Surrounded by water on three sides, Delta was formed by Fraser River silt building up over thousands of years.
Expanding in a seaward direction at a rate of three metres per year, it is truly a delta, from which the community takes its name.
Located on a peninsula at the south-western extreme of the province, it is bounded by the south arm of the Fraser River on the north, the US border and Boundary Bay on the south, the city of Surrey on the east, and the Strait of Georgia on the west.
The second largest municipality in Metro Vancouver (in land area), Delta has three distinct communities: the riverside lands of Ladner, the hillier uplands of North Delta and Tsawwassen which overlooks the Strait of Georgia, the Gulf and San Juan islands with Vancouver Island on the horizon.
Nearby Point Roberts, directly south of Tsawwassen, is a geographical anomaly. A point of land tucked just below the 49th parallel, it is a rural enclave of the United States, accessed by land only through Canada via a border crossing at the foot of 56th street.
Fraser River Influences
There have been significant changes in the Fraser River's course since it was first charted in the early 1800s. Back then, the channel that runs along the shore past Ladner was so wide and deep that it played a significant role in the development of Ladner's trade and commerce. Today, the river's silt and 17ft tides often reduce that channel to barely 30ft wide.
Sand bars, too, have grown and shifted position in the river, creating marshy and sometimes wooded islands where none existed before. Both are key destinations for kayakers looking to view wildlife such as beaver, otter and birds.
The most notable is Westham Island, home to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary which, like much of Boundary Bay, is an important stop over for migrations on the Pacific Flyway.
Delta's Natural Drainage System
While dykes along the river and at Boundary Bay have long protected the flood-prone plains, heavy rainfalls still impact some of the lowest lying areas. However, the delta does have a natural drainage system with the Chilukthan, Crescent and Oliver sloughs, among others as well as Burns Bog, the largest raised bog in North America; it sits in the region's northeastern corner.
Above all, Delta is a true delta with more than half its lands used for agriculture. And although the municipality nudges up against two expanding, metropolitan areas, the over-riding value of Delta's agricultural economy is well supplemented with port activities. As such, Delta is well positioned to retain, even grow, the lushness of its unique geographic make-up.
Climate & Weather
Delta's mild climate is one of the sunniest and driest regions in the Lower Mainland. The average summer temperature reaches 23°C/75°F and between 0°-10°C/32°-50°F in winter months. Delta gets more than 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, and the average annual rainfall is 147cm/41in.
In cooler months as the ocean air travels across the flat, delta-rich landscapes, foggy mists can create some spectacular photographic moments.