Posted by: locaphile | August 5, 2013

Guest blog: Hot bike to Fort Langley for BC Day 2013

Three of us biked over to Fort Langley on ‘BC Day’. This is a favourite trip – about 40 km, across the Golden Ears bridge, mostly on separated bike lanes. Fort Langley was packed with tourists and visitors. We bought lunch at the newly rebuilt Lee’s Market, a longstanding Fort Langley institution, that burnt down a few years ago. We ate in the shade (it was hot!) just outside the Fort. Loud musket fire and bagpipes drew us to the riverfront where, it turned out, a re-enactment of the arrival of the fur brigades was underway, with five canoes arriving, full of people in period dress, to commemorate the return of the Hudson’s Bay trappers and traders who travelled into the interior.

All great fun, and appropriate to be here on BC Day, for it was in 1858, in a ceremony in the Fort, that the territory now known as British Columbia was declared a Crown colony to which British law applied. Fort Langley was also, apparently, the first site in the mainland in which that which was now designated as ‘public land’ was made available for sale a week later. All of this, of course, rested on the idea that no one else may have had rights or title to the land. Far from a happy place, then, if you worry at the work that law does in effecting colonial dispossession.
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