Those looking for the amenities of urban living, along with access to plenty of natural spaces, can find both in Langley.
Centrally located in the Fraser Valley, Langley is located east of the City of Surrey and extends from the Fraser River to the U.S. border, and west of the City of Abbotsford. Various Stó:lo nations, including the Katzie and Kwantlen, originally inhabited the area.
In 1827, on the banks of the Fraser River, European traders with the Hudson’s Bay Company built Fort Langley. The post purchased, or traded, furs from the local aboriginal population and serviced the British Empire via the Fraser. In 1858, the gold rush brought tens of thousands of prospectors to the area. To stave off any claims the Americans might make on the territory, newly-sworn-in Governor James Douglas proclaimed the Colony of British Columbia.
In the mid-60s and beyond, more communities developed to service commuters who wanted to be nearer to the Trans-Canada Highway. Today, the 308-square-kilometre Township includes neighbourhoods such as Aldergrove, Murrayville, Walnut Grove, and Willoughby. In 2009, the completion of the Golden Ears Bridge connected the Township of Langley with the communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
The City of Langley, which is part of the Langley region but is its own municipality, encompasses dynamic urban communities, quiet suburban neighbourhoods, and over 300 acres of parkland.A population of 27,000+ now lives within an area of 10.18 square kilometres (four square miles). The downtown core is walkable, with hip and trendy stores and cafés. Langley is known for its mild climate, peaceful valley setting, and breathtaking mountain views.
Intersected by Highway 10 and the Fraser Highway and 5 km from the TransCanada Highway 1, the City of Langley lies in the Fraser Valley directly east of the City of Surrey, adjacent to the Cloverdale area, and surrounded on the north, east and south by the Township of Langley. It is 35km from Vancouver, and 14 km from the U.S. border, and a four-hour drive to the Okanagan.
The City’s downtown developed around the Fraser Highway, which becomes a single lane of traffic lined with restaurants and shops. Just outside downtown are the strip malls and low-rise apartment buildings. Most detached housing is outside this area.
Some famous Langleyians include athlete Brett Lawrie, infielder for the Chicago White Sox, actors Amanda Crew (HBO’s Silicon Valley) and Jacob Tremblay (Room), and musicians Brian Smith (guitarist for rock band Trooper) and Tom Thacker (guitarist and vocalist with Gob and Sum 41).
The Township of Langley is largely suburban, but the centre is increasingly urban. Some of Metro Vancouver's most affordable housing and business rates— including one of the region’s most competitive tax rates—can be found here. The median price of a house in July 2020 was $735k. The majority of the land in the Langley Township is designated as Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
The City of Langley boasts some of the most affordable land prices in the region. According to the City’s 2019 Community Profile, the benchmark price for a home was $821,900, or about 60 percent of the cost of a home in Vancouver. Langley City continues to see growth in high-density residential development, and multi-family housing, as well as mixed-use commercial-residential buildings, remains a top development priority. In 2018, the city more than doubled its average annual construction value, up to $113m from a 10-year average annual construction value of $48.6m. The City’s 2019 vision document calls for more diverse housing mixes. There is also a push to replace and densify downtown commercial properties. In addition, some of the lowest development cost charges and lowest commercial to residential tax ratios in Metro Vancouver can be found in Langley. Construction on a new Skytrain rail extension is scheduled to begin in 2022.
As of 2016, the Township’s population size was over 117,000 people. Overall, the population is growing at a rate of 2.33 per cent per year over the past 15 years from 2001 to 2016. The median household income is $90,594. The median age is 41, with the largest population the age group between 50-54 years old. The least populated age group is between 80 and 84 years old. 65.78 per cent of the population are in the working age group between 15 to 64 years old, while 27.97 per cent make up the younger population. The majority of the population is married. Sales and service, and trades and transport, make up the majority of jobs, along with business and finance. Management, education, law and government, health and sciences, art and sports, and natural resources and manufacturing make up most of the rest.
Meanwhile, thirty-six percent of Langley’s citizens work in business and/or professional occupations, 26 per cent in sales and service, 20 percent in trades and transport, and nine percent health and sciences. The average household income is $109,600 (compared to $90,354 in B.C.). The median age is 42.2 years. About 81 per cent of the population is under 64; about 26 per cent of that number is under the age of 24. Seniors represent 19 per cent of the population. The largest age group is between 30-49 years of age.
For many, Fort Langley is the region’s main attraction. Each year, the Fort Langley National Historic Site puts on events and exhibits relevant to the history of the area and is open to the public. Elsewhere in Langley you’ll also find the Canadian Museum of Flight, numerous parks, rivers, and horse farms—the local equine industry is valued at over $60 million annually, and the Township of Langley is known as the Horse Capital of BC. The Otter Co-op is a major commercial and agricultural centre for the community of Aldergrove. Alpacas are also farmed in Langley.
The largest secondary school in Langley is Walnut Grove Secondary, which has about 2000 students. The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique operates École Des Voyageurs, a Francophone elementary school that is part of the province-wide CSF (conseil scolaire francophone). Six elementary schools and one middle school, H. D. Stafford, are situated in Langley City. Langley is also home to a choice school called U-Connect at Simonds Elementary and six K-7 Montessori schools. Langley Community Music School offers music education to students of all ages.
In Fort Langley, the Langley Fine Arts School is a public elementary and secondary school that focuses on dance, drama, visual art and music. Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Langley campus is home to the university’s School of Horticulture, which includes a field lab, greenhouses, and gardens. The Langley campus is also home to KPU's music programs and includes performance spaces and an auditorium. KPU Langley also offers science programs, and has biology, brewing, chemistry, physics, and geology labs with industry-standard equipment.
In South Langley is Campbell Valley Park, a large Metro Vancouver regional park that is home to the historic Rowlatt Farmstead, clearly visible logging railway grades, and the historic Lochiel Schoolhouse. The Langley Centennial Museum features 3,500 square feet of exhibits of local, regional and Canadian history and art (and is located next to the B.C. Farm Museum). Festivals include the Cranberry Festival in October, the Jazz and Arts Festival in July, and the Fort Langley Beer and Food Festival in May. The Langley Rams of the Canadian Junior Football League are based at the MacLeod Stadium and the Langley Rivermen of the B.C. Hockey League and the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League are based out of the Langley Events Centre. Aldergrove is home to the Greater Vancouver Zoo and the Aldergrove Regional Park.
There are 24 parks and open-space areas in the City of Langley. The main park is Douglas Park Spirit Square, which features a stage and band shell for community events, a rec centre, playground, tennis courts and more. Other parks include Nicomekl Park, which ecnompasses a large natural wetland, and the 18-acre Uplands Dog Off-Leash Park. Sendall Gardens features cultivated gardens, a tropical greenhouse, a creek trail and duck pond. Penzer Action Park includes a parkour course, playground, multi-use sports course and 10,000 square feet of bike and skateboard track. Other facilities include Douglas Recreation Centre, Langley Twin Rinks, and Al Anderson Memorial Pool, an outdoor pool and waterpark in City Park. Timms Community Centre is a 35,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility. Newlands Golf and Country Club offers two courses—an 18-hole championship course and an 11-hole executive course. There are eight other nearby golf courses and putting greens.
The Twilight Drive-In in Aldergrove is one of the last drive-in movie theatres in Vancouver. The Langley Ukulele Ensemble is one of the more noteworthy cultural acts that is based out of the Township.
The City’s Entertainment District includes Cascades Casino Resort and the Coast Hotel and Convention Centre. In August, Langley hosts the Arts Alive Festival and, in September, the Langley Cruise-In, a large annual car show. The city is also home to Theatre in the Country dinner theatre and the Langley Players Drama Club. The Rose Gellert Hall hosts orchestras, chamber musicians, soloists and other musical attractions.
Fort Langley traditions include Beatniks Bistro, Wendel’s Bookstore & Cafe and the Fort Pub & Grill. Other eateries include Trading Post Brewing Eatery, which features craft beer from local brewer Trading Post (Dead Frog, in Willoughby-Willowbrook, is another local brewery). For locally sourced food with a First Nations twist, venture over to Lelem Arts and Cultural Cafe. In South Langley, visit the Artful Dodger Pub for a beer and a burger. And, because Langley’s temperate climate is conducive to viticulture, the region is home to several wineries.
Restaurant chains include Cactus Club, Moxie’s, the Keg, and Olive Garden. Some of the more unique dining spots include Annora (Canadian, French), Atlas Steak and Fish, the Hilltop Diner Café (sandwiches and burgers), and Avishan Authentic Middle East Grill.
Fort Langley is home to small, independent boutiques dedicated to artisanal crafts (Fort Finery), antiques (Fort Langley Village Antiques Mall), and home décor (Chuckling Duckling Farm and Blueberry Meadows). There are also plenty of health and beauty options and small art galleries. Walnut Grove is another shopping hub, with many stores and supermarkets.
Known for its shopping, selection, and plenty of free parking, the City of Langley is home to both big-box stores and small boutiques. Its major commercial districts are the downtown core and the Willowbrook retail node. The former has a hip and trendy atmosphere and is home to events organized by the Downtown Langley Business Association. The latter is mostly an automobile-oriented commercial district. (Canada’s first luxury automall, The Collection, can be found in Langley.) In 2019, Willowbrook Shopping Centre added 20,000 square feet of retail for 50 more stores.