Lynn Whitehouse retired this year after 30 years as executive director of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

Langley’s chamber of commerce got the newspaper started

The Langley Advance at 85: Langley's Chamber of Commerce also turned 85 years old in 2016.

The history of the Langley Advance is intertwined with the history of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

The Langley Board of Trade, as it was originally known, was founded early in 1931.

It was the Board that gave the early Advance a boost when it came along six months later. Local businesses wanted a paper to succeed, and the paper needed the support of the business community to survive.

The chamber of commerce was born when 63 residents, mostly merchants, shopkeepers, and tradesmen, signed the papers. Langley’s population was not much above 5,000 people at the time – today more than 135,000 people call the Langleys home.

Early minutes show that many of the same issues animated the Langley business community as today. Roads and transportation, taxes, and parking issues show up over and over again.

They were also active in one of the biggest events in Langley’s political history. The early chamber called for the separation of Langley into City and Township, a move backed by many merchants downtown.

Some of the earliest records of the chamber were destroyed by the flood of 1948.

The chamber continued into the 1960s and 1970s, but started to suffer a serious decline in membership.

The number of members taking care of chamber business fell.

“It got to the point where just a few of them were doing everything,” said Lynn Whitehouse, the recently retired executive director of the chamber.

A motion to wind down the chamber and close the doors was put forward.

That finally got a significant number of people to turn up at the next meeting, to vote it down.

“It was like a shot in the arm,” Whitehouse said.

The chamber still wasn’t full-sized, as there were three separate chambers in Langley by the 1980s, representing different neighbourhoods.

In the 1980s, it became focused on visitor services in the buildup to Expo ’86, one of the biggest international events Greater Vancouver had seen at that point.

When Whitehouse took over in 1986 as executive director, there were 247 members.

Meetings were held at relatively small restaurants in the 1970s and ’80s, such as at The Pagoda and The Praire House.

They now have just under 1,000 members. Meetings moved years ago to Newlands and then to the Cascades Casino to accommodate more members.

The Langley Chamber ran a number of services that have now been spun off or shut down.

It was also a tourism centre for many years, until the creation of Tourism Langley.

The chamber also ran a small bus service in Langley in the 1980s.

The Langley Transit Service had two buses that drove a route from Langley City to Brookswood, Langley Memorial Hospital, and to the Willowbrook Shopping Centre and Walnut Grove, Tuesdays to Saturdays.


Related stories:

Langley Advance history

Bob Groeneveld: from reporter to editor to columnist

Langley sports coverage over eight decades

Langley then and now

Museum home to many Langley Advance treasures

Sports reporter Troy Landreville recounts 21 years in newspapers

Publisher Lisa Farquharson grew up in Langley

Langley Advance vintage prices

Editor Roxanne Hooper and storytelling

Longtime residents recall the Langley Advance

Just Posted

Langley golfer Erin Lee wins major Pitt Meadows tournament

Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour (MJT) gets underway at Swan-e-Set Bay Resort

LETTER: Fort Langley driver lobbies for roundabout signalling

ICBC rules call for drivers to signal when exiting roundabouts.

GREEN BEAT: Opening ‘new roads’ in Langley makes cycling safer

HUB Langley pushed to ‘UnGap the Map’ and create more bike infrastructure throughout the community.

Langley Then and Now: A different view of Aldergrove

Check out the photo of Flag Day from 1926.

VIDEO: Langley Trappers lose to Wolf Pack in PJHL final

North Vancouver makes it four in a row

WATCH: Out and about in Langley

March 23 to 25; your guide to community happenings.

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Most Read