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Local History

Heroes of Our History

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This weekend at the Surrey Archives and Museum in Cloverdale, well-known heritage consultant, advocate and author, Donald Luxton gave a talk on the process of preserving heritage sites in the face of the continued growth and development in Surrey.

Luxton is basically Metro Vancouver’s local history and heritage rock star.

Donald Luxton

His firm, Donald Luxton & Associates is THE go-to cultural and heritage resource management firm in Western Canada.

If you love local history you should check out some of the richly illustrated books he’s published such as Building the West, Lion’s Gate and Vancouver General Hospital 100 Years of Care and Service.

Donald Luxton Books - Building the West, Lion's Gate and Vancouver General Hospital 100 Years of Care and Service

I am fascinated by local history (a total history nerd, so expect more posts on the subject). My dad was a history prof, I guess it’s in my blood.

Anyway… Luxton met with the Surrey Historical society and discussed some of the problems, successes and rewards of preservation and the Heritage Foundation.

We met with some of the members of the society after the talk and made some new friends. Many of them are retired folks who have witnessed the growth of Surrey from a backwoods farm land with a one-room school, to the second largest city in BC. Imagine!

I spoke with the Surrey Historical Society about two books on local history published by their members. Here’s the videos:

Kennedy’s Trail: Past to Present by John MacDonald

Kennedy's Trail: Past to Present By John MacdonaldThis is the story of how in 1861 James Kennedy made the first settler-built trail in BC’s Lower Mainland, how its route almost became lost to local history, and how the author found remnants of the 150 year old trail in North Delta and Surrey.

John MacDonald has received Friend of Heritage awards from both Delta and Surrey, and is a member of the Surrey Historical Society. He has combined information from historical maps, survey plans, modern maps, satellite images, and photographs to clearly illustrate the route of Kennedy’s trail in relation to other early trails and roads.

The Semiahmoo Trail: Myths, Makers, Memories by Ron Dowle

The Semiahmoo Trail: Myths, Makers, Memories by Ron DowleThe Semiahmoo Trail: Myths, Makers, Memories, pulls back the curtain on a little-known piece of Surrey history. The Semiahmoo Trail was built 1873-74 and crossed Surrey from the Fraser River to the Canada-U.S. border.

Author Ron Dowle has written a highly readable first-ever history of the Trail. The 68-page book includes previously-unpublished material from pioneer writings, surveyor field books and historical plans and maps held in archival collections in British Columbia and Whatcom County in Washington State.

These books are available through the BC Historical Society book sales on-line. They can also be ordered from the Society at (778) 294-1515 or contact jhwb@shaw.ca

Pioneer Profiles

Richard Clement MoodyRichard Clement Moody was the commander of the British Army’s Royal Engineers Columbia Detachment at New Westminster, and BC’s Commissioner of Lands and Works.
James DouglasJames Douglas resided in Victoria. He was Governor of the separate British colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

Upcoming Events:

Surrey Archives Series

Surrey’s Pioneer Profiles
with Ryan Gallagher

Saturday April 14th, 11 am to 12 noon.
The location to be announced.

The Surrey Historical Society

The Surrey Historical Society was incorporated in 1969 to promote interest in the heritage of the city of Surrey; to identify and support the preservaton of historical materials, site and structures pertaining to the people of Surrey, especially those of early settlers; to support research and documentation of Surrey history; and to publish materials on Surrey’s history.

First Land Owners in Surrey

Old maps

James and Caroline KennedyJames Kennedy was an architect, builder, and an entrepreneur. After some initial difficulty he found work constructing roads and buildings in New Westminster.

In 1860 he became the first person to pre–empt un–surveyed land on the south side of the Fraser River in what is now the Annieville area of North Delta, near the boundary with Surrey.

He taught school at Derby near Fort Langley between 1867 and 1873. He and his sons James M. and Robert eventually pre–empted or purchased more than a thousand acres of land in Delta and Surrey, mostly along Scott Road. Several of his sons worked for The British Columbian newspaper in New Westminster and his sons George, Robert, and James become its owners in 1888. More on the society website…

(Pictured: James and Caroline Kennedy at the time of their marriage in Ontario in 1854)

-Daman

Local History

Discover first major exhibit in Canada to shine spotlight on Surrey’s Punjabis

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Surrey, BC – A contemporary and engaging exhibit led by Surrey’s Punjabi community is coming to Museum of Surrey October 2 to February 23.

Being Punjabi: Unfolding the Surrey Story is the first major exhibition in Canada to shine a spotlight on Surrey’s Punjabis, showcasing their stories of struggle and success. The exhibition is intended to be a catalyst for discussion and sharing, while also documenting histories of this diverse community.

Engage with personal objects, archival documents, art and riveting stories – all brought forth from a diverse group of people in the Punjabi community.

“We are pleased to unveil the first community-led exhibit at the Museum of Surrey, which highlights the vibrant and diverse culture of Surrey’s Punjabi community,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “The Punjabi community has a long history in Surrey and the 16 stories that are the centrepiece of this exhibit will illuminate the contributions they have made to our City. Thank-you to all of the community members who have come forward to share their story and make this feature exhibit such a success.”

Earlier this year, the museum sought the voices of Surrey’s Punjabi community by holding a series of community sharing sessions at locations throughout the city. Staff asked Punjabi residents to share stories, photos and personal objects for display in the exhibit. Sixteen stories have been selected to be the centre of this community-led feature at the Museum of Surrey, which are transcribed in both Punjabi and English.


Artifacts sourced during the sessions, include farming equipment, cooking utensils, historical documents, hand-woven tapestries, textiles and much more. Visitors are also invited to contribute their stories about Punjabi culture via the museum’s Show and Share display on the second floor. People are invited to lend their own objects for display inspired by the exhibit or personal travels and experiences.

This new feature exhibit opens October 2, and the City of Surrey invites members of the public to a free Exhibit Spotlight celebration on October 5 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The family friendly event will include live performance, henna and crafts, as well as free food samples.

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Local History

City Council renames Surrey street to commemorate Komagata Maru victims

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SURREY | Surrey City Council has approved the renaming of a Surrey street to commemorate the victims of the 1914 Komagata Maru incident. At last night’s Regular Council Meeting, Council voted to authorize the installation of commemorative signs that say Komagata Maru Way on 75A Avenue between 120 Street and 121A Street.

“Surrey is a city that embraces diversity and renaming this stretch of road is a reminder that intolerance has no place in our city,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “As we celebrate and welcome people from all over the world, we also need to learn from our past to ensure such injustices never happen again.”

In addition to the commemorative street name signs, Council also approved the installation of a storyboard at R.A Nicholson Park, explaining the history of the Komagata Maru and a city project to document the history and contributions of the earliest South Asian residents in Surrey.
Commemorate the Victims of the Komagata Maru Incident

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Local History

Surrey names park in honour of African American settler

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The City of Surrey announced today a park will be named in honour of one of the first African American families to settle in the area in 1912.  The park site, located in Cloverdale at 64 Avenue and 181A Street, was formerly referred to as 77C Utility Row, and now officially holds the name of Henry Houston Scott Park.

The park sits on part of the original Scott family property and is home to fruit trees originally planted by the family. Along with officially naming the parkland, a heritage sign has been installed to share the Scott family’s story and will allow park users to learn more about the history of their contributions to the community.

“Council is pleased to support the naming of this park, as we recognize the important role that the Scott family played in shaping the community,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Naming this park after Henry Houston Scott provides a sense of history and belonging to our residents and city as a whole.”

Henry Houston Scott was an African American born in 1854 in Texas.  He married Amy Florence Alridge in 1880 and the couple had ten children and resided in various U.S. states before arriving in Canada.  In 1912, the Scotts and three oftheir children, Roy, Jesse and Benola moved to the Fraser Valley, settling in Cloverdale along the border of 64 Avenue and approximately 181A Street.

The Scotts grew hay and farmed dairy cattle which contributed to tremendous growth and development in Cloverdale between 1912 and 1971. When Benola Scott, the family’s youngest child passed away in 1971, she was laid to rest with her family in the Surrey Centre Cemetery, where a family gravestone was installed in 2018.

As the steward of the city’s natural environment, Surrey Parks works together with the community to celebrate nature and protect the environment, while building a legacy for future generations and celebrating Surrey’s rich cultural history.

With over 300 parks, 300km of trails and over 7000 acres of parkland, Surrey is home to an abundance of parks and natural areas interconnected throughout the city. Surrey Parks aims to continually create opportunities for everyone to get outdoors and explore, discover and connect with nature. Surrey is an open, inclusive and diverse city that fully supports and celebrates Black History Month.

For more information, visit surrey.ca/parks.

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Local History

20 Years in the Making | #webelong

Did you know that BC was the first province in Canada to close all it’s large institutions that segregated people with developmental disabilities? (Inclusion BC). That was 1996! In 2007, Canada signed the UN Convention on Rights of Person’s with Disabilities, which required member nations to develop legislation that promoted the human rights of person’s with disabilities and create a more inclusive society. (CCD) And in 2009, Canada’s first and largest institution, the “Huronia Regional Center” once known as the “Orilla Asylum for Idiots” finally closed. (Wikipedia) Canada has come a long way in 20 years! Now, those who were segregated are full participants of our culture and society.

And that’s because of Change Makers, who worked tirelessly over the last half a century to make a difference one person, one action, one moment at a time. That’s why we are excited to share our next episode because person’s with disability, and their advocates, are taking their message, their story, our story as a nation, to other countries who are beginning their journey from segregation to inclusion. Get ready for episode 3 where we follow a team from Langley BC to Hunedoara Romania.Help us share their message of inclusion by liking and sharing their story when it premiers this week.

Want to learn more about the history of the disability right movement in Canada, watch this story from Inclusion BC:

Special Thank You to Our Sponsor

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Did you know that BC was the first province in Canada to close all it’s large institutions that segregated people with developmental disabilities? (Inclusion BC). That was 1996! In 2007, Canada signed the UN Convention on Rights of Person’s with Disabilities, which required member nations to develop legislation that promoted the human rights of person’s with disabilities and create a more inclusive society. (CCD) And in 2009, Canada’s first and largest institution, the “Huronia Regional Center” once known as the “Orilla Asylum for Idiots” finally closed. (Wikipedia) Canada has come a long way in 20 years! Now, those who were segregated are full participants of our culture and society.

And that’s because of Change Makers, who worked tirelessly over the last half a century to make a difference one person, one action, one moment at a time. That’s why we are excited to share our next episode because person’s with disability, and their advocates, are taking their message, their story, our story as a nation, to other countries who are beginning their journey from segregation to inclusion. Get ready for episode 3 where we follow a team from Langley BC to Hunedoara Romania.Help us share their message of inclusion by liking and sharing their story when it premiers this week.

Want to learn more about the history of the disability right movement in Canada, watch this story from Inclusion BC:

Special Thank You to Our Sponsor

Pacific Development Pathways


Want to become a change maker too and share your brand message alongside our content and stories?

Learn more and download the Sponsorship Package Today! http://bit.ly/TCM-Sponsor-Package


Little Bird Media – www.littlebirdmedia.ca
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/little_bird_media/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/littlebirdmediaca/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KafkaJJ

Surrey604 – https://surrey604.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/surrey604/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Surrey604/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sry604

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Local History

Guildford Town Centre and Museum of Surrey Hosting ‘What We Bring’ Exhibit

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New Exhibit to Feature Objects and Artifacts That Local Individuals and Families Brought When First Immigrating to Canada

In celebration of Canada Day, Guildford Town Centre and the Museum of Surrey will be hosting a new exhibit, What We Bring, June 25th to July 9th. The exhibit will showcase many beloved objects and artifacts that people carried with them when first immigrating to Canada. What We Bring will be open to visitors during regular mall hours at Centre Court at Guildford Town Centre.

“We are very pleased to bring this exhibit to our shoppers here at Guildford Town Centre. It provides our shoppers with the opportunity to engage with the Museum of Surrey in our Centre while bringing the community together.” Kyla Way, Marketing Director, Guildford Town Centre.

Some of the items that will be on display as part of the exhibit include:

  • An antique trunk brought to Canada in 1914, by nine-year-old Elizabeth Muir when she immigrated to Canada from Scotland aboard the RMS Hesperian. Elizabeth is the grandmother of Kyla Way, Guildford Town Centre’s Marketing Director. One of over 100,000 British Home Children sent to Canada from Great Britain between 1869 and the late 1940s, Elizabeth was given the two-foot by one-foot box to make her journey – it held everything she had in the world when she came to Canada.
  • Hand embroidered wedding gown brought to Canada by Dalia Al Husseini from Palestine. Dalia is from Jerusalem and a shopper at Guildford Town Centre. The gown was worn by Dalia at her wedding and was given to her by her mother in 2009. It is painstakingly handstitched by Palestinian refugee and expert embroiderer Raghad Hatahet.
  • A Teddy Bear won at a State Fair in the 1950’s lent by Trudy Deichen of Surrey, BC and shopper of Guildford Town Centre. This teddy bear with red fur body and red fur chest was won by Trudy Deichen’s father for her at a state fair in Washington State when she was 8 years old.  Her father Jimmy Parker worked as a logger. Trudy was born in Bellingham and grew up on Orcas Island. Her family was a pioneer family on Orcas for hundreds of years, and their items are still displayed in the local museum. She later immigrated to Canada with her husband who was a teacher.  The bear is one of only 2 items Trudy has left from her childhood.
  • A Cake Pan with recipe lent to the exhibit by Sharon Clayton of Surrey, BC and Guildford Town Centre shopper. The items were brought to Canada by Sharon’s mother Marjorie Kentish Davis who lived in Jamaica and who met her husband Kenneth MacRae Campbell in Jamaica. He was a piper in the Canadian army. Mary was a war bride from Jamaica to Canada. There were many war brides from England to Canada, but not many know about women from Jamaica to Canada.  The items were lent by Sharon Joan MacRae Campbell (now Clayton) who was the first-born child of Marjorie Kentish Davis. She was born in Jamaica. The cake pan on display and recipe were Sharon’s mothers. The pan was used to make Jamaican Christmas Pudding a traditional pudding that was steamed.
  • A Briefcase from Thailand “Hitachi” from about 1990 on loan from Mr. Win Zaw  of Surrey, BC and a shopper at Guildford Town Centre. He has lived in Canada for 30 years. Before he came to Canada he was a refugee from Myanmar (Burma) to Thailand.  On display is a photo ID from a refugee labor camp where he lived in Thailand. The briefcase was purchased in Thailand and came to Canada when Mr. Zaw immigrated. He said inside were his few possessions including 500 Thai Baht, about $20 Canadian.

“Talking to shoppers we heard so many deeply sentimental stories and learning that this exhibit matters to the people of Surrey. Our vision is to be the best people’s museum in Canada. And so, with this exhibit, it is important for us to be in a public location such as Guildford Town Centre and to talk to people who may not often visit the Museum. We want to tell the stories of the people of Surrey.” Colleen Sharpe, Curator of Exhibits, Museum of Surrey.

For more information visit www.guildfordtowncentre.com

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30jan(jan 30)8:00 pm26apr(apr 26)11:59 pmArtists involve Surrey community in interactive outdoor artwork(january 30) 8:00 pm - (april 26) 11:59 pm Surrey Art Gallary Cost: Free

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19feb01marNew Canadian Classic Kim’s Convenience Comes to Surrey Civic Theatres2:00 pm - (march 1) 8:00 pm Surrey Arts Centre, 13750–88 Avenue Cost: $29 - $49

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26feb7:30 am9:30 amSurrey Police Transition Update with Wally Oppal7:30 am - 9:30 am Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel Cost: Free

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