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Guildford Library tells a First Nations story through new public artwork Raven and First Sunrise by Brandon Gabriel now installed



City of Surrey’s Public Art Program is pleased to announce the completion of a public artwork by Brandon Gabriel titled Raven and the First Sunrise at Guildford Library. Brandon Gabriel’s colourful design for the library windows depicts the First Nations story in which the raven brings sunlight to the earth.

The artist tells the story:

There are 37 distinct and diverse Indigenous languages in present-day British Columbia, and many more dialectal groups within those languages. This also means there are as many variations of this story as there are Indigenous histories in these lands. The Kwantlen people share their story of the first sunrise with several other Coast Salish communities and within the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language group, which includes the Musqueam, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, and Kwantlen peoples.

The story takes place in a time beyond our understanding of time, in an era that precedes human habitation of this world, when life on this planet was in its infancy and light itself was still forming. Many supernatural creatures with powers beyond our understanding were hard at work shaping the world as we know it today. A shapeshifter now known as Raven, who could change size, shape, and matter, was gifted with the task from X’als (The Creator) to bring light to a darkened world, and so Raven did. The first sunrise was brought to the earth and sunlight beamed across the land, giving way to much needed illumination for all living things. Humans were still humble beings back then and had not developed into the industrious, manipulative, and highly populous people they are now. Raven also gave the humans the first constitution for looking after the planet and all living things: health, happiness, humbleness, forgiveness, family, generosity, and generations.

Gabriel was recommended to create a design for the Guildford Library by a committee of Elders of the Katzie, Kwantlen, and Semiahmoo First Nations. Raven and the First Sunrise is the fifth of eight Indigenous artworks completed to creatively enhance civic facilities and infrastructure across Surrey. The other completed works include:

  • Retro-Perspective by Drew Atkins at Surrey Arts Centre: This colourful artwork on the courtyard windows combines Coast Salish design elements with a retro look reminiscent of 1950s wallpaper and modernist sculptures, inviting the viewer to recognize that there are many perspectives of time and history.
  • The Fisherman’s Charm by Anthony Gabriel: This street banner highlights the graceful curves and long neck of the great blue heron considered a good omen for people venturing out to harvest salmon and other fish.
  • snəw̓eyəɬ: Nature’s Gods (Nature’s Teachers) by Wes Antone at Surrey Nature Centre: Comprised of ten striking Coast Salish designs of animals on the walls and doors, the artwork is accompanied by the lessons the animals teach us according to the Kwantlen First Nation, as well as the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ translations of the animal names.
  • Eight Salmon Heads by Leslie Wells at Surrey Arts Centre: This design on the program room windows honours the salmon valued by the coast-dwelling Semiahmoo First Nation, and the salmon that continue to spawn in Bear Creek, which runs behind the Surrey Arts Centre.

About the Artist

 Brandon Gabriel – Kwelexwelsten is a Kwantlen First Nation artist whose family also extends to the Shakan First Nation in N’lkapa’mux territory in Merritt, and St’ail’es First Nation territory in Harrison Lake. Gabriel is a graduate of Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He is an internationally recognized, award-winning multimedia visual artist who has exhibited in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the United States, and across Canada. He is a painter, mixed media sculptor, illustrator, graphic designer, and educator. Gabriel currently resides in his home community in the Kwantlen Nation in unceded Fort Langley, BC with his wife Melinda and daughter Jamie. His other public artwork in Surrey is Four Seasons.

About Surrey Public Art Program

 Established in 1998, Surrey’s Public Art Program aims to transform the city’s landscape and its residents who live, work, and play in it. Public art has the power to grab our attention, make us stop, think, ask questions, consider a new perspective, and spark conversations. Among the 80+ artworks in Surrey’s growing collection are mosaics, paintings, and interactive sculptures that remember Surrey’s history; that celebrate life, movement, and cultural diversity; and that engage with the surrounding natural environment. More works by Indigenous artists continue to be added to the Collection which features both local and international artists. From subtle to iconic, the artworks enhance parks, pathways, streets, SkyTrain pillars, and civic buildings throughout the City of Surrey.

The creator of, 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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Arts and Entertainment

Stewart Farm to Offer Guided Outdoor Tours



A New Way to Experience the Heritage Site

Surrey, BC – Starting July 14, Historic Stewart Farm will offer guided outdoor tours of the popular heritage site. The new modified service follows new protocols to ensure community safety as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Visitors must pre-register, with groups limited to 10 people. Tours of the historic site will be available Tuesday to Friday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:30pm.

Registrations times will be available every thirty minutes with the final tour beginning at 3:00pm. Guests are required to pre-register online with their MySurrey account. Registration opens July 6.

“With people staying safe and closer to home this summer, I encourage Surrey residents to get out and explore all that Surrey has to offer,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “Historic Stewart Farm’s heritage tours are a great option for families to discover our local history and enjoy some time outdoors.”

Highlights of the 30-minute outdoor tour include the 1894 Farmhouse, Pole Barn, heirloom gardens, root cellar, boat building and former threshing shed. Tours will lead visitors around the picturesque site, exploring the grounds and the history of the area, the Stewart Family, and the farm itself.

Exclusively outdoors, visitors are advised to dress for the weather to maximize their tour experience. A visit through the heritage Pole barn will be included, marked with a one-way route to ensure physical distancing. All other buildings will be closed. Historic Stewart Farm is a one-of-a-kind heritage venue located at 13723 Crescent Road within Elgin Heritage Park, along the Nicomekl River. Entrance is free.

For more information, call 604-591-4627. or visit
Follow the Farm on Facebook at @HeritageSurrey or on Instagram at @StewartFarmBC.

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Arts and Entertainment

Big Splash is Back for Another Hot Season – Social Distancing Style




TSAWWASSEN, BC – Metro Vancouver’s favourite water park is reopening for the season on Canada Day, July 1st, 2020! The 7-acre resort-inspired park features 13 body and tube waterslides for kids and adults of all ages. Due to COVID-19, the park will operate at 35% capacity with extra safety precautions to ensure everyone can enjoy their summer, safely, 7 days a week.

This year, Big Splash has made several important changes to ensure their staff and guests can feel safe while enjoying the sunshine and water slides. They will be conducting temperature checks and screenings on all employees and guests at entry. They have added hand sanitizing stations, outdoor showers, and created one-directional walkways and paths to waterslides.

There will be limits on how many people can be in a pool and hot tub at once. And this year, families will be allowed to bring in 1 cooler of food and drinks (no outside alcohol allowed). To ensure admission, guests are encouraged to book a cabana or table online for a specific date and admission tickets in the same transaction.

This is the perfect summer venue for birthday parties, family reunions, and corporate events. With a full-service cabana and tent rentals available, you can sit back and relax as you and your loved ones have fun. Big Splash offers a fully licenced bar and patio, with delicious summer-inspired cocktails and ice-cold beers on tap!

With two eateries available on site you can enjoy summer favourites made in-house with burgers, pizza, salads, poutines, fish & chips and more! “2020 has been a difficult year for many, and we hope that Big Splash can make a difference. With safety in mind, we plan to open our water park this year at 35% capacity to allow families to enjoy the sunshine and have a break while working together to flatten the curve.

We want to thank our first responders for the hard work they have been doing and want to assure our guests that we will do everything to keep our facility safe for everyone.”- Tamara Tam, Director of Operations. To learn more about the safety precautions, directions to the park, hours of operation, ticket information, ride information and more, please visit our website

About Big Splash Water Park | Owned and operated by Executive Hotels & Resorts since 2017, Big Splash Water Park is a Metro Vancouver favourite, located in sunny Tsawwassen. Offering endless fun and water activities for people of all ages, the 7-acre resort-style park has 13 water slides to choose from.

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Arts and Entertainment

Surrey Libraries Launches Takeout Service



Patrons can order books, DVDs, Summer Reading Club materials, and more.

Surrey, BC – Surrey Libraries has announced the launch of contactless Takeout service at six branches serving Surrey’s town centres. City Centre, Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, and Semiahmoo library branches will be providing the service starting June 26.

“Whether you pick up a book to enrich your personal knowledge, for your scholastic studies, or for the pure joy of reading, I know the act of holding and opening up a new book is one of the great and simple pleasures of life,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Not everyone likes reading on digital devices and many people in our community rely on our libraries for books for themselves and their children. I am delighted that Surrey Libraries will be offering this takeout service, starting just in time for children to join in on Summer Reading Club activities.”

“The response from our community through the Resuming Library Services Survey was clear,” said Neelam Sahota, chair of the Board of Trustees of Surrey Libraries. “People are eager to borrow physical materials like books and DVDs and return the items they’ve had at home since March. However, people also told us that they’re not ready to come back into the branches for programming or browsing just yet.”

To access the service, library members can either call one of the six participating branches or fill out an online form at Patrons will be able to pick up their holds and return items when they arrange a pickup time.

Borrowers will also enjoy an extended due date of September 8 on newly borrowed materials. All materials returned to the library will be held in a 72-hour quarantine before being put back into circulation. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel; therefore, the 72-hour quarantine will provide ample time to ensure that trace amounts of virus on books and other materials are eradicated.

With regard to reopening branches, the Library is taking a phased and cautious approach. “The health and safety of our staff and patrons is our top priority as we implement our reopening plans,” said Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian. “We have added safety protocols such as physical distancing, quarantining materials, proper hand hygiene, frequent surface sanitization, and installing plexiglass barriers at service counters.

We remain committed to providing as much service as possible. We’ll evaluate the Takeout service and may extend to other branches, and we’re working toward reopening some library branches after Labour Day.”

For people who enjoy digital materials, Surrey Libraries has tripled the number of eBooks and eAudiobooks ordered each month, substantially increased the size of the eSuperloan collection, and launched weekly titles available without holds for quicker access to new reading material and popular titles.

For more information, visit

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Arts and Entertainment

Summer is Back at Arts Umbrella



Due to COVID-19, our original Summer Camp schedule was made obsolete. This, however, did not stop us from continuing to evolve and adapt our curriculum to new learning environments. Our new summer offerings include a mix of online learning and in-studio classes that accommodate new safety measures as approved by the Province of BC. Our classes follow the same excellent curriculum and high-quality instruction that Arts Umbrella is known for. Below is a snapshot of our offerings.

Art & Design

From Drawing & Painting, to Mixed Media, to Cartooning and Comic Creation, we’re offering a mix of small in- person studio classes and online programs to provide young people with visual arts skills and techniques, as well as inspire new levels of creativity. We are also offering an online Drawing & Painting Intensive for teens (13-19) in August. In this program, artist-instructors will guide students in independent research into artists and history.

From that, inspiration and knowledge will inform students to create original works at home during online classes. Participants will also investigate the ideas in their work, while refining fundamental skills such as composition, design, and colour theory. In conversation with their peers, students will also explore and practice constructive critique.


We have reduced class sizes for our Junior and Teen Summer Dance Intensives. As always, this program features classes in ballet, character, modern, repertoire, and jazz with special guest instructors and Arts Umbrella faculty. These Intensives offer young dancers a comprehensive way to maintain fitness and prepare for regular classes in September.

Theatre & Music

From Acting to Musical Theatre, and Shakespeare to Puppetry, our Summer Session Theatre & Music classes give young artists a strong foundation for further classes. We also offer a number of in-person and online Intensives in for more experienced students. Whether students are interested in acting for the stage or film and TV, these programs can help bring their skills to the next level.

This year, we’re also offering some new online programs for students who want to further their singing and musical theatre skills: Song Study, Voice Lessons, and Curbside Cabaret.

Arts Umbrella is back for Summer, with classes starting July 6, 2020. Registration is now open for online, outdoor, and small in-person classes at:

Over the past few months, Arts Umbrella has been testing innovative ways to bring arts education to young people through online programs. This summer, children, youth, and teens can take online classes in Art & Design, and Theatre & Music. In addition to the online experience, Arts Umbrella will also be open for some small in-person classes in a safe studio environment.

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Arts and Entertainment

City of Surrey Cultural Services Pride Month Celebrations



Surrey, BC—City of Surrey Cultural Services have a number of programs taking place during June for Pride Month. These free online performances and initiatives are to help people staying home to connect with the arts and commemorate Pride month.

JUNE 2020–Through its Cultural Services programs, the City of Surrey is pleased to present a number of initiatives for Pride Month.

Heritage Surrey is celebrating Pride Month on social media by highlighting recent Surrey LGBTQ+ additions to its archival and artifact collections. Watch for a new post each week that shares stories of Surrey’s LGBTQ+ community.

The June edition of Selections from Collections at Museum of Surrey has a Pride focus as well. The monthly exhibit, spotlighting unique objects in Surrey’s Heritage Collection, currently features a pin, commissioned by the Surrey Pride

Society, to celebrate 50 years since certain same-sex acts were decriminalized in Canada. More on Surrey’s Pride can be found at the Museum’s online Weekly Feature as part of their #MuseumFromHome initiative during the temporary closure.

Standing on the Line Movie Poster

On June 26, at 8pm, tune in for Surrey Civic Theatres first Pride Movie Night. This event is part of SCT’s newly launched Digital Stage, a recent initiative to support local and Canadian performances that audiences can enjoy from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

This free online event will feature two movie shorts, Beauty and I Am Skylar as well as the feature film, Standing on the Line, all of which are produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Written and directed by Nova Scotian filmmaker, Paul Émile d’Entremont,

Standing on the Line tackles the stigma of being gay in sports. Through a series of touching personal stories, the documentary explores the difficulty and impact of coming out in this competitive world whether it’s in the context of elite sports or among student athletes. Specifically, the documentary showcases the lives of student athletes at L’Odyssée, a school in Moncton, New Brunswick, that promotes diversity and inclusion.

The movie also features candid interviews with Canadian professional athletes who identify as gay, lesbian, or queer, including Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, who first came out to her family and friends after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. When she headed to Sochi 2014 in Russia, Bucsis came out publicly, making her the only openly gay North American Olympian at the time.

The movie has been shown at several film festivals across Canada, included being selected for Vancouver’s 2019 Doxa Festival. He is thrilled that Standing on the Line is a part of Surrey Civic Theatres’ Online Pride Movie Night.

“I’m honoured Surrey Civic Theatres has chosen my documentary as the feature film, particularly as I am a new resident of the province, so to have my film presented like this, I’m so happy, because it makes me feel a part of things, and I’ve found the people of BC to be so welcoming. I love living here.”

All three films are presented with the kind permission of the National Film Board of Canada and can be seen on June 26 at 8pm on the Pride Movie Night Event Page

Follow @HeritageSurrey and @MuseumOfSurrey on Facebook or Instagram to learn more about the important objects featured.

Follow @SurreyCivicTheatres On Facebook or @SurreyArtsCtre on Twitter to learn more about the upcoming Pride Movie Night.

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