I was given the use of a 2014 Chevrolet Trax for a weekend, so to take full advantage of this opportunity I decided to hit the road. One of the destinations that I was determined to visit was Fort Langley National Historical Site.
I put out a call out to see who wanted to join me, but with the cold weather a lot of people wanted to stay inside. Cold weather isn’t an excuse! On the road, taking advantage of the heated seats, we started on our day trip. The drive to Fort Langley didn’t take long, despite the detour to avoid the Port Mann bridge toll. We drove past the charming downtown area of Fort Langley before pulling in to Fort Langley, after making a quick stop for lunch. I’ll have to return to explore the town.
It was a cold day out, the temperature was below zero which kept some people indoors. With barely anyone around, we almost had the place to ourselves, it was a treat! We took advantage and spent hours talking to the staff. They explained the history of the fort, the days of fur trading, relations with the First Nations and up until the point where Fort Langley closed as a trading post. I wasn’t raised in British Columbia, so my knowledge of the province’s history isn’t vast. I loved hearing about the North West and Hudson’s Bay companies, the use of the Fraser River, railroad, the different backgrounds of the workers including some from Hawaii, the gold rush and how Fort Langley became the birthplace of Canada. The original Fort Langley was established in 1827 and became a regional depot and a centre for trade in the area.
When we arrived, we were just in time for the historic weapons demonstration. We learned how the muskets worked, and saw the guns being fired.The sound of the gunshots could be heard kilometres away before the population grew and the area was built up. The incoming ships would start firing to alert the fort that they were coming and to get ready.
We also got to see a blacksmith demo with one of the employees, who had formed a piece of metal into a hook for a wall, and he explained the details of the process as he went along. Depending on the time of year and day of the week, different activities and demonstration are scheduled.
The staff was wonderful. Since, it was really quiet they spent a ton of time with us, answered all of our questions and provided insight in other areas. We had a blast talking to them. I know if it was busier, we wouldn’t have received all of this attention so we took advantage of it. My friend Henry and I were talked about how great it would be to come back and visit during the different seasons. In the summer there is a farm and camping in the oTENTik (a mix a tent and a rustic cabin) and for Halloween there are night time ghost tours.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed my visit. Before setting out, I thought we would spend an hour, but the hours flew by and before we knew it the sun was setting and it was time to hit the road for the forty minute drive back to Vancouver.
For more information, check out their website, Fort Langley National Historical Site and let me know if you visit and what you thought!