Monday, January 13, 2014

Surrey's Heart & Soul .... Why We Stay.

 From Panorama Ridge to Bear Creek, 
and
from Boundary Park to Sullivan Station, 
we are all Newton !

This Saturday Feb 15, the Newton Community Association is holding a public forum bewtween 2-4 at the Community Centre. ReNewton is not affiliated with the NCA,  but we share many of the same concerns.  Residents are encouraged to attend and  voice your concerns and ideas.

Newton has been  taking a beating recently, and it's a good time to remind  readers that there is more to this vast area than meets the eye.

 Here's a post from  last month. Just to keep things in perspective.



 Apologies for the delay in posting this. The public forum on safety last week in Newton was standing room only with hundreds more turned away.The event has been well covered by the usual suspects and  we'll leave it to them to hash out some of the bigger global issues.

 In the meantime I have taken time to ponder exactly what it is about our neighbourhood that keeps people here. Hint, it's not what you might think!

   Residents in other parts of Metro Vancouver have been asking....
  "Why would anyone want to live in Newton. Why haven't you moved yet?"

 This is Why We Stay

The People 

Newton residents are nothing if not authentic. They are salt-of-the-earth type folks. Unpretentious and genuine, they embody all that is good and worthy in this city.
 They are the hockey moms and baseball dads. The class field trip drivers and the music lesson givers.  They are the small business owners and the school teachers. The nurses and the construction workers. They work hard and put their families first. 

Much has been made of the fact that Newton is home to a large number of refugees from war torn countries such as Sudan and Somalia  and that this has created problems in  the area.  To be sure, there are challenges, but the beautiful rainbow of ethnicities is one thing this writer loves about the place! We are an international tapestry of cultures. A United Nations of Newton if you will. We need to find a way to capitalize on this unique aspect of our community. Every person who comes here has a gift to share. It might be something as simple as a flare for hospitality, cooking or  skilled artisan craftwork.

Newton has a rainbow of ethnicities  and cultural diversity.
That's what makes a community truly rich!
Different backgrounds make no difference in this neighbourhood.
Nature at Your Doorstep.
Literally.
One of many creeks in  Panorama Northwoods and Hyland Creek neighbourhoods.

The story goes that one hundred years ago, a municipal clerk looked across the Fraser River from New Westminster and was reminded of his home back in Surrey England. He saw lush green rolling hills, hundreds of babbling brooks and proclaimed this place Surrey.
The photo below is the view from my garden gate in south Newton. I feel so fortunate to have a protected salmon spawning creek basically, in my back yard. Every year we look forward to  'Salmon Homecoming." This year we were thrilled  to witness the return of not only the usual Chum species but also Sockeye. What a treat to fall asleep to the sounds of fish splish-splashing their way upstream to spawn right at our back door. 

Annual Salmon Run 
Yes, it's true! Surrey really IS the City of Parks!
This is  part of Hyland Park in the Panorama Northwoods neighbourhood

The Climate


Many people know that South Surrey and White Rock have more days of sunshine per year than other areas of Metro Vancouver, but did you know that Newton, specifically South Newton enjoys much the same climate?
West Vancouver, you can have your dark and dreary downpours, and Coquitlam keep your wretched rain.  Here in Newton we'll be having a decent, if not sunny day. It's true. It really is!

All that extra sun means easy access to farm fresh produce. 
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and more.
Got Blueberries?  Sorry Richmond, Surrey has the best!
Ethnic diversity means lots of dining options. 
More hours of sunshine equals  farm fresh produce
Craving cheese? Greco's Mediterranean Foods is a  South Newton neighbourhood institution 
Food Boredom? Forget it! Look at these luscious Indian morsels  at Prabu Sweets

Cultural Diversity Shines Every Year at the Fusion Festival.

A Burgeoning Arts Scene

Surrey has a first class art gallery and arts centre located in Bear Creek Park. Art is my passion. Many of my artist friends and family in Vancouver including some who have had major exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, have visited the SAG and were  so impressed by the facility  and its exhibits. I agree. Instructors from Emily Carr have told me what a great gallery we have!


Arts 2013 opening at the beautiful Surrey Arts Centre

World class art  too!

The fabulous DeSerres Art Supply store opened in Newton in 2012. Canadian owned too!

Simon Fraser University easily accessible from Newton
Crescent Beach . Yes, this is Surrey

Clearly, there's a lot to love about living in Newton, the real centre of Surrey. So make a commitment. Next time you hear a tiresome Surrey or Newton joke  (and you most assuredly will), challenge the person on it.  Telling a disparaging Surrey joke is really a cowardly way of saying "we're better than you". And nothing could be further from the truth. 

Newton residents are a diverse bunch but they share common traits.

Authenticity. Resiliency. Determination.

As demonstrated in the past few weeks, here is a community with heart and a whole lot of soul.  We've been kicked around far too long. It's taken a tragedy to awaken a sleeping giant. And once awakened, there's no telling what it's capable of  achieving.

Get ready for a new Newton.
  Make way for the Comeback Kid.   
              
 Newton Strong