Every year on November 11, we pay our respects to the courageous men and women who voluntarily served and made sacrifices in times of war, conflict and peace. In honour of Remembrance Day, we acknowledge the unstoppable force behind the establishment of Surrey Memorial Hospital – the heroic World War II Veterans. These extraordinary individuals played a pivotal role in shaping the healthcare landscape of Surrey.
Returning from the war, the veterans and their families made home in the northern hills of Surrey, and the community rapidly expanded. The only community hospital, which was located in the most southerly corner, struggled to meet the healthcare needs of the growing population. The only alternative was the Royal Columbian Hospital, requiring people to cross the Fraser River for medical care.
In response to the lack of available healthcare, war veterans and their families came together to raise 50% of the construction costs for the 150-bed Surrey Memorial Hospital. It took them a decade of hard work and unwavering determination to collect the necessary funds.
Upon reaching their fundraising goal, they faced a setback when the government at the time declined to fulfill their 50% commitment. To address the situation, determined women of Surrey who had previously founded the auxiliary, took matters in their own hands. They travelled from Boundary Bay airport and flew to Victoria, where they bravely confronted the Premier in the legislature. Their visit was a success, leading to the commencement of construction on Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Thanks to the remarkable courage and will power of these individuals, 68 years later, Surrey Memorial Hospital stands as the primary healthcare centre serving one of British Columbia’s fastest-growing communities. The hospital has also become a vital part of BC’s healthcare system, providing life-changing care and world-class services to over 1.9 million residents of Fraser Health region.
On Remembrance Day, we honour these heroes who brought life-saving healthcare to our region. Surrey Memorial Hospital stands as an enduring legacy and a testament to their strength, determination and bravery. Their legacy lives on through the impact they’ve had on the community and in our memory.