We asked why you live in Surrey, B.C. Here's what you said
'I see the beauty of growing up in this diversity,' says one reader
Affordability. Housing. Climate. Schools. Diversity.
Those are just some of the reasons you cited when we asked why you call Surrey, B.C., home.
Last week, we put out a call asking for your stories, to cap off our week-long series, Surrey — Why We Live Here. You answered via email, online comments and social media.
Here's a round-up of some of those responses. They've been edited for clarity, length and to conform to CBC style.
'We've struck gold'
I moved to Surrey in 1991 as a nine-year-old immigrant. My mother worked in East Vancouver at a fish plant, so we were super excited when the SkyTrain extended to our neighbourhood by Holland Park. Back then, we grew up riding our bikes in the wooded trails with a diverse group of friends who, like us, came from places with political or social climates that were not conducive to raising a family. We shared lunches at school ranging from kimchi to parathas to peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.
It's amazing to see newer immigrants and long-time Canadian residents choosing to call Surrey home. I see the beauty of growing up in this diversity as an enhancement to my life. I don't have to get on a plane and fly to another country to try new cuisines. If I'm craving Thai red curry, delicious samosas, Indo-Chinese fusion noodles or a mouth-watering fruit bowl, then all I have to do is drive a few streets to Scott Road, and everything is readily available.
Surrey has seen its share of negativity and been the butt of many jokes from other Lower Mainlanders. But we've struck gold when it comes to a community of loving neighbours and friends who are always ready to help each other out.
The obvious answer
It's cheaper to live in than Vancouver.
We made the move from Richmond to Surrey recently mainly because Surrey still has large homes that are affordable for my family. It is not bad and I think more business should consider moving here. People actually have spare income to spend.—@TheFallingStar
We moved from Richmond to Surrey because of my job. It was long commute. Now that I am retired I would love to move back to Richmond. Not a chance, way to expensive to buy anything.—@SetkaK
My husband and I are excited to be moving to Surrey from Alberta this spring. We wanted to be closer to our family, who live in Burnaby and Surrey. We also wanted a quieter neighbourhood that was closer to the ocean, so we chose the Morgan Creek area. We're tired of long winters, shovelling snow and dirty cars. We want to live in a province that embraces clean, renewable energy, and to be more physically active outdoors year-round.
Even before our immigration papers went through, I began to research places to settle in Canada, based mostly on weather and better education for my children. I sent half a dozen or more emails to different schools in Surrey, Delta and Burnaby. Surrey appeared to be thriving with students. I could also tutor music and teach in the city. I received a very encouraging reply from a principal in Surrey, which grew into innumerable exchanges of emails and friendly suggestions. We ended up in Surrey in 2013. The principal was our guiding star and we're very grateful for making a lasting friendship.
After our kids graduated from high school, we moved to Kamloops for their university education, but we couldn't find any jobs. Our children had to give up their university courses. My husband's old workplace offered his job back, so we returned to Surrey. Now, Cloverdale has been our home for almost six years. Housing is good here and it's a central area for all of the Lower Mainland.
Amenities for families
Surrey continues to have its rough spots, but it has wonderful areas. It isn't the same as it was in the '70s and '80s. Richmond? Burnaby? Coquitlam? If you think these areas are better, then you are as blind to their downsides as you are to Surrey's upsides. There's farms, beaches, parks and activities for young families. I love Vancouver, but the navel-gazing and increasing unawareness of anything beyond its borders is wearing.
Crime issue 'exaggerated'
Violence and crime is Surrey is exaggerated by the media. I've been a Surrey resident for 20 years and, as far as crime is concerned, I'm just like a Vancouver resident: I only know about crime through media. I've never witnessed a crime, despite living in the area of Whalley, which has some stigma attached to it. Whalley has improved a lot: two new supermarkets and one pharmacy, which is proof that businesses have confidence in the neighbourhood.
Surrey's greatest contribution is that it's the only city in the Lower Mainland with affordable housing and with SkyTrain access. Your activities aren't restricted to the city boundaries. Within six minutes, I can enjoy a walk at New Westminster Quay. Within 20 minutes, I can shop at Metrotown, and within 35 minutes, downtown Vancouver. Thanks to Surrey, I can own my home, yet enjoy all the goods that other cities in Metro Vancouver offer.
'Surrey is home'
Frankly, I can't think of a better place to be retired in than Surrey — in particular, South Surrey. There's a sort of magnetism to it for me. I've lived in many different regions of B.C. and generally found that nothing quite compares to South Surrey/White Rock. If you offered me Tahiti or Grand Cayman or any other place for that matter, I might just go have a look. But South Surrey/White Rock is home, and that makes all the difference in the world.
Read more stories about people who call Surrey home: