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Historic Fort Langley remembers James Douglas and Louis Riel

A multicultural celebration scheduled in the community on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19 and 20
The statue of Sir James Douglas, who proclaimed B.C. a Crown Colony at Fort Langley in 1858, stood in front of a backdrop of fall leaves on a sunny Thursday afternoon, Oct. 26. Residents enjoyed a spell of sunny weather and record-breaking warmth over the past few days. Troy Landreville Langley Times

On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Fort Langley community will celebrate the legacy of James Douglas, B.C.’s first governor.

The public event commemorating Douglas’ multicultural legacy will include Black, Scottish, and Metis as well First Nations’ arts, food, music and dance.

The event will take place at Fort Langley National Historic Site, where Douglas was sworn in as the province’s governor on Nov. 19, 1858.

He came from a multicultural background – born in Guyana to a Creole mother and a Scottish father, and as an adult, he married a Metis woman, Amelia Connolly.

He went on to found Fort Victoria, on the site of the present-day provincial capital. His name appears on many buildings and communities in B.C. including Douglas Hall, a residence at Trinity Western University.

“Douglas’ multicultural legacy brings a historic and long-lasting influence to diversity in B.C,” said Jade Szymanski, promotions officer at Fort Langley National Historic Site.

Those interested in attending this event can purchase tickets at the door. Fort Langley National Historic Site is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $8.50/adult, $7.00/senior, and free for youth 17 and under. To learn more, people can visit,

Also, on Sunday, Nov. 20, the community will celebrate the annual Louis Riel Day.

The date marks the anniversary of Riel’s execution in 1885, according to the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), when he was hanged for treason for his role in the historic Red River Rebellion.

“Riel remains a vital historical leader. Today, the strength of the Métis Nation is a testament to the courage of Louis Riel and all Métis ancestors that came before and after him. On the 137th anniversary of Riel’s death, we remember his profound dedication to justice. His vision of a diverse and inclusive Canada has left a lasting legacy,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

Not only will Sunday’s celebration be an opportunity for the public to learn more about Riel, there will also fun activities for all ages. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.. at the national historic site. Tickets cost $8.50/adult; $7/senior, and free admission for youth 17 and under.

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Tanmay Ahluwalia

About the Author: Tanmay Ahluwalia

Tanmay Ahluwalia is a journalist with a digital mindset and a proud alumnus of the University of Delhi.
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