When I was writing my novel Mountaintop Drive, I drove up to a new subdivision on Sumas Mountain to get the atmosphere and setting right (the subdivision is real, but there is no street called Mountaintop Drive). There I saw several deer grazing on the lawns at the edge of the woods. The houses have invaded their habitat; they were not invading the neighbourhood.
In the novel, Ruby Smyth is told not to walk the trails on Sumas Mountain because there are still black bears and other wildlife in the area but to walk at Mill Lake in the middle of town. That was sound advice, valid for the area.
However, when the book came out, I had had a book signing at the local mall and was driving home past Mill Lake when I saw a big dog run across the road in front of me. I thought, “Wait a minute. That’s not a dog.” I turned down the next side street toward the park, and sure enough I saw the animal, a young black bear, run into the trees at Mill Lake Park. Several people walking in the park, including some with dogs and children, came running to the area to see the bear. I phoned 911 on my cellphone and suggested an animal control officer was needed. Apparently the bear had been spotted several times in town earlier, and the police and animal control officers were looking for it. They showed up quite quickly and followed the bear into the trees. I learned later that they shot it. Apparently, it takes some time for a tranquilizer to take effect and the bear was headed toward a playground. The police were criticized for shooting the bear. But if the bear had attacked a child, they would also have been criticized. I was sorry the bear was shot. But I was correct that the wild life in Abbotsford is dangerous.