The Curtain Call – Custom Interiors Surrey is beginning a series of articles that talk about the great city of Surrey, British Columbia. We’re are going to start with our first article on the history of Surrey with more to come ranging from the climate, leisure activities and prominent businesses.
For more than six thousand years, the area surrounding what is now the city of Surrey was home to the Semiahmoo and Kwantlen First Nations People who fished and hunted in these fertile lands. Their settlements were based all along the area surrounding the mouth of the great Fraser River, especially at Crescent Beach and at the mouth of the Campbell River. Of particular note in the field for these people were the abundant fish and shellfish and the migratory patterns of animals. Salmon, herrings, and lichens would come through the area. There are also a number of connecting waterways, in addition to the main rivers, which meant that people could easily travel all around the area and bring food from further away to the settlements easily and relatively quickly. They would be able to hunt elk, deer, bears and various birds to supplement their fish stocks. Indeed, they did not eat poorly in an area that was rich in supplies. All was to change however when a group of European settlers came to the area in the mid-nineteenth century.
European Settlement and Incorporation
To settle the area the early settlers had to make the area and lots of logging took place, to the horror of the local people. The forest of fir, cedar and hemlock had been untouched for centuries, perhaps millennia. Nonetheless, the settlers continued, and gradually, Surrey began to take shape. It is thought it is called Surrey because the Englishman H J Brewer who was one of the founders believed it looked like Surrey in England. Surrey was incorporated in 1879 and brought together a wide range of ethnicities which it remains today.
Surrey is located at many major crossroads which has helped it to grow and develop over the years. Indeed, it is at the intersection of the Pacific Rim, the Vancouver area, and the United States border. In 1937 the Pattullo Bridge was erected which truly opened the door for Surrey to expand. In the 1950s it became a commuter city for people who wanted to travel to Vancouver or Burnaby but didn’t want to live there. In the 1980s and 1990s, people from all over Canada and Asia flocked there to make the most of the growth in western Canada/United States.
Surrey Becomes a City
In September 1993 Surrey was declared a city, with six town centers – North Surrey, Newton, Fleetwood, Guildford, Cloverdale and South Surrey. The population is now 425,000, and it is expected to become the largest city in British Columbia in the not too distant future, surpassing Vancouver. It has a lot to offer for residents, including lots of open green space. There are also lots of cultural facilities and recreational amenities. About 35% of the city is still agricultural, so there is a sense that it is staying true to its rots while also developing. However, it is mighty different to how it was when the first First Peoples were the only people in the area. Places move on, but it is vital that the original heritage is not forgotten.