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Elgin Centre School

3530 144th Street, Surrey, British Columbia, V4P, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/12/15

Exterior view of Elgin School, 2004; Donald Luxton and Associates, 2004
oblique view
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Other Name(s)

Elgin Centre School
Elgin School

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Elgin Centre School is a one-storey vernacular rural schoolhouse located in a park-like setting in South Surrey. Typical of standardized school architecture of the time, it is clad in wood siding with a gabled roof facing the street, a gabled front porch, and banked fenestration along the north facade. This location was at the junction of two historic transportation routes, Semiahmoo Trail and Crescent Road.

Heritage Value

Elgin Centre School is valued by the people of Elgin as an indication of the importance of education in the early days of settlement, and also for its association with the development of the Elgin area. Until 1875, Semiahmoo Trail was the only passable land route between New Westminster and Blaine, Washington. With the construction of the Elgin Hotel in about 1870 and the establishment of a Customs Outpost, Elgin or "Port Elgin" became an important stopover point and river crossing for travellers to and from the United States. The low-lying land in the area flooded frequently, but after a series of dykes were constructed, agriculture became the predominant activity, spurring a growth in population. Given the local growth, after the end of the First World War it was decided that a new school would be located at Elgin, rather than at Mud Bay. Barbara Lamb donated the land on which Elgin Centre School now stands, and the new building opened for classes in 1921. The school closed in 1984, and was then transferred to the City of Surrey for operation as a recreation centre.

The school is a valuable reminder of the spirit of volunteerism that was so important in the establishment of young settlements. It was built due to local initiative that involved multiple communities joining together to reach a common goal. This is one of the last one-room schoolhouses remaining in active use in Surrey.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Elgin Centre School include its:
- location on a prominent intersection at the junction of two historic transportation routes
- continuous community use;
- modest form, modest scale and massing typical of standardized school design of the 1920s
- wood-frame construction, including wooden structural elements, wooden siding and cedar shingle roof cladding;
- exterior features, such as the front gable roof; central front gable entry porch; decorated bargeboards, internal brick chimney; and fenestration, including the banked row of windows on the north wall; and
- associated landscape features such as grassed schoolyard and mature perimeter 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)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Recreation Centre


Composite School

Architect / Designer



Edward Irwin

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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