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Fort Langley

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Fort Langley - A Site For All Seasons

Heading east from Vancouver on the Trans Canada Highway to Abbotsford (at Exit 66), a favourite side trip anytime of t he day or year, is the laid back community of Fort Langley, where you can buy ripe berries of tree fruit in season or fresh fish from a stand near the river. Are you in the mood for some fabulous food? Try Bedford House, a 3-storey former lumber baron's Victorian style residence, which faces the Fraser River in a treed, park like area. Across the road from Bedford, near the Albion Ferry Dock, is another pleasant dining spot with a river view and a broad patio. After lunch, dinner, browsing the art stores and antique shopping, you'll want to visit the 'fort' operated by Heritage Canada. Speaking of antiques, the town is loaded with treasures of early Canadiana- reflecting the lifestyles and souvenirs of many generations.

The Fort: A National Historic Site
In a book that profiled the Sto:lo First Nations, I learned that Fort Langley's position on the river made it a focal point for activity, since the aboriginals had established trading networks for millennia prior to the Europeans arrival. The first fort was built in 1839 as the Hudson's Bay Company's Western outpost part of a vast fur trade network. Nineteen years later during the Cariboo Gold Rush, Fort Langley was where Sir James Douglas, officially proclaimed British Columbia a Crown Colony. Strange fact - as the first commercial settlement in the area, Fort Langley's staff was recruited mainly from Hawaii, and were called "Kanakas." Thus the name Kanaka Creek across the Fraser River, which became a regional park. Remnants of the old fort are still evident; one original building is still standing, and several have been carefully reconstructed. For special effect and to benefit camera bugs, all interpreters wear period costumes. A variety of features at the 'fort' include: Archaeological evidence of early activities by Coast Salish people; 1858 Gold Rush relics, and gold panning; Fur trade and its impact on First Nations lifestyle; Formation of the Colony of British Columbia; Cultural and social landscape of 1858; Hands-on activities, such as blacksmithing; Early forms of agriculture.

Transportation: The Fraser River Connection, a replica of an early river boat, visits Fort Langley regularly during the tourism season. The river cruise operates between here and Westminster Quay in New Westminster.

The Ferry at Fort Langley takes cars across the river, where you can visit a variety of Mighty Fraser communities and attractions. 23433 Mavis Ave., Fort Langley, BC

Hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily.
Admission $4, Seniors $3, Children 6-16 $2, Family $10.
Information (604) 513-4777

City of Abbotsford Cultural Attractions

2329 Crescent Way,, Ph. 853-0966
Theatre equipped with 701 seats offers a full concert lighting, sound and fly system and is suitable for annual general meetings, dance, theatre, concerts, and public forums.

Ph. 853-6700

Ph. 852-9358
A resource for all areas of art.

East of Abbotsford, off Hwy#1, Ph. 823-4678
Since its construction in 1920, and during its 60 years of operation, the old Sumas station served the area well, draining approximately 16,000 acres of rich agricultural land and 5,000 acres of steep hillside. The present Barrowtown Pump Station officially opened in 1985 with a total projected value of $25,450,000. Picnic area. For tours, call in advance.

Hwy. 1 & Whatcom Road , Ph. 850-0411
Indoor and outdoor large-scale mini-golf, batting cages, skill and video games, Go-Kart track. Monkey Time Pizza Restaurant. Group rates.

33339 South Fraser Way, Ph. 852-3999

2825 Clearbrook Road , Ph. 853-5532
Mennonite museum, restaurant with ethnic cuisine, gift shop.

Off Mission Hwy North, turn right on Clayburn Road. Clayburn Village is a unique, secluded little village, dotted with historical brick buildings, a heritage church and school, plus the site of the old brick plant. Claybun Village is situated on the west side of Sumas Mountain.

34345 Vye Road , Ph. 852-5444
Take a self-guided tour of this popular Visitor Centre, just minutes from downtown. Journey through large exhibit space featuring fish, fishing and fisheries displays, live stream display, walk-in beaver lodge and 12 min. multi-projector slide show. Call for large group bookings. Summer hours: 10 am - 5 pm; Winter 10 am - 3 pm.

Ware Street , Ph. 853-0313
Heritage Gallery features exhibits on local and surrounding areas. Children's programs during holiday seasons. Trethewey House is a designated heritage site, restored to 1925 era with period rooms. Photos, archives available to researchers. Gift shop, school/group tours, slide shows and demonstrations by appointment. Handicapped accessibility.

Kariton House Cultural Centre, 2387 Ware Street , Ph. 852-9358
Exhibits works of local artists.

Mill Lake Road & Emerson Street
Nature trails, fitness track, picnic area, outdoor swimming pool, water park, playground equipment, open to small rowboats, canoes, trout fishing, wildfowl refuge, adjacent to major shopping centres, short walk to MSA Museum, Trethewey House, Kariton Gallery and Ravine Park.

#3 - 34100 South Fraser Way , Ph. 864-2917
Indoor rock climbing gym - 9,000 square feet of Western Canada's newest climbing surface.

Domaine De Chaberton Winery Tours
1064 - 216th Street, Langley, BC
Tel. (604) 530-1736 or 1-800-332-9463.

It took several journeys between France and British Columbia before Claude Violet found the exact combination he desired; a soil and a climate similar to his home in the wine-producing area of Southern Alsace. Eventually Mr. Violet settled in the Fraser Valley in South Langley on a 33 acre of property that's a stone's throw from the Canada-USA. Here in a pastoral setting, ringed by the snow capped peaks of the Coast Mountains, Violet found the micro-climate and soil types that would enable he and his family to establish Domaine de Chaberton. That moment of discovery was in 1982, and now 18 years later, the winery is yielding the finest of white wines. On our last visit to his vineyards we sampled three popular whites - Madeline Angelvine, Madeline Sylvaner and the reigning favourite in my opinion - Bacchus.

I first interviewed Claude Violet in 1992, and have recommended the company's products ever since. Domaine de Chaberton wines participated at the 1st Business to Business Show at Abbotsford Airport terminal, hosted by Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.
Winery tours: April 18 - August 30, Sat. & Sun. , 2 and 4 pm.


The Canadian Museum of Flight
Langley Airport, 5333 - 216th Street
(at Fraser Highway), Langley, Ph. (604) 532-0035.

There she stands, the sleek Avro CF-100, pride of the Royal Canadian Air Force, proud and sassy as ever, her body gleaming in the sunshine of another spring. At RCAF Base Trenton, north of Toronto, when I first saw her 'dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings,' she was Canada's debutante, a grand new star in the theater of the air.

By her side stands a more humble, homelier craft, once common as geese on Canada's wind-swept prairies (or so it seemed); the rugged, reliable Harvard Mark IV. This black and yellow 'bumble bee' was the backbone of Canada's large training fleet, and the first solo experience for many NATO pilots. Saluting these stalwarts of my air force days, including the Beechcraft Expeditor perched nearby, certainly stirred the emotions. But here at the Canadian Museum of Flight my opening question was this. "How did these aircraft, and over 70 other treasures of the aviation world end up here at Langley, BC?

It's a true life adventure story; one of dedication, recovery and restoration, plus the initiative that created a force of several hundred volunteers. A local action to prevent the export of historic aircraft, grew into a crusade, ranking this BC attraction among Canada's leading air museums. Each aircraft in this elite group has its peculiar story to tell. Few arrived intact; many are true reincarnations --fished from rivers, lakes, swamps and fjords, painfully restored from piles of debris, rescued from the jaws of 'cannibals, junk dealers and scavengers. You'll see craft from every chapter of the aviation history book; early bush planes, gliders and home-builts, amphibians, spy planes, transports, fighters, bombers and several generations of jets, plus the denizens of what they called "helicopter hill" at the museum's first location near Surrey's Crescent Beach.

Who wouldn't be impressed by such vintage warriors as the Sopwith Camel, Westland Lysander, Republic Seabee, Lockheed Silverstar, Avro Arrow, and names like Aeronca, Bell, Bellanca, Blackburn, Boeing, Bristol, Curtis, deHavilland, Fairchild, Fleet Finch, Frankfort, Handley-Page, Hawker, Piper, Pissecki, Sikorsky, Stinson, and Waco. Each invokes its special claim to the field of memories.

We first viewed the Museum of Flight unescorted, with cameras in hand, letting our imaginations soar, and capturing some priceless shots for the family archives. The next time, however, I donned the headphones for an "audio- dramatization"... a narrated journey through these fascinating displays. The realistic sounds and professional voices on the audio track recreate history, providing detail, drama, life and motion to the experience.

You'll witness first hand, the cramped, fully exposed gun-turrets and better understand the hazards faced by allied bomber crews that hovered anxiously like sitting ducks, over occupied Europe. Rare birds, unusual relics and one-of-a-kind wonders abound. For example, a Hampden bomber, raised from the deep after 44 years; an airborne banana; a flying anvil; a flying panhandle; a flying ice cream cone, what else? You'll hear their dramatic stories through the medium of audio tape. Some units such as the Westland Lysander, too fragile for outside display await hanger space at a future date.

Wings, wheels- and wonders!
The Canadian Museum of Flight and Transportation is a grand show anytime. The gift shop contains every kind of aviation curio, plus models, flags, banners, posters, rare photos, cards, books and souvenirs. There are more memories in the museum' s Aviation Library , which has an extensive photo collection.

Admission: Adults $5, Seniors and students $4,
Children under 6 free, Family $12.
Open daily year round: 10 am to 4 pm.