Surrey’s Stardust roller rink in June 2005, the month it closed forever. (File photo: Boaz Joseph)

Surrey’s Stardust roller rink in June 2005, the month it closed forever. (File photo: Boaz Joseph)

SURREY NOW & THEN: Old Stardust building will soon bite the dust to make way for tall tower

Popular roller rink closed 15 years ago, and the single-storey structure has been vacant for a year

Surrey Now & Then is a weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events, and how they evolved over the years. Email story ideas and tips to tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com.

The vacant building that once housed Surrey’s popular Stardust roller rink will soon be torn down to make way for a 49-storey tower focused mostly on student housing and post-secondary education.

A demolition date is now imminent for the City Parkway structure, more than four years after plans for the GEC Education Mega Center were announced in 2016 by developer WestStone Group and CIBT Education Group.

The Stardust sign was removed from the 18,000-square-foot building when the rink closed in 2005, after 34 years of operation in that area of Whalley.

Bonnie Burnside, a Stardust-chain employee starting in 1973, two years after the Whalley rink opened in 1971, now manages the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association (BIA).

“The Whalley rink, it’s been almost 15 or 16 years since it’s been gone, but so many people talk like it was there just a few years ago, you know,” Burnside told the Now-Leader.

“For me,” she added, “I’ve been at this job with the BIA for over 15 years, so looking at it as Bonnie from the BIA, I’m glad that it (the building) is going to be gone, and something new will be there and it’s going to be a very positive for the area. But every time something that meant a lot to people, there is a bit of sadness in your heart, but the reality is it’s been closed for a long time, and what’s important is the memories that were created there.”

In the years since 2005, the single-storey cinder-block building has been home to a Liquidation World store, Central City Arena (for eight years, from 2010 to early 2018), Integrity Now’s headquarters during the 2018 civic election campaign and, most recently, Surrey Christmas Bureau’s seasonal toy depot.

Today, the building is boarded up and surrounded by a red metal fence.

(Story continues below tweet)

Scroll down to see more photos

Winter 2024 is the target completion date of the GEC Education Mega Center planned for the site.

“The new design is a 49-level concrete highrise structure with mixed-uses, including offices for educational institutions, market rental apartments and pre-sale micro-condos,” according to a post on CIBT Education Group’s website (cibt.net). “This project can accommodate up to 800 occupants (excluding the micro-condo suites), and is estimated to have a projected value of approximately $364 million upon completion.”

A demolition permit from city hall is in the works, and WestStone Group is planning a ceremonial event timed with the “first hit” of the structure at 10240 City Parkway.

• RELATED STORY/VIDEO: Chicken dance, oldies and more at final Stardust skate in Surrey.

The old Stardust building has been boarded up since last January, after Surrey Christmas Bureau closed its depot for the 2019-20 season. Last October, WestStone wanted to donate the building for the charity to use for another year, but the vacant structure had been gutted by thieves and vagrants just before the organization’s toy depot was going to move in for the pre-holiday months.

“Somebody got in there and stripped all the wiring and plumbing, everything — it’s completely unusable,” said Lisa Werring, executive director of the Christmas Bureau, which later found a home for 2020 at the former Funky Monkey play centre on 104th Avenue.

In 2017, final “Stardust” skates were held at Central City Arena, which was operated by the Whalley-raised Vilio brothers, who in 2020 unveiled a roller rink as part of the Central City Fun Park they built near Pattullo Bridge.

Back in the 1970s and ’80s, a slow night at Stardust saw about 600 people fill the building, but those numbers dwindled by the 1990s.

Burnside worked at the Whalley rink until the end in 2005, at the last of the four local Stardust-chain facilities operated by West Vancouver pals Bud Allen and Mel Ross. She remembers the band Trooper playing there, under their early name Apple Jack, and also Hedley, in a Battle of the Bands. All-night charity “roller-thons” were also popular during the heyday of disco, New Wave and heavy metal music.

“I always wondered why people were so excited about this rink because they’re just cinder block buildings but I realized it’s not the actual building as much as the things people did when they were here,” Burnside mused in 2017.

“Celebrating your 10th birthday. Playing roller hockey and getting your first goal. Seeing your first live band as a teenager. Sneaking in a bottle of beer and not getting caught. All of those kinds of memories, those are what people love about Stardust.”

She recalled a time when people who wore Doc Martens and plaid shirts weren’t allowed entry into Stardust, for fear of them causing problems.

“We didn’t want them to come into the rink,” Burnside said on Friday (Jan. 8). “So some of the kids, they’d be taking those clothes off and leaving them behind a tree, changing, and coming in the door. They were pretty sneaky.”

MORE SURREY NOW & THEN: How a zoo in Newton once attracted animal lovers.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

City of SurreyHeritagehistory

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

This Whalley-area building was home to Stardust roller rink from 1971 to 2005. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

This Whalley-area building was home to Stardust roller rink from 1971 to 2005. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

The snack bar at Surrey’s Stardust roller rink in 1983. (Submitted photo: Bonnie Burnside)

The snack bar at Surrey’s Stardust roller rink in 1983. (Submitted photo: Bonnie Burnside)

Surrey’s Stardust roller rink in the late-1990s or early 2000s. (submitted photo: Bonnie Burnside)

Surrey’s Stardust roller rink in the late-1990s or early 2000s. (submitted photo: Bonnie Burnside)

The GEC Education Mega Center tower to be built on the old Stardust rink site by WestStone Group and CIBT Education Group. (submitted photo)

The GEC Education Mega Center tower to be built on the old Stardust rink site by WestStone Group and CIBT Education Group. (submitted photo)

Another look at the GEC Education Mega Center tower to be built on the old Stardust rink site by WestStone Group and CIBT Education Group. (submitted photo)

Another look at the GEC Education Mega Center tower to be built on the old Stardust rink site by WestStone Group and CIBT Education Group. (submitted photo)

Bonnie Burnside (left) and niece Tanya Patterson at Surrey’s Stardust roller rink in 1998. (submitted photo)

Bonnie Burnside (left) and niece Tanya Patterson at Surrey’s Stardust roller rink in 1998. (submitted photo)

Snapshots of hockey games (top) and roller skaters at Surrey’s Stardust rink in 1998. (submitted photos)

Snapshots of hockey games (top) and roller skaters at Surrey’s Stardust rink in 1998. (submitted photos)

Just Posted

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

North Surrey Minor Football players in action. The club is among Surrey-area recipients of the B.C. government’s Local Sport Relief Fund. (File photo)
COVID ‘relief’ funding for some sports groups in Surrey, White Rock, Delta

‘Without financial support, these clubs are at risk of closure,’ says B.C. government

Peter and Stephanie Chung. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey philanthropists presenting $285K in scholarships on Saturday

Drs. Peter and Stephanie Chung over the past nine years have awarded more than 500 students, in memory of their son Joseph

Construction on the main foyer at the soon-to-be opened Clayton Community Centre. (Photo courtesy of HCMA Architecture + Design)
Clayton Community Centre opening delayed again

City says Provincial Health Order reason for latest delay

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read