Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Fort Langley Community Hall is a large, classic revival building set back on a spacious property on Fort Langley's main street, Glover Road.
Fort Langley played a pivotal role in the creation of British Columbia. It was the first permanent European settlement in the Fraser Valley, the site of the proclamation of the Crown Colony of British Columbia and the first major commercial agricultural centre in B.C. The Hudson's Bay Company used the fur trade fort based here for exporting Fraser River salmon as well as agricultural products and furs to Europe and to Pacific Rim countries. In 1858, when gold was discovered on the bars of the Fraser River, the influx of prospectors caused fears of American annexation, and directly led to Britain proclaiming a Crown Colony under the direction of Governor James Douglas. The fort and the Village that grew up adjacent to it are now part of the Township of Langley.
Designed by a prominent Vancouver architect, Archibald Campbell Hope, and constructed in 1931, Fort Langley Community Hall is recognized for its landmark status as well as its historic, social and aesthetic significance to the Township.
A.C. Hope and his wife Mary came to Vancouver in 1908 from England and via a two year stay in San Francisco, where he obtained his architect's certificate. Primarily known for designing schools in Vancouver, Hope is also known for designing municipal halls and is best known for his design of Heritage Hall (formerly Postal Station C) at Main and 15th in Vancouver.
Hope likely received the commission to design Fort Langley Community Hall through his brother, Charles, who was a long time and prominent resident in Fort Langley. Built by volunteers for the Fort Langley Community Improvement Society, the Hall has played an important role in the community's life by faithfully providing a place to meet and hold functions that encourage a strong and vital community life.
Through volunteer commitment, the Hall has and continues to accommodate a variety of social, athletic, public and business events. The sustained use of the Hall shows the enduring dedication and enthusiasm of both the community and the Fort Langley Community Improvement Society (which has always owned and operated the building). To the residents of Fort Langley, this continuity of function is an important part of their civic pride.
Noteworthy for its time when men tended to dominate civic life, the Association's first president was Mrs. Hector Morrison, a woman of dedication who was also the president of the Fort Langley Women's Institute. Women have continued to play strong lead roles in the management of the Hall, in both its programming and its conservation.
The Hall is a fine and rare example of a wooden classic revival building in the Fraser Valley. The formality of the Hall is emphasized by its placement at the rear and centre of a large, open property, and by the requirement to approach the entrance via a sweeping drive. At the same time, the Hall also appears gracious and welcoming, due primarily to its symmetry, its celebration of approach and entry from Glover Road, and its sense of old world charm.
The row of large, deciduous Maple trees on each of the north and south property lines are also important as they offer a direct historic and symbolic link to the original directors of the Society, who planted these trees in celebration of the Hall's construction.
Together with the Coronation Block and the Canadian Northern Railway Station, the Fort Langley Community Hall played an important role in focussing the community on heritage conservation issues. Its imposing and uniquely grand design helped create the public and political will to ensure the success of Langley's first Heritage Conservation Area, which was established in 1997 and includes a 9 square block area of the Village of Fort Langley.
Source: Langley Centennial Museum, heritage files
Key elements that define the heritage character of this site include:
- The physical location of the building at the centre of the village;
- The extent and layout of the grounds with spacious grassed areas divided by a curving drive, which establishes a formal orientation of the Hall to Glover Road;
- The row of deciduous Maple trees on both the north and south property lines, which create a natural division between the site and neighbouring properties;
- Unaltered spatial orientation of the main, formal entryway facing Glover Road;
- Symmetry of front facade;
- Grandeur and formality of exterior detailing using local wood building materials;
- Original interior features such as the proscenium arch and the dance floor on the second floor;
- Original colour scheme;
- The choice of classic revival for the design of the building and which include such elements as:
- Wood pilasters and engaged Doric columns of front facade,
- Concrete plinths,
- Moulded frieze,
- Wooden plank trim,
- Wooden clapboard on exterior wall surfaces,
- Peaked hip roof,
- Scalloped shingles in gable,
- Single hung double windows spaced evenly along main and second levels of front facade.
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Community Organizations
Function - Category and Type
- Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
Architect / Designer
Archibald Campbell Hope
Location of Supporting Documentation
Langley Centennial Museum, heritage files.
See also: Fort Langley Community Improvement Society files.
Cross-Reference to Collection