Canada 150: Explore Fort Langley & Gulf of Georgia Cannery Historic Sites in BC with Your Free National Parks Pass
British Columbia has a rich and fascinating history and Parks Canada National Historic Sites highlight pieces of this history. BC’s National Historic Sites are spread out through the province, from East to West and from North to South. Several of the sites are within an easy day trip of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Others will require more planning and commitment. All are worth visiting.
Today we are highlighting two National Historic Sites, Fort Langley and Gulf of Georgia Cannery. Both are easily accessible day trips from Metro Vancouver, and then in June we will be talking about three National Historic Sites that are spread throughout the province and would make a great part of any summer vacation.
A common thread through many of Canada’s National Historic Sites (and Parks) is the Xplorers Program for the young and young at heart. This program includes a booklet highlighting activities at each site. As children complete the activities, they work their way toward earning a certificate and souvenir. The program is a great way to keep kids engaged and learning, and offers a lot of fun opportunities.
Fort Langley National Historic Site
Growing up in Hope, Fort Langley National Historic Site is the one I have been to the most often. A popular location for school field trips, Sunday strolls, and taking out of town visitors, Fort Langley continues to expand its offerings to ensure that there is something new to experience every time you visit. Recently, Fort Langley became one of 20 participating locations in the new Club Parka Program – a learning opportunity complete with singing, dancing, and activity pages. There is also a fun photo scavenger hunt you can complete while visiting the fort.
Fort Langley is a great place to explore. There are replica and original buildings, costumed interpreters, and live demonstrations throughout the day. Visit the blacksmith shop, the barrel workshop, and the garden to get a glimpse of what daily life looked like at Fort Langley in 1827. After you work up an appetite, visit the Lelam’ Café inside the fort for a bowl of salmon chowder or elk stew complete with herb bannock. For a longer excursion, consider booking an oTENTik tent and staying the night inside the fort.
The community of Fort Langley is worth a visit while you are in the area. Pop down the street to browse in one of the many antique shops and make sure you stop in at Wendel’s Bookstore & Café for an afternoon treat. If you still have time, pay a visit to the nearby Fort Wine Co. and sample some of their grape-free wines or enjoy a pitcher of sangria with friends.
Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site
Fishing on the West Coast comes alive at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston. The cannery, built in 1894, operated until 1979 when it was closed. The building sat abandoned until Parks Canada purchased it in 1984, and then was officially opened as a National Historic Site in 1994.
While visiting the cannery, join in on one of the free, guided tours – they are well worth it. Just keep in mind that inside the cannery is two or three degrees cooler than whatever the weather is outside and the tour takes about 45 minutes. Bring a coat! After your tour, take a few minutes to soak up the sunshine (hopefully!) in the red Adirondack chairs overlooking the Steveston Harbour and the Salish Sea. Snap a photo and #sharethechair to commemorate your visit.
Once you are done at the Cannery, take a stroll along the waterfront. Head down to the docks, and you may be lucky enough to see one of the sea lions that call the harbour home. Sample amazing fish and chips or other seafood delights for lunch, and then head inland a block or two and you will suddenly find yourself transported to Storybrooke, Maine – the setting of ABC’s Once Upon A Time – where you can visit some of the most recognizable filming locations from the show.
BC has some of the best National Historic Sites in the country. Our diversity of mountain and ocean sites guarantees that you will find something to suit your interests – all while learning about BC’s fascinating history.
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Published: May 11th, 2017
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