It's known as Douglas Day and there may be some in B.C. who have never heard of it, but local seniors seem to look forward to it every year.
In Fort Langley on November 19, 1858, Sir James Douglas was appointed the first Governor of B.C. The day has been recognized in the Township of Langley since the 1920s as a time to pay tribute to local pioneering families. A special banquet has been held since 1946 to honour those pioneers and their contributions to forming the community.
This year the event, which is by invitation, will be held at the Langley Events Centre with entertainment, lunch, and an opportunity to hear from government dignitaries.
"The dinner is on the 19th to celebrate Douglas Day," said Lisa Egan of the Township. "It was on the 20th last year because of the [municipal] election, which was different, but otherwise, it will always be on the 19th."
It's a day many seniors in the Langleys anticipate. Not only will they enjoy a full turkey dinner, but they also have the opportunity to spend time with each other sharing old stories and getting caught up, Egan noted.
In fact, most residents who are eligible to attend will already be registered because of the closeness of the senior community.
More than 210 pioneers are set to be at the luncheon, with guests, dignitaries, and organizers bringing the total count up to more than 420.
"They kind of know [who is eligible to attend], because they know each other," Egan said.
"They need to be entered into our system to be invited, so if they aren't already, they need to contact us."
Just who is a pioneer? A Langley pioneer is, "someone over 70 years of age who has lived [continuously] in the Langleys for over 60 years," she noted.
Originally the event was held in the evening, but last year, organizers tried the luncheon format and received an excellent response to the change.
For those attending, doors open at noon, with lunch served at 1 p.m.
To get on the list for next year's event, those eligible should contact Egan at 604-533-6148 or keep an eye out for more information in the Township's communications.