The Five Best Things About Living in South Surrey / White Rock

This post was written by Kama Jones, FV Lifestyle Mag contributor and South Surrey local.

Top 5 Things About Living In South Surrey/ White Rock?

To begin with, White Rock and South Surrey are on the traditional territories of the Semiahmoo First Nation. They’re two separate communities that share a peninsula and are divided by a ‘zipper’ of 16th Avenue/ North Bluff Road. White Rock’s population of 20,000 is minuscule next to South Surrey’s behemoth 96,130. 

Things have changed SO rapidly here– it will be fascinating to see what happens with these two communities in the next 10 years. One thing’s for sure– South Surrey/ White Rock is one of the most attractive places on the lower mainland to live and raise a family. It has extremely low crime rates and also gets some of the best sunny weather, year-round. I sometimes refer to it as ‘California of the North’.

 

Why I Love Living Here:

  1. The Beaches (Yes, That’s A Plural)

White Rock Beach

(Yep— There’s literally a big white rock)! The tourist-friendly West Beach restaurants, pier, beach, and white rock, along with the quirky and less busy East Beach are the first places we take guests to introduce them to our beautiful seaside community. I partnered with Explore White Rock and Kid Approved BC last summer to write Top 5 Summer Things To Do with Kids in White Rock.

Crescent Beach, South Surrey

This feels like more of a special ‘locals’ area and is one of the area’s best kept secrets. It also happens to be my favourite place to go when I’m feeling stressed and want to decompress.

Crescent Beach Swim Club celebrated 100 years this year, and offers swimming lessons, sailing, tennis, and tremendous amounts of small town charm.

My personal pick is walking down Christopherson Steps, along the beach, and lunch at Hooked (order their real mint leaf tea and fish + chips or their Cobb salad). And back again.

  1. Great Shopping, Eats + Events

Shops At Morgan Crossing

Known for its big box chain stores, the Shops At Morgan Crossing does not disappoint. I love the Banana Republic and Gap Factory Stores, as well as the Lululemon. Another favourite is Mink for coffee and chocolate fondue.

Uli’s Restaurant- White Rock Beach

Delicious locally sourced eats with an ocean view… and the warmest patio on the strip during the upcoming colder season!

The Mason Jar Home Decor: White Rock

This shop is full of locally sourced and handcrafted high-end gift ware and home decor. One of my favourite places to shop… or just pop in and say hi!

The Breweries: White Rock

Both White Rock Beach Beer and Three Dogs Brewing offer cool ambiance and great locally brewed craft beer.

Moby Dick’s Fish and Chips: White Rock

This place is a total institution. Go during off-season or early to make sure you actually get in.

 

  1. The Public Art

The area is full of some unique public art pieces, ranging from kitschy, to charming, to modern. Here are a few of our favourite ones:

Centennial Arena Mural, White Rock

Wyland Whale Mural, White Rock

Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre, South Surrey

  1. Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre

Newly built in March 2016, this facility showcases jaw-dropping modern architecture and world-class recreation. When we first moved here, we went to swim several times per week, and I can’t really tell you how in awe I was that we now lived in a place that had such a beautiful pool. The lazy river, kids’ pool, and hot swirl pool are our top spots.

  1. The History

Yes, things have rapidly changed in this area, but there are still pieces of historic charm.

Historic Stewart Farm House + Elgin Heritage Park

Built in 1880, this house is hailed as Surrey’s most instagrammable spot. I partnered with Heritage Surrey for their ‘Picnic in the Past’ program at Historic Stewart Farmhouse in Elgin Heritage Park,

White Rock Museum + Archives

We visit this museum every single time we walk by!  A charming historic train station, it has a fantastic interactive kids’ play space with camping and train, along with exhibits about the history of local First Nations people and early settlers to the area. The current exhibition is “Lest We Forget: White Rock During the War Years”.

I want to hear from you! What’s your favourite thing to do with your family in South Surrey/ White Rock? 

 

 

The Langley Lifestyle is Waiting For You

This article was written by FV Lifestyle Mag contributor and Langley local Amy Libby.

I wasn’t always a Langley Lifer.

I know. She just said the word lifer.  

Can this be true?  Can a person really know where they want to stay forever at the age of 33?  What about 22? I knew right away there was something magical about this little city outside of the actual city.  From it’s quaint eateries, local merchants and big box shopping (for when you need 40 of something), Langley isn’t lacking.  

 

Young Folk.  

K, brace yourselves.  I used to club. In Langley.  I know, I know. Clubbing and the word Langley aren’t usually associated, but give me a sec to explain.  Once upon a time (which ironically is filmed in Fort Langley), there was a club named Citrus. Contrary to its name, it wasn’t the cleanest place in the world but it did the job of providing mid 2000’s hits and watered down drinks like the rest of ‘em.  If that wasn’t your cup of tea (double long island, iced) then you could head over to the local country bar, Gabby’s Country Cabaret. Known for its locals, cheap drinks and sometimes country vibe – it’s actually where I met my husband, and still operates to this day.  Speaking of TV references (see above) the show Riverdale was recently filmed there. If movie scouting is your jam, you’ll find filming signage on more corners than not and lots of big (annnnd not so big) productions have been filmed here. I however, haven’t been featured in any; how rude.

Not a clubber?  My now 33 year old self feels you.  There’s plenty else to do at night including dinner at several yummy eateries (see below), laser bowling (don’t judge), sports bars and an outdoor movie theatre (seasonal) offering the newest-ish in Hollywood.

Day Trippin.

Langley has 17 parks, one being of the parkour variety.  My favourite is Sendall Gardens. It’s where my mom was married, and where I attempted some bad ameteur wedding photography (definitely the same day if you hadn’t guessed).  From rock statues, to a butterfly garden and beautifully lined trails, it’s the perfect place for a walk, a small wedding, orrrrr to break up with the weirdo you met on tinder.  Your call (though I’d probably do that somewhere more public, and during the day).

Want to embrace your inner outdoorsman? Derby Reach is your place.  With camping, pebble lined beaches to the Fraser River and a walkable dog area, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all, without driving more than 20 minutes.  With two little kids, this is my idea of a good time.

 

 

She’s eating again?

Oh right we just met, so you aren’t aware of my excessive fondness for eats..  I’m always eating. But surprisingly enough, I’m a really picky eater. Throw on some allergies (dairy) and a gluten intolerance, and I’m suddenly THAT customer.  But don’t worry, there’s lots to choose from:

  1. Hirame Sushi (Brookswood) – Like most yummy sushi joints, from outside this one is barely a lit up sign in a stripmall.  But inside it’s clean, well lit, and an adorable little place with decent portions and excellent prices and service.
  2. Poseidon – (Fraser Highway and 206) Ok, disclaimer.  You will kill 12 vampires after you eat here with your breath, but garlic is good for you.  Again with the quaint and cozy (can you see a trend here), this little greek slice of happiness has great prices and home cooked goodness.  I’m boring and usually get the Chicken Souvlaki but my husband swears by most other menu offerings.
  3. Dessert –  Lemon Bakery has everything you need to satisfy the ‘ol sweet tooth (or in my case, entire set of teeth).  Go early as they close before most restaurants but it’s worth it. From cupcakes to homemade sandwiches and wraps,  to its namesake Lemon square, there is truly something for everyone here. I can’t even describe to you the joy I felt when I walked inside and spotted a lemon loaf that was GLUTEN FREE.   The portions are generous and my husband asked me twice if it really was GF, as it was light, fluffy and identical to its wheat filled counterpart. I probably should have taken my own picture, but it literally lasted about 3 minutes once I got my hands on it.  

 

Location, location and what’s the last part?

Oh yeah location.  The access here is a huge factor.  While it’s a jaunt from Vancouver (depending on traffic, you could be bumping tunes in your car for about 45 mins – 1 hour each way) it’s worth it for the scenery of the mountains in Walnut Grove,the tree-lined streets of Brookswood or the vast farmland of 216th.  There are new projects being built consistently with varying price points and combined with a declining market, there could be an option for most everyone.

Whether you take highway 1, the 99 or Fraser, there are highways for days.  There’s also tons of bus routes (although the depot itself can be kind of sketchy), and lots of walkable neighbourhoods.  There are lots of options for schools and parks and easy access to Vancouver, Coquitlam, White Rock, and Abbotsford.

 

So back to the lifer bit,

With it’s easy access to the big city (Vancouver), smaller cities (Abbotsford and Chilliwack) and purely based on its own offerings, it’s easy to see why so many call Langley home.  From local shops, to the one way, to the beautiful parks and historic adventures (I’m looking at you Fort Langley), there’s enough here to keep you for a week or in my case, life. Reading through this, I realize how I only really touch the surface of what is this treasure of a city, but that just means I have subject matter for my next love letter to Langley. Coming out here yourself? Come say hi to this not-so-country mouse!

 

Moving To Chilliwack?

This article was written by FV Lifestyle Mag contributor and Yarrow local, Lee Abrahams.

Chilliwack is a slice of life one stumbles upon when leaving Vancouver to go explore the mountains. It’s nestled in the hills between the lower mainland and the Cheam range, and as more families are moving out east, it has become the answer to a growing need for community.

 

It has multiple family-friendly neighborhoods, schools, shops, and both indoor and outdoor adventures waiting to be had. During the summer, people come from all over to spend a day tanning and swimming at Cultus Lake. There is a huge waterpark near busy campgrounds, a classic ice cream shop, and the boat-friendly lake itself with panoramic mountain views.

 

Leaving Cultus, the Sardis neighborhood is the first stop into town that introduces Chilliwack itself. It holds consignment shop Unika, Maru Sushi, Waves Coffee, Mt. Waddingtons for local hiking gear, and the Town Butcher, where you can find ethically and locally sourced meat and various products. Venture further into town for Hugo’s Mexican Kitchen if you want authentic enchiladas, right before getting all of the grocery shopping done at Safeway, Superstore, Save-On, and more.

 

When you reach the heart of Chilliwack, you get its soul- a mission to keep its progressive ethical and eco-friendly movement underway. Down the street from charming bookshop, The Book Man, is Pick Eco Refills, the Valley’s first ever zero waste grocery store. The Refillery and All Things Being Eco offer a variety of skincare, clothing, and more that are easy on the environment, and the park downtown offers a multitude of farmer markets each year.

 

The Valley thrives off local business and sustainable living, and Chilliwack is dedicated to supporting the movement. Need to escape the city? That’s incredibly easy with the mountains a quick drive out of town. The Cheam range offers multiple day hikes (my favorite is Elk Mountain) for the more adventurous, and beautiful trails along Vedder River that are easy for even the youngest walkers to navigate. It’s impossible not to feel peace when having lunch along a river so clean, you can see the bottom through the water’s glassy, emerald tones. Chilliwack is growing steadily, both in population and offerings, and has proven to be a wonderful part of the Fraser Valley.