Our Shared History

A Historic Context Statement & Thematic Framework for the Township of Langley

Irrigation Field Langley Prairie, 1949

Photo: The Salmon River near Glover Road, circa 1938. [James Crookall, photographer. CVA 260-823]

Latest News

After many months of research, consultation, compilation and writing, the ‘Our Shared History’ project is nearing completion, and was shared with Township Council at the Regular Afternoon Meeting on July 24.

We invite you to view the final project documents online, which include a concise Summary Document  (81 MB) and full-length Background Document  (36 MB) that contains the full text, accompanying images and specific references to Langley’s historic places. Take a look, as there will surely be an aspect of Langley’s story that will interest to you!

We wish to express our sincerest appreciation to everyone who participated in the project by providing guidance and direction, participating in the workshops, attending the open house, submitting written materials, and sharing their knowledge, personal reflections and perspectives on Langley through the many conversations this project has generated.

If you have any questions about the project, or if you have read ‘Our Shared History’ and think an adjustment should be made to a fact or story, please contact us at oursharedhistory@tol.ca or 604-533-6152. 

Project Overview

The story of the Township of Langley is a rich and varied narrative involving many cultures and activities. From its First Nations origins through European settlement and the Hudson’s Bay Company era, Langley has played a role in provincial and national consolidation, and made considerable contributions to resources, trade and agriculture within the region. Its evolution as a community has resulted in a legacy of traditions and places that remain a continued source of local pride today.

Our Shared History: Parks Canada and Township of Langley Graph

With the guidance and support of the Heritage Advisory Committee, the Township of Langley is developing a historic context statement and thematic framework that will provide a summary description of the municipality’s formation over time.

Although the process of preparing a context statement looks to the past to inform its content, it is not a written history in itself, but rather a narrative document, which explores the major thematic events that have contributed to Langley’s development. The thematic framework explores themes identified in the context statement by breaking them down further under the five key categories identified by the Parks Canada National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan model adapted to suit local conditions. Together, the statement and framework address how distinctive events and eras of history have shaped what our community is today.

The outcome of this work will be a comprehensive framework from which to investigate, identify, understand, and assess heritage resources, based on where their significance lies within the greater community context. Sites that are currently on the Township of Langley’s Community Heritage Register will be calibrated against identified themes to ensure that there is measurable community significance. As well, the framework will be used to evaluate whether key community themes are comprehensively represented. Where key themes are not sufficiently represented, the context statement and accompanying framework will assist in identifying sites that represent these aspects of Langley’s historic legacy.

Our Shared History Framework

The statement and framework will also aid in providing an enhanced understanding for conserving historic sites in the Township based on best practices for conservation in Canada today. In 2012, Township Council endorsed The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Sites in Canada for use in the Township, which outlines a three-step process for conserving historic places. The historic context statement, thematic framework and list of priority sites will provide an improved foundation for “understanding” a place – the first key step in the conservation planning process.

Standards and Guidelines for Canadian Historic Places

The goals and objectives of the Township of Langley historic context statement and thematic framework are to:

  • Provide for analysis of potential gaps in the Community Heritage Register and other compiled information on Langley’s heritage sites;
  • Allow for development of Statements of Significance that together better convey Langley’s more complete history;
  • Inform urban design or public realm projects that involve cultural or built heritage;
  • Identify themes that provide for community identity that can inform neighbourhood planning processes, cultural tourism and other economically-based local initiatives; and
  • Provide direction for current and future conservation policies and activities.

Get Involved l Public Engagement

Obtaining public input across diverse topics is an integral aspect of developing this project. Stakeholders who have a significant role to play include those in business, government and community and service organizations, who have specific knowledge about the various facets of Langley’s past related to agriculture, commerce and trade, religion, education, the arts, and sports and leisure activities that have come to define community life in the Township.

Public engagement opportunities will occur between February and May of 2017, the first of which will be five public workshops scheduled between mid February and early March. Targeted consultation on specific subjects is also a part of this project to obtain a full understanding of the range of themes that have contributed to Langley’s development. A Public Open House will be scheduled in the late spring to share what we have heard to date and to obtain community feedback on themes recommended for further exploration.

Workshop Dates & Times

Be a part of the dialogue and join us for the following workshops:

Langley’s Built Heritage

February 15, 1:00 – 4:00pm

Natural and Cultural Landscapes Friday, February 17,
9:00am – 12:00pm
Agriculture Wednesday, March 1,
1:00 – 4:00pm
Sports and Recreation Thursday, March 2,
9:00am – 12:00pm
The Arts in Langley Thursday, March 2,
1:00 – 4:00pm

Register in advance by contacting the Community Development Division at 604-533-6152, or email oursharedhistory@tol.ca

Public Open House

Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Time: 4:00 – 8:00pm

Place: St. Andrew’s United Church Hall

Address: 9025 Glover Road, Fort Langley

This Open House is the last public opportunity to provide input on the project prior to preparation of the first draft of the project documents. Please join us and be part of the dialogue. Drop-in during the hours noted above to share your stories, reflections and perspectives on what has contributed to making Langley the community it is today.

Share Your Knowledge

We want to hear your stories about Langley’s past. Please join the workshops or share your memories, reflections and annotated images here

Background & Related Documents

In 2012, Township of Langley Council endorsed a Heritage Strategy that outlines strategic goals and actions for heritage conservation to 2022 and beyond. Goal 7 pertains to “Updating Heritage Policies in an Integrated Planning Framework”, and recommends development of an improved information base for the identification of Langley’s heritage resources. One of its associated actions includes the development of a Historic Context Statement and Thematic Framework for Langley. A terms of reference for this project was prepared under the auspices of the HAC and endorsed by Township Council in June 2016.

Existing policies and standards that support the development of a context statement and thematic framework include the:

  • Standards and Guidelines for Heritage Conservation in Canada (2010) endorsed for use in Langley by Township Council in 2012, which utilize a decision-making process dependent on understanding local values in making conservation decisions;
  • Local Government Act that provides the overall legal framework for heritage conservation in British Columbia;
  • Township of Langley Sustainability Charter (2008) that identifies the goal of celebrating our heritage by managing existing resources and promoting local heritage values through partnerships with key stakeholders;
  • Township of Langley Official Community Plan (2016), which outlines policies and objectives for celebrating Langley’s historic resources that contribute to community identity and play a key role in the development of complete and sustainable communities;
  • Township of Langley Heritage Strategy (2012) Goal 7 that recommends an enhanced framework for understanding and evaluating historic resources through development of a historic context statement and thematic framework for Langley.

We have compiled an extensive bibliography of additional government policies and literary publications on Langley that will assist in informing this project and recognize there may be others to add. Please share any suggestions you may have by contacting us at the email below.

Historic Context Statement & Thematic Framework Task Force

The process to complete the context statement and thematic framework is being guided by a steering task force selected by the Heritage Advisory Committee and endorsed by Council in September 2016. Its membership represents a range of stakeholders knowledgeable in the diverse aspects of Langley’s past.

The Task Force’s role is advisory and participatory, and its objective is to generate community awareness, solicit and share information, build upon information and processes already in place, and participate and advise on the outreach component of the historical and cultural review process.

Task Force members started work on the project in the late fall of 2016 and will assist with the direction of the project for its full duration. Donald Luxton & Associates was retained during 2016 to work in concert with the Task Force and Long Range Planning staff in preparing the context statement and thematic framework. Completion of the work will coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in July 2017.

Task Force Members

John Aldag
MP for Langley-Cloverdale, Former Manager of Parks Canada National Historic Sites - Coastal Branch

Ashley Doyle
Manager of Lands and Resources, Kwantlen First Nation

Mark Forsythe
Journalist and Former Host of CBC Almanac, Current Director of the Langley Heritage Society

Jim McGregor
Chair of the Justice Institute of BC, Former Fire Chief of the City of Langley

Dick Klein Geltink
Dairy Farm Owner, Board Member with the BC Milk Marketing Board

Debbie Miller
Spokesperson and Head of Treaty Negotiations, Katzie First Nation

Jane Watt
Langley Historian, Writer and Publisher

Kobi Christian
Arts & Heritage Curator, Langley Centennial Museum

Adam Cappon
Heritage Advisory Committee Representative

Stay Connected

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