Fort Langley was built in 1827 under the direction of James McMillan, Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company. It was situated about 50 km (31 mi) from the mouth of the Fraser River. The prime objectives of the Fort were to establish a fur trading post and to initiate agricultural activities, which would secure a steady supply of food for the occupants of the various fur trading posts west of the Rockies.
Fort Langley achieved global attention in 1858, following the discovery of gold along the Thompson and Fraser Rivers. It became a large supply centre, outfitting thousands of gold miners passing through the area. In the same year Fort Langley was also proclaimed the birthplace of BC.
Also in 1858 paddle wheelers started to steam upriver as far as Hope and Yale, and Fort Langley's role as a mining provisioner and as a transhipment depot abruptly ended. The selection of New Westminster as the first capital of British Columbia further pushed Fort Langley "out of the way of travellers," and the fort fell slowly into disrepair.
In 1923 the Canadian government recognized Fort Langley as a site of national historic importance, erecting a commemorative plaque near the storehouse. The restoration of the fort continued as the centennial celebration of the founding of British Columbia approached in 1958. Since then, Parks Canada, who administers the site, has added further elements to enhance understanding of the site's history and significance.
Fort Langley is a community within the township of Langley. Langley is located in the Fraser Valley, between Abbotsford and Surrey. It is south of the Fraser River, and just north of the United States border. It is approximately 40 km (25 mi) from Vancouver and can be reached via Highways 1, 1A, 10 and 7. The Golden Ears Bridge - a tolled bridge - connects Highway 7 (Lougheed Hwy) in Coquitlam and Maple Ridge on the north of the river with Langley. The US/Canada border crossing is accessed via Highway 13 in Aldergrove.
The Fort Langley Heritage CN Rail Station is located on the main CN line at Glover and Mavis. The 1915 station and Simpson Garden houses the Fort Langley Artists Group, F.L.A.G. in the baggage room, and has a small museum in the ticket office and waiting room. Outside the station on a special piece of track sits a 1900 velocipede, a 1930 Speeder and Speeder shed, a l920's caboose with original furnishings and a well equipped working model train display, a 1947 railcar which is a heritage information centre.
Fort Langley National Historic Park is an exact replica of the Hudson Bay trading post which was located on the shore of the Fraser River. Interpretive guides and interactive displays make the self-guided tour a fun experience. Whilst there, Visit Fort Langley Village and its turn-of-the-century streets, buildings and specialty shops and eateries.
Discover the stories of First Nations peoples, early explorers, and pioneer families at the Langley Centennial Museum located in Fort Langley. The museum's National Exhibition Centre Gallery displays changing exhibits of art, history, and nature. The museum was opened in 1958 by Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II.
Take a Circle Farm Tour and visit a berry farm where you can pick your own fruit, walk through a lavendar field, take in some horse jumping or check out life on a dairy farm. Langley is fast becoming a wine destination with six wineries in the area offering tastings and tours.
Known as the 'Horse Capital of BC', Langley has plenty of excellent paths for beginner and experienced riders alike. Also, stop at Thunderbird Show Park, a world-class equestrian facility
The Langley area has lots of trails for every outdoor enthusiast. Some trails to choose from include Brae Island Regional Park, Campbell Valley Regional Park, Derby Reach Regional Park and the Fort to Fort Trail. The Fort to Fort Trail begins in Derby Reach Regional Park and follows the Fraser River to Fort Langley National Historic Site.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia