In the 1800s, fur traders were at the forefront of the ever advancing British Empire and Fort Langley was one of the trading posts built by the powerful Hudson’s Bay Company, which back then functioned as a de facto government in the Pacific Northwest. Originally, the fort was established due to the British interest in sea otter pelts and to once and for all assert control over the Columbia District in the face of American competition, but soon the site’s purpose shifted to a more supportive one. What is today known as the Fort Langley National Historic Site moved on to influence history in profound ways, helped establish the international border with the United States and due to its strategic location, became the birthplace of British Columbia.
Visitors can step back in time at the restored and reconstructed Fort Langley to interact with costumed fur traders or dress up themselves, get introduced to blacksmithing in a working forge as well as try their hand at gold panning and barrel making in the cooperage. The site now offers buildings that are both original as well as restored and features historical structures ranging from servant’s quarters and storehouses to bastions. The depot is where a century and a half ago, shipments would arrive and depart from, but is today used as an exhibition area. Here and in the exhibits building, displays bring the international trade at Fort Langley back to life.