The Sunnyside community is the area east of Elgin and west of Grandview Heights. According to author Fern Treleaven, the name “Sunnyside” has no historical significance, but is an apt name in light of the community’s location on the sunnier southern slopes of Surrey.
An early pioneer in Sunnyside was William G. Stokes. In 1913 he pre-empted a 40-acre homestead on the south side of an existing trail (20 Avenue) between Coast Meridian Road and Pacific Highway. The family lived in a large tent on the property until a local carpenter helped them build a three bedroom house fronting the trail. Present day 20 Avenue, originally Stokes Road, was named for William Stokes after he had completed a contract with the municipality to build a section of that road between Coast Meridian Road and Pacific Highway. The road was built between 1913 and 1920, and the name “Stokes” was adopted by Surrey Municipal Council at the suggestion of Councillor John Keery.
By 1917, Apex Logging was operating in an area close to Pacific Highway, between Stokes (20 Avenue) and Sunnyside (24 Avenue). The Stokes’ son worked for Apex, logging for dry fir to be used for aeroplane parts during World War I. B.C. Mills Timber and Logging Railway also operated in the district.
Other pioneers of the area include James Crutchley and John Holttum. Crutchley arrived in Surrey in 1894, homesteading 160 acres at the northwest corner of Sunnyside and Coast Meridian Roads. He built his first cabin on what became Stokes Road, and later another on Coast Meridian Road. He farmed the homestead, but also worked as a powder man, logger and millworker, the latter for MacMillan Mill, later known as the Radford farm.
John Holttum arrived in Canada in 1898, marrying in Vancouver 1904. He served in World War I at Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge before injury brought him back to Vancouver where he enrolled in a veteran’s course in agriculture. In 1918, there was still land available for pre-emption in the Sunnyside area and John chose a site, which was west of what became Stayte Road (160 Street), along Oliver Road (28 Avenue). Johnston Road (152 Street) was still a narrow trail through the western portion of the district and the Semiahmoo Trail, built in 1865, intersected it in the vicinity of present-day 22 Avenue. In 1919, with the aid of a compass, Holttum began clearing the homestead, which was covered by a dense growth of vine maples.
Sunnyside pioneers had a close affinity with the Hazelmere and Grandview Heights communities. The social focus, after the early 1920s, was Hazelmere Hall, built by the volunteer labour of local residents on land donated by carpenter Ernest Hamel. Residents recall parties at the hall, dancing to the music of pianist Andy Westland and his orchestra.
In 1927, relief camps were set up along the roadbed for the future King George Highway. Crews from Camp 205, located at Sunnyside Road, worked from there, south to the border. When the camps were closed in the same year due to worker unrest, a building from Camp 206 was relocated to serve as the Sunnyside Community Hall. It was moved onto land (still on Sunnyside Road) donated by resident George Cook.
A large tract of second growth forest remains in the Sunnyside area. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, public debate in Sunnyside centered on its future use. The site has subsequently been dedicated as Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest Park.
~Source: The City of Surrey