Pioneer folk at Fort Langley still found time for romance

Dr. Benjamin Butler Marr was picking up his best man on his wedding day in 1913. He was going at quite a clip when the wheel of his buggy jammed and there was a crash.

The local doctor pronounced his “I Dos” to Isabel Drew McIntosh in rough shape.

“So on his wedding day, he unfortuantely was forced to go through the ceremony with a broken collarbone and three cracked ribs,” said Christi Dos Santos.

The marketing assistant at the Fort Langley National Historic Site said that’s one of the tales that will be shared during Pioneering Love, a new program for Valentine’s Day.

Staff have been researching the love-related history of the fort.

“We do have some stories that are recorded in fort journals,” Dos Santos explained. “Some of it we have been able to pull from fur trader biographies.”

The stories mainly focus on the fort’s heyday, namely 1827 to the late 1880s.

That includes love tales for some of the most prominent people in the community, such as Sir James Douglas and the fort’s chief factor James Murray Yale. Douglas was half white and half black. He worked for the Hudson Bay Co. and became British Columbia’s first Governor in 1858 when the colony was created. Douglas married a woman who was half Cree.

Yale married the daughter of the Kwantlen chief. It was common for men in the fur trade to marry First Nations women.

Tales of the personal lives of the people who lived and worked at the fort in bygone eras have always held a special appeal for visitors so staff decided a Valentine’s themed event was just the ticket.

The music of Russet Tones will be played during dinner. After the meal (with choices such as carrot ginger soup and maple crusted salmon with candied pecans), there will be an interpreter led walking-tour highlighting the fort’s past in the context of love and romance. The evening will be completed around a cozy fire.

Buy in advance

The Feb. 15 event is sold out but there’s room at the Feb. 14 evening. The event is not open to minors. Various dinner times are available.

Tickets are $45 (plus service fees) and available online. Go to http://fortlangleypioneeringlove.brownpapertickets.com/.

There is information about the event on the fort website or people can call with any questions.

And one lucky couple will win the evening free and a prize package valued at more than $500.

The prize package:

Two tickets to Pioneering Love Dinner and walking tour ($90 value)

A photoshoot at Fort Langley ($250 value)

Republica Roasters Deluxe Coffee Lovers Gift Basket ($70 value)

The Fort Wine Company’s cranberry wine and a full wine tasting tour ($40 value)

Flower arrangement by Floralista ($35 Value)

Wendal Café’s gift card ($25 value)

The Full Barrel Café jams and tea package ($25 value)

Cranberries Naturally’s mustard and cranberry sauce ($15 value)

Everybody Loves Candy Shoppe candy basket ($15 value)

Fort Bakery gift certificate ($10 value)

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