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Surrey, BC: a history from the establishment to 21st century

About Surrey

Surrey is a city in British Columbia, Canada. It is located south of the Fraser River on the Canada-United States border. It is part of the Metro Vancouver Regional District and the Metropolitan Area. Surrey is mainly a suburb and is the second-largest city in the province after Vancouver, and the third-largest in terms of area after Abbotsford and Prince George. Seven city districts are Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, South Surrey, and the city center, which also includes Whalley.

Before Surrey

For more than six thousand years, the area around the current city of Surrey was home to the Semiahmoo and Kwantlen, who fished and hunted in this fertile land. Their settlements were located throughout the area around the mouth of the great Fraser River, particularly in Crescent Beach and at the mouth of the Campbell River. Of most importance for these people was the abundance of fish, shellfish, and the migratory movements of animals in this area. They were able to hunt moose, deer, bears, and various birds to supplement their fish stocks. In fact, they did not eat badly in an area rich in supplies. However, this was to change when a group of European settlers came to the area in the mid-19th century.

European settlement

In order to settle the area, the early settlers had to make the area arable, and to the horror of the locals, a lot of wood was cut. The forest of firs, cedars, and hemlock were untouched for centuries, perhaps millennia. Nevertheless, the settlers were not deterred, and gradually Surrey began to take shape. It is believed that the name Surrey comes from the fact that the Englishman H. J. Brewer, one of the founders, thought that the city looked like Surrey in England. Surrey was incorporated in 1879 and united a wide range of ethnicities, which it has remained to this day.

World War II

Most people around the globe were probably affected by World War II in some way. However, the residents of Surrey were already in an economic crisis in the early 1930s, as the years of drought on the prairie were a problem for the agricultural communities of the city. Many left their farms and moved to rainier areas in British Columbia.

By 1941, the war had begun, and 14,840 people were citizens of Surrey. During the war years, rapid population growth and industrial development occurred throughout the district, especially after the completion of the Pattullo Bridge and the King George Highway in 1937 and 1940, respectively.

After the war, the soldiers returned, and many found work in the construction industry north of the Fraser River. By 1951, the population had grown to almost 34,000 people.

Economy and growth

Surrey is located at many major intersections, which has helped the city grow and develop over the years. The city is located at the intersection of the Pacific Ocean, the area around Vancouver, and the border with the United States. In 1937, the Pattullo Bridge was built, which paved the way for Surrey to expand.

In the 1950s, Surrey became a commuter town for people who were going to Vancouver or Burnaby but didn't want to live there. In the 1980s and 1990s, people from all over Canada and Asia flocked to the city to benefit from the growth in western Canada and the United States.

Surrey becomes a city

In September 1993, Surrey was declared a city, with six city centers - North Surrey, Newton, Fleetwood, Guildford, Cloverdale, and South Surrey. It had a lot to offer its residents, including many green areas. There are also many cultural facilities and leisure activities. About 35% of the city is still agricultural, so you have the feeling that the city remains true to its roots and at the same time continues to develop. However, it is quite different from the time when the first indigenous people were the only people in this area. The places continue to develop, but it is important that the original heritage is not forgotten.

Surrey Today

In the decade from 1995 to 2005, the population of Surrey grew beyond the traditional city centers to the developing suburbs. With a population of around 340,000 in 2001, residential areas in Newton, the Port Kells neighborhood, Campbell Heights, Cloverdale, and South Westminster have performed well.

With more than 1,000 people moving to the city every month, the population today is 425,000, it is expected to become the largest city in British Columbia in the not-too-distant future, surpassing Vancouver. Come and explore the rich history of Surrey and find out why the city is growing and developing so fast.