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Agassiz During the 1948 Flood

Black and white photograph of flooded fields with mountains in the background.

Aerial view of the flooded lands of east Agassiz with Mount Cheam in the background, 1948.


The 1948 spring freshet, the seasonal influx of water discharge resulting from snow melting on mountains, resulted in major flooding of the Fraser River Valley. Agassiz, as with many other communities situated along the Fraser, was “under water” for approximately one month between the middle of May and the middle of June. Community members worked together quickly and efficiently to ensure the safety of their families and to move their livestock to higher ground.

Most of the women and children were transported to safety in the communities west of Agassiz. Some went to Mission, others all the way to Vancouver. Some of the men and older boys remained in town to tend to the livestock and protect and preserve the farms, homes, and businesses. They lived in tents set up near the Experimental Farm, Hop Yard Mountain, Cemetery Mountain, and Mount Woodside.


Black and white photograph of white tents next to a cemetery.

Tents pitched as temporary shelters for families at Mountain View Cemetery, 1948.


The flood devastated acres of crop and pasture land, roads and trails, the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks, homes, businesses, vehicles, equipment, and belongings. Together, the community members repaired and rebuilt Agassiz. Corn, oat, grass, and clover crops were planted the third week of June that year. The crops did not do well and 1948 is the last year on record that the Agassiz Fall Fair was cancelled; a picnic took place at the Dominion Experimental Farm on September 15, 1948 instead.

The 1948 flood killed all of the hop plants, decimating the hop yards in Agassiz. Hops had been the dominant crop in the community up until that time. The former hop yards were planted with hay and corn, turning from fields of green to fields of gold, to support the growing dairy herds.


Black and white photograph of cows swimming across flooded farm land, following a row boat.

Cows swimming to higher ground behind a row boat, 1948.