When European people first came to this area in the early 1800s, the Semiahmoo and Kwantlen First Nations People had already been present for more than 6,000 years. Local history and heritage have been preserved through the sacred places of the First Nations, trails and buildings of the last century.
Agriculture was a big part of life in Surrey in the 1800s and remains a major industry in the region today. Homesteads were built and communities grew. Today, Surrey has a population of 460,000 people and is the 12th largest city in Canada and the second largest in BC.
Over 50 sites in the city have been designated Historic Places.
Surrey is conveniently located on the United States/Canada border and is served by two border crossings - Peace Arch/Douglas Border Crossing (end of Highway 99) and the Pacific Border Crossing (end of Highway 15). It has easy access to both Vancouver International Airport and Abbotsford International Airport and is 40 minutes southeast of Vancouver.
Surrey is comprised of seven distinct communities - Whalley & Surrey City Centre, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, Cloverdale and South Surrey. Each has its own distinct features and attributes.
Unique artifacts, images, and interactive displays have been put together in a stunning and modern space that highlights Surrey's history. Enjoy attractive expanded space for programs, a 42-seat orientation theatre, and fun and exciting exhibits.
Explore and experience the visual and performing arts in stunning surroundings. Music and dance performances as well as professional and community theatre productions are presented in the Main Stage and Studio Theatre. Changing exhibitions of contemporary art are featured in the Surrey Art Gallery. The Gift Shop offers unique and finely crafted original artworks by various local artists. Located in beautiful Bear Creek Park. The facility is wheelchair accessible.
For a little tranquility and quaint beach village atmosphere, take a relaxing stroll down the walkways of Crescent Beach. Wander through the charming stores and enjoy the varied restaurants along the main strip. Next to the beach area is Blackies Spit, one of the best bird watching areas in Canada, with almost 200 species of birds recorded over the different seasons. The sand bars are a favourite resting place for harbour seals and their pups.
Darts Hill Garden is a rare jewel within Surrey. Given to the city in trust by Edwin and Francisca Darts, this garden estate is internationally renowned and features thousands of species and varieties of plants from around the world.
Cloverdale is where Surrey began. Life here began as an agricultural and railroad community back in the 1870s. It was the first civil and cultural centre and today still maintains its unique small-town charm. Attractions such as the Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition, Fraser Downs, and the Surrey Museum and Archives are all within walking distance of the town centre. Through the Museum and Archives, visitors can explore Cloverdale's heritage through a self-directed walking tour. Shopping is another popular activity here, with everything from antiques and specialty stores to equestrian tack shops and western wear.
The Historic Stewart Farm features a beautifully restored 1894 farmhouse, a pole barn, and heirloom gardens in a pastoral setting on the Nicomekl River. Regular events include tours by guides in period-style costume, woodstove cooking, heritage crafts, and participatory old-fashioned parlour games. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic or enjoy a stroll on the network of walking trails.
The Serpentine Wildlife Area (SWA), better known as the Serpentine Fen and managed by Ducks Unlimited, is an excellent area to observe a wide range of wildlife species year-round, and is located in one of Canada's most densely populated wintering areas for waterfowl, raptors and shorebirds. The Fen includes many different types of habitat in its 150 acres, and is home to more than 130 different bird species. September and October is the busiest birding season, and in the winter months, many birds shelter in the Fen where there is open water and a good natural food supply. The wildlife and habitats of the area can be experienced via the network of designated public trails and covered viewing towers.
If you love antiques, you have come to the right place. Cloverdale is the historic centre of Surrey. The traditional Cloverdale Town Centre is famous for its antiques and collectibles.
Surrey has golf courses for every skill level including world-class championship courses, executive courses and pitch & putt for the family.
Agriculture and farming play an important role in Surrey's economy. Almost one-third of Surrey's total land area is agricultural. Visit Bose Family Corn Maze, Honeybee Centre, a blueberry farm, Riverbend Winery, or one of the Farmer's Markets.
Boundary Bay, an area of about 250 square kilometres, is Canada's number one top birding area, and during the spring and autumn, is a major stop along the Pacific Flyway, the north-south route that millions of migrating birds follow along the west coast of North America. Over 320 different species of birds, numbering in the hundreds of thousands come to rest and feed in this biologically enriched area. Join birding enthusiasts at one of the many area parks including Crescent Beach, Blackies Spit, the Serpentine Fen, and Mud Bay Park.
The internationally renowned Cloverdale Rodeo takes place annually over the Victoria Day long weekend in May. The rodeo has been held for over 65 years and boasts prize money of $300,000. A cook-off generates much interest for cooks from all over North America and offers $10,000 in prizes. The Country Fair has been in operation for over 120 years and provides fun and activities for the whole family.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia