Contributors to “We Are Newton”

Thank you to all the residents of Newton—past and present—who shared their memories and thoughts about Newton. A few writers requested anonymity and/or declined to provide bios. Here’s a little bit about those who did. See here for more information about the project.

Philip Aguirre has been running his family’s Old Surrey Restaurant since 2007. He spent a year in France mastering his culinary skills and perfecting the traditional recipes served at the restaurant. Philip is also the Executive Director of the Newton Business Improvement Association.

The Amazing Tutors Children’s Foundation is a registered non-profit society. Its primary goals are to secure tutoring access for families with financial difficulty and to provide educational scholarships for deserving students. They also support youth and families by providing free or low-cost community events and volunteering opportunities in Surrey. Lastly, they demonstrate commitment to helping individuals and other community-focused organizations by providing charitable donations.

Thank you to all the students and staff who entered submissions.

Norm Bain has been writing poetry and short stories, in praise of his Creator and for family and friends for 60 plus years, some of which were published in The Surrey Leader where he worked from 1957 to 1965. He is a member of the Newton Seniors Centre Writing Club and has recently self-published a book of his poetry.

Brendan Borba first moved to Newton as a nine-year-old in the late 1990s. He watched as the community grew up and changed alongside him. He continues to reside in Newton today with his wife and three children.

Teresa Cahill grew up in Tsawwassen and has lived in several Metro Vancouver communities, but she’s chosen Surrey as her home for the last 22 years. Teresa lived in the Newton community from 2003 to 2008.

David Dalley and his wife, Erin, moved to a small apartment in Newton in 2004. They liked the neighbourhood so much that when their family outgrew the apartment, they moved to a townhouse two blocks away. They will be there until they are too old to climb the stairs.

Forrest Day lived on a farm on King George Highway in Newton during his school days. He attended Newton School and Princess Margaret High School. He is a retired educator who worked in Burnaby and Langley.

Eakam Dhami is a 14-year-old Punjabi boy who loves Nintendo and reading fantasy/adventure books.

Ellen Edwards grew up on a farm on Archibald Road near Bear Creek. She attended Newton School and Princess Margaret High School. Her career path included teaching in Surrey and other areas, and employment counselling and training coordination for career and vocational rehabilitation professionals.

Comfort Ero is the founder and artistic director of African Stages Association of BC (ASA). Originally from Nigeria, she uses inter-art storytelling forums to teach positive values, empowers immigrant youths to deal with problems like bullying and helps to build healthy communities. Comfort lived in Upton Place in Newton from 2006 to 2010.

Gary has his Bachelors and Masters in Social Work and is a Doctoral student in Education. He is currently the head of the non-profit Moving Forward Family Services that provides low barrier counselling and support services to residents of Surrey and surrounding areas. The office is situated in Newton.

Corallyn Hocaluk has lived in Newton for the past 18 years with her talented husband and two beautiful daughters. She has a special interest in environmental concerns, nutrition and urban food initiatives. Along with her husband, she has researched and developed an aquaponic food system in hopes of building stronger community.

Diana Joy was born in Vancouver. She moved to Newton in 2015 to care for her elderly parents. She currently resides part time in Surrey, part time in Port Coquitlam and has ties to the Sunshine Coast. She has recently published her first chapbook From the Wet Coast, With Love.

Jane Kovich has lived in South Newton for nine years with her young family. She works as a publicist and writer. She published her first novel Love and Fear this fall. Her family enjoys long walks around their South Newton neighbourhood.

Chrissy LeClair, 39, is the mom of four girls. She says, “The Newton Community was there for us in our time of need. It lifted and strengthened our spirits.”

Jodi Leech is coordinator of Studio Seventy Three, a growing social enterprise supported by the Community Living Society. They are excited to be new members of the Newton business community and have felt very welcomed. Their artisans produce beautiful and functional glassware, decorative pieces and wearable art.

Kelly Magnuson lives in Surrey. Kelly loves to read, write poems and watch The Big Bang Theory.

Eric McKinley lived on Nichol Road in Newton while he was a boy. He attended Newton School and Princess Margaret High School. Eric teaches and ministers in Peru.

Dawn Miller walks through The Grove nearly every morning on the way to her favourite coffee spot. Coming from Saskatchewan, she was appalled at what she saw and heard in The Grove and Newton Exchange. Now, she says, “The Grove has become a positive place to walk through.”

Mila Grace Nagy was born in Manila, Philippines. She immigrated to Canada in the 1970s, married her love, Louis, and together they raised daughters, Mary and Jolie. Widowed in 2009, Mila lives in Surrey where she enjoys singing in the St. Bernadette Church choir, writing classes, yoga and spending time with her grandson, Aiden.

Ellen Niemer moved to Newton in 2012. In her role as editor, she enjoyed reading all the submissions to this anthology and hopes that you’ll enjoy reading these stories too. She hopes we’ll continue to celebrate the positive people and places that make Newton home.

Fauzia Rafique is a South Asian Canadian writer/poet. She has published the novel Skeena (Libros Libertad, Surrey, 2011) in English and Punjabi, and her second novel The Adventures of Saheba N: Biography of a Relentless Warrior is being launched this November. She coordinates Surrey Muse, and is a project organizer for Surrey Muse Writers.
Shannon Robinson is originally from the Shuswap Lake area of BC. She moved to Surrey four years ago with her husband and two sons. She is the owner and primary yoga teacher of Riverwise Yoga Studio. She loves the outdoors, travel and books.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar is a poet, author and mentor who is also the first Poet Laureate of the City of Surrey. Trained as a lawyer at the University of British Columbia, she has a degree in English Literature and graduated from Simon Fraser University’s The Writers Studio. Her book Children of Air India was the winner of the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry.

Barbara Sarahan grew up in North Delta and Surrey. As a teenager, she and her brothers raced through the fields, galloped around on their neighbour’s horse and found old bottles. They picked flowers and brought them home to their mom. She says, “I am now 55 years old and watching all the good stuff disappear.”

Steve Simpson was raised, and currently resides, in the Newton area.

Katheren Szabo is originally from Duncan, BC. Her family moved to Surrey about 10 years ago. Katheren enjoys family, poetry, art and volunteering. Becoming active with Friends of The Grove and Cedar Bark Poets, she’s now part of a lively social scene in Newton. Katheren encourages everyone to volunteer.

W.B. is lost in the middle of Newton, having been here so long trying to reconcile landmarks that have weathered and changed, in a town growing and rearranged.

Ken Westdorp now resides in Whalley, but he grew up and lived as a young adult in various locations in Newton during its formative years. Passionate since an early age about writing, Ken is continually influenced by the Newton community that has become a large part of his poetic repertoire.

D.C. Willbourn was dragged out to Newton against her will from downtown Vancouver eight years ago. Getting involved with the creation of the Newton Bark Park introduced her to the people who want to make Newton a place to be proud of and a place to call home.

George Zaklan’s father, Dragan, purchased land in Surrey in 1926. After dynamiting the tree stumps on their land, Dragan and Marta Zaklan got a cow and grew vegetables and strawberries. Today Zaklan Heritage Farm continues the farm legacy that began with Dragan and Marta.

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