The old Surrey Public Market market building in the 1980s, at the corner of King George Highway and 64th Avenue. The structure, a former roller rink and Cloverdale Paint store, was torn down and replaced by a new building that operated in the 1990s on land to the south. (Photo: Surrey Archives)

The old Surrey Public Market market building in the 1980s, at the corner of King George Highway and 64th Avenue. The structure, a former roller rink and Cloverdale Paint store, was torn down and replaced by a new building that operated in the 1990s on land to the south. (Photo: Surrey Archives)

HISTORY/HERITAGE

SURREY NOW & THEN: Public market memories at 64th/King George, and not much more

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events

Not much has happened on that southeast side of 64th Avenue and King George Boulevard over the past couple of decades, which is a bit odd for such a high-profile corner of Surrey. A roller rink, paint store, antiques shop, auto body – all operated there many years ago, but the most notable occupant of the land was a public market that did business from the mid-1980s until the late-1990s.

Two incarnations of Surrey Public Market existed, first in a building that hugged the street corner. Later, a new owner/operator built a fancier, more modern structure about a hundred yards to the south, where a market bustled for several years before vendors moved out and doors closed. That building, increasingly dilapidated, sat empty for close to 20 years before it was torn down in the fall of 2017.

And so the site sits today, deserted. The old concrete parking structure remains, as do signs promising creekside condos, a trailer, some trash and piles of dirt.

“When I drive by, it’s hard to see that land just sitting there, growing grass,” said Tim Vogel, chairman and CEO of Cloverdale Paint, which operated in a quonset hut-type building from 1956 to 1973. Several years passed before Vogel’s father, Wink, welcomed food vendors as tenants and opened a market, after Scott Antiques and Surrey Auto Body had vacated the space.

(Story continues below photo)

homelessphoto

PICTURED: The “new” Surrey Public Market building after it had closed and sat empty for two decades. (Photo: renewtonnation.blogspot.com)

“Granville Island (public market) had started up a few years before, so it totally made sense,” Tim Vogel said. “Some (vendors) were doing fast food, some doing produce, noodles, butchers, different things, and that ran for about five years, quite successfully that way.”

Jude Hannah has lived in that area of Newton since her 20s, after a “temporary” move from New Westminster in the summer of Expo 86. At the corner, she remembers “a really ugly, funky,” bunker of a building in the mid-1980s.

“The original market was so busy, it was amazing,” Hannah recalled. “They had two meat markets, two big vegetable stands, fish, and then in another part there was sort of a takeout area, almost a food court. I remember this one older Japanese couple who made the best Japanese food ever, and if you were in a hurry, forget it, because they moved very slowly and didn’t speak any English, but the food was amazing. They were really sweet.”

It was just a great place to walk to and do some shopping, Hannah added. “It wasn’t pretty but the vendors there were all amazing.”

(Story continues below photo)

homelessphoto

PICTURED: The old Cloverdale Paint store at the corner of 64th Avenue and King George Highway. (Photo courtesy Surrey Archives)

Wink Vogel sold the old building to a new owner, who tore it down and constructed a market for the 1990s. It didn’t last long, just eight years.

“It’s kind of unfortunate because it turned into more of a flea market than a public market,” Tim Vogel remembered.

Word on the street was that sky-high rents drove vendors out, according to Hannah, who remembers sipping cappuccino at Pistol & Burnes while visiting the market with her young son.

“I think a lot of vendors tried to make a go of it, but it wasn’t warm and welcoming in there, it was cavernous, and the rent was so expensive, so one by one they started to leave,” Hannah said. “It was around 1998 that it closed.”

In those years when the building sat vacant, it attracted rats, squatters, taggers, vandals, “urban explorers” and art photographers alike. For a look inside during that time, check out Jonathan Lee’s photos posted to jonathanreginaldlee.com/surrey-public-market.

• RELATED STORY, from 2016: Housing plan for former Surrey Public Market site moves forward.

(Story continues below photo)

homelessphoto

PICTURED: Grocer Ken Lee stocks produce at Surrey Public Market in 1993. (Photo courtesy Surrey Archives)

Some condo/commercial projects have been pitched for the former market property, but none have materialized. Requirements for stream setbacks have been an impediment to development, and the property has reportedly changed hands a few times.

Near the long-vacant parkade, adjacent to White Oak trailer park and Reedville Creek, signs sell a dream of “luxurious family living” in Creekside Terrace town homes, but the Ansu Development project’s website says “not currently selling.”

On 64th Avenue, a graffiti-covered City of Surrey development sign proposes a mixed commercial/residential project of three one-storey buildings and one six-storey building. A “Yorkton Place” condo project never got off the ground, although artist renderings are still posted to yorktongroup.com. “The Yorkton Place land development project was sold to another developer approximately 16 months after start-up, with a substantial profit achieved,” the website says. “All Yorkton Place investors received a very good return on their investments. The project is now closed.”

(Story continues below photo)

homelessphoto

PICTURED: The former Surrey Public Market site today. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Back in 2012, Hannah publicly pushed for the vacant market building to be demolished, and got her wish five years later when an excavator went to work. At the time, she was ready to pop open a bottle of champagne to celebrate site development of some kind, but cork has yet to fly.

“It’s just sitting there,” said Hannah. “It’d be nice to have something happen, and I was very vocal about it at one time. Now I’ve just accepted that nothing will get done.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2018: Brushing up on history: A Surrey paint company marks 85 years in business with new lab.

Meantime, today Cloverdale Paint operates a large factory/store on land nine blocks to the north, 65 years after the company moved into the former Midway roller rink on 64th Avenue, then known as Bose Road.

A 1950s-era anecdote is included in a book that chronicles the paint company’s history: “The Newton branch store was situated where the entrance had been, on the front of the 6,000-square-foot roller rink. In the store’s early days, Wink worked there alone. On quiet days, he would lace up his roller skates and cruise around the beautiful maple floors backing the store. Customers got a chuckle out of this service on wheels.”

• READ MORE ‘SURREY NOW & THEN’ STORIES:

Bumpers and other teen dance clubs were big in the 1980s

Rickshaw sign stands as a reminder of Jung family’s restaurant days

Old Stardust building will soon bite the dust to make way for tall tower

How a zoo in Newton once attracted animal lovers

Surrey Now & Then is a weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events, and how they evolved over the years. Email story ideas and tips to tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com. We thank Surrey Archives for assistance with this series.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

GroceriesHeritagehistory

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP are investigating a reported assault at Panorama Ridge Secondary. (Shane MacKichan photos)
UPDATE: Two youths arrested after assault with a weapon at Panorama Ridge Secondary in Surrey

School placed on a ‘hold and secure’ until safety of all students confirmed

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Image Surrey.ca
Surrey to pony up one-third of cost to cover Cloverdale lacrosse box in 2022

This will be at the Cloverdale Athletic Park at 64th Avenue and 168th Street

Delta Mayor George Harvie. (Submitted photo)
Mayor asks Fraser Health to reconcider North Delta vaccination site

Harvie wants a North Delta clinic to complement the South Delta location

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Murder conviction upheld in case where Surrey mom was stabbed in front of her kids

Jury in 2017 found Tanpreet Kaur Athwal, aka Sonia Kaur Gill, guilty of first-degree murder in 2007 death of Amanpreet Bahia, 33

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on October 27, 2020. The City of Vancouver says it has purchased a former hotel at a major thoroughfare that can house about 65 units to accommodate homeless people. A joint news release by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and city says 2075 Kingsway, Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver, will be ready for accommodation this November. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen also announced a $51.5 million Rapid Housing Initiative for Vancouver that is expected to create 135 new affordable homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former Vancouver hotel to be converted to 65 units for homeless people by the fall

The former Days Inn on Kingsway will be ready to house people in November

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Most Read