Ruskin Dam construction

Ruskin Dam construction

BUSINESS TRACK: Mission continued to grow during Depression

In celebration of the Mission chamber's 120th birthday, we'll run one historical story per month in Business Track

In 1909 Mission Railway Station was built, sitting at an important junction that not only saw passengers and freight moving across Canada, but also the most western point to and from the USA.

Rail brought the first department store to the city. DesBrisay’s was established and served the local community and visitors for 55 years; setting the standard for local business.

This attracted more business like jewelers, a shoemaker, bank, pharmacy, and movie theatre. With the Mission Fraser Valley Record (now Mission City Record) close by, the downtown of Mission began to take shape.

Thriving during the early 1920s in part to the many berry farms in the area, Mission soon became known as “The Strawberry Capital.”

This drew up to 3,000 pickers to the area at the height of production and saw the introduction of canning and preserves plants. The Board of Trade recognized the opportunity and the Strawberry Festival was born.

Advocating for an automobile route, the Board of Trade successfully got the Mission Bridge open to automobiles in 1927. Further links continued to be established with Southern Fraser communities and the USA as Mission became the shopping hub in the Valley.

Though the Great Depression hit hard between 1929 and 1939, Mission continued to grow, with its forest resources. Started in 1929, BC Electric’s Ruskin Dam offered additional economic relief. Taking four years to complete, men came on the trains to find work.

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