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Surrey (British Columbia)

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Surrey [1] is a suburb of Vancouver. It is the largest city in land area in the Lower Mainland region and the second largest city in population after Vancouver proper.

Central City Building in Surrey.

Understand[edit]

Surrey is Vancouver's largest suburb in both population and area, containing a sizable immigrant population mostly from India and other parts of Asia. Because of this, Surrey is very culturally diverse. Surrey is mostly a working-class suburb, but it does have some of its own industry -- mostly factories and warehouses.

The city is divided by North and South, mostly by demographics and economics. North Surrey is for the most part middle class, while South Surrey is much more affluent. South Surrey, often referred to as White Rock (actually a different city), borders the United States and the Pacific Ocean through the beaches of Whiterock Beach, Crescent Beach, and Mud Bay.

Surrey has a number of neighbourhoods. These include:

  • Surrey City Centre - A gleaming new high-rise neighborhood around the Surrey Central Skytrain station.
  • Whalley - North of the city, on the Fraser River. Poorer than the rest of town.
  • Newton - An old village, absorbed by Surrey, and now home to corporate office parks. It's roughly in the middle of Surrey (by land area).
  • Guildford - Home to Guildford Town Shopping Centre and Guildford Surrey Public Library. It is west of the city center.
  • Cloverdale - Cloverdale is a historic village known for its small town charm. If you love antiques, then you have come to the right place. The traditional Cloverdale Town Centre is well known for being the “Antique Capital of BC”, famous for its antiques and collectibles.
  • Crescent Beach - One of the sunniest beaches in the Greater Vancouver region. Popular activities at Crescent Beach include swimming, kayaking, crabbing, fishing, and boating. There are shops nearby and restaurants with ocean views. It is in South Surrey, near White Rock.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The nearest airport to Surrey is Vancouver International Airport in nearby Richmond. Surrey is a 30 minute drive from the airport via Highway 91. Taxis and airport limousines available at the airport will also take you to Surrey.

By public transit[edit]

Surrey is part of the regional Translink transit system. The primary transit service to get to Surrey is the Skytrain Expo Line, plus there are a few bus connections with neighbouring municipalities. Bus #301 provides service to Richmond, while #501 and #502 connect to Langley.

The Expo Line Skytrain connects Surrey to Vancouver, with stops in Burnaby and New Westminster along the way. The end of the line is at the King George station, which is about a 45 min trip from Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver.

The transit fare from Vancouver to Surrey is $5.50 during weekday daytime and $2.75 on weekends and evenings after 6:30PM.

By car[edit]

Both of Greater Vancouver's two major freeways, Highway 1 (the Trans-Canada) and Highway 99, run directly through Surrey, linking it with Fraser Valley to the east and Vancouver and its eastern suburbs to the west. It also has two secondary highways: Highway 91 links Highway 99 with the suburbs of Burnaby and New Westminster, and the Pacific Highway (BC 15) links BC 1 with the USA/Canada border at Blaine.

Get around[edit]

By public transit[edit]

Translink operates the Skytrain Expo Line, with 4 stations in Surrey, and a network of buses throughout the city. A new B-Line (frequent express bus) is commencing service in September 2013, connecting Guildford, Surrey City Centre and Newton. Local buses operate on most major roads, with frequent service on Scott Road, King George Highway, Fraser Highway and 104th Ave. Other routes operate less frequently; check schedules before travel.

By car[edit]

Surrey is laid out with a fairly regular grid of major streets. Most streets are numbered, with streets running north-south (and numbers ascending west to east), and avenues running east-west, ascending south to north.

King George Highway (BC 99A) is the major surface street that connects North Surrey and South Surrey.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Bear Creek Park, 13750 - 88 Ave, +1 604 501-5050, [2]. please call first. This community park offers the Bear Creek Gardens [3] as well as the Surrey Arts Centre [4].  edit
  • Darts Hill Garden Park, 170 St, +1 604 501-5050, [5]. please call first. This horticultural paradise is without equal in the region for it's variety of rare and native plants, shrubs and trees. Gifted to the City of Surrey by Francisca Darts upon the death of her husband, Edwin, the city maintains the garden with the help of the Darts Hill Garden Conservancy Trust. $5 per person.  edit
  • Barnston Island Ferry, Port Kells (North end of 104th Street, south bank of Fraser River), +1 604 681-5199, [6]. M-Th 6:15AM-11:55PM, F-Su 6:15AM-12:55AM. Barnston is a small island, only about 2-3 square miles. You get to it by taking a 5 minute ferry ride across Parson's Channel to the island. The ferry ride is free. The ferry is a barge operated by a small tug which serves Barnston Island. The ferry holds only about 7 vehicles per sailing, and, you have to back on the ferry on the return trip. It is a very unique and a fun experience. Barnston Island is flat, with not much on there but farms. It is under the landing circuit for Pitt Meadows airport just to the north, so you can frequently see small planes 1000' overhead. It takes about an hour to bike around the whole island.  edit

Learn[edit]

  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University offers trades training and full degree programs in traditional academic areas through 3 separate campuses in the city. This school operates primarily as a traditional community college with many students transferring to nearby Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.
  • Simon Fraser University Surrey is in the new Central City building and operates as a satellite campus to SFU Burnaby. Most classes offered here are part of the Faculty of Business or the Mechatronic Systems Engineering Program.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • River's Bend Winery tasting, 15560 Colebrook Rd (South of Highway 10, just east of 152nd St), +1 604 574-6106. Tu-Su 10AM-6PM. The only winery in Surrey, and thus the best.  edit

Golf[edit]

There are many golf courses in Surrey. Several PGA tournaments have in the past been hosted in Surrey and parts of the movie Happy Gilmore were shot here.

  • Morgan Creek
  • Peace Portal
  • North View
  • Nico Wynd
  • Guildford Golf and County Club
  • Coyote Creek

Buy[edit][add listing]

Surrey has several major shopping malls. The biggest being Guildford Town Center. There are other smaller malls scattered all through the city. And to get to one of Canada's biggest malls, Metrotown, well a fun Skytrain ride will get you there in 20 min.

Historic Cloverdale (the 5000 block of 176 Street and vicinity) has a high concentration of antiques shops.

  • Cloverdale Antiques, 5754 176th St, +1-604-574-1111 (), [7]. We-Su 12pm - 5pm. A modest storefront leads to a shop crammed with antique furniture, crockery, and glassware, plus the odd late 1950's vintage pulp science magazine.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Surrey has many of the standard national and international fast food chains and mid-range family restaurant franchises. In addition, Surrey has a number of East Indian Restaurants which offer popular Indian dishes such as Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, and Samosas. Meals are authentic Indian cuisine and can be had for $5-10. There are also a number of Chinese restaurants, although the food here is largely "Westernized". Japanese food is equally prevalent and there are a number of reasonably priced sushi restaurants throughout the area. Finally, Pizza is popular in and interestingly enough, many owner operated pizza restaurants are operated by people of East Indian descent, making the taste quite distinct from the national franchises. These owner operated pizza restaurants are often very competitive in price. Surrey doesn't have much fine cuisine; more choice is available in nearby Vancouver.

(East) Indian Food[edit]

Surrey's Indian food is generally substantially cheaper than the Indian food available in Vancouver, however the selection is less broad. This is primarily because Surrey's Indian food reflects the Punjabi and Sikh population which has made Surrey its home. That said, the food that is available is highly authentic, and a boon for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Indian restaurants are concentrated along 120 St (also called Scott Road) on the Surrey-Delta border as well as along 128 St from 64th Avenue to 88th Avenue. Please note that most Indian places will serve entirely authentic food, however if you do not look Indian you will generally be served very mild curries heat-wise. To be safe, consider explicitly requesting "mild" or "hot" -- though many Indian restaurants will take hot to mean their medium unless you are Indian. North Indian (Punjabi) food is generally milder than the cuisine of the South of India.

  • Diamond Sweets, 8047 120th St, 604 591 7277. 11AM-9PM. Very good food in a lackluster atmosphere. Until 3PM a vegetarian or meat-eater thali is available; this is a complete meal of salad, bread, rice, one or two curries and dessert - all for $9. Try the fish pakora (fish fritters) as a superb appetizer. Vegetarian samosas (pastry stuffed with highly seasoned peas and potato) are available for takeout for 50 cents each and make a very filling snack or a meal for the cheap. $10-$20/pp.  edit
  • Mahek Chaat House, #106-8556 120 St, (604) 597-3835. Closed Tuesdays. 10AM-9PM.. Chaat represents Indian snack-food, usually available from street stalls in India itself. Dhai Bhalla is a mixture of fried dough chips, balls made of lentils and yogurt solids, peas, chickpeas and the like, served covered in sauces of seasoned yogurt, sweet-sour tamarind and mint and coriander chutneys. Channa bhature - chickpea curry with salad and fried bread - makes a filling (and cheap!) meal. Also available is the South Indian dosa, an extremely thin papery (crispy, crunchy) "pancake" of fermented lentils wrapped around a seasoned mixture of vegetables, served with stew and coconut chutney. Uttapam, its North Indian equivalent (a thicker, chewier pancake with the filling baked in) is also available, and harder to find in Vancouver. Those desiring meat-filled dosas may find them 4 blocks up the road at Desi Dosa Madras, which boasts a nicer atmosphere but vastly inferior service. Be sure to try the Indian pickle mix available on every table; if you have not tried Indian pickles before, they are entirely different from those in the west. Vegetables like green mango and chili peppers are preserved in a highly spiced oil using an assortment of Indian spices. $6-15/pp.  edit
  • Buffets are popular at Indian restaurants and generally offered from around 11AM through to around 2PM. Most buffets cost $8-13 per person and allow unlimited servings of a moderately-sized number of dishes; a great way to sample Indian cuisine. Bread is available free and generally freshly made, but often must be requested (this is a good sign as it means they are making it to order -- the bread is generally naan, a chewy flat-bread popular in North India, Afghanistan and parts of Iran). Selections generally include one or two chicken options, several vegetarian options, two desserts and a large selection of salad greens. The buffet located two stores to the left of Fruiticana (12758 80 Ave) offers very good value and sublime service, offering 3 fresh vegetarian curries, 2 fresh chicken dishes, salad, pickle, dessert and yogurt alongside freshly baked bread. The interior is somewhat nicer than most similarly priced restaurants. $10/pp. </eat>
  • Mahek Restaurant & Lounge, 9470 120th Street (near Scott Road), +1 604 585-3331, [8]. A great place for authentic Punjabi Cuisine. Punjabis don't go out for Indian food often, but when they do, they go to Mahek. Slightly upscale; expect to pay 20% more per dish on average.  edit

Other[edit]

  • Sea Shanty, 5737 176 St (In the heart of old Cloverdale), +1 778 571-1721. W-M 11AM-8:30PM; Tu closed. Don't be fooled by the unassuming 'diner' look. The friendly staff make everything fresh on the premises, which means that simple dishes like fish and chips are a cut above the usual. Breakfast served all day. A variety of fish, including halibut and salmon. Burgers from $6, Dinner to $17.  edit
  • The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, 7948 120 Street, +1 604 591-6161, [9]. Steak. Steak and potatoes. Steak and crab. Steak and beer. But mostly steak. A chain restaurant, and well priced  edit
  • The Old Surrey Restaurant, 13483 72 Avenue (Just west of King George Highway), +1 604 596-2313, [10]. Tu-S 5PM on; M closed. This restaurant began as an old train station, but has been The Old Surrey Restaurant for as long as anyone can remember. Providing a five star experience, the establishment specializes in French Cuisine with the ChateauBriand Bouquetiere being a perennial favorite special. Reservations recommended Entrees $20-38, prix fixe menu $40-60.  edit
  • The Vault Restaurant, 5764 176th Street in Cloverdale, +1 604 576-4243, [11]. Home of fabulous food, wicked wines and mouth watering martinis.  edit
  • Villa Verdi, 13620 80 Ave (near King George Highway), +1 604 591-2123. A great splurge for a fine dining Italian experience. Service is only matched by their tasty Italian treats. Reservations recommended.  edit
  • Edo Japan, 840, 3041 152 Street (Across from Save on Foods at South Point Exchange), +1 778 294-0737, [12]. 10AM-9PM. Offering traditional Teppanyaki grill. Choose from chicken, beef or seafood and fresh vegetables served over steaming hot rice or Yakisoba noodles topped with Teriyaki Sauce. Offers dine in or take out with a kids menu as well. $2-12.  edit
  • La Conquistadora, 10609 King George Hwy, (604) 588-2291. 11AM-8PM. Authentic Salvadoran and Mexican food cooked by the wife of the shop owner. Pupusa, the Salvadoran staple food, is a thick tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese and/or beans and served with curtido, a sort of cross between coleslaw and sauerkraut. Three or four pupusas, complimentary fresh tortilla chips and homemade salsa and a drink will run you less than $10 generally. Recommended drinks include horchata (rice pudding in drink form) and agua de tamarindo (a sweet-sour beverage which refreshes in hot weather.) $5-15.  edit
  • Fresgo Inn, 10102 King George Blvd, (604) 588-0878. Popular with impoverished locals, those in search of comfort food and local college students alike, Fresgo Inn is a large cafeteria unchanged since the 1970s. The extremely extensive menu features Western food, all freshly made when you order it. While prices may seem a bit high, the restaurant is famed for its generous portions; the $10 burger combo includes a half-pound burger and a separate dinner plate of fries and salad. Additionally, an on-site bakery does all the baking for the restaurant so buns and desserts are fresh made and of surprisingly high quality. $7-20.  edit
  • Pho Tam, #10-10302 City Parkway (Accessible via car and via the Surrey Central Skytrain Station. Once out of the station, face the large, sail-shaped skyscraper (this is a university campus and mall) and walk to your left to find the road called City Parkway. Pho Tam is at the end of a stripmall on that small street.), (604) 589-4223. 10AM-9PM. Popular with students, this cash-only restaurant serves up some of the best pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) in the Lower Mainland. $7-15.  edit
  • Cucina Manila, #104 - 10294 City Parkway, (604) 585-4508. Freshly-made Filipino food. The combo, available for under $10, includes two entrees and a large serving of rice. Food is unlabelled, so point or ask what something is - the staff is very helpful and enthusiastic. Filipino food is not particularly spicy and is an interesting fusion of American, Chinese, Spanish and native influences. If in doubt, try the kare-kare (oxtail stew with vegetables and peanut sauce) with some Filipino barbeque pork. Some may also like to try the fresh lumpia, a Filipino version of the spring roll or salad roll -- vegetables and meat stir-fried and wrapped in rice paper, served with a freshly made peanut sauce. The restaurant also houses a bakery for fresh Filipino foods. Cash or debit. $10.  edit
  • Central City Brewpub, 13450 102 Ave (From Surrey Central Skytrain, face the large sail-shaped skyscraper. Central City Brewpub is built into the left side ground-floor of the building.), (604) 582-6620. 11AM-12 Midnight. Pub food in a working-class atmosphere. Popular with locals as well as with students from the University. Their ale is brewed on site and of high quality." $10-15.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Surrey has a number of neighborhood pubs where food can be found reasonably cheap - usually $5-8 for a burger and fries and around $10 for an entree. It is worth noting that BC has very high taxes on liquor, so although the food is reasonably priced at pubs, alcoholic beverages can be quite expensive with a jug of beer costing between $12 and $18 and highballs upwards of $5 each.

Those looking for a vibrant nightlife are advised to look to Vancouver, which has a number of popular bars and night clubs on its Granville strip.

  • Mirage, 15330 102A Ave, 604 583-8828. The rare night club in Surrey. Fairly upscale with cheap drinks (by Vancouver standards) and a young crowd.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Motel 6
  • Sheraton Guildford, 15269 104th Ave, +1 604 582-9288 (toll free: 1-866-716-8101), [13]. 279 guestrooms and suites available with city or mountain views. Some rooms have fridge, microwave or jacuzzi. Internet is available in all rooms for a fee. $175-370 in summer, $120-155 in low-season.  edit
  • Comfort Inn & Suites, 8255 166th St (corner of Fraser Hwy and 166th St), +1 604-576-8888 (toll free: 1-888-742-8889), [14]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. A mix of queen and king size rooms. Kitchenettes and jacuzzi rooms are also available. Amenities include a shuttle service, indoor pool with slide and fitness classes. All rooms come with flat screen TV's, Ipod alarm clocks, pillow-top beds and free Wi-Fi. $110-200 in summer, $90-190 in low-season.  edit
  • Sandman Suites, Lincoln Ave. checkin: 1600 hrs; checkout: 1100 hrs. Excellent all suites hotel, more like apartments but worth the price with very friendly staff. $120-$160.  edit


Stay safe[edit]

Surrey suffers from an image problem. One thing to keep in mind is that Surrey is very large and so generalizations about the city ignore the massive differences between, for example, the rural east, urbanized and industrial north and beach-town south of the city. Most crime in Surrey is non-violent property crime, particularly theft from parked vehicles. In general the Eastern (rural) part of Surrey and the southern parts (including White Rock) are entirely safe and very quiet places where your biggest risk is getting lost. Lone travelers should exercise caution at the Surrey Central, Gateway and King George Station metro stations ("Skytrain Stations") late at night; while generally entirely safe it is not unheard of for unsavory characters to hang out in the vicinity, and muggings though rare have occurred. Stations have a yellow area in front of the platform which is actively monitored by camera and all stations are periodically patrolled by the transit police. Additionally, it may be advisable to avoid walking alone for long distances in Surrey's Whalley and Newton neighbourhoods; both are fairly impoverished built-up areas which also have treatment programs for those with substance abuse problems. Please note that both neighbourhoods are absolutely safe day or night for short walks of a few blocks to access restaurants or night-life in the area, though Newton's bus station has a bad reputation among locals. You may also encounter verbally aggressive panhandlers in this area; it is best to not make eye contact and walk by, or to claim you only have change for the bus if you feel uncomfortable.

Get out[edit]

White Rock, with its beach and pier, is immediately south of Surrey. To the east is Langley, which has historic Fort Langley and the Vancouver region's zoo.


Routes through Surrey
VancouverCoquitlam  W noframe E  LangleyKamloops
VancouverDelta  N noframe S  White RockSeattle (via I-5.png)





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