Surrey: A City of Stories tells the story of how one of the country’s fastest growing cities came to be. (City of Surrey)

‘Surrey: A City of Stories’ highlights a history that is sobering, inspiring

New history book tells the story of the people, events that shaped Surrey into what it is today.

The City of Surrey might be where “the future lives,” but, as one of its latest projects demonstrates, it’s where the past lives, too.

The city has just released a new history book celebrating the people and events that shaped Surrey into what it is today. Surrey: A City of Stories is a “Surrey Legacy Project” created in honour of Canada 150.

The book was penned by K. Jane Watt, an award-winning writer and researcher based out of Fort Langley, B.C. She is a well known author of regional histories, and received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing for her book High Water: Living with the Fraser Floods.

Surrey: A City of Stories makes the city’s history accessible through photos and pull quotes. It is a collage of culture, of memories and snapshots, that comes together in a visually rich coffee-table book. More than 500 visuals are enclosed between the covers, including 332 photos, 40 maps, 73 artifacts and 61 documents.

Readers can discover what the streets of Surrey looked like on Oct. 12, 1962, after Hurricane Frieda ran over the city; travel back to 1913, when you could purchase a lot in “White Rock Heights” for $200; and much more.

But it’s more than just a beautiful book one lays out for guests to admire. Surrey: A City of Stories traces the stories of the people who made their home in what is now Surrey decades, centuries and millennia ago.

Watt takes a frank look at the city’s history, and although much of the book reads as a pleasant reminiscence, the text also highlights the prejudice of the past, the “sobering” moments of our collective past that have been “overlooked or cast aside.”

Watt offers an explanation of the text in the book’s afterword.

Surrey: A City of Stories showcases the breadth of stories that have made today’s Surrey, and its presents glimpses of ordinary people who together have made this a remarkable place,” she writes.

“History is built from conversations and documents, from photographs, artifacts, and memories kept safe over time. It is incomplete, and it is not always smooth or polite,” she adds.

“Although we create history from bits and scraps and imperfect things, in its plenitude of stories we feel the weight of humanity. We honour its fullness”

Watt will be coming to speak at an author’s event at the Cloverdale Library on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., highlighting aspects of the book and telling behind-the-scenes tales of how she stitched the history of Surrey together. There will be a book signing opportunity following the presentation.

To register, call 604-502-6459. For more information, visit

Surrey: A City of Stories costs $25 and can be purchased online or at the Surrey Archives, Historic Stewart Farm, the Surrey Arts Centre or Surrey City Hall. You can also check it out of your local Surrey library.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Antique dealer relocates to South Surrey

‘Contacts are everything,’ says business owner Scott Landon

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Owl found dead in South Surrey after eating rat poison

‘Who’s to say a kid’s not going to be the next one to go?’

Surrey woman reportedly shot

RCMP responded to the 16100-block of 92 Avenue at 7:30 p.m. after reports that a woman had been shot

UPDATE, with video: Man in his 80s hit by SUV at Scott Road near 72nd in Surrey

Victim was reportedly unconscious and suffering from major head injuries

VIDEO: Volunteers, donations needed as ‘Whalley Santa Cause’ returns to Surrey’s 135A Street

Volunteers will descend on the Surrey ‘Strip’ to give hampers to homeless on Christmas Day, but help is needed

VIDEO: balloons and games and music at Basic for Babies in Langley

Event helps Food Banks stock supplies for infants

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Most Read