Three-year-old Felix from Yarrow was fascinated by the G Scale trains at one of BC Farm museum’s annual Train Days. (Langley Advance Times Files)

Three-year-old Felix from Yarrow was fascinated by the G Scale trains at one of BC Farm museum’s annual Train Days. (Langley Advance Times Files)

Our View: Get in touch with Langley’s history

Heritage Week is a good time to learn about Langley’s past

In the Lower Mainland, even in communities like Langley, it’s easy to imagine that history began sometime in the 1980s.

We’re a region of new homes, new stores, new roads, new schools. Buildings that date back to the 1950s stick out like sore thumbs, much less those built before 1920.

But Langley has an Indigenous history stretching back for thousands of years, and was the site of the first HBC trading post on the B.C. coast.

It’s a place where pilots would tie their planes to trees at night to secure them in the 1930s, where trams picked up milk from local dairies, where stock cars raced around a quarter mile track.

Heritage Week is taking place in B.C. from Feb. 21 to 27, and it’s a great time to get in touch with the long history of your local community.

We haven’t erased our history, even if it can sometimes feel as if growth and rapid development has buried much of it beneath the weight of the new. Our history is still out there, in communities, place names, artifacts and archives.

History isn’t ever just history, it’s living people. When we talk about the time before the European fur traders arrived, we have to know that this is still unceded territory, that the Kwantlen and Katzie and Semiahmoo people never disappeared into a history book.

Early settlers often have descendants here too, whether that’s European dairy farmers or the first Sikh immigrants who worked in lumber mills when Langley was largely forested.

You can read about our history, you can find it in our Langley Centennial Museum or the Farm Museum or at the Canadian Museum of Flight.

But you can also find it in person. Go for a walk, find a big tree stump, and run your hand over the notch where loggers carrying crosscut saws once braced a board. You’re touching a century of history in your backyard.

– M.C.

historyIndigenous cultural groupsLangley in history

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