The Ups & Downs Of Hilly White Rock

"Progress is man's ability to complicate simplicity." - Thor Heyerdahl

Despite the banner, not everyone is singing to the same tune in White Rock. The city council has made the construction of towering apartment buildings a priority it seems while many citizens are longing for the seaside village charm that is slipping away.

What began as two controversial residential highrises has progressed into many more projects, especially in upper White Rock. Since the small city, (flanked by the Semiamhoo Bay and three sides of South Surrey), relies on tourism and has no other industry, the intent is to bring in more people permanently as a tax resource. Services to sustain the skyward growth aren't matching the need, however.

The building (above) operating as Deals World for years has long been closed but will eventually make way for something bigger, taller and more expensive. The flowery art on its wall will likely turn to dust.

So far, Whaling Wall IV (above) has remained since about 1984, although it's been threatened with extinction from time to time like the Grey Whales the mural depicts by artist Robert Wyland.

The thriving live theater (below) remains strong. However, the sidewalk alongside Coast Capital Playhouse is being replaced, largely due to damage from tree roots pushing up bricks and cement creating a topsy-turvy pathway.

The old trees had to go along with the sidewalk. I'm not sure what will happen, if anything, to the painting by local artist Elizabeth Hollick at the building's side wall.

If the characters could talk I wonder what they'd say about all the changes ... the jumble of new and old, big and small.

The "musicians" painted on the Blue Frog Studios wall (below) aren't concerned.

The "blues" performers give new meaning to the concept of lounge singer.

Down the street is an above-ground tunnel (below) to protect walkers from debris.

Much of the construction uptown is across the street from the much larger City of Surrey. That's where tile art on the sidewalk depicts the way it once was at the bottom of the hills in White Rock. The work (below) shows the Marine Drive portion.

The former train station pictured (above and below) is a museum and gift shop now where non-steam trains go by, seemingly non-stop.

The busy track must be stepped across to access the popular beach and pier, creating an unsafe mix of human traffic and trains. There's talk of moving the railway to a less congested area. It would be costly and the decision would take cooperation from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe in the US that, through lack of Canadian foresight, was provided ownership of the track and land where the former train station sits.

Should relocation happen one day, White Rock will have a chance to reimagine the stressed waterfront area, potentially unlocking a more open and unobstructed eco-people-friendly swath of coastal nature trails for locals and visitors to safely explore.

White Rock, BC, Photos by Maria Pavlik

Read earlier posts about the railway HERE.

See OUR WORLD to explore more sights from around the globe.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. I hope the town doesn't lose its art or its charm!

  2. Lovely photos of 'how it used to be' ~ High rises are more cost effective for builders but not very attractive ~ doesn't seem appropriate for the seaside town~

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  3. Oh my gosh, that railroad track across what should be a beautiful beach is sad! As is the new construction ... reminded me of the song ' paved Paradise and put in a parking lot..." and something I can't quote correctly about cutting down the trees and putting them in a tree museum...." not at all quite the same thing, but it does seem like they are losing way too much for what they're getting here in this little town.


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