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White House Service Station – First Gas Station on the Paved Pacific Highway

November 19, 2015

In the spring of 1921 a news report datelined South Port Mann announced the opening of the first gas station in what is now Surrey City Centre.

“Messrs D.F. Macdonald and C. Thompson, of Campbell River, Vancouver Island, have acquired the premises once occupied and known as the South Port Mann Grocery Store, situated on the newly paved highway.
A refreshment and confectionery business will be opened early in April, not only for residents and travellers along the Inter-Provincial Highway, but also for tourists who during the summer months flock to the Green Timber.
Gasoline tanks are now being installed and a pump is being erected.”

This gas station opened five years before GA Whalley established a gas station about a mile to the north, nearer the bridge to New Westminster.

The two partners in this enterprise were David Franklin Macdonald and Calvin Thomson.

DF Macdonald was 44 years old. He was born in the USA and emigrated to Canada in 1891. His wife Annie Elizabeth Macdonald was born in New Zealand. A son David Leslie Macdonald was born in BC.

Calvin Thomson, 44, was born in Ontario and his wife Mary Thomson born in the USA.

A 1928 advertisement for the gasoline and automobile service garage reads:

White House Service Station
Pacific Highway
Day and Night Service
Oils, Gas, Wrecking Car, Accessories
Happy Mac., Prop.
Phone 360-1-1 New WestminsterWhite House Service Station


The other half of the business had been developed into a thriving enterprise of its own, comprising a grocery store, restaurant and dance hall, then operated by E. R. Adams.

The Coolest Spot on the Highway
Wholesome, home-cooked meals, light lunches, groceries, Ice Cream. Frigidaire.
The White House Pavilion
Orchestra for Dancing Saturdays – Floor Available at All Times
Pacific Highway – Near Green Timbers
E.R. Adams, Prop. – Phone New Westminster 360-1-1

White House Pavilion

White House Corner

The success of this business, and its prominence as a landmark along the highway, resulted in the highway junction becoming known as “White House Corner.”   (The Junction was about where the King George Station on the Sky-Train is now located.)

The stretch of road from the highway junction eastward through Green Timbers, paved with concrete in 1920,  has known several names over the years, as it formed part of the Yale Road, the Pacific Highway, the Trans-Provincial Highway or Inter-Provincial Highway, the Trans-Canada Highway and the Fraser Highway.

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