Georgina Stuart Strachan

Georgina Stuart Strachan

Remembering an Ocean Park pioneer

Longtime Peninsula resident, Georgina Stuart Strachan, passes away at age 91

The last surviving daughter of one of Surrey’s pioneering families passed away June 28 at the age of 91.

Georgina Stuart Strachan was the youngest daughter of Ben and Emelia Stevenson (daughter of Isaac Johnston, an early settler on what is now Johnston Road) who settled the land in Ocean Park in 1886.

The longtime Peninsula resident is remembered by her five children, 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren as a caring and generous matriarch who always had room for one more around the dinner table.

“Growing up, our refrigerator belonged to everyone on the block,” laughed son, Ralph White. “If she found out anyone was without, she would invite them. There was always enough to go around.”

Strachan was born in New Westminster in 1922, the youngest of eight children. Prior to living in New Westminster, and later in Vancouver, the Stevenson family lived in Ocean Park, where Strachan’s father, Ben, had purchased a huge parcel of land bordered by the waterfront and Stevenson Road (128 Street), from  and North Bluff Road (16 Avenue) to Sunnyside Road (24 Avenue).

Georgina Stuart StrachanIn 1918, Stevenson, who also had connections to the history of the nearby Elgin and Mud Bay communities, donated land for the first school in Ocean Park and was instrumental in securing tunnel access to the beach, under the Great Northern tracks, according to the City of Surrey website.

Following the family’s move to Vancouver in order to be closer to schooling for the children, Strachan graduated from Prince of Wales High School and married her husband Herbert Emerson White, eventually moving back to Ocean Park in 1966 to live on a plot of land her father had set aside for her. The two were married for more than 40 years, until White passed in 1986.

Soon after, Strachan and her family spearheaded a movement to return a strip of land that remained at the foot of 18 Avenue back to the public. With the rest of Stevenson’s property broken up or sold, the extra parcel of real estate on Ocean Park Road was all that remained, with new homeowners on either side attempting to absorb it.

However, the family pushed for it to remain open as a road allowance, Ralph said.

“We held a huge demonstration. When Surrey got going, (Ben) had designated a certain amount of land as road ends, but people who lived there didn’t want that. They made an application to make that land their own,” he explained.

Following a court ruling in the family’s favour, the land was returned to the city on the condition it remain public. The small road allowance was then renamed as Ben Stevenson View Park, overlooking the waters of Boundary Bay to Point Roberts and the Gulf Islands.

“Mom was very much a part of that. There was no way they were going to take her father’s land for nothing. There are hardly any places like that left,” Ralph said. “We certainly love the area.”

Strachan later married Bill Stewart, who died suddenly in 1988, and then Dr. J. George Strachan, who predeceased her in 1996.

For a number of years, Strachan worked at the Bank of Montreal in White Rock where, White noted, she had numerous friends. The matriarch was an avid gardner and exceptionally proud of her waterfront home in the Ocean Park area, which was sold last year when she was admitted to Dr. Al Hogg Pavilion due to her declining health.

While Georgina was the last of Stevenson’s children, Ralph said portions of his former plot are still in the family.

“I live in Ocean Park on a piece of property that used to be part of my grandfather’s farm,” he said. “This area was subdivided by my mother and two aunts, and I bought one, my cousin bought one and my sister bought one.

“We’re all kind of here, living on his land.”

A memorial service for Strachan will be held July 10 at 1:00 p.m., at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 12953 20th Avenue. In lieu of flowers donations to The British Columbia Lung Association would  be appreciated.

 

Just Posted

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

All nine White Rock Renegades softball teams are set to take part in the Canadian Pride and Power Tournament, scheduled for July 1-4. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Renegades set to host multi-team Pride and Power softball tournament

‘There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the park,’ said Greg Timm

The Lower Mainland Green Team and students from Earl Marriott Secondary remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Green Team returns to White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park to monitor previous work

Environmental volunteers, South Surrey students remove invasive species

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read