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Cloverdale Elementary School

17857 56 Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, V3S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/12/04

Exterior view of Cloverdale Elementary School; City of Surrey, 2004
Oblique view
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/07/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Cloverdale Elementary School is a rambling two-storey, stucco-clad wood-frame school building situated on a large, open and well manicured 2.69-hectare property with sports fields, parking and play structures. The school is prominently located on Highway 10, adjacent to strip malls and franchise operations with single-family residential land use to the north. The original 1922 structure has been added to a number of times, and although obscured is still recognizable. Adjacent to the school is a 1.2 hectare City-owned park, and a row of fifteen significant Horse Chestnut Trees.

Heritage Value

The Cloverdale school site is a valued representation of the response of Surrey's earliest settlers to the provision of community educational facilities and the development of the local school system. This is the longest continuously used school site in Surrey. The first public school in the municipality was erected here in 1884, and since that time there has been a series of additions, replacement schools and new schools that reflect ongoing community growth and development. Population growth was steady, and the school system struggled to keep pace. A new four-room elementary school, Cloverdale Public School, was completed in 1912, but high school students still had to travel to schools in New Westminster, Blaine or Langley. By 1919, Cloverdale School became the first dedicated high school in Surrey. A referendum passed in 1921 that allowed the construction of a new free-standing high school - the first high school between New Westminster and Chilliwack - which opened in January, 1922 and comprises the oldest part of the current structure. The relocation of the high school to another site in 1957 allowed the elementary school to expand into the 1922 building. In addition, the use of the school as a facility for community meetings and extracurricular activities for many years illustrates its significance within the community. Adjacent to the school yard is a City-owned park, purchased in 1923 and indicative of the City of Surrey's policy to acquire parkland adjacent to school sites so that the uses of schoolyards and city parks could complement each other.

Furthermore, Cloverdale Elementary School is valued as an example of traditional school architecture. The 1922 structure is two storeys in height, distinguished by a semicircular parapetted gable and broad hipped roof. It was designed by English-trained James Boulton Whitburn (1882-1931), who had established his practice in New Westminster in 1912, and designed a number of that city's local schools. The builders were Sloan and Harrison, prominent contractors based in New Westminster. Alterations and additions have distorted the original character, integrity and symmetry of the school, however, the basic scale and massing remain unaltered.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the 1922 Cloverdale Elementary School include its:
- mid-block location on an important early transportation route in Surrey
- continuous use as a school site
- institutional form, scale and massing as expressed by its two-storey height and regular, rectangular plan
- broad steeply pitched hipped roof
- concrete foundation and wood-frame construction, with original shingle and wooden sidings under a later coat of stucco
- exterior details such as the central semi-circular parapetted gable with round louvred vent, entrance porches with hipped roofs, main front entrance with square chamfered columns, projecting open eaves with exposed rafter tails and plain window casings
- regular fenestration with single and triple assembly windows, and doors with transoms and sidelights
- associated landscape features such as grassed schoolyard and mature row of fifteen Horse Chestnut Trees



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

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


Primary or Secondary School


Architect / Designer

James Boulton Whitburn


Sloan and Harrison

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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