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1912 Municipal Hall

17671 56th Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, V3S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/12/15

Exterior view of 1912 Municipal Hall, 2004; Donald Luxton and Associates, 2004
Oblique view
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Other Name(s)

Surrey Municipal Hall
1912 Municipal Hall
Cloverdale Seniors Centre

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The 1912 Municipal Hall is a one and one-half storey, plus basement, masonry Arts and Crafts-style institutional building, set back from the street on a well-landscaped lawn with a fieldstone wall on the north side of Highway 10 (56 Avenue) and east of 176A Street. It is located in the southwest corner of a larger block of City-owned lands in the Cloverdale Town Centre area of Surrey.

Heritage Value

The 1912 Municipal Hall is valued as a proud symbol of civic government, as a reflection of the growth and prosperity of Surrey prior to the First World War, and the long-time importance of Cloverdale as the centre of municipal administration. It was constructed to replace the 1881 Town Hall in Surrey Centre, which had become too small for Surrey's growing municipal business.

The 1912 Municipal Hall is of architectural value for its bold Arts and Crafts architecture. Befitting its civic purpose, the Hall was designed in an imposing style facing one of the main streets in Cloverdale. The symmetrical main façade, grand central entry and prominent front-facing gables all contribute to its imposing appearance, and the sophisticated use of proportion and detailing emphasizes the monumental scale of the building. The Arts and Crafts style, allied to the typical Craftsman residential vocabulary, was almost always used locally for municipal halls of the Edwardian era. By using a common architectural vocabulary, this allowed the institution to reflect the values and aspirations of the local community. The Arts and Crafts style also demonstrated an allegiance to British legislative antecedents and a demonstration of loyalty to the Mother Country. The style was commonly utilized in British Columbia due to the large number of British born or trained architects familiar with principles of the movement and the strong association many citizens still felt to Britain. Designed by local architect, C.H. Clow (1860-1929), a resident of Cloverdale, and built by contractor J.H. Vickers, the building stands as a monument to the vision of Surrey as an emerging urban centre. The 1912 Hall was built in a prominent location with a large setback and of brick construction, indicating a sense of permanence and stability.

The Hall is also significant for its association with the development of the Cloverdale neighbourhood. Originally a small agricultural settlement, the population expanded after Cloverdale became a stop on the New Westminster Southern Railway in 1891. The arrival of the Great Northern Railway (GNR), the BC Electric Railway (BCER) and the construction of the Pacific Highway (176 Street) and Highway No. 10, transformed Cloverdale into an important transportation junction and initiated major growth. The building is much larger than the original 1881 Town Hall, indicating a rapidly growing community and an increasing need for public services. Cloverdale was the seat of municipal government from 1912 until 1962, when a new municipal hall was opened. This site's continued use as a community facility represents a long history of public association with this landmark site.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the 1912 Municipal Hall include its:
- landmark siting at a prominent corner location, with the building set well back from the property lines;
- continuous public/community use since its construction;
- institutional form, scale and massing as expressed by its dominant symmetry, formal siting, H-shaped floor plan with central entry, one and one-half storey height plus full basement, and tall main floor ceilings;
- elements of the Arts and Crafts style, such as: use of natural materials; prominent gables with stucco and wood half-timbering; casement windows; exposed purlins and decorative brackets;
- complex roofline: side gable roof, with two dominant north-south cross gables; and small central front gable dormer;
- masonry construction: random ashlar granite at foundation level; red brick cladding at main floor;
- fenestration, with wood-sash casements throughout, triple-assembly with transoms on the main floor;
- formal central entry: granite stair cheeks, concrete steps and flanking metal light standards; and
- associated landscape features such as mature shrubs and trees, surrounding grassed lawn, original rock wall at site perimeter.



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
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Recreation Centre


Town or City Hall

Architect / Designer

C.H. Chow


J.H. Vickers

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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