A wee bit about Ocean Park
Ocean Park was part of the territory of the Semiahmoo people, one of a group of tribes called the Straits Salish, a division of the Coast Salish.
The Semiahmoo people used this place for spiritual renewal and named the area “Kwomais” which literally means “place of vision”, because of its high bluffs and unobstructed views to the ocean and islands. Kwomais Point is marked on many early navigation maps and has long been used as a lookout point. For protection against the raids of the Yukulta people, the Semiahmoo built a fort in Ocean Park possibly between 1820 and 1830. The fort fell into disrepair in colonial times. Today, the site is a subdivision called Indian Fort Drive near the west end of 20th avenue.
Colonial and modern
In 1886, early pioneer Ben Stevenson acquired 350 acres (140 ha) and built a large home overlooking Semiahmoo Bay.
In the early 1900s, 136 acres (55 ha) were acquired in order to provide the members of the Methodist church a place where they could vacation. Promotional materials named the area “Ocean Park”, and in 1910 the church offered its first summer camp. In 1925 the Methodist Church joined with The United Church of Canada, and the camp was administered by British Columbia Conference of the church. Over the years bits of the property were sold for housing. In 2007 the last remaining 13 acres (5.3 ha) of the site were sold to the City of Surrey as parkland. Camp Kwomais was the second oldest camp accredited with BC Camping and the oldest camp using its original campsite.
In 1912, campers built a small shed beside the tracks of the recently-completed railroad. The Great Northern Railway reluctantly accepted it as a stop, thereby giving easier access to vacation spots in Ocean Park for residents of Vancouver and New Westminster.
In 1921, Ocean Park opened its first post office, which was featured in “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” as “the world’s smallest post office.” The 6 feet (1.8 m)-by-6-feet building was later expanded to 6 feet (1.8 m)-by-12-feet.
In 1925, the Ocean Park Community Hall opened after a community fundraising campaign. The Hall continues to be the focus for the community and has been home to hundreds of social gatherings and special events for thousands over generations. The Hall’s 75th anniversary in 2000 resulted in a special edition of the Ocean Parker, a volunteer community newspaper. The Hall is operated by the Ocean Park Community Association.
In the 1950s, Ocean Park’s first residential telephone was installed at the house of firefighter Derek Uren.
In 1958, the volunteer fire hall was built by the community, seven years after a house fire killed a woman and her two sons.
In 1985, Fun Fun Park was created by community volunteers as the first “Volunteers in Parks” in BC. 12-year-old Jessica Tuttle was awarded 10 silver dollars for her winning entry in the naming contest.
In 2002, the community association’s Ocean Park Area Livability Study identified three main community issues: 1) traffic concerns 2) lack of policing and vandalism 3) lack of community recreation opportunities, especially for youth and seniors.