Douglas Day is an event in Fort Langley that marks the day when Sir James Douglas proclaimed British Columbia to be a colony at the fort in 1858.
Taking place annually at the Fort Langley National Historic Site on November 19th, the event is an opportunity to commemorate James Douglas’s multicultural legacy and celebrate Black, Scottish, Métis and Indigenous arts, food, music and dance.
For the event’s official website, click Parks Canada Fort Langley.
Douglas Day at Fort Langley National Historic Site
The historic fort in the community of Fort Langley hosts several events throughout the year including Brigade Days in the summer and Grave Tales Walking Tours around Halloween. The national historic site also hosts Douglas Day in the fall (which has been renamed “James Douglas: A Multicultural Legacy” in 2022).
Douglas Day is celebrated annually at the fort on November 19th which is the same day that Sir James Douglas was sworn in as the first governor of British Columbia in 1858. The historic moment took place at Fort Langley, which is also why yearly celebrations occur in the area.
In 2022, November 19th falls on a Saturday. As always, the Douglas Day event takes place at the Fort Langley National Historic Site. The attraction’s address is 23422 Mavis Avenue. It’s about a 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.
Born in South America, Douglas had a multicultural background. To reflect this, at the event at the fort, there are activities from different cultures to enjoy.
James Douglas: A Multicultural Legacy in 2022
At the event in 2022 there is Métis jigging, Caribbean food, bagpipe performances, African cultural dancers and more. There are also educational exhibits and a panel discussion to check out.
This year’s event is different from Douglas Day events held in the past. This year’s newly-named event focuses on commemorating James Douglas’ multicultural legacy through a day of celebrating Black, Scottish, Métis and First Nations arts, food, music and dance. This is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the role people with varied backgrounds have had in shaping Canada’s current rich and diverse cultural landscape.
Sir James Douglas was sworn in as BC’s first governor at Fort Langley during the reading of the proclamation on November 19th in 1858. A long-time Hudson Bay Company employee, Douglas came from a multicultural background. Douglas was born in South America, in Guyana, to a Scottish father and a Creole mother. Later in life, as an adult, he married a Métis woman, Amelia Connolly. Douglas started his career as an apprentice and worked his way up, creating a lasting impact and legacy of multiculturalism in BC.
Fort Langley National Historic Site aims to reflect the rich and varied heritage of Canada and this event provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history.
Admission to the Douglas Day event is included with general admission to the Fort Langley National Historic Site. Ticket prices as of November 2022 are below.
- Adults (ages 18 to 64): $8.50
- Seniors (ages 65 and above): $7.00
- Youth (ages 17 and under): Free
Folks with annual passes to the fort get in at no charge. Access to all Douglas Day demonstrations, live entertainment and activities is free with admission.
2022 Schedule of Events
In 2022 the festivities run from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm on Saturday, November 19th. The schedule of events and entertainment for the day is listed below.
- 10:00 am – Kwantlen Welcome Ceremonies
- 10:30 am – Bagpipe Performance
- 11:00 am – Steel Drumming Performance
- 11:30 am – Métis Jigging Lessons and Guyanese Anthem
- 11:45 am – African Cultural Dance Performance
- 12:00 pm – Curator’s Corner
- 12:30 pm – Story of American Immigration to the Americas
- 1:00 pm – Panel Discussion with Keith Thor Carlson & Sonny McHalsie: “Sir James Douglas and his vision of an alternative version of BC”
- 2:00 pm – Métis Jigging Lessons
- 2:30 pm – Steel Drumming Performance
- 3:00 pm – African Cultural Dance Performance
- 3:30 pm – Guyanese Games
- 4:30 pm – Bagpipe Procession
There is sometimes food available for purchase at the Douglas Day event. In some years the food is from one specific culture, which is great for folks wanting to taste flavours from a different part of the world.
In 2022 most dishes are inspired by Caribbean culture. For example, there’s jerk chicken and Caribbean slaw, as well as Jamaican-style patties and soup. There are also refreshing mango and guava smoothies.
For full details about the event visit the Parks Canada Fort Langley website.
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