Surrey Heritage Society is raring to go with 'Doors Open'

Energized by its recent annual general meeting, the Surrey Heritage Society is springing into 2014 with several new projects, including hosting a truck and tractor show ‘n shine this June as part of Surrey's Doors Open heritage event in Cloverdale.

The society is best known for operating Surrey’s newest heritage attraction, the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, which held its grand opening last fall.

On June 21, the museum – and the historic Cloverdale town centre – will be part of an expanded Doors Open event.

Doors Open is one of Surrey’s newest cultural festivals, a free, family-friendly event encouraging Surrey residents to be a tourist in their own town by taking in culture, history, art and architecture – from art walks to touring places of worship

This is the first year Cloverdale will be part of the festivities, expanding offerings that have mostly been concentrated in Newton and City Centre until now, says Paul Orazietti, newly-elected president of the Surrey Heritage Society.

“The city borrowed the idea from France,” Orazietti said.

The historic town centre will play centre stage to street performers, a walking tour, possibly an art walk, and an open house at the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society’s car barn and Cloverdale Station, the replica 1910 B.C. Electric Railway Station that acted as a commuter transportation hub for 40 years.

The Surrey Heritage Society is hosting a new Truck and Tractor Show ‘n Shine at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, in the parking lot between the museum and Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. that day.

But that's not all – June 21 will also see the unveiling of another heritage project in Cloverdale: "Historic Surrey" banners that are being produced in partnership with the Surrey Historical Society and the Surrey Heritage Society.

Static display panels focusing on aspects of Surrey history will be put in buildings with empty storefronts in the historic downtown, Orazietti said, crediting Coun. Bruce Hayne with getting the conversation rolling.

“It was a semi novel idea,” Orazietti said, adding “it’s kind of like what malls do.”

The society’s mandate is to preserve heritage assets in the City of Surrey.

Meantime, the society is trying to grow its numbers in order to gain more clout when it comes to attracting provincial dollars for heritage preservation.

The freight trucks and working vehicles that are now in Cloverdale as part of the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum collection represent, along with Cloverdale, a slice of provincial transportation history as a whole.

“Because it is a provincial collection it really requires provincial dollars," he said. "The city... is trying to help us but there is a limit to what the city can do.”

Looking ahead, the society is considering ideas like creating a list of heritage builders that could be consulted for restoration projects, taking a cue from North Van.

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