Surrey History Banner
Contact   Settlement   Transportation   Agriculture   Families   Schools   Churches   Foresty   Centres   Businesses   Civic Gov't   Public Service   Border   Place Names   Reminiscences  

site search by freefind

Initial Contact
  Spanish Contact
  George Vancouver
  McMillan Expedition
  Semiahmoo People
  Camp Semiahmoo

Initial Settlement
  Surrey's Virgin Landscape
  Pre–settlement Trails
  Semiahmoo Trail
  Kennedy Trail
  Pioneer Settlement
  Water Transportation

  Provincial Roads after 1871
  Municipal Roads after 1879
  Coast Meridian Road
  McLellan Road
  Historic Road Names
  Road names to numbers
  Address location
  Crossing the Fraser
  The Railway Era 1887-1910
     The BC Electric Stations
     The Sealine Route
     Limited Beach Access
     Politics and Railways
     Rail lines verses Roads
  White Rock Taxis Service
  Pacific Stage Lines
  Surrey Bus Service
  Transfer Trucking

Early Agriculture
  History of Agriculture
  The Bose Family Farm
  The Adamson Family Farm
  Dyking Jurisdictions
     Serpentine Dam
  Surrey Dyking District

Early Families
  Atchison Family
  W.J. Brewer
  Brown Family
  Coulthard Family
  Dinsmore Family
  Fallowfield Family
  Gordon Family
  Hadden Family
  Nils Christian Hjorth
  Abraham Huck Family
  Johnston Family
  James Kennedy Family
  McBride Family Farm
  Newton Family
  O'Brien Family
  Parr Family
  Pike Family
  William Shannon
  Stevenson Family
     Ben Stevenson Park
  Sullivan Family
  Tompson Family
  H.T. Thrift Family
     Thrift's Reminiscences
  Woodward Family
  Zennosuke Inouye

Surrey Schools
  Schools 1882-1900
     A Teacher's Diary
  Schools 1901-1939
  Schools 1940-1950
  Schools after 1950
     School Stories

  Hazelmere United
  First United, White Rock

Logging and Milling
  Virgin Forests in Surrey
  Logging in South Surrey
  Mills in South Surrey
  Logging in North Surrey
  Mills in North Surrey

  Early Settlement Centers
  Elgin-Port Elgin
  Surrey Center
      Left bank of the Fraser

Growth of Urban Centers
  White Rock
     Legend of White Rock
     White Rock Lawn Bowling
  Crescent Beach
     Crescent Beach Road Names
     Crescent Lodge and Hotel
     Crescent Legion 240
     Crescent Beach Swim Club
     Camp Alexandra
     Jack Berry of Crescent
  Ocean Park
     OP Road Names

Early Businesses
  Crescent Oyster Company
  BC Packers' Delta
  Tara Supper Club
  Hugh & McKinnon
  Surrey Center Stores
  Surrey's Development

Civic Government
  Municipal and City Halls
  Surrey Council Members
  Coats of Arms

Public Service
  Water Sources
  First Doctor
  First Fire Marshall
  Surrey's Health Services
  Surrey's Fire Service
  Women in the Fire Service
  Sullivan Volunteers
  Crescent Volunteers
  Policing in Surrey
  Surrey's Justice System
  Museum and Archives
  Surrey Public Library
  Surrey Historical Society

Can–USA border
  Customs Entry Ports
  Peace Arch and Peace Portal

Surrey Place Names
  Place Names

     Barbara Nevill
     Surrey Memories

The City of Surrey: A History

by Jack Brown

2013 recipient of the British Columbia Historical Federation Best Web Site Award

Jack Brown was the recipient of Surrey's 2014 Heritage in the City Award in the Education–Interpretation category

The City of Surrey is located in British Columbia, Canada. She is a member of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Surrey is located south of Vancouver and her northern boundary is the Fraser River and her southern boundary is Semiahmoo Bay and the U.S.A.

Location of Surrey 2003 map of Surrey

Surrey's History is composed of a series of interwoven themes which impact on one another in Surrey's historical development. These themes begin with the initial Spanish and English contact, aboriginal settlement, and the impact of Europeans on the native population. Following themes involve early pioneer settlement and the impact of trails, early roads, water transportation and the development of railways on that settlement. The final themes culminate with expanded settlement and the development of urban centers up to the two decades following World War II.

Surrey's name

Queen Victoria had named New Westminster, thus it is called the Royal City. In England, across the Thames from Westminster is the County of Surrey. It seemed appropriate that across the river from New Westminster there should also be a Surrey. Surrey was named by the first Clerk of the Municipal Council, Mr. W. J. Brewer, around 1880. "Due to the geographic similarity of this district to that of County Surrey in England, in relation to Westminster, I suggest it be named Surrey, British Columbia."

Surrey's incorporation

Surrey Municipality came into being in 1879. Letters Patent were issued November 10, 1879.

The Lieutenant–Governor–in–Council, by Letters Patent under the Public Seal of the Province, and upon a petition by the majority of male freeholders, free miners, pre–emptors, and lease holders, being respectively of the free age of 21 years and resident in any locality of an area (if on the mainland but not otherwise), not greater than 100 square miles, in which locality there shall be not less than 30 male residents aforesaid, may incorporate such locality as a Municipality.
P35 The Surrey Story (Treleaven, 1969)

There were 35 resident males who had qualified at the time and signed a petition favouring incorporation.

When Surrey and Langley were formed a half-mile strip had been left out of either jurisdiction. A poll of voters in the half–mile strip had been favourable to joining Surrey. The change in the eastern boundary was made with the surrender of the original Letters Patent and new Letters Patent were dated July 7th, 1882. The name of the municipality now become; The Corporation of the District of Surrey.

Surrey was incorporated as a City in 1993. Letter Patent for Surrey City status were issued on September 11, 1993.

Surrey City's Corporate Emblem

Original beaver

The original corporate emblem was a reflection of Surrey beginnings. The first symbol was a line drawing of a beaver sitting on the heading Surrey, British Columbia. In her early beginnings Surrey was heavily forested with her four rivers and many poorly drained areas that were populated by beavers. The logo represented this city in terms of its natural environment.

Beaver Seal

The new Surrey Logo

1993 Surrey adopted a new corporate symbol with a Coat of Arms depicting stylized sand of trees and buildings, to recognize Surrey's adopted nickname: "City of Parks". The beaver was kept as part of the crest on a new coat of arms. The beaver is at the centre flanked by a race horse on one side and a workhorse on the other. Wavy lines under the beaver represented rivers, like the Fraser, Serpentine, Nicomekl and Campbell that run though Surrey. The mountains and border crossing were also represent in other lines on the crest.

(see Coat of Arms)
Coat of Arms

City of Surrey Logo

Surrey has recently adopted a new corporate logo: a pair of high-rises representing the City of Surrey along with the moto "The Future Lives Here". The new logo will be used to convey a modern, progressive and welcoming visual identity that works alongside the coat of arms reserved and maintained for official usage. The new logo will be adaptable to all City departments and customer service areas including print materials, advertising, City facility and gateway signage, the website and multiple marketing and communication mediums.

Surrey Arms Logo

For other local sites to visit:
Visit a companion site on: The History of Metropolitan Vancouver

About the author – Jack Brown

Visit Surrey Historical Societies' web page to view upcoming events
Surrey Historical Society Events

This Surrey History web site is financally supported by the
Surrey Historical Society

Surrey Municipal Hall 1912 Douglas border looking south BC Electric Clova Station Surrey Police 1949 Sunday School 1947 Galiano's map 1792 Carncross office 1909 The White Rock at White Rock Threshing on the Loney farm 1904 The Crescent Beach Hotel Oxenham General Store Pacific Stage Flyer Campbell River Lumber Mill Opening of New Westminster Bridge 1904 The McKenzie Barn Raising The Pacific Border Crossing Surrey built fire truck Walter Blackies Cabin Surrey homesteaders before 1879 Christ Church Crash Wagon c1945 Hadden Laking Lumber Mill Whalley Home Station 1879 sketch of Semiahmoo Village Elgin Hotel Sorting oysters White Rock East Fleetwood Elementary Elgin School Centre Bose Farm Home Chris Brown Home Green Timbers School Moody Map

shopify traffic stats

View My Stats