1 – The History of Langley Starts with Fort Langley
Established along the south bank of the Fraser River by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1827. Originally conceived as a deterrent and back-up in case Fort Vancouver was attached and destroyed by the Americans, Fort Langley instead became a major trading post that dealt primarily with fur and salmon canning that fueled the growth of the area.
In turn, those who settled in the area for extended periods began to convert the local area into farmland. While the fort was eventually moved, the importance was retained and recognized by.
2 – Langley Township was Once Inhabited by the Stó:lo Nations
As with many of the modern cities and towns across North America, Langley was also once home to the Stó:lo Nations, including the Katzie and Kwantlen. History is sparse on the subject, with much of it only surviving through oral stories passed down through the generations. That said, the Kwantlen are remembered as an important component developing the salmon trade that, in turn, led to the expansion of Fort Langley itself.
3 – Simon Fraser Explored the Area in 1808
The intrepid explorer Simon Fraser, for which many structure and areas have been named in his honour, traveled through the area in 1808. It is through him that we gain insight into what it would have looked like in that time. He spoke of houses built from cedar plans, with a range in size and purpose, along with wood carvings of human figures, beasts and birds.
In 1923, Fort Langley earned the title as a member of the National Historic Site of Canada. In tribute to its importance a commemorative plaque was placed near one of the storehouses. Then, again, in 1978, the area earned further recognition as a National Historic Park and is administered by Parks Canada. With a number of era-preserved buildings, original and reconstructed, the site remains a tourist attraction.
4 – The Birthplace of British Columbia
The history of Langley is one that mirrors many of the communities of its age. Built for the dual purpose of trade and protection, until it evolved into something far more important. By the time the gold rush came to the proto-province, a newer, more impressive Fort Langley had been constructed 8 kilometres from where the first one had rested for over a decade.
It was in 1858, when gold was discovered in Fraser River that Fort Langley, and its growing community, became an important stop along the way up to find the riches the river and the area promised. It was this momentous point in history that saw the British Government create British Columbia as a colony, along with James Douglas’ stepping up as first governor in Fort Langley.
5 – The History of the Township of Langley and the City of Langley
One of the more curious cases in municipal hijinks has to be handed to the City of Langley and its neighbour to the east and south of the Township of Langley. Up until 1955, the area that would become the City of Langley was called Langley Prairie. In a demand that will continue to cause confusion for those unfamiliar with the history, Langley Prairie demanded services that were refused by the municipal government at the time.
The story goes that, in fact, it was entirely over the issue of street lights. Having found themselves not being properly dealt with, Langley Prairie incorporated as a separate entity under the new name of the City of Langley on March 15, 1955.