Our View: More than HBC to B.C. history

Langley plays a big role in B.C. history, but there is more than the fur trade.

British Columbia does not come with a large amount of recorded history.

But what there is, is a lot more interesting than most people know.

We rightly put a lot of focus on the early days – the interactions between the First Nations inhabitants and the Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders, the Gold Rush, and the creation of B.C. as a colony.

So when Brigade Days arrive, by all means, celebrate. But then dig deeper.

Langley’s history includes cougar attacks, political battles, smuggling, floods, fires, a small (but lethal) tsunami, and whole industries that rose and fell and are barely remarked upon today.

Just in this community, we’ve seen residents head off to war, and come home heroes or in coffins. We’ve produced killers and philanthropists (seldom the same people) and artists and eccentrics (sometimes the same people).

The same holds for the whole of the province. If you’re setting off to explore it, or even just taking a day trip this long weekend, learn a bit about its strange people.

The names of our regions are a gateway to history. Simon Fraser’s name wouldn’t be on the river if it weren’t for his long journey, almost but not quite to the Pacific. The Chilcotin War and the Fraser Canyon War, Anarchist Mountain and Skookumchuk all link geography to human history. The Haney Slide was an event that was life changing for some farmers in Langley.

If you have a little time and inclination, dive into B.C. history this summer. It’s recorded passage is brief, but as unusual as you can find in Canada.

– M.C.

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