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Surrey is a city in Metro Vancouver, located south of the Fraser River and north of the Canada–USA border. It has the province's second-largest population after Vancouver. On the north, Surrey is bounded by the Fraser River, with New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows on the north side of the river. To the west lie Delta and Richmond, and Langley flanks Surrey on its east. To the south is Semiahmoo Bay, on the BC’s Pacific coast, with the city of White Rock inset into South Surrey’s coastline. Blaine, Washington is situated across the bay.
Surrey has experienced significant growth and popularity over the past decade. The high cost of living in Vancouver has caused many Metro Vancouver residents to look to the Lower Mainland for larger living spaces and more affordable mortgage payments. Surrey's population grew by 11% between 2011 and 2016. The population is 517,887 (2016 census), which is 21% of Metro Vancouver’s total. Surrey's population is projected to increase by an additional 250,000 people over the next thirty years, becoming the largest city in the province in as little as two decades.
Surrey is attracting many young families, with its affordable real estate, jobs and business incentives, and it has a median age of 38.7. In the Metro Vancouver area, Surrey has the largest percentage of families consisting of 3 or more people. 25% of the residents fall between the ages of 0 and 19. The average household income is $93,586, with an unemployment rate of 6.5%. 58% of the homes are single-family houses. Row/townhomes make up 18%. 20% of the homes are low rise apartments, and 4% are high rise units.
Surrey's Pacific Rim positioning for international trade with Asia and the US and fast-growing culturally diverse population has made it a premier business investment location. The immigrant population is 43%. At 316.4 km², Surrey is big, with BC's third-largest land area after Abbotsford and Prince George. The city has 18% of the region's industrial lands, of which 32% are still undeveloped or vacant.
Surrey was named the "best place in British Columbia to invest" by the Real Estate Investment Network, for the third year running. Surrey was also recognized as "Community of the Year" in 2011 the Clean Energy Association of BC, for its integrated approach to sustainability and energy conservation. The city's pro-business formula has been very effective in attracting companies. Surrey is the only BC city to offer financial incentives to companies choosing to invest in designated geographic areas, with additional clean air benefits. Incentives include no property taxes for three years, $1 business license fee for three years and significant reductions in development cost charges and building permit fees.
Surrey's climate is typically inter-coastal Pacific-Northwest. It's rainy, with wet winters, often with heavy rainfall lasting into early spring. Summers are mild and sunny, and the autumns are crisp. Temperatures are comfortable all year, without extremes. The average highest temperatures in summer are 24 °C, and the lowest in winter is 1 °C. Annual rainfall is 1,361 mm, and snowfall is 38 cm. 16.41% of the year's rainfall comes down in November, with an average of 223 mm. January has 172.0 mm, followed by December at 169.9 mm.
Surrey Town Centres
Surrey is made up of seven neighbourhoods or "town centres": City Centre, Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, South Surrey and Whalley.
City Centre has been the focus of significant residential and commercial development over the past twenty years. The central hub of Whalley is being transformed into a pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented downtown core for business, culture and entertainment.
City Centre is home to City Hall, Civic Plaza, City Centre Library and Surrey Memorial Hospital. It boasts two Expo Line SkyTrain stations, at Surrey Central and King George. There are excellent schools and the SFU Surrey campus. The area has become known as the region's second downtown, with excellent shopping and dining, recreational facilities and Holland Park.
Cloverdale is located in central-east Surrey, just west of the City of Langley. This rural agricultural community was settled in the mid-1800s. Cloverdale's Main Street still retains much of its historic charm, making it a popular movie setting. Cloverdale's connections to the railway have made it a strong commercial hub, and it's become one of the fastest-growing communities in Surrey, with a population of 65,645.
Roughly 500 companies are located in its three industrial areas: Cloverdale East, Cloverdale North and Cloverdale South. Key commercial sectors include construction, manufacturing and wholesale/distribution.
Fleetwood is located at the heart of Surrey's northern half, with Whalley to the west, Newton and Cloverdale to the south and Guildford to the east and north. The town's retail, commercial and multi-family residential development resulted in a growth spurt in the 1970s.
Fleetwood is still one of the fastest-growing town centres in Surrey, with many shops, restaurants and professional service businesses. It has become the city's primarily residential neighbourhood, with a population of 62,735. Surrey's future LRT System will consist of 2 lines, connecting Fleetwood via the Surrey-Langley Line.
Guildford is known for its vibrant retail district and quiet neighbourhoods of single-family homes. It's bounded on the north by the Fraser River. Whalley lies to the west, Langley to the east, and the southern border jogs from 96th down to 84th Ave. This town centre has a population of 60,745 and continues to grow, with recent development in the Fraser Heights neighbourhood overlooking the Fraser River. Guildford's primary retail corridors follow 104 Ave and 152 St, with Guildford Town Centre mall at their intersection.
Located in the northeastern sector of Guildford, adjacent to the Fraser River, the Port Kells neighbourhood is situated just west of Walnut Grove, Langley. There are two sectors to Port Kells. South of Hwy 1 is a sizeable rural neighbourhood and the area north of the highway consisting mostly of industrial parks.
Newton is a town centre with a population of 149,040 that developed around the corner of 72 Ave and King George Boulevard. The communities of Whalley and Fleetwood lie to the north. To the west is the City of Delta, and the eastern boundary is 160 Street. Mud Bay and South Surrey are located to the south. Newton is known as Surrey's industrial area, but it's also a community of quiet residential neighbourhoods, with single-family homes, and great amenities.
Higher-density industrial use and redevelopment have positioned Newton West as one of the fastest-growing industrial areas in Surrey. Newton West is home to a variety of light and heavy industries, with a high concentration of manufacturing companies. Newton East is located west of 152nd St, between 65th Ave and 69th Ave, and it's home to many light industrial businesses.
Located on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, in the southern part of the city of Surrey, South Surrey shares a border with the city of White Rock. South Surrey has eight neighbourhoods: Chantrell Creek, Crescent Beach, Crescent Heights, Elgin, Grandview Heights, Hazelmere, Ocean Park, and Sunnyside.
South Surrey has a population of 77,710, and just over one-third of its residents are seniors. It's the least urban of the Surrey's town centres, and you'll still see tracts of farmland and acreages. The seaside community provides great amenities and outstanding ocean views. It also offers convenient connections to the United States through the Peace Arch and Pacific Highway border crossings.
Whalley is located in the northwest corner of Surrey, bordered on the north and west by the Fraser River. The eastern border, for the most part, follows 144th Street, and Newton is to the south. Whalley includes City Centre and is the Surrey's Downtown and home to Surrey City Hall. With a population of 75,610, Whalley is the most densely populated and urban of Surrey's town centres.
Whalley is the educational centre of Surrey, with the Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus and Kwantlen Polytechnic University's (KPU) Civic Plaza campus. City Centre has been the focus of significant residential and commercial development. The central hub of Whalley is being transformed into a pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented downtown core for business, culture and entertainment.
Surrey has become one of BC's largest industrial centres, with rapid growth in advanced manufacturing, clean energy and high technology. Other key sectors include agri-innovation, creative arts, construction, education, and health technology. The film and television industry is flourishing in Surrey, with roughly 200 productions to date. In 2018, Surrey opened North America's first biofuel facility, for $68 million.
The largest single industry in Surrey, by business count, is construction. Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations employ 19%. Sales and service occupations account for 26%. Business finance and administration occupations another 14%. Occupations in education, law and social, community and government services employ 9%, as do Mangement occupations. All other occupations 23%, and that includes the 6% who work from home.
The most popular business size is 1 to 4 employees, although there are companies that employ more than 1,000. Farming has always been a significant part of Surrey's economy. Roughly one-third of Surrey's land is preserved and designated as farmland. Agriculture employs 3300 people or 1.6% of Surrey's overall labour force. Surrey is rapidly gaining on Vancouver in the emerging tech sector.
Surrey School District #36 currently has the largest student enrolment in British Columbia and is one of the few growing districts in the province. The district serves the cities of Surrey and White Rock and the rural area of Barnston Island. There are 102 elementary schools in District #36 and 27 secondary schools. Guildford Learning Centre is a small, alternative school for students who are working to fulfill the requirements for graduation.
23.7% of Surrey's adult residents hold a bachelor's degree or higher. Surrey offers a selection of excellent education and career training options to support the city's businesses. More than 20,000 students are enrolled at the Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University Surrey campuses. 120 Faculty of Medicine students trained at the UBC teaching hospital are working within Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Located near the Surrey Central transit station, Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus offers education and training in mechatronics engineering, computing science, business, health, interactive arts and technology. VentureLabs is an early-stage business incubator that actively promotes student entrepreneurship, in which student entrepreneurs meet regularly with experienced mentors. VentureLabs work with university, government and industry partners, collaborating in supporting innovation, entrepreneurship and business acceleration.
Simon Fraser University (SFU) Surrey offers two unique programs only to Surrey Students. The Entrepreneurship program teaches future business leaders to identify market opportunities, secure financing, recruit and retain employees, and deliver quality goods and services at cost-effective prices. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship program teaches students to understand and leverage the dynamics of change so they can lead effectively in a rapidly changing business climate.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University is the second-largest business school in western Canada. KPU Surrey offers certificate, diploma and bachelor degree programs, in accounting, entrepreneurial leadership, human resources management and marketing management.
Kwantlen's innovative Entrepreneurial Leadership degree focuses on launching startup business enterprises, and managing and leading small to medium-sized businesses. Their Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology program provides training in information systems; planning, design and security; data communications and networking; data warehousing and mining; business and management; communications and liberal education.
Surrey has 20 shopping centres. Some of the noteworthy shopping areas include Central City, Guildford Town Centre, Peninsula Village Mall, Semiahmoo Shopping Centre, and The Shops at Morgan Crossing.
Central City is one of Surrey's newest developments, located in the heart of Surrey, with direct access to SkyTrain. The centre offers 140 retail stores, restaurants, and services. And there's also a Simon Fraser University campus. Anchor stores include Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, The Brick, Shoppers Drug Mart, T&T Supermarket, Walmart and Winners.
Guildford Town Centre was transformed into BC's second-largest shopping centre, with over 200 stores, with a major renovation and expansion project completed in 2011. Anchor stores include Apple, Hudson's Bay, London Drugs, Sport Chek and a 165,000-square-foot Walmart Supercentre.
Located in South Surrey, Peninsula Village Shopping Centre is an open-air shopping centre with 58 stores. Anchor stores include Dollarama, Safeway and London Drugs. Also in South Surrey, Semiahmoo Shopping Centre has 75 stores, restaurants, and services. Anchor stores include Dollarama, Save On Foods, Shoppers Drug Mart and Winners.
The Shops at Morgan Crossing is an open-air shopping centre with 70 national and independent retailers, fashion outlets, services, restaurants and cafes. Anchor stores include Thrifty Foods, London Drugs, PetSmart, Restoration Hardware and Winners.
Whether you're looking for fast food, a quick bite or pub fare, lunch or dinner, or fine dining; Surrey is a foodie's dream, with hundreds of choices. For a quick bite, Al & Jan's Fish & Chips is a favourite with the locals, for great diner-style fish and chips. Tap Restaurant is a contemporary bistro that serves up a modern twist on classic dishes like tapas.
Surrey has been described as a melting pot of cultures, and the many ethnic restaurants certainly reflect this. For a taste of Indian cuisine, two popular spots are My Shanti by Vikram Vij and Rasoi Restaurant. Other Asian options include Chopsticks On Pho, Green Lettuce, Guildford Sushi House, Kami Japanese Restaurant, Nagoya Sushi and Sushi California. Kababji Grill serves up great Lebanese wraps, shawarma and hummus. For a taste of the Mediterranean, New York New York Greek offers the traditional Greek dishes, as well as seafood, steak and pasta.
For date night or a special occasion, you might enjoy The Cabin Restaurant, Old Surrey Restaurant or Morgans Restaurant.
In Surrey, 69% of the residents drive to work. 15% take public transit, and 4% cycle or walk. 74% aged 16 and above are licensed drivers. The drive from Surrey to Downtown Vancouver is 33 minutes (33.8 km). To Vancouver Airport (YVR) it's 30 minutes (32.7 km) via Highway 91. Surrey has two international airports within 45 minutes. Surrey is a 40-minute commute from Downtown Vancouver via SkyTrain. SkyTrain Expo Line connects Surrey to Vancouver.
TransLink buses are the primary form of public transport in Surrey, and currently there are 1332 bus stops. Surrey highway transportation needs are handled by Hwy 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy), Fraser Hwy, Hwy 10 and Hwy 15 (Pacific Highway). Highways 10 and 15 connect with Canada/USA border crossings.
Fraser Surrey Docks LP, is the largest modern, multi-purpose marine terminal on the West Coast of North America, with convenient access to Port Metro Vancouver.
Arts and Entertainment
The Arts Council of Surrey helps promote awareness, appreciation and pride in the artistic and cultural achievements of the city. The Surrey Arts Centre is a cultural hub that is home to the Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey Civic Theatres’ Main Stage and Studio Theatre, and the Surrey International Children's Festival. The Arts Centre offers exhibitions, performances, and art classes. Surrey residents also enjoy browsing the City of Surrey’s Public Art Collection, in Bear Creek Park and Whalley.
The Surrey Art Gallery offers changing exhibitions as well as permanent artworks. The gallery sponsors events like talks, tours, and art-making days. It is a contemporary art museum that specializes in digital art. More than 10 000 local, national, and international artists have shown their work at the Surrey Art Gallery.
Surrey Civic Theatres offer performances in two primary venues. The Main Stage is a 402 seat theatre that can handle Surrey's biggest productions, with a large stage, fly tower, and generous backstage area. The Studio Theatre is a more intimate space with 129 seats. Smaller-scale performances are up close and personal. Surrey Civic Theatres presents the Surrey Spectacular Season and Arts Club Series each year.
Surrey Libraries is the municipal public library system and serves Surrey's population, and its more than 188,000 active cardholders, with a collection of over 790,000 items. Surrey's museums include the Historic Stewart Farm, the Museum of Surrey and Surrey Archives.
Sports and Recreation
Surrey is known for its many parks. City Centre and Whalley have 40 parks. Holland Park has become known as the “Central Park” of Surrey City Centre. The park has large sports fields, basketball courts, a playground and several picnic areas. Bear Creek is the best-known park in Whalley, with its outdoor pool, miniature train, Bear Creek Gardens, Bear Creek Pavilion, football and soccer fields, running track, trails and covered picnic shelter.
Cloverdale has 35 parks. Two notable examples are the Cloverdale Athletic Park, with its sports fields and water park, and Hi-Knoll Park, with its wetland nature trail walks. The Fleetwood town centre has 32 parks. Fleetwood Park is popular for its public gardens, playground area and water park. Godwin Farm Biodiversity Preserve Park is a tranquil setting with towering old-growth trees, a pond, wildlife and birds, and looping nature trails.
In Guildford and Fraser Heights, you'll find 37 parks. Tynehead Regional Park is a great place to spot wildlife and learn about the salmon in the Serpentine River. Families enjoy the many trails, Tynehead Fish Hatchery and picnic area. In contrast, Hjorth Road Park is a sports-oriented park, with 2 artificial turf fields, 4 softball diamonds, grass soccer fields, an outdoor pool and playground.
Newton has 60 parks. Newton Athletic Park offers 4 artificial turf fields, 4 natural turf winter fields, 2 cricket fields, 3 natural turf summer fields, 8x8 soccer & mini soccer fields, 8 tennis courts, basketball courts, a rubberized walking track and BMX track. Mud Bay Park provides a scenic nature trail in Boundary Bay, with many shorebirds and waterfowl, and frequent sightings of seal and loons at high tide.
South Surrey also has 60 parks. Best known is probably Crescent Beach, with its swimming, beach volleyball, grassy picnic areas and scenic views from the pier. Redwood Park has over 5 kilometres of scenic nature trails, set in a large forest of trees, that include exotic mature Sierra Redwoods. The park has a playground and picnic area with 4 shelters.
City Centre / Whalley offers a wide range of recreation programs for all ages and abilities. There are 8 facilities in the area: Bear Creek Pavilion, Bear Creek Outdoor Pool, Bridgeview Community Centre, Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, Kwantlen Outdoor Pool, North Surrey Arena, North Surrey Indoor Pool and North Surrey Recreation Centre.
Cloverdale has 5 recreation facilities: Clayton Hall, Cloverdale Arena, Cloverdale Recreation Centre, Don Christian Recreation Centre and Greenaway Outdoor Pool. In Fleetwood, there are 3 centres: Fleetwood Community Centre, Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex - Aquatics and Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex - Arenas.
Guildford & Fraser Heights Recreation has 6 facilities: Fraser Heights Recreation Centre, Guildford Recreation Centre, Guildford Recreation Centre - Aquatics, Hjorth Road Outdoor Pool, Holly Outdoor Pool and Port Kells Outdoor Pool. Newton is the only town centre with a dedicated seniors centre. There are 5 recreational facilities: Bear Creek Outdoor Pool, Newton Arena, Newton Recreation Centre, Newton Seniors Centre and Unwin Outdoor Pool.
There are 8 recreational facilities in South Surrey: Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre, Kensington Prairie Community Centre, Kwomais Lodge & Sanford Hall, South Surrey Arena, South Surrey Community Halls, South Surrey Indoor Pool, South Surrey Recreation & Arts Centre and Sunnyside Outdoor Pool.
Investing in Surrey
Surrey has more affordable housing prices than Vancouver. The city attracts young families, with excellent schools, great shopping and dining, hiking trails and parks, and many recreational facilities. In the report titled "Top 10 Towns and Cities – British Columbia", the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) ranked Surrey #1 for real estate investment in British Columbia.
Surrey offers something for everyone, ranging from luxury high rise apartments overlooking the city to farmland or horse properties, or beachfront property. Surrey also offers great incentives for startups and companies looking to relocate.
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