V.I.A. & Nicholson Road – Surrey Public Market Feature

Surrey Public Market

Robert W. White, a writer for one of my favourite local blogs, Vancouver is Awesome does a weekly feature on Nicholson Road, which is an ongoing photo project aimed at sharing and celebrating the different communities in Metro Vancouver.

This week he featured a little background on the Surrey Public Market, which has sat vacant since 1998, and is now set to be revitalized! Read the full story here…




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One response to “V.I.A. & Nicholson Road – Surrey Public Market Feature”

  1. robert x martin Avatar
    robert x martin

    The original Surrey Public Market (SPM) of the 1980s was a vibrant, active place of commerce which resulted from a concentrated interaction of many cultures. Not a melting pot, but a melding. Distinct peoples remaining so while creating a distinct experience of civilization. You could buy authentic Filipino food, Fijian produce, and Greek food better than most restaurants. Inexpensive kitchenware displayed next to made to order cooked in front of you Asian food, next to racks of new kids clothes, next to used books, next to piles of used tools, next to gardening supplies.

    Prices were cheap because rent was cheap. Rent was cheap because infrastructure was rudimentary and re-purposed. The main and only structure making up SPM was a huge old barn, no paint, old huge beams, a cobweb in a corner here and there.

    Then the land developers came. It was the early 1990s and (supposedly) greed was good. No it was not.

    The new building was impressive but cost too much and took too long to be finished. Many of the tenants had to make a living and so went elsewhere. The few that remained came back to massively inflated rents not allowing them to offer the low prices or having the flexibility to adapt to trends or try new ideas due to no spare cash after paying the new landlords. Prior successes failed.

    In the end it was mostly empty space. A typical last tenant of the new market was a somewhat feral and extra pale looking family with table full of equally scruffy items, predominantly used car stereos with obviously hastily cut wiring and pry-bar marks.

    Th SPM now sits as a monument to everything that went wrong and continues to be wrong in Surrey. A graffiti covered overgrown shell where, finally, the copper thieves, homeless, and vandals having yanked the last guts out of it after the developers and city hall started the process.

    Welcome to Surrey.

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