Timber City: How the City of Surrey is Winning with Wood

Guildford Aquatic Centre, Surrey, B.C. | Photo: Ema Peter Photography

“Surrey has big aspirations,” according to Scott Groves, who oversees the design, construction, and operations of all civic facilities in Surrey. The burgeoning metropolis, located between the Fraser River and the Canada – United States border, is now the province’s fastest-growing city.

Once considered a suburb, Surrey is now arguably the region’s emerging second downtown: its population of over half a million is growing at twice the rate of Vancouver’s, and is set to eclipse it by 2030 to make Surrey the largest city in the province.

“Surrey is a diverse city that speaks over a hundred different languages. We want to connect our citizens, share our cultures, and break down barriers,” Groves says.

Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre_| Photo: Ema Peter Photography

Within the last decade, the City of Surrey has made significant investments in civic and community buildings, many of which not only incorporate wood and mass timber, but represent boundary-pushing, world-class architecture. This is thanks in part to a Wood First Policy that the City adopted in 2010, which recognizes wood’s social, environmental, and economic benefits, and makes it the material of choice for public buildings.

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