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Pipe Major Newlands Story

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Since the early 14th century, Scottish warriors used musical instruments (horns or bagpipes) to intimidate their adversaries and the Canadian Military has long adopted the tradition.

123 years ago, Alexander Newlands, son of a Scottish immigrant, was born in Toronto in 1889. By 1914, during World War One, he enlisted with the 48th Highlanders of Canada and was issued a set of Peter Henderson brand bagpipes. Alexander became Pipe Major of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, 1st Canadian Expeditionary Force, 15th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, the first of its kind to head overseas.

He spent 5 years in Europe playing bagpipes at almost every major battle of the Great War including Vimy Ridge. It was during this battle at Vimy where the fighting became so intense he put down his pipes to wield his sniper rifle instead.

Vimy Ridge
(The Battle of Vimy Ridge. Source: Wikipedia)

Newlands lost his bagpipes in the commotion of that historic battle and carried on without them, but 3 days later on the battlefield a fellow soldier approached him and said “I heard you lost your bagpipes,” then presented them. Alexander Newlands had his pipes back and continued playing them for 55 years.

Tragedy, and Alexander’s Legacy

At age 82 in 1972, and now living in Maple Ridge, Alexander retired from piping. He gave his pipes to Bob Young, a family friend to have them continue being played. Alexander passed away in 1982 and a year later, his grandson, Colin Newlands began piping so Bob gave them back to the family.

Edinburgh Castle
(Source: Edinburgh Castle)

Colin Campbell Newlands
Colin Newlands around 1993, age 22

Colin, whose family moved to Surrey in 1974, fulfilled his grandfather’s wishes and played those pipes so well that as an Air Cadet was selected as one of fewer than 30 from across Canada in 1987, to be part of the first cadet contingent to ever play at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland for the prestigious Edinburgh Tattoo. Tragically, after 13 years of piping, Colin passed away from an aneurysm in 1996.

Brothers in Arms

Compelled to carry on the legacy of his grandfather, Colin’s older brother Garth (who also served in the military) a year later at 27 took up the bagpipes, and played these same bagpipes which were once on that battlefield during Canada’s major defining moment, the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

A Random Encounter

In early May this year I was jogging by the Whalley Athletic Park near my home and saw this man with a really nice SLR camera and zoom lens snapping pictures of his son playing baseball. I had interest in a story about Little League for Surrey604 so I approached him about providing some photos. He introduced himself as Garth Newlands.

I had no idea who he was at all, but shortly after I discovered he was an avid blogger and guest author for Civic Surrey blog and I invited him to write the article for us about Little League.

Cedar Hills Caledonian Pipe Band

Cedar Hills Caledonian Pipe Band

He mentioned I might be interested in doing a feature on his Cedar Hills Caledonian Pipe Band – a group of pipers, drummers and highland dancers who perform at community events throughout the year. I dropped by their Thursday night practice at the Whalley Legion with my video camera, and later met up with them during their performance at Surrey Canada Day Celebrations in Cloverdale. Here are the interviews and footage I took:

Garth was instrumental in creating the Whalley Legion based pipe band and its tartan honours his lost brother. Read the full history here…

The Cedar Hills Caledonian Pipe Band are always looking for individuals of all ages to join their ranks. You can find them on the web at www.chcpb.ca, Facebook and Twitter or even YouTube.

Keep watch for The Cedar Hills Caledonian Pipe Band at upcoming events such as BC Summer Games, Fusion Fest and the Surrey International World Music Marathon.

Garth and Melanie Show Me Around the Whalley Legion

About the Whalley Legion

(From Legion website)

The Whalley Branch #229 Royal Canadian Legion is one of over 160 in B.C./Yukon Command. Whalley is in North Surrey, British Columbia, forming part of the city centre and a short walk south of the Gateway Skytrain station.

“We have a games room offering pool, darts, cribbage, and a big screen TV. Our lounge has live entertainment on Wednesday evenings and weekends, and has a large dance floor. We host a variety of events all year round. Thursday night is our “Crib Night” and “In-house Pool League” and both Saturday and Sunday afternoons we have our weekly meat draws. Upstairs is an auditorium with full kitchen and bar facilities available for meetings, dinners, dances and conferences. The Whalley Legion Branch 229 has a long and proud history in the community and hosts a parade for Remembrance Day November 11. The Legion also sponsors Youth, Cadets, Sports, Seniors Housing, and has donated over $50,000 to Veterans in need, bursaries, charities, and other causes in 2004.”

History of the Whalley Legion

In 1947 about 40 veterans gathered to start a local branch of the Canadian Legion in the Whalley area, at that time named after the Whalley family, who operated the local gas and store at the corner of 108 ave and the Pacific Highway (later named the King George Highway) The Charter for the North Surrey Branch No. 229, Canadian Legion was received in January of 1948.

Whalley's Corner
(Read more about Arthur Whalley and the history of Whalley here…)

History of the Whalley Legion
(Groundbreaking for Whalley Legion Hall. Source: Whalley Legion)

One of the first organizations in Whalley’s Corner, next to the Ladies Community Guild, the originating members held their first meetings in local church basements and members’ garages. It wasn’t long before they began construction of a small community hall on Grosvenor Road through donated materials and labour. The Ladies Auxiliary, formed in same year, actively helped with fund raising.

Whalley Legion Cenotaph

In 1951, the first Remembrance Service was held on the grounds of the Grosvenor Road School and in 1952, a new Cenotaph was erected on the traffic island at 108th avenue & the Pacific Highway. With the construction of the current King George Boulevard, the cenotaph was moved to its current location for caretaking until a new city site is finalized.

In 1954, with unprecedented growth in the area, a new community hall was completed (adjacent to the current building) again through fundraisers, the sales of debentures to members and volunteer effort. By 1960 continued growth and community work lead up to construction of the present building, at the time being the most spacious facility in the Lower Mainland.

Since that time the Whalley Branch has carried on its work in the community, becoming a gathering place for thousands of members over the years and a showcase for local entertainers.

Surrey604 Facebook Album: Surrey Canada Day 2012

Photos by Esmir, Fatima & Daman.

The creator of Surrey604.com, Daman Beatty (AKA 'Beatler') is originally from Sackville, New Brunswick. A longtime media producer, visual designer, marketing and communications specialist, Daman loves travel, technology and being a Daddy.

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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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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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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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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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