Douglas Day Pays Tribute to Langley's Pioneers

A community is made up of many things: homes, schools, roads, buildings, parks, and natural spaces, as well as the services and programs that residents rely on and use every day.

But what really makes a community is its people, the individuals and groups whose contributions, principles, hard work, and guidance give a place its character and create a sense of home.

On November 19, the people who have been doing just that for decades were recognized when the Township of Langley and the City of Langley hosted the annual Douglas Day banquet. On Monday, 216 pioneers – those who are at least 70 years of age and have lived in the Langleys for 60 years or more – and guests gathered at the Langley Events Centre where they were celebrated with lunch, entertainment, and special presentations.

“It is always an honour to thank our pioneers and recognize the people who helped build our community,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese. “They laid the foundation for the exceptional quality of life we now enjoy and it is our pleasure to pay homage to the long-time residents who shaped Langley through their wisdom and efforts.”

A tradition that has been recognized by the Township since the 1920s, Douglas Day is named after British Columbia’s first governor, James Douglas. On November 19, 1858, he made the proclamation which created the crown colony of BC at the Big House in Fort Langley, earning the community the title of “The Birthplace of BC.”

In 1946, the celebration of Douglas Day was established by the Township as a municipal bylaw. The province’s shortest piece of legislation, the Douglas Day Act, states, “November 19 of each year is Douglas Day throughout British Columbia.” Many municipalities in the Lower Mainland celebrated Douglas Day in the past, but Langley is one of the few to continue the tradition.

Organized with help from a dedicated committee and volunteers, Douglas Day features a different theme each year. Mechanics, merchants, farmers, firefighters, teachers, and medical professionals of the past have been spotlighted over the years, and at the 2018 event, those who excelled at sports took centre stage.

From high jump champions to legendary Little Leaguers and those who raised renowned race horses, Douglas Day saluted the pioneer men and women who took time away from the home and fields to compete or just play, along with the coaches, trainers, and mentors who gave their time and talent to produce Langley’s excellent athletes and sports teams.

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