Clayburn Village is a Heritage Conservation Area off the TransCanada Trail, one of the historic points of interest in Abbotsford.
This charming village is in the history books as the first company town of British Columbia. It was established following the foundation of the Vancouver Fireclay Company in1905. The company set up that year its brick plant on a 20-acre site at the north flank of Clayburn Road (TransCanada Trail).
Brick houses that the company initially rented out to its workers were constructed on the south side of Clayburn Road. This worker housing started with just seven brick homes.
More houses were added on nearby Armstrong Avenue to eventually form the Clayburn Village, as the brick plant’s workers increased. The workers built and owned the latter new houses, as the company’s worker housing rentals were terminated.
The rise of the worker village mirrors the market popularity of the brick plant’s products. Its firebrick and other fireclay products became widely sought-after not only in Canada but worldwide.
The brickmaking company changed its name to Clayburn Company Ltd. in 1918 following a change in ownership. Another brick plant was also set up in Kilgrad in the south of Abbotsford.
Operations stopped at the original brick plant in 1930, with production continuing Kilgard. The workers of this plant continued their work in Kilgrad but stayed in Clayburn Village well established by then.
One of the village’s original community structures that still stand today is the Clayburn Schoolhouse. Built in 1907-1908, this schoolhouse is a provincially designated heritage building. It’s still used for community events and functions as an informal museum. It houses the collection of artifacts and photos kept by the Clayburn Village Community Society.
The Clayburn Church is another provincially designated heritage building in the village. This landmark structure was built in 1912 and is striking with its vernacular architectural design. The steep pitched roof and rooftop belfry of the church are as impressive. The church’s exterior and interior walls prominently used the bricks made in the nearby plant. The buff bricks used inside are exposed and unclad, an indication of how proud the community is for their local product.
Next in this series you can learn about Gur Sikh Temple and Sikh Heritage Museum.