Fort Langley National Historic Site (Circle Farm Tours)
It wasn’t my first time visiting Fort Langley’s National Historic Site this week, but it certainly was one of my best. I had the pleasure of an afternoon picnic with my good friends Gus and Russ a year or two ago at Fort Langley. I also happen to be giving away a Family Pass to all Parks Canada sites, of which Fort Langley is one of the sites included in the pass, so it was great to have an opportunity to see it again. This time I was accompanied by my good friend Cassandra Anderton (Good Life Vancouver) and Jayne Lloyd-Jones from the PR agency Spectacular Ink.
Fort Langley is the exact location where, a century and a half ago, a huge fur trade organization called the Hudson’s Bay Company established a small post to trade with the First Nations of the West Coast. The enterprise grew, evolved, and influenced history, leading to the creation of the colony of British Columbia. 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.
For someone who has a degree in Leather Science like me (yes, I have a degree in Leather Science. I have had a VERY eclectic life), this was a really neat site to visit, as it was in Fort Langley where the Hudson’s Bay Company established a fur-trading hub.
The Hudson’s Bay Company established the original Fort Langley in 1827. It served as part of a network of fur trade forts operating in the New Caledonia and Columbia Districts (now British Columbia and northern Washington). The fort maintained a good and peaceful trade in furs, salmon, and even cranberries with the local native inhabitants. Because of its strategic position on the Fraser River the post developed into a regional depot and forwarding centre. European trade goods and supplies destined for the interior were received from the arriving steamers, re-packaged and sent inland from this fort and the District’s outgoing fur, fish, and cranberry exports were prepared for overseas shipment. Langley also blazed the first useable all-Canadian route from the coast to the interior and with its sister posts helped preserve British interests west of the Rockies.
Fort Langley has so many activities, both for families and for people like me who aren’t married nor have kids. I participated in their blacksmithery workshop (you can see some photos of me making a piece of forged metal on Flickr), we had breakfast at the Full Barrel Cafe. We were given a personalized tour throughout the fort, and we had a chance to carve barrels. Yes, wooden barrels. We also saw the historical reconstruction of the quarters of those who worked in the fort.
I think I would totally bring a bunch of my friends to Fort Langley to spend a full day of fun, as I’m sure families could do. There is SO MUCH TO DO. We also found gold (well, fake gold but who is counting?). We also had an opportunity to check out the rifle shooting demonstration.
There is so much to do in Fort Langley Historic Site that anything I write wouldn’t really give it full credit. So I invite you to visit this wonderful historic site. It’s also part of the Langley Circle Farm Tour. You should also check my full Flickr set.
Disclosure: My visit to Fort Langley Historic Site was one of the stops of a media trip for Circle Farm Tours. You can read all of my Circle Farm Tours coverage here.