Arthur and Edith
The Fleetwood Community's Namesake
Fleetwood is one of the newest kids in town when it comes to Surrey’s developing centres. As one of the last areas to develop in Surrey, Fleetwood’s story begins around 1889. Today, Fleetwood is known mostly as a residential community with beautiful gardens, and mom-and-pop restaurants and cafes. It’s the sense of community and togetherness that has been woven into the history of Fleetwood that draws people in.
Fleetwood is known as the area around Fraser Highway and 160th Street. Originally, Fleetwood was heavily timbered, making it an area where ambitious and determined settlers would their make home. Sure, Elgin or Sullivan seemed to be the spot for easy lumbering and lots of roads ready to be used, but those who settled in Fleetwood were in it for the long haul.
So where exactly did Fleetwood get its name? In 1907, James and Edith Francis made the area that would become Fleetwood their home. Edith’s immediate family, the Fleetwoods, landed in Surrey and put their roots into it’s newly timbered soil. With World War I breaking out, many of Surrey’s settlers felt a sense of duty to fight for their former country, England, and enlisted over seas. Edith’s brother Arthur Fleetwood, was one of the men who joined the Canadian Armed Forces. He joined the 46th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1915, and two years later he found himself in France on the battlefield. He lost his life due to battle wounds, and his sister felt such grief that she knew she needed to honour his life. She campaigned and applied to the Provincial Government for a charter to name the community her and her brother had made their new home to be named after him. The community has been called Fleetwood ever since.
When the Pacific Highway was completed in 1923, more and more people settled in Fleetwood. Family has always been important in Fleetwood, so building homes on big plots of land that encouraged families to make Fleetwood their home simply just made sense. The strong sense of community resonated, began to flourish. In 1923, the Fleetwood Community Association was formed, with Edith Francis being one of the founding members. The association along with dedicated volunteers were responsible for building gardens and community halls that are still in use today!
**Photo credit: Surrey Archives