Oh Surrey, how times have changed. If you’ve grown up in Surrey you’ve experienced economic growth, major residential and commercial development and an increase in population and density. You’ve also been made very aware of social issues like poverty and homelessness or gang violence due to drugs and crime. One thing is clear, Surrey is a community and you want to thrive in it.
The sprawling suburban city is the province’s third largest by area and second largest by population. Surrey’s six hubs are Whalley/City Centre, Guildford, Newton, Fleetwood, Cloverdale and South Surrey. The city’s population increased over 10% between the 2011 and 2016 Census according to Statistics Canada. There are also large visible minority groups in the population including South Asian, Chinese and Filipino.
11 signs you grew up in Surrey, British Columbia:
Summer strolls at Crescent Beach
Sure, every once in a while you’d go to the City of White Rock and hang out at White Rock Beach. You’d probably grab some ice cream, walk on the train tracks and look at the big white rock. But deep down, you preferred Surrey’s own gem, Crescent Beach. You kept this place a secret and all to yourself from other Metro Vancouverites. You definitely got excited along the windy road and picked out your favourite beach front property as a retirement dream.
Long weekends at the Cloverdale Rodeo
The annual Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair is a holiday weekend tradition in Surrey. Rodeo events include bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding and saddle bronc riding. There’s also a petting zoo, lumberjack show, rib fest, live performers and a lot more to yee-haw over.
Roller skating at Stardust
Don’t act like you didn’t bust a move on the rink when YMCA or the Macarena came on. You probably also attended some birthday parties at Stardust Roller Rink or hosted your own there. Chances are also high that you embarrassed yourself on a date or two at the roller rink before it closed down in 2005. Now a 50-storey skyscraper and education centre is proposed for the site in the heart of the developing Downtown Surrey city centre.
Student night at Mirage Nightclub
Surrey’s “resident party spot” served generations of 19-year-old party goers for nearly two decades. You definitely got your weekends started early with Student Night every Thursday and one too many cheap highballs. Your Vancouver friends never came with you but it didn’t matter because all of Surrey was with you in the two-storey club. You drank the nights away and usually got kicked out. The building was renovated and is now a local watering hole, The Taphouse.
Track meets at Bear Creek Park
When you weren’t at Bear Creek Park for a picnic of taking visitors for mini-golf and a train ride, you were in competitive mode for a track meet.
Bar fights at Cheers Nightclub
Where everybody knows your name…. especially the bouncers. For better or worse, Cheers was a focal point in Delta and was known for booze and brawls – and maybe some dancing in between. The club hosted an official Backstreet Boys concert after party in ’98. After closing, new business tried reviving the once thriving club spot to no avail. It was demolished last year which marked the end of your bar fighting era. Yes, Delta is technically its own district municipality just west of Surrey.
Getting dropped off at Surrey Central
Yeah, you got your parents to drop you off in the no parking zone in front of Surrey Central SkyTrain Station so you could venture on out to Vancouver. You ran into interesting characters to say the least at the bus loop and while waiting for the train. The busiest station in Surrey is slated for a $25 million dollar facelift and will be the last of seven stations on the Expo Line included in the current round of upgrades.
Seeing the BC Lions practice
With the BC Lion’s training facility conveniently located along the SkyTrain route you couldn’t help but check out some CFL’ers in action on the field as you passed by. As a fan or player yourself you probably attended their open houses, mini-camps and other community events. You got accustomed to running into your favourite Lions player or Felions cheerleader around town. The Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre is now located next to the BC Lions Training & Business Centre.
The wind killing the giant Canada flag
The giant 12×24 metre Canadian flag sits atop an 86 metre tall flagpole which can be seen from all around Guildford. The Surrey landmark was originally located at the Vancouver Expo 86 fairgrounds and was the world’s tallest flagpole at the time. If you grew up in Surrey you saw the maple leaf tattered more often than not.
Regular trips down South
With Surrey’s close proximity to the States and a better dollar in the past, road trips across the border via Peace Arch or Pacific Highway (“Truck Crossing” as Surrey residents call it) were a normal thing. You spent your Canadian holidays and hard earned cash at the Seattle Premium Outlets, driving the Oregon coast or flying out of Bellingham International Airport. Also, you went with your parents on regular drives for grocery and gas – often taking multiple cars and jerry cans.
Being the butt of the joke for metro Vancouver
You brush it off more times than you get offended because you’re just used to the social stigma and negative stereotypes of living in Surrey. You probably even have some hidden pride of being from Surrey because it sure adds a lot of character.
By Amar Mirchandani @amarmirch
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