Descended From Douglas

Excerpt below from Cynthia Fleming, great-great granddaughter of Sir James Douglas (pictured on the right with her sister Gloria Bushby in Fort Langley). Originally published in The Trail of 1858 (Mark Forsythe & Greg Dickson)  "I was born in San Fernando, Chile, on November 18, 1939 and lived in Chile for the first 10 years of my life. My dad was John Sinclair Bushby. His mother, Violet Bushby (born in England), the widow of George Bushby, visited Chile shortly after I was born and stayed with us until we moved back to British Columbia in the summer of 1950. My grandfather, George Bushby was the son of Arthur Bushby and Agnes Douglas, daughter of Sir James Douglas. Grandmother Bushby lived in the past. She told me the most exciting stories about her life in Victoria, her travels to South Africa and England to see her daughter Audrey and five grandchildren. The [...]

November 16th, 2017|

We Are Kwantlen

Coming to Fort Langley National Historic Site: We Are Kwantlen Kwantlen and other Coast Salish peoples have direct links to this land that reach back millennia, a deep history of some 12,000 years on this fertile landscape. Step inside the Visitors Centre at the Fort Langley National Historic Site and you’ll discover three unique artifact displays that hint at this history.  A delicate, 800 year old cedar cradle basket discovered in the mud of the Stave Reservoir (traditional Kwantlen territory) has been carefully restored, utilizing Japanese paper and glue techniques that have helped return the baby basket to its original shape. Baskets, hats and headbands demonstrate the powerful influence of cedar in the lives of Kwantlen people. Cedar was used to fashion canoes, clothes, dwellings and various ceremonial objects. Cedar hats are now seeing a revival among the Kwantlen, and the woven hat pictured below is being used by the [...]

October 23rd, 2017|

Life at Sperling General Store

Marv Woolley shares memories of living at the Sperling General Store & Post Office, once located beside the BC Electric Railway tracks at Brown Road (240th Street) and 72nd Avenue.   His parents Art and Doris bought the store the year Marv was born in 1945. The store closed in 1962 when the new Highway 401 cut it off from a large part of the community. People then lived in the building for another 10 years before it was burned down as practice for Fort Langley's volunteer fire department in 1973.  Originally built around 1905, Sperling General Store & Post Office was a vital part of community life for decades. Mom was the postmaster and they both operated the store, Mom taking orders by phone, then Dad delivering groceries and hardware throughout north Langley until the 401 Freeway forced the closure of the store in 1962. Dad had driven the [...]

August 21st, 2017|

Royals in the Fraser Valley

The royal tour of Canada in 1939 by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth was the first time a reigning monarch visited this country. They travelled westward on the Canadian Pacific Railway and returned on the south side of the Fraser River on the Canadian National line  -- with a brief whistle stop at Fort Langley (more likely a slowing of the train). The month-long visit to Canada was highly successful, with large crowds greeting them at every stop. It was also the eve of WW II and  the visit was part of an effort to cement relations between Great Britain and Canada, with hopes for a united "Empire". The above photograph hangs inside the passenger car at Langley Heritage Society's Fort Langley CN Station. The late Langley historian Norm Sherritt recalled the visit in a 2002 interview with the Langley Times  HERE.  Among those waiting that day, the Fort Langley [...]

August 8th, 2017|

Early Spirits on Langley Prairie

B.C. was the first province to regulate the sale of alcohol through government liquor stores, beginning in 1921. Langley Prairie's first store (today's Langley City) operated from 1923 to 1933. Former B.C. Liquor Control board employee Ron Hyde helped oversee construction of stores around the province, and sent us these photographs, once destined for the trash heap when the B.C. Liquor Control Board split into the B.C. Liquor Control & Licensing and the Liquor Distribution Branch. A long time historian, Ron never throws away anything of value. "The second Langley Prairie store operated from this (above) location from 1933 - 1941. The liquor store is in the slanted corner of the building with some great views of businesses along the street with store signs etc. The liquor store windows have curtains on them which was a requirement by the B.C. Liquor Control Board on all their stores -- this was [...]

July 25th, 2017|

Immigrant Shed

Between 1959 and 1966, CBC Radio's Imbert Orchard travelled the province, interviewing nearly 1,000 B.C. pioneers, and in the process created the largest oral collection in North America. Some 2,700 hours of recordings with homesteaders, gold miners, road builders and loggers are now housed at the Provincial Archives. Some of his interviews were later published in the Sound Heritage series, including this entry from 1983 about the arrival of the Williams family in Langley in the late 1880s, when Langley was mostly forest. Bert Williams was four years when his family started homesteading in the hill country east of the Langley Prairie. They lived on what is still known as the Brown Road (240th Street), but it was then little more than a trail through the primeval forest. Here and there a settler was struggling to let in the sunlight and get a few acres on which to grow crops. Otherwise [...]

May 25th, 2017|

Tales From the Station House

Diane Simpson, with parents Murray and Florence Williams, at the CNR Station in Mawer, Saskatchewan. Diane Simpson has volunteered at Langley Heritage Society's CNR Station in Fort Langley for many years, and enthusiastically shares her knowledge and love of life beside the rails. This station holds a special place in her heart because her father Murray Williams and mother Florence were the last station agents to reside in the CNR Station's living quarters (1959 - 1962). She's often asked by visitors what the agents did, and because Diane grew up in stations like this, she speaks with firsthand knowledge. "The obvious tasks of the agent are, of course selling tickets, and helping people plan their trips. Then receiving, recording, billing and loading the freight train, and ordering freight cars for mills and elevators. Sending telegrams around the world was also part of a day, informing friends and family of births, [...]

May 18th, 2017|

Riding the Rails to Langley

Art Woolley rode the rails west to the Fraser Valley from Saskatchewan in the Dirty Thirties and later drove truck for W.H. Berry for a number of years.  His son Marvin Woolley tells the story below. Arthur Harold (Art) Woolley was born in Edenwold Saskatchewan, June 21, 1912. He was the oldest of five children and “rode the rails” to Langley in 1931 when he was 19 years old.  The Woolley family followed, settling in Langley later that year.  The 1930’s were difficult times in Saskatchewan, as in many parts of Canada, and the Woolley family were considering a move to British Columbia. I am not aware if Art was sent or if he volunteered to come out to BC to find a future home. He left home with very little, and wasn’t sure why his mother gave him a new testament. On one occasion he was down to one [...]

May 1st, 2017|

Big City Cougar Hunt

As a young boy Max Michaud set out  to cross a log over the Nicomekl River flowing directly behind his parents' home, but the family dog wouldn’t let him continue.  It turns out a cougar was waiting in the bush on the other side of the river, and for years Max maintained the dog had saved his life.  He later grew into a crack shot, and legend has it that he could shoot a salmon leaping out of the water for a fly. Cougar Hunt In October of 1911 Max found himself in a posse hunting a cougar with an appetite for stags and goats at the Stanley Park Zoo. Vancouver police had unsuccessfully tried to track it; so had a big game hunter and numerous local huntsmen. The Province newspaper offered a $50 reward to the hunter who could deliver the dead cougar to its Vancouver office, so Max joined [...]

April 2nd, 2017|

Mystery Photo

Langley Heritage Society has received an intriguing photo from resident Brian Johnson.  The image was taken at West’s Creek, just east of Fort Langley on River Road where it flows into the Fraser River. The creek was named after Henry West, a German midshipman who jumped ship in Washington and landed in Fort Langley in the early 1870s. He homesteaded with his wife Louisa (Fallardeau) and their 11 children. Henry was resourceful: he hand-logged, built a steam powered sawmill, a saloon and also made boats, including a steamer scow named Defender. We're wondering: Who is crossing the wooden bridge in the photo? When was it taken?  We zoomed in for a closer look. A woman is driving the horse and buggy. It’s hard to see her features, but she appears to be wearing her finest. She's drivng the horse across the bridge, possibly on a Sunday outing? Then again, it might [...]

January 16th, 2017|
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