The old Surrey Public Market market building in the 1980s, at the corner of King George Highway and 64th Avenue. The structure, a former roller rink and Cloverdale Paint store, was torn down and replaced by a new building that operated in the 1990s on land to the south. (Photo: Surrey Archives)

The old Surrey Public Market market building in the 1980s, at the corner of King George Highway and 64th Avenue. The structure, a former roller rink and Cloverdale Paint store, was torn down and replaced by a new building that operated in the 1990s on land to the south. (Photo: Surrey Archives)

HISTORY/HERITAGE

SURREY NOW & THEN: Public market memories at 64th/King George, and not much more

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events

Not much has happened on that southeast side of 64th Avenue and King George Boulevard over the past couple of decades, which is a bit odd for such a high-profile corner of Surrey. A roller rink, paint store, antiques shop, auto body – all operated there many years ago, but the most notable occupant of the land was a public market that did business from the mid-1980s until the late-1990s.

Two incarnations of Surrey Public Market existed, first in a building that hugged the street corner. Later, a new owner/operator built a fancier, more modern structure about a hundred yards to the south, where a market bustled for several years before vendors moved out and doors closed. That building, increasingly dilapidated, sat empty for close to 20 years before it was torn down in the fall of 2017.

And so the site sits today, deserted. The old concrete parking structure remains, as do signs promising creekside condos, a trailer, some trash and piles of dirt.

“When I drive by, it’s hard to see that land just sitting there, growing grass,” said Tim Vogel, chairman and CEO of Cloverdale Paint, which operated in a quonset hut-type building from 1956 to 1973. Several years passed before Vogel’s father, Wink, welcomed food vendors as tenants and opened a market, after Scott Antiques and Surrey Auto Body had vacated the space.

(Story continues below photo)

homelessphoto

PICTURED: The “new” Surrey Public Market building after it had closed and sat empty for two decades. (Photo: renewtonnation.blogspot.com)

“Granville Island (public market) had started up a few years before, so it totally made sense,” Tim Vogel said. “Some (vendors) were doing fast food, some doing produce, noodles, butchers, different things, and that ran for about five years, quite successfully that way.”

Jude Hannah has lived in that area of Newton since her 20s, after a “temporary” move from New Westminster in the summer of Expo 86. At the corner, she remembers “a really ugly, funky,” bunker of a building in the mid-1980s.

“The original market was so busy, it was amazing,” Hannah recalled. “They had two meat markets, two big vegetable stands, fish, and then in another part there was sort of a takeout area, almost a food court. I remember this one older Japanese couple who made the best Japanese food ever, and if you were in a hurry, forget it, because they moved very slowly and didn’t speak any English, but the food was amazing. They were really sweet.”

It was just a great place to walk to and do some shopping, Hannah added. “It wasn’t pretty but the vendors there were all amazing.”

(Story continues below photo)

homelessphoto

PICTURED: The old Cloverdale Paint store at the corner of 64th Avenue and King George Highway. (Photo courtesy Surrey Archives)

Wink Vogel sold the old building to a new owner, who tore it down and constructed a market for the 1990s. It didn’t last long, just eight years.

“It’s kind of unfortunate because it turned into more of a flea market than a public market,” Tim Vogel remembered.

Word on the street was that sky-high rents drove vendors out, according to Hannah, who remembers sipping cappuccino at Pistol & Burnes while visiting the market with her young son.

“I think a lot of vendors tried to make a go of it, but it wasn’t warm and welcoming in there, it was cavernous, and the rent was so expensive, so one by one they started to leave,” Hannah said. “It was around 1998 that it closed.”

In those years when the building sat vacant, it attracted rats, squatters, taggers, vandals, “urban explorers” and art photographers alike. For a look inside during that time, check out Jonathan Lee’s photos posted to jonathanreginaldlee.com/surrey-public-market.

• RELATED STORY, from 2016: Housing plan for former Surrey Public Market site moves forward.

(Story continues below photo)

homelessphoto

PICTURED: Grocer Ken Lee stocks produce at Surrey Public Market in 1993. (Photo courtesy Surrey Archives)

Some condo/commercial projects have been pitched for the former market property, but none have materialized. Requirements for stream setbacks have been an impediment to development, and the property has reportedly changed hands a few times.

Near the long-vacant parkade, adjacent to White Oak trailer park and Reedville Creek, signs sell a dream of “luxurious family living” in Creekside Terrace town homes, but the Ansu Development project’s website says “not currently selling.”

On 64th Avenue, a graffiti-covered City of Surrey development sign proposes a mixed commercial/residential project of three one-storey buildings and one six-storey building. A “Yorkton Place” condo project never got off the ground, although artist renderings are still posted to yorktongroup.com. “The Yorkton Place land development project was sold to another developer approximately 16 months after start-up, with a substantial profit achieved,” the website says. “All Yorkton Place investors received a very good return on their investments. The project is now closed.”

(Story continues below photo)

homelessphoto

PICTURED: The former Surrey Public Market site today. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Back in 2012, Hannah publicly pushed for the vacant market building to be demolished, and got her wish five years later when an excavator went to work. At the time, she was ready to pop open a bottle of champagne to celebrate site development of some kind, but cork has yet to fly.

“It’s just sitting there,” said Hannah. “It’d be nice to have something happen, and I was very vocal about it at one time. Now I’ve just accepted that nothing will get done.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2018: Brushing up on history: A Surrey paint company marks 85 years in business with new lab.

Meantime, today Cloverdale Paint operates a large factory/store on land nine blocks to the north, 65 years after the company moved into the former Midway roller rink on 64th Avenue, then known as Bose Road.

A 1950s-era anecdote is included in a book that chronicles the paint company’s history: “The Newton branch store was situated where the entrance had been, on the front of the 6,000-square-foot roller rink. In the store’s early days, Wink worked there alone. On quiet days, he would lace up his roller skates and cruise around the beautiful maple floors backing the store. Customers got a chuckle out of this service on wheels.”

• READ MORE ‘SURREY NOW & THEN’ STORIES:

Bumpers and other teen dance clubs were big in the 1980s

Rickshaw sign stands as a reminder of Jung family’s restaurant days

Old Stardust building will soon bite the dust to make way for tall tower

How a zoo in Newton once attracted animal lovers

Surrey Now & Then is a weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events, and how they evolved over the years. Email story ideas and tips to tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com. We thank Surrey Archives for assistance with this series.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

GroceriesHeritagehistory

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cloverdale robbery suspect. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Man charged in relation to four separate robberies in Cloverdale

Jake Eric Henderson allegedly committed four gas station robberies in January

A memorial to Hudson Brooks grew quickly outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment following his July 2015 death at the hands of police. (File photo)
Inquest yields ‘sliver of justice’ for South Surrey’s Hudson Brooks: brother

Beau Brooks says he’s not optimistic call for increased RCMP training will bear fruit

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Tribunal to hear transgender inmate’s human rights complaint against Surrey Pretrial

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Saulteaux Cree – Saskatchewan hide and rabbit moccasins by Edith Cyr (1914-2000). (Shared with permission by Diane Jubinville)
Delta students to ‘Roc their Mocs’ March 11

Event to “teach about diversity, identity of different cultures around the world”

An eagle sits in trees overlooking 1001 Steps in South Surrey, January 2021. The City of Surrey has received international recognition as a ‘tree city’ but an environmental group calls it an ‘empty accolade.’ (Tracy Holmes photo)
Environment organization calls Surrey’s ‘tree city’ designation ‘empty accolade’

Committee chair Allison Patton says international recognition is encouraging and sets a trend

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely

President of the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) Teri Mooring is calling for teachers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Why it’s ‘urgent’ B.C. teachers get vaccinated from COVID-19 before summer

President Teri Mooring says not enough is being done to prevent virus transmission in schools

Most Read