Surrey History Banner

Early Trails and Roads in Surrey 1858–1889

by John Macdonald

The 1858 trail from Semiahmoo Bay to Fort Langley was built by the new mainland colony of British Columbia in response to the influx of Americans heading to the Fraser River Canyon in search of gold. The 1861 Kennedy Trail, built from a point opposite the new city of New Westminster to Mud Bay, provided access to the fertile land at the mouths of the Serpentine and Nicomekl Rivers. The Telegraph Line Trail from the U.S. Boundary to New Westminster was completed in 1865. The 1873–74 Semiahmoo Wagon Road, which began at Brownsville opposite New Westminster, was the first direct road to the U.S. boundary.
See Pre–settlement Trails, See Semiahmoo Trail

Road Building After Confederation

A few years after British Columbia joined Confederation in 1871, several new roads were constructed in 1874 and 1875. These included the 1874–75 McLellan Road (now Highway 10) which connected Ladner in Delta to Surrey Centre, the 1875 Yale Wagon Road (now Fraser Highway) and the Mud Bay Road (now Scott Road / 120th Street). As the grid system of land subdivisions and streets we know today gradually developed, earlier routes which did not conform were abandoned. With the development of farming on the flats along the Serpentine, Nicomekl, and Campbell Rivers, new roads were constructed including Hall's Prairie Road (184th) in 1881–87, Coast Meridian Road (168th) in 1880–86, and Crescent Road in 1882–84.
See Provincial Roads after 1871 See Municipal Roads after 1879

Portions of Surrey's Earliest Routes Remain Today

Only a few portions of the earliest routes remain today. The curved sections of 56 Avenue and 56A Avenue in Panorama Ridge follow one branch of the Kennedy Trail towards Woodward's Hill, and short pieces can also be found in Boundary Park and Corrigan Park. There is a short section of the Telegraph Trail running southeast from Golden Ears Way to 198th Street. Old Yale Road still exists between Brownsville and King George Boulevard. The first section to about 130th Street was originally the Semiahmoo Wagon Road. Other remaining parts of the Semiahmoo Wagon Road include Semiahmoo Road from Old Yale Road at about 130th Street south to 99 Avenue, 144a Street between Highway 10 and King George Boulevard, Elgin Road across the Nicomekl River, the Semiahmoo Trail walking path from 144th Street to 32nd Avenue, the paved road named Semiahmoo Trail south from 32nd Avenue to 148th Street, and part of the Semiahmoo Heritage Trail east of 148th Street.


The base layer of this map is from an 1889 New Westminster District Map. Additional information came from 1876, 1886, and 1905 editions of the same map as well as from The Semiahmoo Trail Myths Makers Memories, Ron Dowle, 2008; Kennedy's Trail Past to Present, John Macdonald, 2012, the website; and from Surrey historians Jack Brown and Jim Foulkes.

Early Trails and Roads in Surrey 1858-1889

Next Page: Semiahmoo Trail

Return to Surrey's History INDEX

View My Stats