The180

Isn't 'South Surrey' just Surrey?

We couldn't explore Surrey without heading to the part of the city that often tries to disguise itself. 180 Producer Kathryn Marlow, known to declare herself a product of "South Surrey," interviews her mother to find out what their part of town is all about.
Crescent Beach is one of the prides of the Surrey community of South Surrey. (Kathryn Marlow/CBC)

"Living in White Rock means never having to say you're Surrey."

It's a joke that's been around for ages, but it taps into a particular aspect of life in Surrey: the wariness of many of its residents to admit they live there. 

Ask Surreyites from across the city where they live, and it's likely they'll name their neighbourhood before the city ("Cloverdale," "Fleetwood," "Newton"), but the area most famous for it is South Surrey. 

The southern portion of the city is bordered by farmland on one side, and ocean on the other. It's also tucked around the city of White Rock, an idyllic seaside community. In fact, many people who live in South Surrey claim to live in White Rock, so they don't even have to mention the word Surrey, and be tainted by the city's bad reputation.

But others say it just makes sense to emphasize your neighbourhood. Surrey is a big and geographically diverse place, after all, so being specific paints a more accurate picture of your home, whatever part of the city it's in. 

180 producer Kathryn Marlow grew up in South Surrey, and her mother Linda, grew up in South Surrey and White Rock. 

Linda Marlow in her backyard in Surrey, British Columbia, in June 2016. (Kathryn Marlow/CBC )

They sat down to talk about the neighbourhood, and why people are so careful in how they refer to it. 

The full interview is available in the audio player above. The following portions have been edited for clarity and length.

Are there people who are proud to live in Surrey? 
Oh gosh yes. It's those people who say: "why don't you want to say you live in Surrey?" I think people are proud of Surrey because it's such a big place, such a diverse place, and if they've lived there all their lives, why not say you're proud of living where you live? 

You've lived here your whole life, you made it so that I lived here my whole life, and I'm grateful for it. Why did you stay here? 
I had my family here, I met my husband, your dad, here...you know, it's a beautiful place to live. 

Describe it. If someone is listening and they've never heard of Surrey, or if they have heard of Surrey, they've heard that a lot of people get shot there, give your 60 second description. 
Do you want South Surrey? Where we live? Which tells us where we are in that huge city of Surrey? It's green, it's beautiful, we're right on the ocean, the air is fresh, we're a 40 minute drive into downtown Vancouver. 

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