A poster from the original Strawberry Festival.

BUSINESS TRACK: First Mission Strawberry Festival held June 1946

Original festival incorporated other community events

June 26, 1946 was declared a holiday for the people of Mission. All so everyone could be part of the Mission Board of Trade’s (now the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce) Strawberry Festival. Its main objective was to promote Mission as the Strawberry Capital of Canada all while raising the much needed funds for the Mission Hospital.

The Strawberry Parade marched along Main Street, following a similar route to today’s Candlelight Parade and was such a success it became an annual event for years. It incorporated the crowning of the Strawberry King and Queen, the Soapbox Derby, dancing and baseball.

Special trains ran to bring festival goers from Vancouver and points west of Mission. In 1949, strawberries were even flown to England to be presented to George VI as a gift from Mission residents.

After the success of the “Wild Cat” Soapbox Derby held that first year; the derby became a franchise of the American Soapbox Association and soon drew bigger crowds than the Strawberry Festival, peaking at 20,000 in the mid 1950s.

By 1956, the Soapbox Derby stood alone as the main attraction, drawing in province-wide competitors, with over 200 entries. It ran successfully until 1974 where it took a break until 1999 and once again became an annual event in Mission’s event calendar. Now run by the Mission and District Soapbox Derby Association, race day this year is Saturday, Aug. 24.

Pioneers then…Pioneers now. The Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce continues to this day to connect, influence and build prosperity in Mission.

Just Posted

Parents of Mission murder victim want personal belongings returned

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

Mission stabbing victim taken to hospital

Mission RCMP are investigating incident, injuries called non-life threatening

Mt. Baker climb next month honours Const. John Davidson

Abbotsford Police chief and Davidson’s three grown children among participants

PHOTOS: Firefighters bring large bear in tree to ground in Abbotsford

Public urged not to leave garbage cans out over night and to take down bird feeders.

UPDATE: Two young Chilliwack men facing at least five years jail for armed robbery

Darius Commodore and Jaimal Mclaren face 13 charges in Mission/Agassiz incident involving police dog

VIDEO: Huge crowds gather in downtown Toronto for Raptors parade

Mayor John Tory declares it ‘We The North Day’ after team’s historic NBA title win

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

Most Read