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A Celebration of Community in Newton

A Celebration of Community in Newton

After last week’s tragic killing outside Newton Arena, Philip Aguirre, chef owner at the Old Surrey Restaurant, is focusing on the positives and community cohesion.

On Sunday evening, Jan. 12, the restaurant opened its doors to its long established customer base for an evening of complimentary appetizers and drinks to mark their 40th year in business and to celebrate the community.

Live music by White Rock’s Neil Harnett and private label Kettle Valley wine helped make the occasion. From 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the Old Surrey was a bustling, lively, exalted hub of activity.

Community members enjoy complimentary wine and appetizers at the Old Surrey Restaurant’s 40th anniversary customer appreciation event on Sunday, Jan. 12. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(Community members enjoy complimentary wine and appetizers at the Old Surrey Restaurant’s 40th anniversary customer appreciation event on Sunday, Jan. 12. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

Philip and Valentine Aguirre with guests at the Old Surrey Restaurant’s 40th anniversary celebration that drew in crowds from the Newton community. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(Philip and Valentine Aguirre with guests at the Old Surrey Restaurant’s 40th anniversary celebration that drew in crowds from the Newton community. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

Community members enjoy complimentary wine and appetizers at the Old Surrey Restaurant’s 40th anniversary customer appreciation event on Sunday, Jan. 12. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(Community members enjoy complimentary wine and appetizers at the Old Surrey Restaurant’s 40th anniversary customer appreciation event on Sunday, Jan. 12. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

Philip and Valentine Aguirre with Harry Bains, M.L.A. for Surrey-Newton, at Sunday’s customer appreciation event. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(Philip and Valentine Aguirre with Harry Bains, M.L.A. for Surrey-Newton, at Sunday’s customer appreciation event. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

A community member event sips complimentary wine and checks out some unopened bottles on display at Sunday’s event at the Old Surrey Restaurant. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(A community member event sips complimentary wine and checks out some unopened bottles on display at Sunday’s event at the Old Surrey Restaurant. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

Neil Harnett performing at the Old Surrey Restaurant on Sunday, Jan. 12 to celebrate the Newton community. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(Neil Harnett performing at the Old Surrey Restaurant on Sunday, Jan. 12 to celebrate the Newton community. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

Guests at Sunday’s event enjoying complimentary wine. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(Guests at Sunday’s event enjoying complimentary wine. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

Professional server Spiro Saites and his wife Patricia Saites prepare Caesar salad for guests at Sunday’s event. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(Professional server Spiro Saites and his wife Patricia Saites prepare Caesar salad for guests at Sunday’s event. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

Guests enjoying complimentary wine at Sunday’s event. Photo: Bronwyn Scott
(Guests enjoying complimentary wine at Sunday’s event. Photo: Bronwyn Scott)

“Just seeing everyone with joy and excitement, it’s exciting. It’s exciting for Newton, it’s exciting for us to celebrate forty years,” said Aguirre.

“It’s just been a way for us to bring our customer base together and to celebrate what we’re doing here and to celebrate our customers, because that’s what our community is, it’s our customer base.”

Regulars like Sandy Scott felt at home on Sunday’s event. She and her husband admitted they had a hard time finding friends to bring along that they hadn’t yet brought to the restaurant.

“I have been coming here since they opened. It’s a great place, you feel like you’re part of the family when you come in.”

The white and green house is a familiar icon on the Surrey landscape. Pioneer Lew Jack, a grocer, built the home on an old logging camp in 1918 for his growing family.

Valentine Aguirre started the Old Surrey Restaurant, a family business, and in 2007 his youngest son, Philip, who travelled to France to perfect his culinary skillset, took the reins.

About The Author

Bronwyn Scott

Bronwyn has lived in Ottawa, P.E.I., Victoria, Squamish and Surrey, B.C. She has an English degree (SFU, 2011) and a journalism degree (Langara College, 2013) and for four years worked with Sandra Djwa on Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page, which won the Governor-General’s Non-Fiction prize in 2013. She’s an adventurous spirit who loves the outdoors and all things artsy. She’s written for the Surrey Leader, the Langley Times and The Squamish Reporter.

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