While staying with a family friend in Surrey, we had the opportunity to gain some local knowledge and step back in history 200 years to the birthplace of British Columbia. It was one of those unplanned, go with the flow opportunities that left a lasting impression on me.
Fort Langley was the first permanent European settlement and was originally created as a fur trading base for the Hudson’s Bay Company. It was also a prime area farming and agriculture in the area, as well as catching Fraser River salmon. These fish were traded as far as Hawaii! The discovery of gold in the Fraser River in1858 saw an influx of interest in the area. With fears of Americans annexing the land, Britain quickly laid claim as a Crown Colony under the direction of Governor James Douglas.
The original Fort was burned to the ground, and new one was built further down the river. There is now a historic trail linking the original historic site to the newer version.
The Jacob Haldi Bridge crosses over the Bedford Channel to connect McMillan Island to Fort Langley on the mainland.
A scenic walk along the the Bedford Channel in Fort Langley.
Fort Langley township has maintained its rustic and quaint charm.
As the birthplace of British Columbia, Fort Langley has good reason to be a National Historic Site.
A series of 4 carvings were designed by a local Kwantlen artist to depict the significance of fishing and trading in the area.
Built in 1901, St George Anglican church is the oldest in the area and is still functional.
Classic shot looking down Main Street.
We took a step further back in time, to marvel at the collection of archives and mementos that had withstood the tests of time. It occurred to me that hardly any of the things built in todays age would be strong and sturdy enough to last a few decades. What will future generations look back on and remember us by? Our touch phones and Ikea furniture? Scary thoughts.
A little slice of history in contrast to a present day magazine.
Our trip to Fort Langley was made complete by introducing Thom to Salt Water Taffy of every flavour imaginable – yes, including popcorn (although that was not my favourite).
I’d hardly call myself a history buff of any kind, but I have grown up visiting many of the National Historic sites in Nova Scotia, and there’s something about being immersed into something and somewhere that existed in another time, and helped shape the world we know today. Even though I didn’t take away as much history as I possibly could have, I enjoyed having Shirley’s anecdotes of local knowledge to add to my experience.
I just found out that Parks Canada offers a one year “Discovery Pass” that for one lump sum upfront, grants you access to ALL National Historic sites and National Parks across Canada. Next Parks Canada site we encounter, I am buying one of these bad boys, and I plan to hit up every Historic site and Park as we travel east!