From Sea to Sea to Sea, Canada in the early 20th century was a growing country and railways were tying it together. As the population grew more stations were built to meet demand, in 1915 the village of Fort Langley reach that level. Canadian Northern Railway built Langley Station to the same “Third Class” specifications as 85 other similar size stations across the country. The building holds an office, reception area and private living quarters for the station agent on the mail floor with staff bedrooms and kitchen on the second floor. Langley Station was used by Canadian Northern until it ran into financial trouble and was bought by Canadian National Railway, who used the station continuously until 1980 when passenger service to Fort Langley was discontinued. The site lay dormant until the town purchased the site in 1983, designated a Municipal Historic Site and turned into an information centre, with the station office turned into an interactive museum allowing a glimpse into train travel in the early twentieth century. Volunteers explain the history and operations of the station and the station agents. Along the way they may point out some of hightlights of the stations story, like the Royal visits of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mum) as well as the visit of then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Other pieces of important rail history lay on the tracks next to the station, a 1900’s velocipede, a restored 1947 CN passenger car holds some of the memorabilia passengers would have seen onboard a train trip and attached 1920’s caboose holds a model railway.
Fort Langley CNR Station is located at 23185 Mavis Street, Fort Langley and open weekends, noon until 4pm, with volunteers present from May thru October
History comes alive at Fort Langley, National Historic Site, with original and replica buildings, costumed guides, entertainment and activities. In response to the active interests of American fur traders on the Pacific Coast the British Hudson’s Bay Company established a base at Fort Langley in 1827. Located strategically near the mouth of the Fraser River just north of the 49th parallel and close to a large aboriginal population the
Fort was in prime territory for success as a trading post, the Fort was never a military fort. With the arrival of the Steam Ship Beaver, which acted as a mobile trading post the HBC was able to keep the American competition at bay. Fort Langley served as the prime junction for trade between the north Fraser regions and the Pacific Coast. Ships brought in supplies for traders and left loaded with furs and other local commodities to be taken back to Britain. With the arrival of the Gold Rush in 1858 Fort Langley was ideally situated for further success and fame as the starting point for the Fraser River Gold Fields. The influx of American gold panners brough fears of American annexation so the Fort’s governor and the British Government established the colony of British Columbia, signing the declaration in the Big House at Fort Langley. After the fur trade and gold rush passed and trade moved into a more retail atmosphere in the growing nearby village the Fort was sold into private hand for a number of decades as a working farm. In 1923, with just one original building intact, the Canadian Goverment recognized the significant historic value of the Fort Langley and in 1931 opened the site to the public. restoration and redevelopment has continued ever since. In recognition of Parks Canada’s 100th anniversary, Fort Langley has had an update of bother property and programs. Eleven buildings plus rebuilt palisades and bastions are not contained within the historic Fort. Kitchen gardens, livestock and interactive areas have been included as well. Stepping through the Fort gates for the first time really does feel as though you’ve passed into another time, the buildings and site feel authentic and genuine. The costumed guides and attendants lend an added authenticity to the surroundings. The staff seem to possess a passion for sharing their stories and knowledge about the Fort, that comes across as genuine interest not an act for the tourists. The site is well laid out, following the original site plans minus a few of the original buildings, that even with an abundance of day camp children around, there was plenty of room and time to take in the activities and watch the reenactments. A tea shop is located in one of the buildings for those who want a break in their visit and a gift shop is located in the modern Parks Canada administration building outside the palisades.
Parks Canada Fort Langley, National Historic Site is located at 23433 Mavis Ave , 2 blocks from downtown Fort Langley. Free parking is available on site. The Fort is open year round except Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day. Children under 5 are free and adult admission is just $7.80.