White Rock - borders Semiahmoo Bay and is surrounded on three sides by South Surrey. To the south lies the Semiahmoo First Nation, within the city limits of Surrey. Semiahmoo Bay and the Southern Gulf Islands in the
Strait of Georgia are also to the south. White Rock has a moderate climate, with average daily high temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius in summer and 6 degrees Celsius in winter. 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 is covered by cloud.
White Rock is named for a distinctive large white boulder 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 19th-century sailors used it as a beacon. However, it is now kept white through monthly applications of white paint by the city parks department, and has been a popular graffiti target for over thirty years.
One legend of the local
Coast Salish peoples holds that the white rock marks the landing spot of a stone that was hurled across the Strait of Georgia by a young chief. It was said that he and his bride would move from Vancouver Island to wherever the rock landed to make a home together. It was their descendants who became the Semiahmoo First Nation. (Semiahmoo is the Coast Salish word for half-moon, describing the shape of the bay.)