Collections & Research

An integral part of our mandate is our community Archives. Focused on research materials related to the history of Abbotsford, the Archives provides a resource to students and the general public on our diverse and engaging history.

  • The Archival Collection includes: 20 linear metres of original documents; approximately 15,000 original photographs and negatives; a research collection that includes the full run of the Abbotsford Post (1910-1924) and the Abbotsford Times (1992-2008). We also own all the microfilmed editions of the Abbotsford, Sumas and Matsqui/Abbotsford News (1922-2008) and collect hard copies to keep the collection up to date.
  • Genealogical information contained in the local newspapers has been made easily accessible through indexes listing obituary, marriage and some birth announcements, searchable by family name.
  • We have undertaken digitization of the Photograph Collection and begun to make them fully accessible on our website. Currently there are about 40,000 locally relevant images, that can be searched by subject, date, location and keyword.

100 Days of The Reach

The Reach cares for over 4,000 artifacts that preserve the stories and memories of our community. 100 Days of The Reach is an opportunity to select and sponsor one of the many treasures that we house.

For $100 you can sponsor your favourite artifact for 2019. Funds raised will help to preserve the collections in our care.

View Artifacts Here


Online Photo Archive 

The Reach Online Photo Archive contains almost 40,000 local historical images with associated historical context. The ARCHIVES is searchable across several fields or by keyword. The Reach continues its digitization program adding an additional 5,000 images per year.

Online object database 

The Reach’s material culture collection is now accessible online, and like the ONLINE PHOTO ARCHIVES is searchable across several fields and by keyword. Unlike the ONLINE PHOTO ARCHIVES, they may not be a photo of each artifact. This is a project we will be working on over the coming years.

Donating to the Collection

Caring for Your Artefacts

Do you have a question about caring for or preserving a family heirloom or photograph? Contact the Curator of Historical Collections with your question.




People of the valley

Research Appointments & Requests

There is no charge for the use of the archives and staff are available to help you when you make a research appointment.

To book an appointment contact the Curator of Historical Collections.



This resource was created for The Reach, in support of the of the Voices of the Valley exhibition by UBC Master of Archival Studies; Master of Library and Information Studies students Allison Comrie, Sara Ellis, and Monique Grenier.

The primary goal of the practicum was to provide the opportunity for the creators to develop skills related to the development and management of digital collections of images and text.  The outcome is a portal through which the community can access the richness of information connected to The Reach and Heritage Abbotsford collections related to First Nations culture.

The City of Abbotsford is located on traditional and unceded territory of the Stó:lō people who have occupied this area for more than 10,000 years. The Reach welcomes the opportunity to present an entry point to the understanding of Stó:lō history and culture.

The Reach thanks Allison, Sara and Monique; UBC – Master of Archival Studies; Master of Library and Information Studies; instructor, Richard Arias-Hernandez and Heritage Abbotsford for their role in making this web portal possible.

VIEW Collection

Historic Downtown Walking Tour

The historic downtown Abbotsford Walking Tour, created by WA Fraser Middle School students in 2010, leads you through a tour of 31 heritage sites in the village of Abbotsford. Site listings include historic photos and histories that will transport you to the time when the village was the place to stop, shop and catch up with neighbours. Available at The Reach for $5.


In 2013 , students from Abbotsford used the The Reach archives to research, script and  perform six one-minute vignettes based on the popular Historica Heritage Minutes.

VIEW History Minutes videos.

Funding for this program was provided by the Abbotsford Rotary Club.