Taking advantage of one of British Columbia’s major immigration programs? Looking for somewhere nice to live in the province? Is your new employer in Surrey, thus determining where you’ll be living for the duration of your visa?
You might be wondering what life in Surrey is like and whether you’ll enjoy living there!
That’s why we’ve taken the time to put this guide together. Our immigration attorneys want you to feel confident about your decision to come here. Here’s everything you need to know.
Is Surrey, BC a good place to live?
Every month, roughly 1000 new residents flock to Surrey. According to The Daily Hive it’s the 3rd fastest growing city in Canada. It’s a highly immigrant-friendly area where you can find a welcoming community for you and your family.
For example, 57.76% of the population is South Asian, and there’s a large Chinese and Filipino community. In fact, two of our attorneys have immigrated to Surrey. One is a native of India and one is a native of China.
You’ll find a community center in every neighborhood, which can make it easy to make new friends and get involved.
Why does Surrey have a bad reputation?
Vancouver residents have stereotyped it. Some of these stereotypes are highly racist and are decidedly unfair. Many Vancouver residents feel very invested in maintaining a sense that their city is superior to all other cities in the province.
Some of the city’s reputation dates back to the 1990s, and is quite out of date.
Is Surrey safe to live in? Is Surrey safe at night?
Surrey residents say that reports of crime in Surrey are highly exaggerated.
“I’ve been a Surrey resident for 20 years, and as far as crime is concerned, I’m just like a Vancouver resident: I only know about crime through media. I’ve never witnessed a crime, despite living in the area of Whalley, which has some stigma attached to it.Whalley has improved a lot: two new supermarkets and one pharmacy, which is proof that businesses have confidence in the neighborhood.” –Cbc.ca
There are a few neighborhoods that are still a little more dangerous than most of Surrey’s neighborhood, but this is no worse than you’d find in any major city. Surrey Central is typically the sketchiest neighborhood as of this writing.
Where should I live in Surrey, BC?
Surrey is a city of neighborhoods, and much will depend on the sort of neighborhood vibe that you like.
For example, Guildford is a highly family-friendly neighborhood that’s close to shopping centers and the Sky Train. South Surrey is another family-friendly neighborhood, one that’s known for good schools.
If you want a tight-knit community with lots to do, try Cloverdale.
Fleetwood is a great neighborhood for folks who like to stay active: it’s the home of multiple parks, Surrey’s only labyrinth, and plenty of places to have fun and enjoy yourself.
Beach lovers and water sport enthusiasts may well enjoy South Surrey, whereas people who are looking for a hip, funky neighborhood with a great farmer’s market and arts activities will want to look at North Surrey. Newton is one of the most diverse areas, and has a large Punjabi community.
Can you live in Surrey, BC without a car?
It depends on which neighborhood you choose to live in.
We recommend researching the Sky Train routes and planning accordingly if you plan to live a car-free lifestyle, because some individuals get by quite well without a car and others swear they can’t live without one. You might also research the bike trails and try to plot your commute between work and home before making your final decision.
Is it expensive to live in Surrey, BC? Is Surrey cheaper than Vancouver?
Surrey is far cheaper than Vancouver in every cost-of-living category. Housing is more affordable by nearly 20%. 61 new home developments ensure there are plenty of options for finding a new home.
Surrey Real Estate Resources
Here are a few resources to help you find the perfect home in Surrey.
There are so many great homes in Surrey, and there’s never been a better time to buy!
Getting Utilities Turned on in Surrey
Here are a few resources to help you get your utilities on in Surrey.
Utilities are reasonably affordable in Surrey and are relatively painless to turn on.
Entertainment in Surrey, BC
There’s plenty of entertainment in Surrey, including vineyards, theaters, spas, race courses, and casinos. You’ll also find a variety of art galleries and museums.
You can even enjoy some interesting hobbies like axe throwing!
Keep your eye on the local calendar because there are a lot of festivals and events to enjoy as well. Keep an eye out for the Fusion Fest music festival, the International Children’s Festival, the Cloverdale Rodeo, and Party for the Planet.
Parks and Recreation in Surrey, BC
Surrey is full of urban forests, parks, and trails to enjoy. There are over 600 parks throughout the city. Tynehead Park has 260 hectares of green space! The Green Timbers Urban Forest is absolutely beautiful. There’s also an extensive system of bike trails to enjoy.
There are plenty of outdoor activities for children as well, such as the Bose Family Corn Maze, multiple children’s summer camps, the Newton Wave Pool. You can also enjoy climbing walls,, horseback riding, paintball, farms, and mini-golf. It really is a great spot for people who love to stay active.
Love beaches? Check out Crescent Beach, Centennial Beach, and White Rock Beach. All these beaches are great for swimming and have concession stands and activities for kids.
Restaurants in Surrey, BC
Surrey is a foodie’s dream. There are so many incredible restaurants to enjoy. You can find cuisines here that you can’t easily find in other Canadian cities, like Afghani cuisine. Here are some of the most iconic restaurants for you to start your culinary journey.
Shopping in Surrey, BC
If you’re ready to shop till you drop then Surrey will not disappoint. Try Payal Plaza if you’d love to shop at the local Punjabi market. It takes up 4 city blocks and features hundreds of hidden treasures. Many are hand-crafted and impossible to find literally anywhere else.
Want to head to a mall where you can find almost anything and everything? Then head over to Guildford Town Center to enjoy over 80 new stores and a hopping food court. It even includes a living wall with more than 45,000 individual plants featuring 110 species.
Ready to go local? Semiahmoo Potters lets you purchase one-of-a-kind pottery pieces, CPC Woodcraft for handmade wood products, or the Honeybee Centre for lovely local honey. The Loafing Shed Glass studio lets you enjoy a 25-year old local glassblower’s artwork, and Studio 73 lets you enjoy functional and decorative glassware. These are the perfect places to find some lovely gifts.
We’re only scratching the surface here. We could go on for days about all the amazing shopping opportunities to be found in this city.
Schools in Surrey, BC
You’ll find a variety of educational options in Surrey, including:
- Community Schools Partnerships
- Core French, French as a Second Language, French Immersion and Intensive French programs.
- Punjabi Language Programs
- AP and IB programs
- Montessori, Traditional, and Fine Arts programs
- Integrated Academics
- Settlement and multicultural support through the Surrey School District Welcome Center
- Adult and CE opportunities
- Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning (SAIL)
- Online school options
- District Career Education Partnerships
- Strong Start early learning partnerships
The school system is strong and welcoming to international students.
What are my options for immigrating to Surrey?
There are several programs you can take advantage of. BC offers the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) for high-demand foreign workers and experienced entrepreneurs. There is also an express entry program for individuals who have specific skill sets that British Columbia needs. And of course, family sponsorship remains an option for many who would like to come join their loved ones in this beautiful city.
Want to maximize your chances of becoming a permanent resident or citizen of British Columbia?
Reach out to the experienced team at Canada Immigration Appeal & Spousal Sponsorship Lawyer. We speak Mandarin and Punjabi, so you may be able to get help in your own language!
Get started by calling our Surrey office at (604) 394-2777 today.