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St. Oswald's Trees

190th Street, Surrey, British Columbia, V4N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/09/13

View of St. Oswald's Trees, 2004; City of Surrey, 2004
View from 190th Street
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Oswald's Trees consists of a row of four old growth Douglas Fir trees and one Western Red Cedar tree, located in a predominantly industrial area of Port Kells. Highly visible, the trees are situated along 190 Street, which defines the western boundary of the St. Oswald's Church grounds.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of St. Oswald's Trees lies in their association with the formation of Port Kells and the community's later growth and development. In 1885, two men, who shared the name of Henry Kells, planned the town site of Port Kells. Anticipating development due to the Canadian National Railway (CNR) terminals at Port Mann, Walter James Walker, a real estate developer and former Surrey Reeve, donated money for the construction of three Anglican churches in North Surrey in 1910, one of which is St. Oswald's. The Kells family donated eight of the original town lots for the church. The anticipated development of Port Kells failed to occur and the town lots reverted to agricultural use, followed by industrial development of the area upon the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway in the 1960s.

These native heritage trees remained on the site cleared for St. Oswald’s Church and have been evaluated as exceptional in size, age and species and are living examples of Surrey's natural heritage. The trees line the street west of the church, defining the church property as a special enclave within what has become an industrial context.

The trees are also valued as landmarks, visible from the surrounding area and marking a transition space between a public transportation corridor and the church property. Creating an important and symbolic break between the churchyard and the busy road, the trees demonstrate the commitment of the City of Surrey to recognizing and preserving its natural heritage.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the St. Oswald's Trees include their:
- prominence and visibility along the east side of 190 Street;
- location on the boundary of the church property and its accompanying green space, in contrast with the surrounding industrial area; and
- height (approximately 41 to 45 metres) and full canopy of the native old growth trees.



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)

1885/01/01 to 1885/01/01
1911/01/01 to 1911/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

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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