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2016 Inclusive Employer Awards on Sept 29th



The 3rd Annual Inclusive Employer Awards event celebrates September’s BC Disability Employment Month and kicks off October’s Community Living BC and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This September 29, 2016 event is your opportunity to learn about the business case and benefits of having an inclusive workforce.

Whether you are already an inclusive employer or are looking to create a more diverse workforce, the 3rd Annual Inclusive Employer Awards celebrates employers who believe in hiring people with disabilities. Join us to recognize these employers, create a more diverse workforce yourselves, or to network and share with others your experiences as an inclusive employer.


Surrey Arts Centre
13750 – 88 Avenue
Surrey BC
V3W 3L1

Reception: 5:00-6:00 pm
Buffet Dinner/Program: 6:00-8:30 pm
Early-Bird until September 16: $30
Register after September 16: $35
Self-Advocate Registration: $10 (if you’re a self-advocate and you’re nominating an employer)

To register, nominate or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please visit:

Mission Statement

To recognize innovative business leaders and employers in the Surrey-Delta-White Rock communities that have gone above and beyond to create a welcoming workplace where everyone feels valued and respected, promotes inclusive hiring and provides meaningful employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.




2013: In 2013, Mark Wafer (a Rotarian from Ontario) was invited to the Lower Mainland to speak about how hiring individuals with disabilities is good for business. Mark Wafer knows what it’s like to have a disability as he has only 20% of his hearing. Mark owns seven Tim Horton’s restaurants and has the stats to prove that there is lower turnover, improved staff morale, better sales and has established that to replace and train a new employee it costs roughly $4000.

He treats every employee the same and they must meet the standards set. The Community Living BC (CLBC) Community Councils were contacted, and Mark Wafer was invited to speak to our local community. Inspired by Mark Wafer’s message, a unique partnership and organizing committee was formed between CLBC, Rotary Club of Surrey, City of Surrey (Measuring Up Committee) and Milieu Family Services.

Building on this momentum, the organizing committee decided to hold an inaugural awards event in 2014.
2014: In 2014, the organizing committee welcomed the Surrey Board of Trade who joined our unique partnership for one year and became the major event sponsor. The Rotary at Work initiative also played an initial role by providing certificates to all award nominees.The keynote speaker, Ellen Pekeles, Vancity’s Senior VP of Operations, mentioned her background in health care, and spoke on Vancity’s inclusive employee protocol.

“Great leaders treat everyone equally, build on people’s strengths and hire employees who complement their skills.” – Ellen Pekeles

Three business and one non-profit award were chosen. The Rotary Club of Surrey also awarded a $1000 bursary to Orville and Ruth Lee Consulting, who operate health care and social assistance for people with developmental disabilities.

Complete List of 2014 Award Winners and Nominees
2015: In 2015, the organizing committee welcomed WorkBC Employment Services Centre, and a Rotary at Work BC Coordinator. The major sponsorship was provided by Vancity.

Gordon Ross, Director of Employment Initiatives (Inclusion BC) addressed the audience in his keynote speech on the ‘Ready, Willing and Able’ initiative. The event attendance surpassed expectations, selling out at 160 attendees.

Four business and one non-profit award were chosen. The Rotary Club of Surrey also awarded a $1000 bursary to the LEAP* program of the Delta Community Living Society (DCLS).
*The Leading Employment and Achieving Possibilities (LEAP) pilot project will support young adults who are transitioning from school to work.

Complete List of 2015 Award Winners and Nominees


EmceMarco Pasqua an Inspirational Speaker with Cerebral Palsy whose speaking topics are focused on his personal stories of overcoming obstacles and how to manage major life transitions.

He’s created a system called “The CUBE Principle” which teaches individuals how to utilize their existing social circle, focus on doing the things they are TRULY passionate about and using their strengths to help build up the people in their lives in creative ways that are mutually beneficial.

Marco has had the honour and privilege to be involved with a number of organizations as a spokesperson, including being a Rick Hansen Foundation Ambassador, helping to spread advocacy for persons with disabilities across Canada, and proving that anything is possible when you invest the right kind of energy and creativity.

Throughout his career he’s had the opportunity to speak for events such as TEDx, The United Way impact speaker presentations and The Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Marco is also currently working with the City of Surrey on creating accessibility strategies and standards to be implemented city-wide.

Structuring social giveback programs and inspiring others to follow their dreams is truly his passion, having seen firsthand the power that a positive outlook can have on changing others’ perceptions. Marco believes that success in business should not purely be based on the financial transactions; it is the human interactions that matter most.

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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Get in the Christmas spirit with these five local events



christmas event in surrey
A Wonderheads Christmas Carol via Surrey Civic Theatres / Facebook

The holiday season is here and that means warm drinks, baked treats and heartwarming holiday movies. Due to strict COVID-19 restrictions last year, most people spent the holiday season at home, but this year more events are available to be enjoyed safely.

If you’re looking to enjoy some Christmas carols, watch a play with family and friends or find fun activities for the kids, then look no further than these fun events that will be hosted in Surrey this month.

Swing Dance Christmas

If you have a holiday party to attend this month and you want to brush up on your dancing skills, try taking a swing dancing class. Rock Step Swing Dance is hosting a swing dance Christmas event on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. The class will be 45 minutes and attendees will enjoy some Christmas snacks and a dance session afterwards. The class costs $20 and anyone who wants to attend can get their tickets here. There are 75 spots available in the class.

Alice in Wonderland

The holiday season is also a time to revisit childhood memories by watching a panto. The Royal Canadian Theatre Company will be presenting the play Alice in Wonderland, written by Crystal Weltzin, at the Surrey Arts Centre. The play will run from Dec. 16 to 19, 23, 24 and 26. Tickets cost $34.99 for adults, and $29.99 for seniors over 60 years of age and children under 12. If you want to make it a family outing, there is a group price of $115 for four people.

Christmas Train

For a more active event for children, check out Bear Creek Park’s Christmas train from Dec. 6 to 31, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Families with two children and two adults can pay $35 to attend and single tickets are $11.50. In this train ride, families will get to enjoy all things Christmas like Santa, hot cocoa, Christmas music and pretty lights.

A Christmas Carol

Another Christmas show to check out is A Wonderheads Christmas Carol presented by the Wonderheads at the Surrey Civic theatre on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. If you enjoyed Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you’ll be sure to enjoy this play because this is reportedly an adaptation of the novel. Tickets are $26 for children and $39 for adults and they are going fast.

Christmas Choir

For those who love the sounds of Christmas, check out the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir who will be performing at the Surrey Arts Centre on Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. This group of talented men have reportedly been performing in Surrey for the past 30 years. Attendees are required to show their vaccine card and wear a mask, and tickets are $29 and can be purchased here.

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The Surrey Holiday Lights festival is kicking off next week



surrey holiday lights
Image via Surrey Holiday Lights / Facebook

There is a spectacular and dazzling new light and music festival coming to Surrey Civic Plaza this holiday season called Surrey Holiday Lights.

It will follow the annual Surrey Tree Lighting Festival which takes place on Nov. 20, and will remain open into January. There will be live entertainment, carollers, and an immersive Christmas lights extravaganza.

What to expect at the Surrey Holiday Lights festival 

There will be a tent with Santa and his elves, his workshop, and a holiday house. Enjoy enchanting displays in the Glow Gardens with interactive areas and light tunnels. Then sway to live entertainment taking place at the North Pole and Snowflake stages.

As expected you will be treated with a variety of holiday eats. There will be food trucks serving up mini doughnuts, twisted potatoes, crepes, savoury meals, and many tasty snacks. Stay warm with gourmet hot chocolate, special coffees, or enjoy a craft beer or cooler.

There will also be a chance to catch a glimpse of Santa himself. Santa will be taking free photos through the month of December.

The festival will run daily from Nov. 25 to Jan. 2 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Surrey Civic Plaza, 13450 104 Avenue. For more information, visit

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A brand new immersive light festival is coming to Surrey next month




The Lumagica light festival is making its Canadian debut right here in Surrey.  

Starting Dec. 3, guests will get to experience a holiday festival of lights like never before. Lumagica is an outdoor/indoor event that is bringing joy and brightness to every city it touches. 

Lumagica, created by MK Illuminations, provides a unique opportunity to get into the holiday spirit. It has been experienced on a global level, and is now coming to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. 

With more than 120 features and ornaments, a light tunnel, magical North Pole village, Gingerbread Lane and a fully lit forest, there is so much to enjoy. You can stroll along a one kilometre light walk and feel the magic of Christmas. Do all this while warming up with a cup of cocoa, mulled wine, or one of the other food and drink options available. 

There will also be an opportunity to visit Jolly Ol’ St. Nick and his cabin in the North Pole. There you will also find a wide array of delicious treats and eats, live entertainment, or go shopping at the marketplace. 

To get the full experience along with memories to take home, be sure to have your camera ready to capture the festive backdrops for holiday photos. 

Lumagica will be held at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey from December 3 to 30, 2021. The immersive experience will be open daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

Tickets start is $16 and are available online at Children under age 4 are free, and discounts will be offered for families, post-secondary students, and seniors.

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Where to be spooked this Halloween weekend



cougar creek halloween surrey
Image via Cougar Creek's House of Horrors / Facebook

It’s that time of year where we carve pumpkins, indulge in scary movies, check out haunted houses and fill ourselves up with candy. There are so many local activities in Surrey to partake in this Halloween that it’s hard to pick just one.

If you’re struggling to narrow down how to spend Oct. 31, we’ve put together a list of spooktacular outings that shouldn’t be missed. Whether you’re looking for a haunted house, a place to enjoy spooky treats or just somewhere to play Halloween games, Surrey has it.

Halloween Pumpkin Express 

For families with young children, Halloween Pumpkin Express will be a good place to check out. It’s at Bear Creek Park and families can enjoy a train ride through the forest. The tickets for the daytime train ride cost $11.50 each for anyone over age 2, and $14.70 for the night train which is recommended for people over the age of 12.

The kids on the train will reportedly receive a snack as they enjoy their ride and a little pumpkin to take home. The day train runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the night train runs from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cougar Creek’s House of Horrors

Now, if you’re looking to get scared, look no further. What was formerly known as Potter’s House of Horrors has been renamed to Cougar Creek’s House of Horrors — and it’s just as scary as ever.

Get ready for a double dose of fright because each ticket allows access to two haunted houses. Tickets can be purchased online and the website advises that they sell out fast.

Cougar Creek’s House of Horrors requires proof of full vaccination for customers 12 and up to access the haunted house. You can pick anytime from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. this Friday and Saturday. Sunday is the last day to check out this haunted house and it will be open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. that night.

Mainland Whiskey’s trivia and costume contest 

For costume contests and fun trivia games, Mainland Whiskey, a distillery in South Surrey is offering a fun Halloween night on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. The distillery promises yummy soul food, fun prizes, and spooky cocktails.

The trivia will start at 7 p.m. and space is limited so make sure to arrive on time.

Spooky desserts at Rocky Mountain Chocolate 

Of course the perfect way to end Halloween is with some yummy spooky desserts. Head over to Guildford Town Centre for some sugary treats at Rocky Mountain Chocolate. There are also spooky chocolate packages available online.

Make sure to check out as many fun and frightening places as possible and celebrate safely.

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There could be another music festival coming to Surrey this fall



Holland Park Surrey Fvded

The FVDED in the Park music festival last weekend was just the beginning. Music lovers in Surrey can get geared up for another festival coming their way — the Contact Winter Music Festival.

The Contact Festival pulled off an epic show in Vancouver earlier this year. In February the show took place on the roof of BC Place Stadium. Fans were able to watch virtually and enjoy live music to beat the pandemic blues.

Now it appears that the Contact Festival may take place in October at Surrey’s Holland Park.

There haven’t been a lot of details released to confirm the event, nor tickets on sale, however Stay Happening has announced that the festival will take place from October 8 to 10, 2021.

Contact Festival & The Organizers

The Contact Winter Music Festival has been running since 2012, and normally takes place inside BC Place, hosting 36,000 people. The music played and presented is the best in EDM (electronic dance music). The 2-day festival highlights up-and-coming Canadian artists.

This event normally takes place in December, but was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Event organizers then put together a virtual performance that was broadcasted live from the roof of BC Place.

Now there are murmurs of the festival taking place in Holland Park this October, perhaps to a smaller degree.

FVDED in the Park just wrapped up on September 11 at Surrey’s Holland Park, and this festival is brought on by the same event organizers, BluePrint. FVDED also brought together technical and electronic music, with headliners such as DeadMau5.

BluePrint operates venues like Celebrities Night Club on Davie Street, Venue on Granville Street and the Fortune Sound Club on East Pender, all in Vancouver.

Holland Park

Holland Park is a popular park in Surrey’s City Centre and is located beside Central City. The park is huge, covering 10 hectares. Although it isn’t the largest park, it is often referred to as the “Central Park” of Surrey.

One of the main draws for Holland Park is its ability to host events. There have been numerous events and festivals organized at this park over the years. 

Fans are excited to learn more details about the Contact Festival in hopes that Surrey’s City Centre will get another major event.

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