Within Metro Vancouver, Surrey is the largest city in land area, and the second most populous. It lies between the Fraser River and the U.S. border, making cross-border jaunts easy and convenient.
Several communities make up Surrey, including Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, South Surrey, Whalley/City Centre, and Clayton.
Clayton Heights is a family-oriented neighbourhood that has evolved into three nodes; East Clayton, West Clayton and North Clayton. Thanks to the urban suburb’s high connectivity to Fraser Highway, Trans-Canada Highway, Langley City and the rest of Surrey, Clayton has developed into a major hub.
Lying just west of the city of Langley, Cloverdale is the third largest community in Surrey (over 65,000 residents according to the 2016 census). Founded as a small farm community in 1870, its small-town feel has attracted film and TV production companies. Series filmed here include Smallville, the television series about the boyhood of Clark Kent, aka Superman, and the Netflix series Sabrina.
South Surrey and White Rock are often spoken of in the same breath but there are some notable differences. The two share a peninsula, and both are popular for their beaches. While both cater to an older demographic than Metro Vancouver, South Surrey has increasingly become a haven for young commuter families. As well, South Surrey’s Crescent Beach caters more towards local while White Rock’s beaches attracts more tourists.
Situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Salish Peoples, Surrey has a varied landscape of urban centres and significant agricultural and rural areas.
Surrey ranks as one of the fastest growing economies in the G7 countries, and is one of the fastest growing, culturally diverse cities in Canada. For three years in a row, the Real Estate Investment Network named Surrey the best place in British Columbia to invest.
In Canada, housing is considered unaffordable if it costs more than 30 per cent of a household’s before-tax income. In 2016, 44 per cent of renters in Metro Vancouver and 37 per cent in Surrey spent more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. In comparison, 25 per cent of home owners in Metro Vancouver and in Surrey spent 30 per cent or more of their household income on housing.
In 2016, the average value of a dwelling in South Surrey was $1,079,084, compared with $757,863 citywide. The average sold price for Surrey as a whole, as of July 2020, was $840k.
A strong economy generates a wide range of stable jobs for residents. Top occupations include sales and service, trades and transport, and business, finance and administration.
Surrey has a population of more than 517,000. Its population grew by 11 per cent between 2011 and 2016, compared to the Metro Vancouver rate of seven percent.
With TransLink’s approved expansion of the SkyTrain to Langley Centre, Clayton Heights will host three new SkyTrain stops. These added stations will be connecting over 62,000 riders from Surrey and Langley to the rest of Metro Vancouver. Data suggests that the population of Clayton will reach over 100,000 residents by 2031.
In 2016, the population of South Surrey was 77,710. Between 2011-2016, its population grew by 12 per cent, down from a previous high of 15 per cent between 2006 and 2011. In 2016, 23 per cent of South Surrey’s population was 65 and over, compared to 14 per cent citywide.
Cloverdale includes a campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), called KPU Tech. It is the main campus for the Faculty of Trades and Technology at KPU. Clayton is home to Clayton Heights Secondary School.
There are 16 public elementary schools and three public secondary schools in South Surrey/White Rock.
Post-secondary options in Surrey include the Academy of Learning’s Surrey College, Surrey Community College, Simon Fraser University, and CDI College.
To some, Surrey is known as “the city of parks.” It boasts a number of attractive outdoor spaces, including Green Timbers Urban Forest, Redwood Park, Holland Park, and Tynehead Regional Park.
In South Surrey, outdoor areas include Bakerview Park, a community-oriented space, as well as Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest. The latter is a 130-hectare park that is home to birds, coyotes, and black-tailed deer, and numerous trees and other plant species. A 4-km nature trail provides a walk through the forest.
In South Surrey’s Crescent Beach neighbourhood, Blackie Spit Park attracts birdwatchers to view its 300+ migrating species. Community gardens, a 5-km nature trail, and views of Mud Bay and the North Shore Mountains attract locals and visitors. Other natural features in South Surrey include Serpentine Fen Nature Reserve and Redwood Park.
Surrey Art Gallery, and Surrey Civic Theatres and Public Art, and the Surrey Arts Centre are among the organizations that promote the city’s arts and culture. Surrey’s Heritage Services department celebrates the area’s history.
Popular stops include the Historic Stewart Farm Museum of Surrey. The farm museum showcases artifacts of Surrey’s agricultural past and diverse present.
Cloverdale, the historic center of Surrey, is home to several heritage sites and the City of Surrey's official museum. Christ Church, one of Cloverdale’s oldest buildings, was built in 1882 and still stands today. It also served as a set in the TV series Supernatural.
Cloverdale's Canada Day events are the most popular in Western Canada. The yearly Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair, on the Victoria Day long weekend, attracts visitors from all over the world. Its location, the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, is also home to Fraser Downs, a popular racetrack and casino.
A former Cloverdale bank serves as the setting for the appropriately named The Vault, where you can enjoy garlic prawns, vegetarian ravioli and ale-braised beef short ribs. Other area restos include Chaba Thai, Salty’s Fish & Chips and The Chopped Leaf (for salads, wraps and bowls).
For pub fare, visit Rusty’s Neighbourhood Pub (Cloverdale) and the Clayton Public House (Clayton). Steve’s Poke Bar offers Hawaiian delicacies, and Pink Lotus Cafe will meet your needs for pho.
South Surrey’s dining options include Pelagos, which offers views of Boundary Bay along with Greek favourites. Delrios serves comfort food, including freshly baked bread and local meats, in a relaxed atmosphere. The family-owned Ocean Park Village Pub specializes in pizza and steak, and an extensive wine list. For East Indian cuisine, drop by Curry Sensation Indian Restaurant. Along the beach, Hooked’s lunch menu features real mint leaf tea and fish and chips, among other items.
There are over 200 businesses in Cloverdale Town Centre. Hillcrest Village Shopping Centre is another popular shopping hub. The Clayton Crossing Shopping Centre offers more than 15 brand-name stores.
The Shops At Morgan Crossing in South Surrey is home to chains like Banana Republic, Gap Factory, and Lululemon.
Semiahmoo Town Centre is home to 75 shops and services. The family-owned Cheryl’s Trading Post, located in the centre, is a First Nations arts and gift shop that features local handmade products.