With the cementing of the Pacific Highway in 1923, gas stations began operating along the newly paved highway. In 1925 Arthur Whalley opened a station right on the triangle where the Grosvenor and Ferguson Roads meet at King George Highway. The intersecting roads did not exist at that time but this was the first gas station out of New Westminster, and the region became known as Whalley's Corner. In time this was shortened to Whalley, and was adopted by the community in 1948.
Whalley's Home Station was located right on the triangle where Grosvenor and Ferguson Roads meet at King George Highway. This picture was taken in the 1930s.
The proximity of this area to New Westminster was important in its development. Historically most of the early settlement and development had been along the Fraser River in Brownsville, South Westminster, Bridgeview, Bon Accord/Port Mann. Most of the uplands were heavily forested with the occasional area of peat bog and scrub. Settlement did not take place until the logging had cleared most of the heavy trees. The heaviest settlement occurred after 1945 with the development and availability of the bulldozer for clearing the properties. During the 1930's the general depression and drought in the Canadian Prairies saw many farm families come to Surrey and locate on small holdings. In 1931 Surrey had dedicated land for the establishment of Bear Creek Park. In 1937, to aid the development of the park, the District opened Bergstrom Road, which provided a north-south link to Whalley and North Surrey.
The opening of the Pattullo Bridge in November 1937 and the major water main laid across the river with the bridge, provided the impetus for more rapid settlement of North Surrey. The opening of the Big Bend Highway on June 15, 1940, along with the opening of the King George Highway in October of 1940, saw Whalley became an important transportation focus along the Trans Canada, King George and Pacific Highways. The opening of the new bridge caused a minor residential building boom as people could easily drive over the toll bridge. Lot prices where much less expensive that those in New Westminster and made North Surrey very attractive. The majority of the North Surrey residents worked north of the river in New Westminster, Burnaby or Vancouver, while the lower cost of living warranted the longer commute. The rapid population increase saw the opening of Queen Elizabeth High School in 1940 to meet the needs of a growing district. When the tolls were removed from the Pattullo Bridge in 1952, the Whalley area saw a major commercial and residential building boom.
This aerial photo is of Whalley in the 1960's. The five corner junction was the original location of Whalley's Station that gave its name to the district. Commercial development began as ribbon development along the King George/Pacific Highway.
The bulk of the initial commercial development occurred as ribbon development along the highway north and south of Whalley's Corner. The late 1950s saw the Dell Shopping Center open as the first of the centralized one-stop shopping centers. The 1960's saw the opening of Surrey Place and the growing predominance of that district as Surrey's predominant shopping area. Since that period the Whalley District of North Surrey has been one of the fastest growing, most densely populated regions of Surrey.
1964 saw the completion of the Port Mann Bridge and the 401 Highway (the present Highway 1)and the development of the Guildford Shopping Center began around that time. This enhanced the commercial domination of North Surrey and brought a degree of commercial competition to Whalley, the traditional commercial core. Improved freeway access also resulted in a major residential building boom in the Guildford area.
With the arrival of Skytrain in Surrey Place with Surrey Central Station, the District has taken on the name of Surrey Central.