Welcome to AC Library’s virtual sightseeing tour! In this series, the Library will take you to different local sites of interest. We’ll explore these sites using the online resources available to all students and faculty through the Library databases, along with other accessible virtual resources. Join us this week as we explore historic Fort Langley:
Today, the Fort Langley National Historic Site is a popular tourist attraction, but it was originally a fur trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company that was built in 1827. Located on the banks of the Fraser river, the site was originally a part of a trade route for the British Empire, and is situated on the traditional territory of the Kwantlen First Nation peoples. In the time of its operation as a trading post, Fort Langley maintained a trade agreement with local Indigenous peoples and would exchange goods for furs, salmon, and cranberries, among other items.
The fort saw many different periods in Canadian history, and at one point was a notable area for gold mining, with around 30,000 gold miners passing through the fort and being issued prospecting licenses. Today, the fort offers a gold panning experience for visitors. Depending on the time of year, the fort also offers experiences such as bannock-making, shooting an airsoft musket, sitting around a campfire, and even dressing in period costumes based on the clothing of the time.
Left Image: Junichi Ishito, Cooperage, July 2007, photograph, ccsearch, https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/photos/58bf3d02-dd36-4763-83d5-b018c7ad87b6
Right Image: William Orson Banfield, At Fort Langley : No. 5117 [the royal train during visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth], 1939, photograph, City of Vancouver Archives, Fort Langley, https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/at-fort-langley-no-5117-the-royal-train-during-visit-of-king-george-vi-and-queen-elizabeth
Fort Langley and other former fur trade sites across Canada attract several hundred thousand visitors annually, with former fur trade locations being an important part of Canada’s heritage landscape. Nowadays, the fort serves to provide a glimpse into what life was like in the early days of BC. Visitors to the fort can explore various areas designed to replicate the historic functions of the fort, which include a blacksmith shop, a fur press, replicated servants’ quarters and many other buildings. While most buildings at the fort were constructed within more recent years, the storehouse, built in the 1840’s, remains the only original building that still stands at the fort. Those who visit the fort will see interpreters dressed in period costumes as they tell the stories of Indigenous peoples, settlers, and Métis people, all of whom played a part in the history of the fort.
“Fort Langley National Historic Site.” Parks Canada. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/bc/langley
“Fort Langley site recreates the beginning of B.C.” Spectator [Hamilton, Ontario], January 10, 2015, G11. Gale In Context: Canada (accessed August 5, 2020). https://library.alexandercollege.ca:2144/apps/doc/A396771394/CIC?u=burn46801&sid=CIC&xid=8bc1bc57.
“Our Lands”. Kwantlen First Nation. Accessed August 12, 2020. https://www.kwantlenfn.ca/
Payne, M.B., and C.J. Taylor. “Western Canadian fur trade sites and the iconography of public memory.” Manitoba History, no. 46 (2003): 2+. Gale In Context: Canada (accessed August 5, 2020). https://library.alexandercollege.ca:2144/apps/doc/A112129716/CIC?u=burn46801&sid=CIC&xid=25c2f296.
“Ten reasons to visit Fort Langley National Historic Site on Canada Day.” Langley Times [Langley, British Columbia], June 28, 2017. Gale In Context: Canada (accessed August 5, 2020). https://library.alexandercollege.ca:2144/apps/doc/A497435053/CIC?u=burn46801&sid=CIC&xid=8c23d63e.
turbulentflow, store house & keeper, March 2006, photograph, ccsearch, https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/photos/406358d8-6caa-4d2f-9132-3cafd54c2320