Just a 40-minute drive east of downtown Vancouver, Langley (pop 130,000) attracts visitors with a blend of offerings, delivering the kind of accommodations, dining, and other amenities that visitors expect in the 21st century. Whether it’s hiking through local parks, family-friendly festivals, or glitzy movie theatre and casino experiences, it’s all here in this Fraser Valley community.
Fort Langley and Langley History
The history of Langley is inextricably linked to the Fort, which is now considered an “historical village” within the larger Langley city and township. Fort Langley was founded in 1827 as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, and maintained that role until 1886. Sir James Douglas, who would become British Columbia’s first governor, presided over the proclamation that officially made BC a Crown Colony of Great Britain on November 19, 1858.
Langley itself continued to expand through the 20th century, becoming a major agricultural centre, with dairy, poultry, cranberries and mushrooms among its core crops. Langley these days encompasses 320sq km/124sq mi, bordered by the Fraser River to the north, Surrey to the west, Abbotsford to the east, and Washington State (USA) to the south.
Food & Wine
With so many farms here, culinary tours are always a mouth-watering option. Pick up organic baked goods and handmade chocolate at specialty food shops. Take a self-guided, 12-stop Circle Farm Tour and purchase cheeses and preserves, pick blueberries and strawberries, and get nursery plants directly from local agritourism destinations. Or, enjoy one (or several!) of Langley’s local wineries.
Museums, Shopping, and Sports
Langley’s mild coastal climate lends itself to all kinds of opportunities. Spend a quiet afternoon at Fort Langley’s BC Farm & Agricultural Museum, and the art galleries, chocolate shops and bookstores that line nearby Glover Road or visit the Canadian Museum of Flight’s 25-plus vintage aircraft, and follow that up with a shopping trip to downtown Langley’s Tribal Spirit Gallery, featuring aboriginal totem poles and jewelery. Hardcore shoppers can happily spend all day inside at Willowbrook Shopping Centre’s 150 outlets. Alternatively, revel in Langley’s green, rolling landscape and/or take in a round of golf at Redwoods Golf Course or Belmont Golf Course, two of Langley’s seven well-reviewed golf courses or learn more about other outdoor activities and things to do.
Entertainment in Langley
Entertainment-wise, Langley believes in going big. The Fraser Valley’s biggest casino is the Cascades Casino, located right downtown. The biggest movie theatre in Metro Vancouver is the Colossus Langley, which lives up to its name by having 18 screens (including an IMAX theatre) inside a lit-up building that resembles the Mother Ship in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Wild about wildlife?
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2010, the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove offers 49ha/120ac of parkland with some 800 animals for viewing, including tigers, deer, eagles, and grizzly bears. The zoo also has miniature train rides and safari bus tours, and hosts birthday parties and weddings.
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