your pamphlet.

To download the FREE Agents of Discovery app for your device, please visit Agents of Discovery, Google Play or the Apple Store.

UPDATE – MARCH 2018: Agents of Discovery and Heritage Abbotsford Society have won a Heritage BC Recognition Award for Education and Awareness! CLICK HERE FOR PRESS RELEASE

Traffic on Essendene Ave, in the 1910s and today. 

Create your own photos like this in the FREE On This Spot app!

Take a walk back in time through Abbotsford’s pioneer days with the free On This Spot history app!

The app includes dozens of vividly recreated then and now photos that put you in the footsteps of historic photographers. Use the app’s camera tool to create your own then and now photos, allowing you to put yourself in historic photos!

The app features two comprehensive and engaging walking tours.

The first tour “Abbotsford’s Historic Downtown” charts Abbotsford’s history through the pioneer era while discovering some of the larger-than-life characters and events that have shaped Abbotsford’s development down to today.

The second tour “Matsqui Village” focuses on the unique settlement of Matsqui, the remarkably well preserved Scandinavian settlement just north of downtown, one of the few in British Columbia.

The On This Spot app also offers coverage of 20 more cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Toronto, and Winnipeg. The Abbotsford coverage was developed in partnership with Heritage Abbotsford.

Download the free app now on Apple and Android devices using the links below, or visit www.OnThisSpot.ca!