Throughout British Columbia, several historic 19th-century forts have been preserved as reminders of how the Canadian west was originally settled by Europeans.
Fort Langley National Historic Site, a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post that has been lovingly preserved and restored, is open year-round to visitors, allowing exploration of the living magic of the historical Birthplace of British Columbia.
Step inside the high walls and experience the sounds, smells and activities of the trading post, the provisions depot, and the administrative centre that played such a major part in the development of British Columbia. Established by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1827, this historic village with a difference has seen the likes of Native fur and salmon traders, adventurous explorers, European fur traders, and eager gold prospectors heading for the goldfields of the Upper Fraser and Thompson Rivers.
Furs were shipped to Europe via Cape Horn, produce was traded to the Russians in Alaska, local cranberries found their way to California, and Fraser River salmon was enjoyed as far away as Hawaii.
In 1858, rumours of gold on the Fraser River caused a massive influx of Americans to the area. Fearing annexation by the United States, British Columbia was proclaimed a Crown Colony on this site by James Douglas on November 19, 1858. The official proclamation was uttered in the Big House at Fort Langley.
Located in the heart of the Fraser Valley, the fort was founded in 1827 by Chief Trader McMillan, and named after Thomas Langley, a director of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1839, the original fort was abandoned and replaced with a new one established on land chosen for its rich agricultural value. By 1896 the HBC had closed its store, leaving the fort to deteriorate until its restoration was completed in 1957.
Glover Road, Fort Langley’s main street, features a variety of shops, antique stores and galleries, many of which are housed in well-maintained heritage buildings. Visitors can stop at the large interpretive map of Fort Langley displayed at the railroad historical site, which outlines a heritage walking tour of the town.
Location: Fort Langley is located on the southern shore of the Fraser River, just north of the Trans-Canada Highway 1, 30 miles (48 km) east of Vancouver. To the south of Fort Langley is the community of Langley .
Video Presentation: Fort Langley is a delightful reminder of yesteryear, with a 10-minute video production depicting the early history of the fort. Viewed in a theatre in the main fort, between the Storehouse and Exhibit building, the video offers a soundtrack in any of five languages: English, French, German, Cantonese, and Japanese.
The Fort Langley Heritage Walking Tour is a must on any visit to the fort, with an informative tour brochure available to guide you through the fort, with descriptions of the more important lovingly restored buildings and attractions. Tour highlights include the Fort Langley Train Station, built in 1913, the beautifully restored Fort Langley Community Hall, with its Doric style columns and a most imposing pediment, and St. Andrews United Church, Langley’s oldest surviving church, built in 1885.
Train tracks run along the riverbank below the fort to the nearby Fort Langley Railroad Museum on Glover Road, with its restored station from the 1920’s era, a Canadian National Railway caboose, and an operating model railway. It’s well worth a visit, as you explore the town in the vicinity of the fort.
Heritage Gardens: Fort Langley residents take their heritage gardens seriously: lush peonies in the railway station garden are directly descended from those planted by the original stationmaster’s wife.
Stop by the BC Farm Machinery and Agricultural Museum, which features a wind-powdered water well and Tiger Moth airplane.
No visit to Fort Langley is complete without a visit to the Langley Centennial Museum & National Exhibition Centre.
Memorial Maple: The sole survivor of the maple trees planted in 1922 to commemorate soldiers who died in the First World War can be viewed at Glover Road and 96th Avenue.
The Mountain View Conservation and Breeding Centre is a must for all animal lovers; book a guided walk or drive past some of the world’s most endangered species, including lemurs, Cape Hunting Dogs, Masai Giraffe and Pygmy Hippopotami.
The Canadian Museum of Flight, housed in a hanger at Langley Airport, is home to a unique collection of historic aircraft and artifacts. Exhibits include over 25 aircraft ranging from a WWII Handley Page Hampden (the only one on display in the world) to a T-33 Silverstar. The museum’s Millennium Kids Room teaches children how an aircraft flies and what makes an engine work.
Campbell Valley Regional Park offers 20 kilometres of spectacular walking trails through coastal forest and wetlands. During the warm weather, Derby Reach Regional Park, found along the Fraser River west of Fort Langley, provides hikers, cyclists and equestrian riders with over 15 km of trails through fields that were once farmed by pioneers. Visitors are delighted by the wooded trails running along Pepin Brook in Aldergrove Lake Regional Park.
Golf: Fort Langley Golf Course is a hidden gem in a country setting, nestled on the banks of the Fraser and Salmon Rivers. With tight tree lined fairways, numerous sand bunkers, ponds and smooth undulating greens, every club in your bag will be tested. Championship golf can be played from our blue tees measuring 6,377 yards (18 holes, par 71). Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on a driving Circle Tour. Head north out of Vancouver for the scenic Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island Circle Tour, or stay on the intensely scenic Sea to Sky Highway, passing through the magical winter resort town of Whistler and Coast Mountains Circle Tour. To explore the rural farmlands and forests of the fertile Fraser Valley, take the Fraser Valley Circle Tour, travelling outbound on the scenic route north of the historic Fraser River, returning westwards along the Trans Canada Highway 1 to Vancouver. Circle Tours in British Columbia.