Mosaic tablets

Trail celebrated in mosaics

Sidewalk art illustrates nature path’s wildlife and plants

A new series of mosaics, officially unveiled Wednesday, bring a touch of heritage to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre.

Created by Vancouver-based sculptor and mosaic artist Glen Andersen, the 13 colourful mosaic tablets – celebrating Surrey’s pioneer route, the Semiahmoo Trail – have been set into the sidewalk along 16 Avenue just west of 152 Street.

Linked by a vine-like design, the tablets illustrate the natural flora and fauna found along the original Semiahmoo Trail, which once passed through the property now occupied by the shopping centre.

The mosiacs, co-sponsored by the shopping centre and the City of Surrey, acknowledge the history that preceded development of the area – but also highlight that much of the trail still exists in South Surrey, protected under a heritage-designation bylaw.

Originally a route created at the time of the 1858 gold rush, the trail, later known as the Semiahmoo Wagon Road, ran diagonally through Surrey, connecting the community of Brownsville on the south bank of the Fraser River with the settlement of Semiahmoo – now the City of Blaine, Wash.

Although rail transportation and the automobile spelled the end of the most active use of the Semiahmoo Trail, and much of it has been replaced by paved roads in North Surrey, some South Surrey sections have been left as a quiet recreational corridor of unpaved trail surrounded by indigenous plants, trees and fauna.

The Surrey Historical Advisory Commission has mapped the surviving sections from Elgin Road on the Nicomekl River to 21 Avenue near 151A Street and the map can be found under ‘Historical Designations’ on the city’s website, www.surrey.ca

Andersen, who has created pebble and tile mosaics throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Surrey’s Holland Park (King George Boulevard at Old Yale Road), is known for using rock colours to bring a sense of nature to urban and suburban settings.

The Semiahmoo Trail mosaics feature detailed depictions of wildlife found on the trail, plus edible and medicinal plants that grow along it.

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