A plaque was unveiled Monday by Parks Canada, at the Fort Langley National Historic Site, to recognize explorer Simon Fraser. (Nancy Hildebrand/Special to the Langley Advance)

PHOTOS: Plaque unveiling in Fort Langley honours the late Simon Fraser, the explorer

Dozens of canoeists participate in special, three-day voyage from Hope to Fort Langley.

A Scotsman credited with expanding the fur trading west into what is today known as B.C., was honoured with a special plaque unveiled today – 209 years later – at the Fort Langley National Historic Site.

Simon Fraser was an explorer who has a university, river, lake, fort, highway, rose, and even a coast guard vessel named after him.

Back a few centuries, when he was 32, Fraser was credited with establishing the first permanent European settlement west of the Rockies – which he named New Caledonia.

Well it’s this adventurous sort that Parks Canada recognized Monday in Langley with this special tribute before a crowd of about 125.

The bronze plaque expelling his contribution will not live at the Fort, but was unveiled there Monday, in conjunction with Brigade Days and the annual re-enactment of a fur trade expedition from Hope to Fort Langley.

As the plaque states, Fraser was a partner with the North West Company in times of “intense corporate rivalry” and he established a Euro-Canadian presence in what became B.C., founded the first non-indigenous settlements in Fort McLeod and Fort St. James, then in 1808, with aid of indigenous guides, became the first “outsider to traverse the treacherous rapids in passing down the Fraser River.”

The large plague, siting his lifespan from 1776 to 1862, said his “determination, the skill of French-Canadian voyageurs, and the knowledge he gained from indigenous peoples, allowed him to explore the river to the Strait of Georgia.”

Jati Sidhu, MP for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, was on hand for the unveiling.

His riding will be home to the plaque. It is being installed at Hell’s Gate. This section was named after a comment in Fraser’s journal about an intimidating stretch of the river seeming like the gates of hell.

As part of the centennial of national historic sites, Parks Canada invites Canadians to be inspired and captivated by the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped the Canada of today.

This dedication happened, in part, because of a high school teacher.

Charles Hou is a history teacher in Burnaby, who felt it was about time to see one of the founders of B.C. honoured. Hou himself is so passionate about history and teaching that he won the Governor General’s first award for teaching.

“I am proud to honour Simon Fraser as a national historic person. This great man, assisted by Indigenous peoples and French-Canadians, played a crucial role in the exploration of British Columbia and the development of Canadian territory,” Sidhu said.

“Fraser’s story is a reminder of the vital contributions of past generations in our country’s history. While we are celebrating Canada 150, I encourage all Canadians to take this opportunity to learn more about our history and our shared legacy.”

This unveiling was part of a three-day celebration held at the Fort Langley National Historic Site during the B.C. Day long weekend.

It also featured a series of educational exhibits and events within the Fort walls throughout the weekend, as well as a train-dedicated display at the nearby BC Farm Museum.

This year, as part of Canada 150, the Bedford Rowing Society re-enacted a 100-km fur trade excursion to Fort Langley, that culminated with a ceremony on the shores of the Fraser River and a procession to the Fort in the heat on Monday afternoon.

Dozens of canoeists participated in the expanded Brigade Day celebration.

Thanks to Ursula Maxwell-Lewis for sharing a brief video from the Fort festivities this past weekend.

• Click here to see many more photos from the fur brigade re-enactment

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

rhooper@langleyadvance.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

 

Hundreds watched as an elaborate re-enactment of a fur brigade arriving on the shorts of the Fraser River in Fort Langley Monday during the Brigade Day celebrations. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

Just Posted

Teen arrested following Brookswood Secondary lockdown

Langley RCMP are still trying to determine if a real firearm was involved.

Parkland, development planned for Willoughby’s Tara Farm

The land in the eastern Willoughby slope could become a mixture of development and parkland.

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

Hurricanes breeze past Giants

Not much went right for Vancouver as Giants see Langley Events Centre winning streak come to an end

VIDEO: Lights and wonder bedeck Milner Village in Langley

Glow benefits charities and delivering a unique indoor Christmas experience.

VIDEO: Langley concert and five new songs inspired by Canada’s 150th

Familiar faces from Langley Community Music School were asked to create Canadian pieces for Nov. 25.

Charge laid against B.C. man in alleged cat torture

Joshua Michael Lemire, 20, has been charged with one count of causing unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal.

Oxford Dictionary responds by video to Victoria boy’s bid for levidrome

William Shatner tweet garners attention of Oxford

Site C allows more wind, solar energy, experts say

Lawyer, economist argue for completion of B.C. Hydro dam

Record-high temperatures reached in 18 spots in B.C.

White Rock, Victoria and the Fraser Valley made new records for the unusually warm November day

Supreme Court to hear case on whether ISPs can charge for IDing online pirates

Film producers seeking to crack down on people who share copyrighted material illegally

Snow warning for the Coquihalla

Driving through highway passes will require some extra caution today.

5 to start your day

Coquitlam dog walker rescued, education minister blasts Chilliwack trustee and more

Canadian initiative fuelled by Terry Fox’s dream may be only hope for young cancer patients

Young cancer patients in rural or remote areas did not always get the testing available

Most Read