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 Thunder stop Shamrocks

The local lacrosse season is close to wrapping up.

Throwback Thursday: July 19, 2018

Can you help us caption a photo from Langley’s past?

Our View: Location matters when it comes to candidates

Those running for civic office should live in the community they want to represent.

Looking Back: July 19, 2018

The community’s history, as seen through the files of the Langley Advance.

VIDEO: New doctors, but fewer spaces for patients in Langley

Retirements have left some Langley residents without a family physician.

BC Games: Dance, spoken-word highlights at Opening Ceremony in Cowichan

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

Trump slams Federal Reserve rate hikes

Fed raised benchmark rate for a second time this year in June, and projects two more hikes to come

5 to start your day

Plea for help to find hockey dad’s killer, Langley diver shares story of Thai cave rescue, and more

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

UPDATED: 1,500 residents on evacuation alert as Peachland under state of emergency

The Mount Eneas wildfire has forced an evacuation alert of 596 properties

Police to provide update on case against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

McArthur worked as a landscaper, allegedly concealed the remains of seven men in planters

Premiers to wrap up 2 days of meetings at New Brunswick seaside resort

Meetings held in the scenic seaside town of St. Andrews on Thursday focused on trade

B.C. city wants pot banned from ALR

Mayor and council are concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

Most Read