Big House, the white building at the top of the hill at Fort Langley National Historic Site was the site where British Columbia was proclaimed a colony at a ceremony on November 19, 1858.
Fort Langley National Historic Site, "the Birthplace of British Columbia", located on the edge of the Fraser River, is one of British Columbia's first settlements. Today, the Fort is operated by Parks Canada and offers a look into the province's history through exhibits, buildings, demonstrations, food, events, holiday activities and costumed interpreters.
Fort Langley was established in 1827 by the Hudson's Bay Company to provide a gateway for fur trading in the unexplored wilderness of British Columbia. Trade relations with the local native population led to the procurement of furs, salmon and cranberries to send back to Europe - however, it was Fort Langley's strategic location which led to its growth through historic events such as the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush (1858) which made the Fort a crucial supply stop along the Fraser River. Its biggest contributions to the Province were political. Fort Langley played a key role in the establishment of the 49th Parallel (the border between Canada and the United States and on November 19, 1858 the Fort hosted the ceremony which proclaimed British Columbia a colony, earning it its title: "the Birthplace of British Columbia".
Technology such as Paddle wheelers, trade competition and the establishment of the colony of New Westminster led to the abandonment of the Fort which was deserted in 1886. Almost fifty years later, in 1923, the Canadian Government recognized the site where Fort Langley last stood as a site of national historical importance. A small museum operated out of the Storehouse - the only remainder of the old Fort and the oldest building on Mainland British Columbia - until in 1955 when the Government of Canada rebuilt the site, opening to the public as a National Historic Site in 1978.
Fort Langley National Historic Site is an adventure for all ages. Open year round, the Fort is a spectacular place to learn about early life in British Columbia with blacksmith and barrel making demonstrations, houses furnished as they would have been over a hundred years ago, a small farm and garden, a theatre, exhibit building, cafe, Big House, the replica of the building where the province was proclaimed a colony, bastions and the fortifications (the Fraser River can be seen across the marsh) to explore and of course, the Storehouse, the only original building on site which is filled with goods that were bought, traded and sold during the Fort's era (map). Annual events offer music, activities, celebrations and reenactments for the public to enjoy and in most cases take part in!
See where it all started along the Fraser River at Fort Langley National Historic Site, the Birthplace of British Columbia!
Use the interactive map below to locate and explore the areas around Fort Langley National Historic Site: Birthplace of British Columbia23433 Mavis Avenue
Click the brown GEMS on the map to navigate to the other activities within this region