Beachside history and blue skies all summer long

White Rock & South Surrey, B.C.

Start off with a round of golf in the morning, spend the afternoon on a sunny beach, enjoy a meal al fresco and then wrap up the day with an ice cream while strolling along a promenade at sunset.

White Rock gets its name from the nearly 500-ton boulder that receding glaciers left behind on the shore of White Rock. According to a Coast Salish legend, a young First Nations Chief threw it across the Strait of Georgia and its landing spot marked the place where he would build a home for his new wife. While today it is kept white with regular coats of paint, in earlier times guano from seabirds gave it the distinctive color. That, along with its size, made it an ideal landmark for 19th century sailors.

White Rock and South Surrey, situated on the U.S./Canada border, have a climate that’s often compared to the south of France. A local atmospheric phenomenon called the Blue Hole means that White Rock and other Waterside communities are often sunny while neighboring communities have weather that is less favorable. Combine the balmy weather, a 1.4-mile-long waterside promenade with the beach on one side and a host of unique shops and restaurants on the other, and visitors will be happy to put down roots in this community for a while. The historic pier was opened in 1914 as a dock for steamships and historically has been one of the premier attractions along the waterfront. A devastating windstorm in December 2018 led to significant damage to the pier itself; after millions in repairs, it was re-opened to the relief of locals and visitors alike. 

Across from the promenade, Marine Drive is stocked with boutique shops, nightspots and great restaurants. Sidewalk dining and people watching is a serious sport here!

Visit the historic train station which is home to the White Rock Museum

At the beach’s eastern end, the Grand Chief Bernard Charles Memorial Plaza celebrates the city’s close ties with its Semiahmoo First Nations neighbors.

To the north, Crescent Beach is a popular waterfront spot with a safe swimming area in the warm water of Boundary Bay, and the Blackie Spit Nature Reserve with miles of trails popular with birdwatchers. If visitors feel up to some exercise, the 1,001 Steps trail down to the beach at 15A Avenue will not disappoint. Crescent Beach offers live theater on the beach at the Beach House Theatre. This year’s production will be Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two masters. Go to beachhousetheatre.org for ticket information.

There’s much more to this region than beaches and waterfront. Softball City is home to the Canada Cup International Softball Championship (June 20-26) hosting female fast pitch teams from North America and around the world.

Visit the farmers market every Sunday Miramar Plaza in downtown White Rock (p. 40). To that end, visitors will find serious shopping, entertainment and eating choices in the uptown area, all centered on 152nd Avenue. Tourists may also want to check out the plethora of shopping and dining experiences at The Shops at Morgan Crossing and Grandview Corners, 24 Avenue and 160 Street.

White Rock and South Surrey are sunspots in B.C., full of shops, sweet treats, a promenade for long strolls and many diverse eateries. Visitors will find themselves laughing and strolling along, ice cream in hand, a smile across their face.

To learn more, visit explorewhiterock.com and
discoversurreybc.com

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