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The southern boundary of Douglas is the international border, while it is bordered on the west by Semiahmoo Bay and Hall’s Prairie in the east. Among its pioneers was Joseph Figg, who arrived in British Columbia in 1879, later moving from his East Kensington homestead to more wooded land at the corner of the Coast Meridian and North Bluff Roads (now 168 Street and 16 Avenue). His son William, who worked for a time as an immigration officer, is said to have been the first to pay taxes at Customs in the 1880s. Robert A. Fallowfield lived for a short time on the Campbell River Road (8 Avenue) from 1888 and operated a butcher chop at Blaine from which he delivered meat to logging camps. 

When the New Westminster Southern Railway opened in 1891, Canada Customs moved its port of entry from the intersection of the Semiahmoo Trail and Nicomekl River to the international border. This was named the Port of Douglas in honour of the first governor of the Crown Colony of British Columbia, James Douglas (another story says it was named for Ben Douglas, who helped survey Surrey roadbeds). 80.21 Customs, Border crossing, prior to opening of Customs Office



80.12 Pacific Highway Customs, 1927 The completion of the Great Northern Railway in 1909 led to the closing of the New Westminster Southern Railway and the opening of the Outport of White Rock, with the Outport of Douglas being demoted to Preventive Station. In 1913, a Customs Preventive Station opened at the new Pacific Highway near the old railroad route, with Andrew Westland in charge. This post operated at first out of a tent.

 

In 1921, the Peace Arch was erected and work on the Canadian side of the park began in 1938. The Surrey Council had requested land for “a public or international park” as early as 1886.

40.3.16 Peace Arch celebration, 1964

The Douglas area is also home to the 319 acre Semiahmoo Indian Reserve, granted in June 1887. Smallpox and other hardships reduced the band size from 300 in 1843 to 38 by 1909. A hundred and seventy-two acres of the reserve have been leased to Surrey for recreation purposes.

(Source: City of Surrey)

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