Fort Langley is a village in British Columbia of approximately 2,700 residents that can be found in the Vancouver area. It is best known for the Fort Langley National Historic Site. This historic site is the exact location of a former fur trade post that was operated by the Hudson's Bay Company, and it is often referred to as the Birthplace of British Columbia. The Hudson's Bay Company, for those who might not know, formed a network of trading posts throughout North America, and these posts helped to keep control of British controlled territories. The Fort Langley National Historic Site was originally named for an HBC director by the name of Thomas Langley, and the fur trading post was originally founded in 1827. In 1839, the Fort Langley post was moved to its current site, and as you might expect, it offers wonderful insight into the history of British Columbia.
Thanks in part to the Fraser River Golf Rush, the village of Fort Langley experienced major growth in the late 1850s. In 1858, the historic fort was the sight of British Columbia's indoctrination as a Crown Colony of Great Britain. As a result of this, the village ended up playing a key role in the establishment of the US and Canadian border at the 49th parallel. Subsequent to this, however, the fort started to decline in importance, and in 1886, its role as an HBC company post came to an end. That didn't mean that the fort's overall significance ceased, however. Community members quickly made a move to preserve the Fort Langley National Historic Site, and to this day, it remains a major British Columbia attraction. Among the highlights at the site is the storehouse. It dates back to 1840 and is widely considered to be the oldest building in the province.
Several historic buildings can be found at the Fort Langley National Historic Site. They include the Big House, which is where the village's British colony status was first proclaimed. Other buildings include servants' quarters, a reconstructed depot, and a working blacksmith shop that was built in the 1970s. Most of the buildings at the Fort Langley National Historic Site have been reconstructed, though they manage to drive home the history of the place with style. In addition to checking out the buildings at the site, visitors can pan for gold, listen to costumed interpreters, and get insight into various practices from days gone by. These practices include blacksmithing and barrel-making. Another fun activity involves walking along the trail that links the fort's original site with its current site.
When Fort Langley visitors aren't checking out the historic site, they can do some shopping at the quaint stores along Mavis Road and Glover Road. Antique stores and boutiques are among the village's shopping establishments, and art enthusiasts are encouraged to see what the local galleries have to offer. Much of the artwork that is for sale relates to the pioneering theme and the wilder early days.
Dropping by the BC Farm Machinery & Agricultural Museum is another option for things to do in Fort Langley, and you might also appreciate the art exhibits that can be found at the Langley Centennial Museum. As for recreational activities, fishing, canoeing, and hiking are among the options. Fort Langley camping is also a possibility, with Fort Camping being the campsite of choice. Found at 9451 Glover Road, this campground offers 156 sites, and there is space for RVs as well. The facilities at Fort Camping include laundry facilities and public bathrooms, and campers can rent kayaks, canoes, and bicycles during the warmer months.
Whether you are just visiting Fort Langley for the day or you wish to stay overnight, you might drop by the village's visitor center before you kick things off. The Fort Langley Visitor Centre can be found at 9234 Glover Road. The visitor center staff can fill you in on the Langley festivals, the village's main attractions, and the available accommodations. The main annual festival, should you be wondering, is the Cranberry Festival. It celebrates the village's berry history and takes place in October.
Image: Tourism BC/Dannielle Hayes