Painful Truth: More history in Langley than meets the eye

Langley’s suburban recent history covers a much deeper story.

You can live in Langley for years and mistake it for just another cookie-cutter slice of suburbia.

From Willoughby or Walnut Grove, Brookswood or Murrayville, it’s easy to just take a glance around and dismiss the place. Another former farming town turned post-war suburb. A place where people only turned up because they were looking for inexpensive housing and an easy commute.

That’s completely wrong.

I was thinking about this when I went for a bike ride on the weekend. Just a little 25 kilometre spin and I passed by a lot of history, recent and otherwise.

I live in Willoughby, the fastest-growing, largest, and newest neighbourhood of Langley. I took the 208th Street overpass – which was still being argued about when I started working freelance for the Langley Advance in the late 1990s. Some folks didn’t want all the extra noise in what was still then a quiet neighbourhood of acreages.

From there I headed through Walnut Grove, which exemplifies the philosophy of the 1980s and ’90s. Cul-de-sacs were the order of the day.

To the north, the dikes on the flat floodplains remind me of the flood of 1948, when farmers drove herds of cattle through the rising waters, when the high school grads had to abruptly leave their year end dance to fill sand bags.

I passed the original and “new” Fort Langley sites, tied to the Hudson’s Bay Company traders.

And of course, I passed through (and live on) the unceded lands of the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations, 12,000 years of history and counting.

Even the Langley Advance has its history, chronicling all those places and people. We’ve been here 86 years as of July 23.

We’ve covered fairs and fires, May Queens and murders. We’ll cover the change of government and whatever comes next.

If you’re new to Langley or a longtime resident, remember that there are centuries of history here. And we’re making more of it, each and every day.

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