The CKNW and Global News Neighbourhood Series is an annual series that explores neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Surrey, and the Tri-Cities.
CKNW’s Niki Reitmayer looks at Green Timbers in Surrey.
Maybe you live here, or maybe you live nearby; maybe you’ve visited before – the area is well known for its parks, like Bear Creek Park and Green Timbers Urban Forest. Two major roads run thru this area – the Fraser Hwy and King George Blvd.
“What is fabulous about the area of Green Timbers is this beautiful park right in the center, Green Timbers Park,” said councillor Vera LeFranc.
Something else Green Timbers is well-known for is it’s ethnic diversity. And the diverse demographic has continued to grow in recent years.
“Well, I think you could say the same thing for the entire city of Surrey. It is actually one of our greatest strengths. In Surrey, we have over 100 languages spoken,” said LeFranc.
Just under 50 per cent of people living in Green Timbers claim Punjabi as their mother tongue. However, according to the 2006 Census, Tagalog, Mandarin, and Cantonese are also commonly spoken in this area.
Much of the population growth in this area is related to immigration. The riding was new in 1991, with a population of just 245,000 people. Today, that population has more than doubled.
Vijay Vaibhavsaini, who’s a talk show host at a local radio station, said affordability is one of Green Timber’s biggest appeals, but immigration is a close second.
“There’s that anchorage that you get that initial support which helps you ease into the Canadian lifestyle and you have that moral support that you know someone that I know is there and that person ends up becoming like a guiding hand for your first few years,” said Vaibhavsaini.
“And a lot of people who end up coming here for that particular reason, then end up staying because then you know you tend to get acclimatize with the city you get the surrounding and a lot of the stuff you see around.”
Vijay added said that Green Timbers has become an important cultural comfort zone that helps immigrants find their way in Canada.
He said the area works as a buffer as it helps people adjust without having to give up their culture.
Green Timbers also has a really young population, actually, the second youngest in B.C. with an average age of just 34.5.
“That too is a strength, and I think that the number of children that we have the number of young adults and the number of young people that are getting into the work force, tremendous strength and really one of the backbones of our economic strategy,” said councillor LeFranc.
So maybe you live here – or maybe you live nearby. Perhaps you’ve visited once before. But the Green Timbers area of Surrey is a diverse part of the city that’s worth visiting again.