The Importance of One Little Ferry

Surrey’s Bridgeview district has always been a hub for transportation and growth. Both in modern days, and back in Surrey’s forming years, Bridgeview has been the portal to the city, to the Mainland, and beyond. Today, Bridgeview is Surrey’s industrial neighbourhood, located in Surrey’s most Northern tip, Bridgeview, spans in the area between the Port Mann, Patullo, and Skytrain bridges. In its founding years, the community of Bridgeview played a critical role in connecting the area that would become Surrey to neighbouring communities, and beyond.

The area was formerly known as Kikait, which served as a small fishing camp of the Kwantlen people, and eventually evolved in the the home of Surrey’s only ferry and railway terminal. The community, at the time known as Brownsville, began to take shape in 1864, when Ebeneezer Brown built a wharf known as Brown’s Landing, as well as the Brownsville Hotel. The “K de K” ferry ran from New Westminster to Surrey’s Brown’s Landing from 1883 until 1889, when it was replaced by a steam ferry, appropriately, they named gave the name of “Surrey” to the new ferry.

With the crossing of the Fraser River connecting the Fraser Valley and the Mainland, the community at Bridgeview began to flourish. Roads such as the Kennedy and Telegraph trails, and Yale Road were opened, linking Bridgeview with the US border, Mud Bay, the Serpentine low lands, as well as Fort Langley, making Surrey’s little river-side community a destination. At it’s height, Bridgeview had four hotels, a general store, stables, salons, and a post office.  In 1891, the New Westminster Southern Railway made Bridgeview its terminus station, meaning Surrey was essentially linked to the whole world. Fun fact: Surrey’s first telephone was installed in the Bridgeview community!

The decline in Bridgeview as a destination began in 1904, with the opening of the Fraser River Bridge, which bypassed the little community, drawing visitors into the heart of Surrey. Small reminders of the bustling community lie in the waters just downstream of the Skytrain bridge, you can still spot the pilings and old docs from Brown’s Landing.

** Photo credit: The Surrey Archives