Monday, March 21, 2011

Where In The World Is Whalley?

THE DILAPIDATED BUILDING might be in any impoverished country of the world. Yet it sits by an alley in Whalley, a district of Surrey, southeast of Vancouver, BC, in Canada, a relatively wealthy part of the globe.

Some might want to know how Whalley got in such a shabby state. I learned it started innocently enough in 1925 when a man named Arthur Whalley bought three acres of land in North Surrey. The land was cleared and cabins as well as a service station with a general store were built. By 1948 the area (known as Whalley’s Corner to the locals) became officially named.

This street at the front of the alley developed as a commerical row of low-rise shops selling various goods that over time appealed to more transient clientele. New neighborhoods became the focus and this area was neglected by modern mainstream business. Although I don’t know when reconstruction was done on the church (pictured above in the foreground), it is perhaps one sign that makeovers are underway.

The gated Emmanuel Romanian Penticostal Church looks fresh and glistening in the rain.

The tidy church could be a window into the transitioning nature of Whalley. Surrey recently incorporated the slogan The Future Lives Here to reflect its goal to bring business and a flow of visitors into revitalized places.

Just a few blocks from the church condominiums are being built.

The nearby completed housing looks attractive ...

and is enhanced by surrounding green space.

Pleasant nooks and crannies ...

are slowly washing away the area's checkered past.

A swirl of puddles and pools amid rocky formations ...

are having a positive ripple effect ...

on nearby business offices, shops and a transit system.

The Coast Mountain Bus Company includes a skytrain service that links Surrey to Vancouver.

Some find it covenient living in highrise apartments near the skytrain track.

I caught the speeding train with a photograph just as a raindrop hit the lens of my camera, causing a smudge to appear.

As this section of North Surrey moves forward, there is talk that its new image needs a new name. Many locals have a negative view of Whalley. Perhaps it would be more appealing if the first name were included. From what I understand, Arthur Whalley represented the entrepreneurial spirit in his community decades ago before it fell into disrepair. His is the proud name of someone who had the same goals, on a smaller scale, that Surrey now has as it strives to transform this unique historical area into its city center.

Explorers can find more sites from around the globe at My World.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. This is an interesting post, Penelope. I really like the idea of adding Mr. Whalley's first name. Moving to Vancouver eleven years or so ago, I remember seeing a television news story that did not favour Whalley's reputation. Your beautiful photos, and theme of transition, especially tied to rippling water, windows to the world and lots of green space, would let that drop on the lens of your camera work its magic to refresh Whalley's image.

  2. What a great, interesting post, Penelope! Love your marvelous photos and what a lovely place! Thanks for the history! Always makes the photos that more interesting! Hope you have a wonderful week!


  3. An interesting post and a great selection of photos to emphasize your narrative ;-)

  4. I must second the first commenter in saying this is indeed a very interesting post. I enjoyed it thoroughly, both images and texts.

    Happy Monday.

  5. A promise in the making.

    Great photography. Please have a good Tuesday.

    daily athens

  6. Interesting transition from the past into the present and then into the future. Some of the area is already looking spiffy!

  7. Very interesting to see an area I do not know or even existed. The new developments look very attractive. Perhaps Whallies will be again a hub of people happily living there and enjoying the lovely country site.

  8. That was a great trip... totally new place for me.

  9. I enjoyed reading this post and great shots to accompany the words. I find it interesting how areas change over time and it would be nice if the name could remain and Whalley could change back to the original image prior to disrepair.

  10. The reconstructed parts are just lovely!

  11. A wonderful study in contrast, Penelope! Slowly but inexorably, we can mark the progress Whalley is making. Your photos highlight that it's well underway...:)

    Imagination Lane

  12. Thank you for posting this information, my Granddaughter is doing a school project on her Heritage and I'm happy that I can help her since my Great Grandfather is Arthur Whalley.

    1. What a wonderful surprise, Carolyn! Your close family connection to the city makes you the perfect resource for your granddaughter. I’m glad to have helped in a small way and am honoured to know Arthur Whalley’s great granddaughter stopped by. :)


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