With a population of 19,735, White Rock is located in the southwest corner of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, forty-five kilometers from Vancouver and is flanked on the south by the Canada/US border and Blaine, Washington. It is a seaside community clustered around an eight kilometer sandy beach and the warm shallow waters of Semiahmoo Bay. It is famous for its 1,500 ft. long pier, its 2.5km long beach promenade, being the home of the Walrus, and of course the large white rock.
The city of Surrey, British Columbia surrounds White Rock on four sides, with the dividing lines between the two municipalities set at 136th Street (Bergstrom Street) to the West, 16th Avenue (North Bluff Road) to the North, 160th Street (State Road) to the East, and 8th Avenue to the south. Even though the area to the south from 160th Street westward to where 8th meets the water is Semiahmoo First Nations Reserve land, it lies within the bounds of the City of Surrey. From the point where 8th Avenue meets tidewater, the boundary between the two then heads south to the US border within Semiahmoo Bay, and the remainder of the southern border is (technically) the US border.
Because of its moderate, almost Mediterranean climate (on a good day), White Rock is a preferred place to live. The average summer temperature is twenty-three degrees Celsius while the average winter temperature is six degrees Celsius. White Rock is often referred to as either ‘the gem’ or ‘one of the gems’ of the Lower Mainland, in local real estate advertising, particularly if you have money. Pilots accustomed to flying around the area often refer to it as ‘the hole in the sky’, referring to the fact that White Rock is often bright and sunny, while the rest of the Lower Mainland peers through rain and cloud.
White Rock is named for a distinctive large white boulder found on its beach near the promenade. A glacial erratic that migrated south during the last glaciation. The 486-ton granite boulder was kept white by shellfish-eating seabirds, whose guano covered the rock, so much so that sailors in the 19th century used it as a beacon. However, it now remains white through frequent applications of white paint by the city parks department, as it has been a popular graffiti target for over thirty years.
Current mayor Judy Forster was elected in November 2002 and re-elected in November 2005.