Make your visit (or staycation) to Surrey more memorable by exploring our City’s history with a stop at one of our museums or heritage sites. Rich in history and heritage, Surrey’s past is deeply rooted in farming, agriculture, trading, and forestry. And our heritage sites showcase these sectors which have played an active role in shaping the region we know and love today.
Museum of Surrey
Located on the Heritage Campus in Cloverdale, the Museum of Surrey celebrates Surrey’s past, present and future through innovative, dynamic and delightful learning, storytelling, and creating shared experiences. Exhibits are offered throughout the year that focus on the people of Surrey, community partners, current affairs and fun, interactive learning. Exhibitions and programs always relate to the residents of Surrey with subject matter that includes Indigenous learning, immigration, Surrey’s diverse communities, and sustainability. The museum includes a main building with the feature gallery, TD Explore Zone, Indigenous Hall, Textile Centre and Surrey Stories Gallery. Additionally, there are three heritage buildings located on the east side of the museum – 1881 Town Hall, Anniedale School (1891) and the 1872 Anderson Cabin. Admission is always free. (17710 56a Avenue)
BC Vintage Truck Museum
The BC Vintage Truck Museum is a unique little gem that celebrates British Columbia’s trucking heritage with a captivating collection of more than twenty restored vehicles set against gorgeous dioramas depicting the old City of Surrey. It’s the kind of place that’s as captivating for kids as for their parents and grandparents. Many of these vehicles have been restored by dedicated volunteers and as you wander past the trucks, it’s not uncommon to hear, “They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.” Many of the trucks on display haven’t been manufactured for decades and highlights include a turn of the century 4-wheel drive truck used to haul coal and plow streetcar tracks, a 1920s tractor and a 1930s Indiana. This isn’t just a collection of trucks, it’s a history of BC on wheels. The museum is currently open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm, and keep an eye on their social media for upcoming Show & Shine dates. (6022 176 Street)
Historic Stewart Farmhouse
Sitting on the banks of the Nicomekl River in Elgin Heritage Park in South Surrey, the Historic Stewart Farm is as close as you’ll get to experience the life of Surrey’s pioneers in 1894-1910. Listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places, this is the only completely intact farm unit from the late 19th century remaining in Surrey. And it’s no ordinary farmhouse, either. Few heritage homes of this age in the Lower Mainland boast such elaborate architectural details as the Stewart farmhouse. The grounds of the farmhouse are impressive as well. There’s a pole barn with farm implements; apple and pear trees; heritage gardens bursting with scarlet runner beans, roses, snapdragons, calendulas and sunflowers; there’s even an old Hadden crab boat – a relic from the oyster farming and crab fishing days of old. Drop in to the farmhouse and be greeted by a costumed guide. Tour the house at your own pace and we recommend exploring the park afterwards. Guided tours are available at various times. (13723 Crescent Road)
Surrey Heritage Rail
The BC Electric Railway (BCER) has come a long way since its maiden voyage in 1910. Originally built as a connection between Vancouver and Chilliwack, and primarily serving residents and moving goods, the railway linked Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley for four decades. The Electric Railway brought modern conveniences to the townships that we recognise today: Newton, Sullivan, Cloverdale, Langley, and Abbotsford, to name a few. The railway hosted its final trip on September 30, 1950, but a handful of cars were kept intact, and the Surrey Heritage Rail Society have become experts in restoring these historic treasures. During the summer months, visitors are welcome to take a journey back in time aboard Streetcar 1225. Each trip lasts just under one hour, round trip, and passes through idyllic farmlands to Sullivan Station, travelling across Highway 10. History buffs and the mechanically minded can also tour the Carbarn and see the restoration process of fellow BCER cars, and learn a little bit more about each of these locomotives and nuggets of history! (Highway 10 and 176A Street)
Boothroyd Heritage House
Tucked away in a quiet residential area of Cloverdale, hidden behind trees and an unassuming wooden fence, is the Boothroyd Heritage House. Built, in 1873, and restored in 2007, the house is now home to a cosy coffee shop, fittingly named, Boothroyd Heritage Coffee. Boothroyd House is the oldest building in the Surrey Centre area, the city’s first true town centre, and is a valuable link to Surrey’s first development. The history of the house lends itself to creating the atmosphere of a one-of-a-kind coffee house that is a firm favourite of locals and visitors. Enjoy your coffee (or tea) with a baked treat, in the cosy sitting area, or take it outside to their sun-drenched patio. (16811 60 Avenue)
History buffs will love that Surrey is home to hundreds of sites that have been identified as having heritage value. Some are private residences, but many are public buildings, businesses, schoolhouses and even forests, and can be visited (not all allow visitors indoors). Heritage sites in Surrey can be explored via neighbourhood and are part of the City of Surrey’s Heritage Register. And be sure to visit the Surrey Historical Society’s website to learn more about the history of Surrey and its residents.