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Royal Oak Tree, Surrey Centre

Old McLellan Road, Surrey, British Columbia, V3S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/06/23

View of Royal Oak Tree, 2004.; City of Surrey, 2004.
View of Royal Oak Tree, 2004.
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Other Name(s)

Royal Oak Tree, Surrey Centre
Royal Oak Tree

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/11/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This Royal Oak tree (Quercus robur) is a purpose-planted ceremonial tree located on the west side of Old McLellan Road near Christ Church, Anglican and the Surrey Centre Cemetery in Surrey Centre, the historic pioneer area of Surrey.

Heritage Value

This Royal Oak Tree is valued for its tie to the monarchy of the Commonwealth and as a commemoration of the coronation on May 12, 1937 of English King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. This specimen tree was planted by Reeve J.T. Brown and C. Raine, President of the Surrey Farmers' Institute. It is set on a prominent location on the ridge of historic Old McLellan Road, adjacent to the city-owned cemetery, in an attractive setting. Its location illustrates the former importance of this area to the City of Surrey, being its historic centre.

Members of Commonwealth countries all over the world were sent English Oak seedlings from the royal forest at Windsor Great Park to act as a lasting commemoration of the Coronation. Many of the seedlings were planted near Anglican Churches and cemeteries, as is the case here. The oak leaf has long been used as a symbol of strength on tombstones. The tree alludes not only to the British origins of many settlers, but also to the importance of the Anglican Church in early settlements all over the empire, and close ties to the Mother Country.

This Royal Oak Tree is also valued as a part of the extensive landscaping of the historic core of Surrey Centre, which includes the Avenue of Trees as well as the planting at Christ Church and the Surrey Centre Cemetery. The heritage designation of this tree demonstrates the commitment of the City of Surrey in recognizing and preserving its natural heritage.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Royal Oak Tree includes its:
- prominence and visibility along Old McLellan Road
- contribution to the attractiveness of the streetscape, with a massive, open headed habit, deeply furrowed grey-black bark, lush dark green foliage in the spring/summer and autumn acorns
- height (approximately 15 metres) and full seasonal canopy
- transition between a public transportation corridor and private property
- bronze dedicatory plaque: "Royal Oak commemorating the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, May 12, 1937. Planted by Reeve J.T. Brown and President C. Raine, Surrey Farmers' Institute."
- relationship to other historic plantings in Surrey Centre; in particular the Avenue of Trees, also along Old McLellan Road, and the planting at Christ Church and the Surrey Centre Cemetery



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Canada and the World

Function - Category and Type


Nature Element


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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