Museum Square

Cloverdale History

Historic Photos

The Cloverdale area was first settled around 1870. Among the first settlers were the Shannon brothers, Joseph, William, and Thomas. It was William who gave the area the name "Clover Valley" after the wild clover then growing everywhere.

The first settlement was in Surrey Centre, which is about one mile west of the present "downtown". The little community centered on the Town Hall, built in 1879 and now part of the Surrey Musuem, and Christ Church Anglican, built in 1884, which still stands on Old McLellan Road.

When the New Westminster-Southern Railway, linking Bellingham to New Westminster, was pushed through the valley in 1891, a station was built near the present town center and given the name "Cloverdale". This marks the beginning of Cloverdale as we know it today.

Cloverdale became a major transportation centre, with three railways running through it in its heyday. Two of these are still in operation.

Cloverdale experienced a major land boom in 1910-1911, and many of the buildings in the downtown core date from this period. In 1912 a fine new Municipal Hall was built (now the home of the Surrey Archives).

The coming of the automobile heralded the decline of the railways. In 1923 the Pacific Highway (176 Street) from Bellingham to New Westminster was paved and became the main highway linking the lower mainland with Washington State.

In 1945, the first Cloverdale Rodeo was held with the slogan "The West Goes Wilder". Today it has grown to be the second largest rodeo in Canada, second only to the Calgary Stampede.

Today, Cloverdale remains a unique and colourful community. It is one of the few communities in Greater Vancouver that has a genuine "main street" where pedestrians shop and locals gather to sip coffee and exchange gossip in the cafes.

To learn more about our history, see the Surrey's History website or visit the Surrey Museum.