10 Best Things To Do In Surrey British Columbia

Holland Park Pond Surrey British Columbia


As a person with dietary restrictions, I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of multicultural food I could savor in Surrey British Columbia. This food adventure allowed me to enjoy the city even more. The eclectic food offerings transfer into the excitement of taking in Surrey. My stay in Surrey enamored me; from the downtown urban area to a visit to Cloverdale, Surrey draws you in with its culture, art, cuisine, and even wine. Join me as I discover the best things to do in Surrey British Columbia.

Surrey is part of Metropolitan Vancouver and is fast in beating Vancouver population-wise. Only a 35-minute ride from Vancouver Airport, it is fast becoming the area to visit with its up-and-coming multicultural food scene. Surrey spans from the US border in Washington and reaches north to the Fraser River. From the beaches on the west to the Fraser Valley on the east, it consists of six neighborhoods: North Surrey, Guildford, Fleetwood, Cloverdale, Newton, and South Surrey.

The Surrey Spice Trail brings out the vibrancy and diversity of this multicultural area. The South Asian and regional Indian cuisine is the mainstay anchoring the culinary delights. Not only is there a cultural mixture in food, but the region is diverse in its offerings, from its urban areas to its farmlands and forests, which are very accessible. Let’s explore this hidden gem and discover the best things to do in Surrey British Columbia.

The multicultural city of Surrey British Columbia

Urban Hub of Surrey British Columbia

Let’s begin with the Urban Public Art Walk in Surrey’s Civic Center, an urban hub. One sees works of art displayed in Surrey’s downtown hotels, Civic Center, Library, and Metro station. The art carries into many area parks.   

The urban center focuses on Surrey’s Public Art Walk. It begins in the hotel lobby of the Civic Hotel. There, look up to find The Launch by David Robinson, a stone and wood sculpture suspended from the ceiling. This multimedia artwork expresses the influence of tradition both in art and everyday life. It also represents the push forward as the stone figure rows his canoe to the future.

The Launch by David Robinson
The Launch by David Robinson

Here are some additional art pieces sparking my visual senses. The Surrey City Centre Library has several exciting art installations. One, called Marks by Liz Magor, features abstract sculptural silicone forms installed in a group of three. For some, they resemble punctuation marks, while they remind me of a surface you might see in space. The location tells the story of people coming together into a public place to read, study, or research. It also tells the story of Surrey’s diverse community. I found them comfortable to sit on as they are soft and impressionable.

Walk over to the Surrey Central Skytrain Station, look upward, and find The Sea Captain by Marianne Nicolson and John Livingston. This wooden sculpture was inspired by a pipe from the 19th century carved by an unnamed master from Haida Gwaii. Indigenous people often carved their impressions of colonial people they encountered when ships sailed the area for trade. In this case, the artwork signifies a peace pipe forging the peaceful negotiations between those arriving by sea and the existing people. The captain stretches his arms, gesturing that this Metro station welcomes people and transports them to other areas.

The Sea Captain by Marianne Nicolson and John Livingston
The Sea Captain by Marianne Nicolson and John Livingston

Holland Park Urban Art

Find your way to Holland Park, where numerous forms of artwork, from the large-scale metal sculptures of flowers, leaves, seeds, and seedpods by Bruce Voyce, scatter throughout the park. The sculptures are called Floraforms and Seeds of Change and seem to unite the urban and natural landscape outside and inside the park.

Glen Anderson’s three-panel low-relief sculpture surrounds the central fountain wall in Holland Park. The panels, created in an Art Nouveau style, depict the earth, air, fire, water, and space, including images of plants, birds, and other park life.

Along the park’s walkways, you will find pebble mosaics by Glen Anderson. The largest of these is Dahlia. All mosaics are based on a mandala and contain cultural and natural motifs, each representing a circle, community, and its connections.

Finally, discover just outside the park on the pillars of the Skytrain Underfoot Yet Overhead, a set of sculptures by Karen Kazmer that depict microscopic organisms that are part of the park’s ecosystem. These organisms can be found below your feet or above your head.

The artwork in Holland Park represents the diversity of the people and its multicultural events and cuisine.

Holland Park Entrance Surrey British Columbia
Holland Park Entrance

Cloverdale

Cloverdale represents the area’s colonial heritage. It is known for the Cloverdale Rodeo and its farm-to-table cuisine, specialty goods, blueberries, Tulip, and Sunflower Festival.

Walk the main street and discover an eclectic array of stores and restaurants. Along the way, check out the Cloverdale murals.

Check into the Museum of Surrey and experience the multicultural people of Surrey via exhibits from the past, present, and future.

Wine Tasting

Cavallo Winery is located in Surrey, but it purchases grapes in Napa. They source their grapes from well-known vineyards in Napa Valley, including George the Third Vineyard in Rutherford, Los Amigas Vineyard in Los Carneros, Atlas Peak, and Stagecoach Vineyards on Pritchard. In the case of white grapes, they are lightly pressed before being transferred to the Winery facility. The red grapes come whole and are transported within 24 hours of being picked.

Cavallo means horse in Italian, hence the winery’s horse theme. The name also befits the winery because it lies in an area known as the horse capital of British Columbia.

One of the wines that caught my attention was the Merlot. It is a vibrant wine, but the process of aging makes this wine unique. They use a U-Stave, a curved stave that increases the surface area within the barrel. The Syrah also utilizes this process.

U-Stave at Cavallo Winery
U-Stave at Cavallo Winery

In addition to the Merlot, my favorites were two wines named after racehorses: Peppino, a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot, and Gun Runner, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

Honeybee Centre

Discover everything you would like to know about bees at the Honeybee Centre. Not only do you learn about bees, but you also taste different types of honey as you learn and actively partake in the making of honey.

At the Honeybee Centre, they believe in the Power of Bees. The center is Western Canada’s largest commercial honey farm.

The Honeybee Centre started as a dream, transformed into an MBA project, and morphed into a full-fledged business and learning center. Today, it is the largest pollinator of blueberries in Western Canada. In addition to blueberries, they work with local growers of raspberries and cranberries.

Honeycomb at Honeybee Centre - Surrey British Columbia
Honeycomb at Honeybee Centre

Canada’s Longest Pier

Venture to White Rock to visit Canada’s longest pier. When visiting the pier at night, the hum of activity surrounding the pier is evident, whether the packed ice cream shops or live entertainment. It was hopping on a Friday night.

White Rock Pier - Canada's longest Pier
White Rock Pier – Canada’s longest Pier

The Cuisine

My culinary visit to the Surrey British Columbia allowed me to open my horizons to new food adventures; if you know me, I am not that adventurous due to my dietary restrictions, but I decided to go outside my comfort zone and live on the wild side. The result was a fabulous day of outstanding cuisine.

Reux Café

I was enamored with the unique offerings at Reux Café, which is one of my favorite all-time breakfast locations. The restaurant’s inspiration comes from Melbourne, Australia’s brunch culture. Reux is open all day but changes course in the evening. Chef Greg Baja makes every meal special. I enjoyed the Sweet Corn Fritters with poached eggs. For French Toast lovers, try the Biscoff French Toast, a cornflake-crusted Brioche French toast stuffed with warm biscoff served with cinnamon mascarpone and Brulee bananas.

Sweet Corn Fritters and Biscoff French Toast at Reux Cafe
Sweet Corn Fritters and Biscoff French Toast at Reux Cafe

Chopsticks on Pho

Steven Lee and Lynn Le own Chopsticks on Pho, a Vietnamese Noodle House. Both came from different parts of Vietnam and fled the country at a young age. After meeting in Edmonton, Alberta, they discovered they both had a passion for food. It comes through with their fresh, tasty cuisine at Chopsticks on Pho. From the Curry Pho to the Salad Rolls with Shrimp, one cannot go wrong. New to Chopsticks on Pho is their jarred Curry Pho Sauces product line, which comes in Vegan, Chicken, Beef, and their signature O-Peanut Sauce.

Salad Rolls with Shrimp with Steven Lee and Lynn Le, Chopsticks on Pho
Salad Rolls with Shrimp with Steven Lee and Lynn Le, Chopsticks on Pho

Afghan Kitchen

Entering into Afghan Kitchen, you know you are in for something different. This family-owned restaurant is the dream of a boy who grew up on the streets of Kabul. Today “mum” Sarwari is the Executive chef preparing her recipes

Entering the restaurant, you have your choice of seating. In a separate room, one finds the traditional floor seating where you remove your shoes and sit on floor cushions. The main room offers standard seating.

From the delicious platters with kebobs to the lamb shank with Afghan rice, a blend of rice with caramelized carrots, raisins, and almonds to mum’s family dessert, you will feel as if you were dining in the Sarwari’s home.

Afghan Kitchen Platter
Afghan Kitchen Platter

Where to Stay

I recommend the Civic Hotel, a Marriott Bonvoy Autograph Collection. It is centrally located at the Civic Center and offers excellent accommodations within walking distance of the Metro.

Marriott Civic Hotel Surrey British Columbia
Marriott Civic Hotel Surrey British Columbia

From Surrey, Canada’s ethnicity to its multicultural experiences, one will be inspired by all that Surrey British Columbia offers.

Thank you, Discover Surrey and Ange Chew, for introducing me to this vibrant, multicultural city of Surrey British Columbia.

Cori Solomon with Ange Chew from Discover Surrey
Cori Solomon with Ange Chew from Discover Surrey

Note: Common to the travel industry, this writer received hosted visits to many of the activities and meals in Surrey British Columbia. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.

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