John Jackman checked out old editions of the Langley Advance. The Jackman family is one of the oldest in the community.

Langley newspaper recorded local history since 1931

The Langley Advance at 85: The newspaper connected neighbours and neighbourhoods.

Langley is largely a new community, fast growing and with residents arriving all the time.

But some longtime Langleyites have a relationship with the paper that goes back many years. We asked some locals with deep roots about what the Advance means to them.

Bev Dornan

Dornan’s family moved to Langley in 1955. A longtime volunteer, she has been a familiar face as the manager at the Otter Co-op, as well as through the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, and as a Township councillor from 2008 to 2016.

“I remember the Langley Advance on the main street,” Dornan said. It was in the strip that included the Five and Dime and Duckworth’s on Fraser Highway, she said.

Dornan has appeared in the paper many times over the years, but she said the first time was likely in photos while she was still in elementary school.

She was probably photographed sitting on one of the May Day floats, Dornan said.

Dornan said you counted on the Advance then, as today, to let you know what was going on around town.

“It was a real community paper,” Dornan said.

You looked forward to finding out what was going on in all the neighbourhoods of Langley. With six major neighbourhoods, everyone was in their own little area, she said.

“It’s all local sports, local news, and what’s going on in the high schools,” Dornan said.

She particularly likes the historical section, Looking Back, which features tidbits going all the way back to the Advance’s founding.

John Jackman

The Jackman family goes back to before Langley was officially incorporated.

John’s great-grandfather, Sapper Philip Jackman, was one of the company of Royal Engineers who arrived in 1859, shortly after British Columbia became a colony.

Philip Jackman stayed in the new colony and was a founder of Aldergrove, where many of his descendants still live.

“To me, and in our family, it meant a lot,” John Jackman said about the local community newspaper.

With his deep roots in the community, Jackman said he was always interested in the paper’s historical coverage over the years.

He remembers his father saving some papers from the 1930s, among the Advance’s earliest editions.

“We’re proud and honoured that the paper is still around,” Jackman said.

Marge Shiell

A longtime Langley resident who grew up in Glen Valley, Marge Shiell has also been involved with various volunteer causes over the years, including Langley’s annual Terry Fox Run.

“It was something you always looked forward to, to find out what was going on in the community,” Shiell said.

Her family got both the Advance and the Vancouver Sun back when the Advance was still a subscription paper, she recalled.

“You grew up reading,” Shiell said.

It was an important way to keep up with the larger Langley, especially if you didn’t leave your neighbourhood very often, Shiell said.

Shiell didn’t leave the family farm frequently while growing up; you went to school and came right back home most days.

“You didn’t really know what was happening in the other areas,” Shiell said.

The paper was a way to keep up. On the other hand, coverage of events in your neighbourhood jumped out at you, Shiell said.

Hugh Davis

Hugh Davis was born and still lives on the property his grandfather Hugh Davis bought from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1872.

The family farm was just 121 acres.

“Twenty dollars an acre was a lot of money,” Davis explained.

He is one of the few people who can claim to have been a steady reader of the Advance since it began.

“I’ve likely read the Langley Advance for 85 years,” said Davis. “I remember when they started. I’m 91, going on 92.”

With Langley a very small, rural town in the 1930s, Davis knew several of the early figures at the Advance, including the family of the first editor, E.J. Cox. He was also friendly with Jim Schatz, who was the owner, publisher, and editor for many years.

“I’ve got it over by my chesterfield,” Davis said when asked if he still reads the paper. He doesn’t just read it for mentions of his son, Township Councillor David Davis, he said.

Roy Mufford

A member of the pioneering Mufford family, Roy Mufford still has a copy of the June 29, 1977 edition of the Advance.

“I saved it because my picture’s on the front page,” he said.

Along with several friends, he was photographed at the start of construction for the Zone 7 Firehall in Langley Township.

He was also a fan of former editor Schatz’s column, dubbed Week Moments. “He always came up with some historical goodies,” said Mufford.

“We always had it,” he said.


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

Langley’s chamber history mirrors the newspaper

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