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Highway Garage

5723 176 Street, Surrey, British Columbia, V3S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/11/02

Exterior view of the Highway Garage; City of Surrey, 2004
Front elevation
Highway Garage advertisement, 1921; Wrigley's BC Directory, 1921
Newspaper advertisement
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/07/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located mid-block on the west side of downtown Cloverdale's main commercial street, the Highway Garage is distinguished by its bowed roof. The structure is set back from the street and occupies only a portion of the property, the remainder of which is paved. Now adapted for general commercial purposes, the form of the structure is still recognizable, although obscured by later alterations.

Heritage Value

The Highway Garage is valued as a reflection of Cloverdale's response to the increasing use of the automobile and modernization in transportation methods in the early twentieth century. The confluence of passenger and freight rail and early highways had spurred Cloverdale's rapid growth as a major transportation hub. During the 1920s and 1930s, more roads were being opened up, surfaced with durable paving that facilitated the use of the automobile. With increased automobile traffic, the demand grew for service stations that could provide refined petroleum products as well as mechanical services. Built in 1919 as a livery stable, within a year this building reopened as an automotive garage, known as the Highway Garage - a name it carried for a number of years. The location of this garage is significant as a reminder that in 1923 the Pacific Highway, an important north-south transportation route, was completed along 176 Street. The Highway Garage was later rebuilt as the local outlet for Imperial Oil, one of the largest of the chain service stations that was emerging at the time.

The Highway Garage is notable for its association with the Hamre family, Cloverdale residents of Norwegian extraction who operated this business for several decades. In 1920, Charles G. Hamre and Frank Carmichael acquired the original livery stable and converted it to a garage. Carmichael later sold his shares to Hamre, who entered into a partnership in 1938 with his brother Edmond Obie Hamre (1900-1958). Ed Hamre was involved in numerous community and fraternal organizations, and was the founder of the local fire brigade and Cloverdale Fire Chief for almost thirty years. During that time, the garage was the location of the town's fire siren and was where local emergency calls were answered.

Furthermore, the Highway Garage is of heritage value for its evolving architecture, that demonstrates the growth of this business and the larger community. Originally a wooden industrial shed, the structure was rebuilt to accommodate changing needs and functions. In 1938, a sophisticated and stylish bowed roof structure was constructed, with a front canopy projecting over the pumps, illustrating the increasing growth of automobile traffic and the sophistication of gasoline company marketing and branding. When a highway bypass was constructed to divert traffic around downtown Cloverdale, this garage lost its main clientele and was converted for commercial use.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Highway Garage include its:
- mid-block location on the main commercial street in downtown Cloverdale
- setback from the property line, separated from other buildings
- commercial form, scale and massing as expressed by the prominent bowed roof, single storey height and regular, rectangular plan
- wood-frame construction with wooden bow truss roof structure with raised front parapet
- surviving exterior details, such as the bevelled wooden siding on the side elevations



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

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Service Station

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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