Ocean Park

Ocean Park

Surrey, British Columbia’s South Surrey is home to Ocean Park, a neighbourhood.

A collection of tribes called the Straits Salish, a branch of the Coast Salish, called Semiahmoo lived in Ocean Park. Because of its steep cliffs and panoramic views of the ocean and islands, they dubbed the region “Kwomais,” which means “place of vision.” Kwomais Point has been used as an observation point since the days of early navigation maps. Between 1820 and 1830, the Semiahmoo built a fort in Ocean Park to guard against Yukulta raids. Colonial times saw the fort fall into decay. Indian Fort Drive, a subdivision on the west end of 20th Avenue, now occupies the site.

After purchasing 140 hectares of property in 1886, early pioneer Ben Stevenson constructed a sprawling mansion on the cliffs overlooking Semiahmoo Bay. The Methodist church purchased 136 acres (55 ha) in the early 1900s as a retreat for its members. Promotional brochures referred to the area as “Ocean Park,” and the church’s first summer camp was held there in 1910. Until 1925, the camp was run by British Columbia Conference, a branch of The United Church of Canada, when the Methodist Church merged with the church in 1925. Campers in 1912 constructed a modest shed next to the newly finished train rails. The Great Northern Railway reluctantly approved it as a stop, making it easier for Vancouver and New Westminster residents to get to Ocean Park for their summer holidays.

A neighbourhood fundraising initiative helped open the Ocean Park Community Hall in 1925. For decades, as a focal point of the neighbourhood, the Hall has hosted countless social gatherings and special events for thousands of people. Volunteer newspaper Ocean Parker published a 75th-anniversary edition to commemorate the Hall’s history. The Ocean Park Community Association runs the hall.

Firefighter Derek Uren’s house in Ocean Park got the city’s first residential phone in the 1950s. After a house fire claimed the lives of a mother and her two young sons in 1958, the community rallied to build a volunteer firehouse.

As the first “Volunteers in Parks” program in British Columbia, Fun Fun Park was established in 1985. Jessica Tuttle, a 12-year-old entrant in the naming contest, was rewarded ten silver dollars for her winning entry.

During a 2002 Ocean Park Area Livability Study, the Ocean Park Community Association identified three key community concerns: 1) Concerns about traffic graffiti and lack of policing. In addition, there is a lack of community recreation options, particularly for adolescents and the elderly.

The next neighbourhood to visit in Surrey: Crescent Beach

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