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SURREY NOW & THEN: Rare ‘rock tree’ and giant stump are oddities on city’s heritage list

Surrey Now & Then is a look back at Surrey-area landmark sites, events and people
The heritage-listed “Red Cedar Stump” at 8920 Queen Mary Boulevard, Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Imagine having a massive “rock tree” on your front lawn.

In another Surrey subdivision, behold “Red Cedar Stump,” no less than nine metres in circumference.

These are two tree-related oddities found on Surrey’s online list of Heritage Register & Protected Sites, posted on, and also on the Canada’s Historic Places website (

Located at 8920 Queen Mary Boulevard, in the Kennedy area north of 88th Avenue, “Red Cedar Stump” is what remains of Surrey’s old-growth forest, of a tree estimated at 500 to 1,000 years old.

A woman who apparently lives in the house there wasn’t all that keen to talk about the four-metre-tall stump when the Now-Leader came knocking.

“Somebody from the city comes to take care of it every so often,” said the woman, who didn’t give her name. “That’s all I know about it.”

Longtime Surrey resident Annie Kaps says the huge stump is on land once owned by the Kekich family.

“As a child, I recall the Kekich family using the hollowed stump to house farm implements, seeing the shovels, hoes, rakes. It was never used for animals,” Kaps wrote in an email.

“Always thought that, if it were across the street on the Cindrich farm, we kids would have found it a lot of fun for ‘run sheep run’ or ‘hide and seek.’”

(Story continues below photos)


ABOVE: Another view of the “Red Cedar Stump” at 8920 Queen Mary Boulevard, Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)


ABOVE: Heritage storyboard next to “Red Cedar Stump” at 8920 Queen Mary Boulevard, Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey Archives’ 1910 pre-emption map shows land sections owned by logging companies, and the land where the giant stump stands is marked “BSM Co,” or Burnette Sawmill Company.

Today, the stump is supported by an inner metal skeleton and includes a locked “gate” on hinges. Out front, a heritage storyboard proclaims it “a lasting reminder of Surrey’s logging history.”

The stump is protected by Heritage Designation By-law, 1985, No. 8131.

“The heritage value of this Western Red Cedar stump lies in the fact that it is a remnant of the first growth trees in North Surrey, representing the landscape of pre-European settlement,” notes a post on the website.

“Forestry played a crucial role in Surrey’s settlement and development, and the Red Cedar Stump is evidence of the extent of the local logging industry in the early 1900s. It was the high quality of Surrey’s forests which attracted many people and a number of logging and milling firms, to the district. It is estimated that the tree was over 500 years old at the time it was cut.

“This stump provides some context of the size of the trees cleared by the early loggers. It has springboard markings that were notches cut into trees allowing loggers to insert a board and stand higher up off the ground to cut the tree.”

(Story continues below photos)


ABOVE: A view of the “rock tree” at 12237 91A Ave., Surrey. (Photo:


ABOVE: A closer look at the “rock tree” at 12237 91A Ave., Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Nearby (a 2.7-kilometre trek northwest), a rare “rock tree” rests on the property at 12237 91A Ave.

“The Rock Tree is a native mature Western Red Cedar growing out of a split glacial erratic boulder that is approximately two metres by three metres in size,” says a post on

“The Rock Tree sits within a six-metre circumference fenced preserve, close to the street and surrounded by open space, that straddles the property line between two houses in a residential development. The Rock Tree is significant as a rare example of a large native tree growing out of a glacial erratic boulder.

“While it is common to find trees like this growing out of rocks in mountainous regions, it is unusual to find a tree of this size growing out of an erratic boulder within the Lower Mainland. The fact that the tree and boulder are now located within the context of a new single-family subdivision makes this tree and boulder even more unique.

“Today, local First Nations people consider this tree to have spiritual significance and have given it the name ‘Th’exsiyamia,’ whose name means ‘pushing forward great respected one.’”

Surrey Now & Then is a look back at Surrey-area landmark sites, events and people.

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We thank Surrey Archives for assistance with this series.

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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