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Fraser Heights Secondary toy build celebrates 20 years of holiday cheer

fraser-heights-toy-build-2022-1.jpgFrom left to right, Fraser Heights Secondary shop teachers Rob Sabo, Martin Lim and Chris Mills, and tech teacher Paul Pahal with 60 rocking toys designed as part of the 20th annual Fraser Heights Toy Build.

For two decades, the Fraser Heights Secondary community has been spreading joy over the holidays with its annual toy build for the Surrey Christmas Bureau.

And this year is no different – staff, students, parents, alumni and other community volunteers have once again chipped in to help make 60 wooden rocking toys for local families in need. Volunteers donated their time to cut, sand, prime and paint 20 seaplanes, 20 moose, 10 dinosaurs and 10 alligators.

“I honestly can’t believe that we’ve done it for 20 years,” said shop teacher Chris Mills. “It’s one of those things that the school looks forward to as part of tradition – it’s grown to the biggest we’ve ever been able to do.

“Every year, we phone the Bureau and they’re like, ‘Perfect, we were hoping they’re still coming.’ That’s a nice thing to hear.”

fraser-heights-toy-build-2022-2.jpgStaff, students, parents and alumni put together another 60 rocking toys as part of the 20th annual Fraser Heights Toy Build at Fraser Heights Secondary.

After 20 years, the Fraser Heights Toy Build is now woven into the fabric of the school’s identity, with some former students and their families returning to the school to continue giving back to others. Additionally, Country Lumber and Northcoast Building Products once again donated wood for staff and students to construct this year’s toys.

“It started as something that we wanted to do for our community and we continue to do it no matter what,” said fellow shop teacher Martin Lim. “We’re still doing our 60 units – it’s very go-go-go, but it makes us feel really good at the end to give back.”

“When we started doing this, my kids were of the age of the children using these toys, so I understand how much these kids get out of these, and the importance of giving back to the community,” added Mills.

Lim and Mills said the staff at the Surrey Christmas Bureau often share heartfelt stories with Fraser Heights staff, and they know their efforts are making a difference in many familly’s lives.

“There are two staff in particular who we’ve known over the years and they’re really excited every year when we show up,” said Mills. “With storebought toys, I find the hand-built quality of what generations of Christmas used to be like is lost for kids, so to give and to receive something that was handmade is just really special with the work that went into making it happen.”

“Ultimately, in the end, once we get down to the Bureau and they tell us the stories of families receiving the toys, all the long days and long nights are well worth it,” said Lim.

The Surrey Christmas Bureau will be assisting more than 2,000 local families this year, and are still in need of donations. Toy and monetary donations can be dropped off at their 2022 Toy Depot (10355 King George Blvd., the former Safeway) Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop offs to Surrey fire halls are also open for the season. Online monetary donations are also accepted here.

For more information on the Surrey Christmas Bureau and how to donate, visit

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