If you’re looking for someone who knows Surrey, look no further than Monica O’Keeffe (pictured above in red alongside fellow visitor centre staff and volunteers). She knows Surrey. She knows the long winding roads with nothing but tall grass and barns in the distance. She knows the rapidly growing city centre. And she most certainly knows about all of the wonderful and unique things to do and see in the city. Monica volunteers her time at the British Columbia Visitor Centre @ Peace Arch, and has been a part of thousands of visitors’ journey to Surrey. We asked her all about the city she loves…
Tourism Surrey: How long have you been a part of the Surrey community?
Monica O’Keeffe: 33 years. My husband and I became Surrey property owners in 1982. I have lived here ever since.
TS: What do you love about being a part of Surrey?
MO: The space! The parks, the people, the sense of community and the diversity that exists here. I enjoy being part of what I feel is a more “laid back” pace of life.
TS: What’s the most valuable thing you provide Surrey?
MO: Volunteering my time. I make it a point of keeping informed about what’s happening: who, what, when and where. I enjoy being able to pass on the information to our visitors.
TS: What made you choose Surrey as the host city of your endeavours?
MO: The country atmosphere plus a less hectic pace of life. It’s a good place to raise a family.
TS: What has changed the most about Surrey in the last ten years?
MO: The increase in population, many newcomers settle in Surrey. Also the unprecedented scale of new development in residential, commercial and industrial establishments.
TS: Tell us something about you that not many people know.
MO: I was once an Army Sergeant with the Canadian Army Reserves. The organizational experience served me well when I eventually became mother to 7 and grandmother to 15, plus the hangers on. I have also done volunteer assignments in Mexico and Spain working with both children and adults.
TS: Where do you imagine Surrey going in the next ten years?
MO: We will likely become the largest city in British Columbia. With an influx of new Canadians who will choose to live, work and play here. We will become a more diversified community.