Albion is one of several small towns in the municipality of Maple Ridge, British Columbia. It is the oldest non-indigenous community of the district’s settlement. Known as the ancient name for England, the name Albion was suggested by an American short term resident in 1907. The first long term settler, a Scot named Samuel Robertson and his native wife Julia made their home in Albion and planted so many fruit trees that they became the first fruit bearing orchards in British Columbia. Today, the land known as Albion flats are farm lands owned by Samuel and his then business partner.
While early settlers like Samuel Robertson developed large portions of Albion for farming, much of the area remained forested until recently. The area is one of the greenest in the world with its greenbelts, trails, salmon bearing streams and surrounding park system. The definition of the area runs along the Fraser river, Kanaka Way and 240th street but historically it was centred on and flanking 240th street and adjoining areas along the Fraser river waterfront and around the Maple Ridge Fairgrounds. Extending development east of 240th road close to the Lougheed Highway is additionally frequently alluded to as a part of Albion.
Albion has evolved from a mainly rural and farming community to a budding suburban neighbourhood, filled with growing families, over the last 20 years. The reasonably priced homes and greenery have been attracting young families and couples in droves as they begin to discover affordable, family friendly neighbourhoods like Albion.
Almost half of the 10,509 residents are adult, working professionals with an age range of 30 – 54. The senior, retired population is 8%, and children under 14 make up 21%. Outdoor recreation activities, large green areas, affordable housing and prime development opportunities appeal to family oriented individuals, with 66% of the residents being families. The main language is English but there is some Korean mixed in, to a lesser extent.
Job opportunities in Albion usually centred around the manufacturing industry and is has even picked up the reputation of a factory town. The 1990s came with serious unemployment problems, with the closure of several manufacturers, but the community has managed to overcome this, and is evolving into a college town, with a strong interest in technology and sustainability issues. This offers a variety of opportunities in thriving industries. The average Albion household income is $122,000, and the unemployment rate still remains under 10%, like other areas in Canada.
A majority of the shopping and dining options are located nearby, within 30 minutes outside Albion. The residents can get their supply of everything ranging from antiques and gifts to novelties, in nearby areas like Dewdney Trunk Road and 224th Street, where plenty of gifts and dining options exist. For the trendiest clothing and accessories, shoes and more, the Haney Place and Valley Place malls are well known retail centres to visit. Albion does not have its own major shopping centre, but these services are close by.
When it comes to dining, restaurants, resto-bars and pubs are the top spots. A favourite for locals in Albion is dining by the waterfront at the Kingfisher’s Waterfront Bar and Grill, where residents enjoy live music, fine wine and delicious food. If you’re in the mood for seafood, Albion’s Bruce Country Market supplies fresh, wild salmon and a variety of other seafood picks. More options are available in nearby Maple Ridge where Indian, Asian and even Greek cuisine is on offer, all within close proximity of the Albion neighbourhood.
Linked to major markets via the Upper Midwest, major highways, Norfolk Southern rail system and several airports, transportation is one of Albion’s strongest features. Commuting in the area is mainly car dependent, although public transportation is an alternative. Translink buses and West Coast Express are options for Albion residents without a vehicle. If the bus isn’t your commute of choice, the commuter train to Vancouver and back is also viable.
Access to nearby areas and smaller streets in Albion takes you through 240th Street and Highway 7, that runs along Albion. The Pitt Meadows regional airport is just a few kilometres from Maple Ridge and benefits those requiring air travel.
The proprietor of its own great establishment of higher learning, Albion is situated in a vicinity rich with educational resources being served by the Maple Ridge School District number 42. There are a variety of options throughout Maple Ridge, which operates 18 elementary schools and 5 secondary schools in the district. In Albion, the elementary school feeds into the technical secondary, and for higher education, the Albion College offers a host of degree programs. Within a 30 mile radius, other colleges and educational institutions including BCIT, Douglas College and Sprott Shaw College are accessible to Albion residents.
Arts and Entertainment
There are several public art venues and attractions in the area. The Albion College hosts art shows, where works by well know artists, as well as students are displayed. The residents can also take advantage of Maple Ridge’s gallery and the thriving historic and art scene to learn more about the area’s history. ACT Arts Centre and Black Box Studio are excellent places for art lovers, where they can enjoy live theatre and a plethora of art classes.
For the music lovers, the Albion College Jazz Ensemble performs live shows during the academic year in downtown Albion. The Festival of the Folks, now in its 3rd staging, is a community festival that celebrates the neighbourhood’s rich heritage and ethnic diversity. Held in Albion’s historic downtown, surrounded by the beautiful parks and the Kalamazoo River, it features an array of activities, including musical performances, ethnic foods, a parade and much more. Other entertaining happenings are there to enjoy, like the Home Show and Ghost Ridge hosted on the Albion Fairgrounds.
Combining rolling, scenic landscapes, lakes and streams, and an abundance of outdoor activities are always waiting to be explored. For the outdoor enthusiast, the Albion area offers activities including fishing, boating, canoeing and water skiing. Eight of the seventeen parks are located on the river. Albion residents have access to the largest park in the city, Victory Park. It is a popular location for recreation and boasts several areas for activities like basketball, volleyball, golf, football, fitness sessions and a recreation pavilion. The park is also home for summer musical performances and wintertime sledding, which draws large numbers of visitors. Established parks like Albion and the Mountain Bike Skills park also provide recreational opportunities for children and adults in the community.
Investing in Albion Real Estate
New developments in the community provide desirable housing options for families and individuals. Located near excellent dining and shopping facilities, great schools and a variety of recreational activities, makes Albion an outstanding area to invest. Known to be one of the most affordable, when it comes to housing, the neighbourhood has broad appeal. Building sites and existing facilities are available for lease or sale, at very competitive rates. For example, industrial park lots are very reasonably priced with substantial incentives like tax abatements of 50% for up to twelve years. This is available based on the amount of investment and potential job creation being provided.
Recent expansion and infrastructural development has changed the area from a rural status to a more modern, technologically savvy one. As the population grows and job creation increases, property value will also increase. This makes Albion a viable investment option for homeowners and investors.