Thank you, Surrey!

After a month of gathering your kudos, thoughts, ideas, dreams and visions for Surrey, we’d like to say a hearty “thank you” to you all!

We received hundreds of responses, and, while we’ve taken little peeks at what you’ve said along the way, we’ll be rolling up our sleeves in earnest over the next few weeks to assemble and analyze your submissions and turn it into a “community report card.”

We will also be using statistics and data from many other sources, but the heart and soul of our report will come from what you have told us you love about and hope for Surrey in the future.

For those who entered the draw for dinner for two and several other gifts, we will make the draw on August 11 and contact the winners as well as announce the winners here. Good luck!

Then we will be releasing our survey results here on our website, at a public event (details to follow), and (hopefully!) through media outlets on October 7, so make sure you stay tuned!

If you would like to join our newsletter list to be notified when the Vital Signs report is released, please fill out the form, below.

Again, thank you, Surrey, for generously sharing your opinions and feelings about Surrey with us!

Darts Hill Garden Park: From a Seed to a Legacy

Darts Hill Garden Memorial to Francisca Darts
PHOTO: Clive Roberts

SurreyCares, together with the City of Surrey, Darts Hill Garden Park Conservancy Trust Society, and UBC Botanical Gardens, was pleased to honour the life and work of Francisca Darts, who passed away on December 26, 2012.

At a Celebration of Life event held on May 4th in the meadow that was once Francisca’s front lawn, Mayor Dianne Watts, Manager of Parks Owen Croy, gardeners and horticulturists from around the Lower Mainland, SurreyCares volunteers, friends, and family all gathered to remember Francisca and to enjoy the beautiful gardens she and her husband, Edwin, created out of a giant field of freshly-logged stumps. Over sixty years of passionate activity, starting with blowing up stumps and planting seedlings, transformed the raw land into an colourful oasis hidden behind a big, protective wall, filled with rare and endangered species from around the world.

“She was a superb horticulturist,” said Douglas Justice, longtime friend and Associate Director at UBC Botanical Gardens. “If someone wanted to see a particular plant and they didn’t know where to find it, if it wasn’t at UBC Botanical Gardens and Van Dusen Gardens didn’t have it, you could probably find it at Darts Hill.” Botanists especially appreciate her garden because many of the trees and shrubs are now mature, making studying them a full and rich experience.

To support the ongoing care of the garden, which has been entrusted to the care of the City of Surrey in partnership with the Darts Hill Garden Park Conservancy Trust Society, Francisca and Edwin created an endowment fund that they placed into the care of the then newly-formed Surrey Foundation (now known as SurreyCares). In fact, the Foundation was created especially for their needs, to give them a way to support the garden’s care and enhancement for generations to come.

With her passing, Francisca has bequeathed a total of $1 Million to the fund: $200,000 during her lifetime, which has already funded a number of important projects, and now an additional $800,000, bringing her legacy fund to $1 Million. Over the next twenty-five years, this fund will generate a conservative income of about $1 Million, more if the markets are favourable, monies that will be granted out to care for the garden while keeping the original endowment intact. Over a century, her bequest will have quadrupled in size, granting out at least $4 Million to support the garden, still without touching the fund’s capital.

The Foundation that was created to help the Darts realize their vision for the community also provides a great – simple, and affordable – way for anyone in Surrey to provide legacy funds for causes they care about. Some funds are created to remember special people who have passed on; some funds are created to support a particular cause; some funds are established to support an organization’s own ongoing needs; and some people simply choose to contribute to the general community fund managed by SurreyCares, which provides grants annually to support contemporary causes and to meet current needs. In addition to growing a beautiful garden, the Darts also planted a seed that will mature to become a valuable community asset as more people begin to take advantage of our services both to donors and to charities.

If you wish to explore how we can help you remember a loved one or support a cause you care about long-term, please contact us at, and we’d be happy to have one of our volunteer professionals discuss the options with you and show you how setting up an endowment fund helps you multiply your community gift exponentially compared to present-time giving of the whole amount.

Thank you, Francisca and Edwin, for the two wonderful legacies you’ve left to our community: a garden and a community foundation.

SurreyCares-Smart&Caring Communities-Community Foundations of Canada co-branded logos


Thank you, Surrey, for completing our Vital Signs Surrey survey! Stay tuned for the results on Oct 7