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The Township of Langley is a district municipality immediately east of the City of Surreymarker in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. It extends south from the Fraser River to the U.S. border, and east to the City of Abbotsford. Langley Township is not to be confused with the City of Langleymarker, which is adjacent to the township but politically is a separate entity.

History

From time immemorial, the area that is now Langley was inhabited by various Stóːlō nations, including the Katzie and Kwantlen, who continue to live in the area and fish along the Fraser River.

The Township is home to the birthplace of British Columbia, the historic fur trade post of Fort Langleymarker.

The first Europeans to stay in the area permanently were the traders of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). In 1827, Fort Langley was built on the banks of the Fraser River, in the area now known as Derby Reach. It was one of a string of trading posts built up and down the Pacific Coast to compete with American fur traders for the rich pelts available in the region.

The first fort, built with two bastions, a wooden stockade and several buildings, proved to have been built too close to a fast-moving part of the river, in an area prone to flooding. It was rebuilt in 1839 farther upstream. As the HBC's network of forts in the interior grew, Fort Langley became a hub for farming, smithing and for shipping furs back to Europe.

In 1858, gold was discovered in the Fraser River in what is now the interior of British Columbia. With thousands of gold prospectors streaming into the province, the British government created British Columbia as a colony. James Douglas was sworn in as the new colony's first governor in Fort Langley, which was briefly the capital of the new region. The fort also became important as a supply station for the miners heading up the river toward the gold fields.

When the capital was moved to New Westminstermarker, Fort Langley's importance began to decline. The Hudson's Bay Company subdivided and sold its farm on Langley Prairie. Logging and farming replaced fur trading as the dominant local industries.

The Municipality of Langley was incorporated on April 26, 1873, with James W. Mackie as its first elected warden. Over time, New Westminster and then Vancouver developed into urban centres, but Langley remained predominantly a rural community.

The growth of transportation would continue to connect Langley with its surroundings. The British Columbia Electric Railway was built through the community in 1910, followed by Fraser Highway in the 1920s, and the construction of the Pattullo Bridgemarker in 1937, all adding to Langley's importance. The Trans Canada Highway reached Langley in 1964.

In 1955, however, residents of the downtown core (then called Langley Prairie) demanded services that the municipal government was not willing to provide (namely, street lights), and on March 15, 1955, the City of Langleymarker incorporated as a separate municipality.

Recent developments

Township of Langley City Hall
In February 2006 the Township of Langley moved its Municipal Hall from the "core area" of the Township to the growing Willoughby area. The new facility also includes a new library, fitness room (which incorporates a special type of hardwood floor room) and a new community policing station. The Vancouver Titans of the International Basketball League begin play in 2009, and will play all home games at the Langley Events Centre.

Since the 1980s, Langley City and surrounding lands administered by the Municipality have been subject to extensive strip mall development. The old town core remains pleasant to walk through, but many core businesses (including the civil courts and several banks) have moved to the malls, fostering an automobile-dominated community. In addition to this, the community allowed extensive strip development along the Langley Bypass, which has become the new sprawled business area of the city.

Construction of the Golden Ears Bridgemarker has been completed and opened to traffic on June 16, 2009.

Demographics

  • Population (2006): 93,726
  • Area:


Culture of Langley

Vampire at the Canadian Museum of Flight
The Township of Langley is largely a suburban community, but, while the center is increasingly urban, the periphery (particularly in the South and Southeast) maintains its agricultural nature. The neighbourhoods of Willoughby and Walnut Grove are quite suburban, and feature large numbers of big-box stores, the Willowbrook Shopping Centre, and the Famous Players Colossus Theatre Complex. Other areas of the city feature Fort Langley National Historic Sitemarker, the Twilight Drive-in, the Canadian Museum of Flightmarker, numerous parks, beaches, and horse farms (which garner Langley the title of "Horse Capital of British Columbia." ) The Otter Co-op is a major commercial and agricultural centre for the community of Aldergrove.

Langley is also home to the Langley Ukulele Ensemble and many sports clubs. There are several ice-rinks in town, including the George Preston Centre in Brookswood, the Sportsplex in Walnut Grove, and the Aldergrove arena.

Education

Brookswood Secondary

Schools

Langley Township is served by the School District 35 Langley. It also contains one francophone elementary school, which is part of the province-wide CSF , School District 93.

Tertiary education

Langley is home to Trinity Western Universitymarker, a private Christian liberal arts university, and the Langley satellite campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, a public undergraduate university.

Government

The Township of Langley is composed of an eight-member council and a mayor. All members of council are elected to three-year terms in elections that take place in late November.





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