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History of Surrey

Logging at Hall's Prairie Road in 1889

Our Roots

The Semiahmoo, Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations People have lived in the region for thousands of years. Settlements along the mouth of the Fraser River, at Crescent Beach, at the mouth of the Campbell River and in the north along the sheltered bends of the Fraser River had well established villages and temporary or seasonal settlements.

Community life centered on hunting and fishing, tidal resources of shellfish and river supplies of salmon, herring, and oolichans. Shorelines and forests of birds, deer, elk and bear provided resources to support life in the delta of the Fraser River. The Campbell, Nicomekl and Serpentine Rivers were the inland routes used for trading and communication. The coastal waterways connected the First Nations to the surrounding communities.


Newcomers from diverse regions of the world began to settle in Surrey during the late 1800s. By 1880, 200 newcomers are recorded as residing in Surrey. The agricultural land was heavily forested with canopies of fir, cedar and hemlock. Logging began, the land was cleared and small farming communities grew. Surrey was incorporated as a Municipality in 1879 and didn’t officially become a city until September of 1993.   We have a rich history of people with diverse ethnic backgrounds who have come together to make us one of BC's most unique communities.

Experience Our Heritage

Surrey boasts a vibrant Heritage Services department that celebrates Surrey’s history, educates citizens and offers many ways to get involved. Experience living history at Historic Stewart Farm, see artifacts of Surrey’s past and diverse present at Surrey Museum or resource the Surrey Archives to explore historic photos and documents.

Regardless of which of the six town centres you call home, see Surrey’s heritage around you in the conserved heritage sites throughout Surrey.

Search Surrey's Online Heritage Database

Anderson Cabin


Visit Surrey's heritage facilities and learn more about our city's past, present and future.

George Snow house at Mound Farm

Heritage Sites

Discover heritage sites throughout Surrey.

Photo credit: South Rock Buzz

Historic Stewart Farm

Imagine yourself in the period of 1890 to 1920 with a visit to Surrey's Historic Stewart Farm.

The Surrey Archives building in with cherry blossoms

Surrey Archives

Visit the Surrey Archives to explore maps, photographs, documents and books that tell the stories of Surrey's past.

A rendering of the Museum of Surrey entrance at night.

Surrey Museum

The Museum itself is closed for expansion but catch Museum staff in the community!

First McDonalds in Surrey

Online Heritage Search

Research Surrey's artifact and archival collections on your computer or mobile device.

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