As the city centre and an important historic hub of Surrey, British Columbia – Cloverdale is a small town with an extensive agricultural background that amalgamated into Surrey as one of its six town centres. Located in the east end of the City, Cloverdale is a picturesque hub that grew from its unassuming rural pat into a formidable post thanks in part to its strong connection to the railways.
With a population of under 70,000 people, Cloverdale is a town that has been able to retain much of its charm, and its connection with the past – while offering all of the amenities and connectivity one could ask for.
Cloverdale History 101
The area now referred to as Cloverdale occupies the ancestral territory of the Semiahmoo, Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations, all of whom built and maintained settlements at the mouth of the Fraser River, Campbell River, and Crescent Beach for thousands of years. Life in these territories was heavily connected to the rivers and fishing, as well as hunting and gathering in the lush forests that surround the delta’s of the Fraser.
European settlers came in the early 1880’s with 200 being recorded as newly settled in Surrey. William Shannon was one of the first settlers of the Cloverdale region of Surrey, building a ranch homestead in 1975. He named the region Cloverdale for the abundance of Clover that grew there. Logging soon became a booming industry in the area, as new farm land had to be extensively logged of its old growth red cedar, fir, and hemlock. Cloverdale – or Clover Valley – built its Town Hall in 1879, which now encompasses the Surrey Museum. The Christ Church Anglican, built in 1884, still stands today. Surrey was incorporated as a municipality in 1879, with Cloverdale amalgamating into Surrey prior to the turn of the century.
Cloverdale soon became a major transportation route, as it had served for First Nations, when three railways ran through its centre. Today, two are still in operation. A land boom followed this newfound connectivity, when in 1910-11 many of the downtown buildings were erected. In 1923, the automobile signalled the decline of the railway when the Pacific Highway from Bellingham to Washington State was paved, becoming the new connector of BC’s Lower Mainland with Washington state.
Sticking with its rural and agricultural roots, the Cloverdale Rodeo was inaugurated in 1945, growing to become the largest rodeo in BC, only second in Canada to the Calgary Stampede.
Parks & Recreation
Surrey as a whole is known as the City of Parks, boasting an impressive 200. Surrey is no stranger to outdoor recreation and green space. Cloverdale itself has 36 parks.
Historically relevant, Surrey’s Kennedy Trail was the first settler-built trail in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It was first proposed in 1860 to then Governor James Douglas.
Cloverdale’s Hazelgrove Park is an all new 3.5 hectare community park home to Surrey’s first purpose-built parkour course. It’s also home to a soccer field, splash pad, tennis courts, and a basketball court. Hi-Knoll Park, once home to the Hi-Knoll Farm in 1947, was donated to Cloverdale in 1974 by Doris Kathleen Skelton. The park is located along the Langley/Surrey border just outside of Cloverdale and is home to a scenic 1.5km trail loop through lush forest and meadows.
Perhaps one of the crown jewels of the parks in town is the Cloverdale Athletic Park, a 20-hectare sports park that features, artificial and turf soccer fields, all weather fields, softball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a lacrosse box. The park is also home to a BMX/mountain bike park, and many pathways and trails for jogging and walking.
The 138 hectare Cloverdale Fairgrounds was built in 1938 and has served as the site of the Cloverdale Rodeo ever since – it was one of the Canadian tour location of 1994’s Lollapalooza that featured the Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, and A Tribe Called Quest. The Stetson Bowl Stadium resides in the Fairgrounds, a 36,400 square foot stadium that seats 4000 people, complete with an 18,000 square foot show barn, and a 15,000 square foot arena.
Arts & Culture
Named the Cultural Capital of Canada for 2008 by the federal government, the City of Surrey held Fusion, a three-day multicultural festival focusing on music and food culture, that has since become an annual event. This free event attracts about 60,000 attendees yearly and is held at Holland Park. The festivals’ setup is arranged into 30 cultural pavilions, representing a different geographic region of the world. 2016 will feature over 70 performances on 4 stages over 2 days.
Surrey also showcases the largest Canada Day celebration of its kind in Western Canada – the event includes amusement rides, a tea ceremony, Science World demonstrations, and a massive firework show.
Dating back to 1888, the town centre of Cloverdale within Surrey has hosted the second largest rodeo in Canada after the Calgary Stampede, the Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair, every May long weekend. The event features many agricultural/horticultural exhibits, a western tradeshow, and the Pacific Northwest Firefighter Combat challenge on 150 acres of land at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. Cloverdale is also home to many celebrated historical sites.
The Surrey Museum, currently under construction, it set to open in the fall of 2018 – as the Museum of Surrey (see what they did there?). The Museum’s expansion will allow it to house national and international exhibitions, an Indigenous Hall, gallery space for local and community artists to host curated events, as well as a kids zone and a dedicated makerspace.
Transportation, Education & Healthcare
Cloverdale is home to 12 elementary schools, two secondary school, as well as five private and denominational schools, all administered by School District 36 Surrey.
One post-secondary school, the Kwantlen Polytechnic University, has a campus in Cloverdale at the KPU Tech Campus, specializes in trades and technology foundation programs.
Cloverdale and Surrey’s close proximity to Vancouver and Burnaby make it a popular bedroom city. Commuters in and out of Surrey benefit from its SkyTrain link, Expo Line, which provides 30-minute transportation to downtown Vancouver via 4 stations, Scott Road, Gateway, Surrey Central, and King George. As of 2015, the City of Surrey is proposing a new 27 kilometer light rail line service to radiate from Surrey Central to Guildford, Newton and Fleetwood Town Centres.
Surrey is also serviced by three international airports within 32 kilometers, in Vancouver, Abbotsford, and Bellingham International Airports.
In 2008 to further Surrey’s reputation as an epicentre of green initiatives, the City introduced the Surrey Sustainability Charter, a lengthy document that aims to chronicle and document the City’s urban development for the next 50 years. With an emphasis on reducing car traffic, that requires a well-established transit system.
In 2008, a subsidiary of the Sustainability Charter was introduced, and includes the Transportation Strategic Plan, further broken into a walking and cycling plan.
Cloverdale is the fastest growing town centre in Surrey - projected to grow by over 75% by 2041, according to the Cloverdale Chamber. It’s also primarily comprised of young families – 28.7% of Cloverdale residents are aged 0-19.
Cloverdale also enjoys an above average household income for Metro Vancouver, averaging a respectable $81,092, whereas the greater City of Surrey averages $73,552, and all of Metro Vancouver comes in at $73,258.
Cloverdale is also a booming film hub of Metro Vancouver, and was once the home of popular television program, Smallville – a designation it found so much a part of its rural history, that it added to a town centre welcome sign. Cloverdale was the set for a few scenes in Hot Rod, a Coca-Cola Christmas commercial (that was cleverly shot in the summer), and the 2006 film, Deck the Halls, which starred Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick.