BC Vintage Truck Museum in Surrey BC Canada

BC-Vintage-Truck-Museum

Preserving the Early History of Trucking in BC

Dedicated volunteers work to preserve the rich history of BC's trucking industry over the years before 1978.


The BC Vintage Truck Museum in Surrey BC Canada was an accidental find for me. To explain, I was looking for locations to place a book I'd recently published. And there listed among the museums and galleries in my area of BC was a truck museum. In a rather whimsical mood I set out to investigate, not being able to imagine what I might find. 

The museum was conveniently located on 176th Street, one of Surrey's main roads. I must have passed it numerous times without ever noticing it. Furthermore I almost drove past it, only spotting the sign at the last moment. It looked like just another warehouse with no indication of what I might find inside. There was plenty of parking behind the building where the entrance is also located.

BC Vintage Truck Museum. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
Near the entrance to the BC Vintage Truck Museum. Photo by Diana Mohrsen

BC Vintage Truck Museum an Exciting Find

Stepping into the museum reminded me of chancing upon a community Show and Shine where people bring their vintage cars, polished, and looking their best. But here it was trucks that were on display. Certainly shine and polish were evident. Furthermore these trucks had been lovingly cared for. And it was exciting to get this glimpse back in time. 

30+ Historic Vehicles in Surrey BC Canada Attraction

Over thirty vehicles are housed in the building. There was not an empty space anywhere. Large signage in front of each vehicle tells the make and model, the age, and something of the history. The oldest vehicle was a White Steam Van from 1910. See the photo below. Similar trucks were involved in the building of the Malahat Highway on Vancouver Island. Obviously only a small sampling of the vehicles can be shown here.

More Historic Trucks on Display in Surrey Museum

Signage with the 1929 Ford AA shown below tells me this vehicle "was used as a produce truck by Peters & McQuine of Victoria from 1929 into the early 1950s." Because of the signage, I was able to easily see where a vehicle had been manufactured, how it related to BC history, and who donated it or restored it. As a result, I wasn't just looking at an old truck. I was looking at a specific truck from a particular period of time, a truck that had been owned and used in our province.

Also below is a photo of a 1929 Chevrolet AC 1/2 ton truck. Notably these trucks were the first to use steel wheels rather than wood spoke wheels. The engine is a Stovebolt, manufactured from 1929 until 1962.

Signage for each vehicle tells a story. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
1929 Ford AA Truck. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
Replica of an 1910 White Steam Van. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
Pickup Truck - 1929 Chevrolet AC 1/2 Ton. Photo by Diana Mohrsen

Trucks Tell the Stories of BC's History 

All of the vehicles at the BC Vintage Truck Museum have participated in the history of British Columbia in one way or another. For example, the 1972 International VC-190 Fire Truck shown below first began work at Fire Hall #2 in Surrey and was later transferred to Fire Hall #3. "Big Red" was active in fighting a large fire at the Fraser Surrey Docks in 1991. 

The BC Tel truck (see below) was found rusting in a field on Vancouver Island. In due time it was restored by BCTEL shop staff to commemorate BC TEL's 100 years of service. The original price for the vehicle was $1,581.11.

All vehicles in the museum are kept in working order.

Stories of Truck Restoration

I would be the first to admit I know nothing much about the workings of a truck. Nevertheless, I was captivated by the entire museum. Many of the signs with each vehicle told the story of restoration and who had donated the vehicle. Due to the age of the trucks, it is obvious they look immaculate because someone (many people) cared enough to bring them to this level of restoration. To emphasize, I can only imagine the hours and hours of labour involved and the search for authentic replacement parts when needed.

More BC Truck Museum History

The work done by the 1929 Shell Oil truck, the 1941 Army vehicle, and the 1937 Coal truck pictured below seem obvious. In contrast, a bit more should be said about the 1914 FWD Model B "The Streetcar." It has a complicated history. It was built in Wisconsin and was used in England during the First World World. It was modified to its present state and eventually shipped to Vancouver Canada. Here it was used by the BC Electric Railway to haul coal tar and plow snow.

Fire Truck - 1972 International VC-190. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
Shell Oil - 1929 White Model 59. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
The Streetcar - 1914 FWD Model B. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
BC TEL - 1951 Chevrolet 3100. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
Royal Canadian Army - 1941 International KS-5 Rib Top. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
Coal Truck - 1937 Mack EQ. Photo by Diana Mohrsen

More than just Trucks at the BC Vintage Truck Museum

Nooks and crannies of the BC Vintage Truck Museum are filled with memorabilia from days gone by. For example, you will find tools to repair vintage trucks, repair manuals, fuel and oil dispensing pumps, just to name a few. You will also find models dating back many years. They are nicely displayed on shelving and in display cases. A walk into the museum office will take you back in time.

Vintage model cars. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
One of several display shelves of vintage vehicles. Photo by Diana Mohrsen

The Museum is Staffed by Volunteers

The museum is staffed by volunteers and is only open from 10 am to 2 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I was able to spend some time with Anna Dean, one of the very knowledgeable volunteers. Arrangements can be made for private tours. Admission is by donation. They welcome new members to their volunteer team. Furthermore, people can donate to the Surrey Heritage Society as a way of supporting the BC Vintage Truck Museum. Donors will receive a tax deductible receipt.  

Even the office fits in with its surroundings. It is easy to imagine an office in a garage or repair shop many years ago. Yes, file cabinets once looked like this. And here's an old telephone and adding machine. This is where the volunteer staff do their paperwork.

Vintage office equipment at the BC Vintage Truck Museum. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
A volunteer interrupted as he worked to restore the shine. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
A volunteer is happy to show you around. Photo by Diana Mohrsen
1928 Graham, donated by Williams Moving and Storage. Photo by Diana Mohrsen

In conclusion, a very interesting place to visit. 

I would think this is a museum that could interest the whole family. I expect to revisit it again, even though I know little about trucks. It's the history that interests me. Also, the beauty of the vehicles has a strong appeal. The loving care that has gone into them is so obvious. 


When visiting Surrey, don't miss the BC Vintage Truck Museum 

The early history of trucking in British Columbia

Location (Map)

6022 176 St, Surrey, BC V3S 4E7, Canada
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Comments 15

Janet Guthrie on Friday, 17 March 2023 03:23

What a neat find! I really enjoyed your write up and photos.

What a neat find! I really enjoyed your write up and photos.
Cary Horning on Friday, 17 March 2023 03:43

Cool museum and great story & photos Diana!

Cool museum and great story & photos Diana!
Andrea Horning on Friday, 17 March 2023 03:48

Great story! I love all the pictures, and thank goodness for volunteers.

Great story! I love all the pictures, and thank goodness for volunteers.
EH Canada Marketing Group on Friday, 17 March 2023 04:43

Great write up Diana Mohrsen . Gotta like those spontaneous trips which turn into something special.

Great write up Diana Mohrsen . Gotta like those spontaneous trips which turn into something special.
Janel Coe on Friday, 17 March 2023 15:32

This was a well-written, informative blog post, Diana! I enjoyed reading it - thank you.

This was a well-written, informative blog post, Diana! I enjoyed reading it - thank you.
Diana Mohrsen on Saturday, 18 March 2023 06:41

Janet Guthrie Thanks, Janet!

Janet Guthrie Thanks, Janet!
Diana Mohrsen on Saturday, 18 March 2023 06:42

Cary Horning Thanks, Cary. It really is a cool museum!

Cary Horning Thanks, Cary. It really is a cool museum!
Diana Mohrsen on Saturday, 18 March 2023 06:43

EH Canada Marketing Group Agreed! Sometimes there are not enough hours in a day.

EH Canada Marketing Group Agreed! Sometimes there are not enough hours in a day.
Diana Mohrsen on Saturday, 18 March 2023 06:44

Janel Coe Thanks, Janel. Glad you enjoyed it.

Janel Coe Thanks, Janel. Glad you enjoyed it.
Sonya Richmond on Saturday, 18 March 2023 21:26

I love whimsical finds like this! I'm not really into cars or trucks, but reading about these vintage vehicles and imaging a time when they would have been common is really interesting, and raises all kinds of questions. Great photos too!

I love whimsical finds like this! I'm not really into cars or trucks, but reading about these vintage vehicles and imaging a time when they would have been common is really interesting, and raises all kinds of questions. Great photos too!
Diana Mohrsen on Tuesday, 11 April 2023 20:23

I was surprised how much I enjoyed seeing those vehicle from the past. Especially as I am not into cars and trucks either.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed seeing those vehicle from the past. Especially as I am not into cars and trucks either.
Rene Coatta on Sunday, 19 March 2023 04:19

What a neat place!

What a neat place!
Cora Lee Rennie on Sunday, 19 March 2023 23:22

Very well written Diana and beautiful vehicles !

Very well written Diana and beautiful vehicles !
Diana Mohrsen on Tuesday, 11 April 2023 20:24

Thanks, Cora Lee. I appreciate your comments.

Thanks, Cora Lee. I appreciate your comments.
Diana Mohrsen on Monday, 20 March 2023 00:07

Rene Coatta It is, Rene. I hope you get to visit it some day.

Rene Coatta It is, Rene. I hope you get to visit it some day.
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