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 in November, the event is an opportunity to commemorate James Douglas’s multicultural legacy and celebrate Black, Scottish, Métis and Indigenous arts, food, music and dance.
This article contains the following information about Douglas Day at Fort Langley:
Douglas Day at the Fort Langley National Historic Site
The historic fort in the community of Fort Langley hosts several events throughout the year including Vive les Voyageurs in the winter, Brigade Days in the summer and Grave Tales Walking Tours around Halloween. The national historic site also hosts Douglas Day in the fall (which was renamed “James Douglas: A Multicultural Legacy” in 2022).
Douglas Day takes place annually at the fort in November, on or close to the same day that Sir James Douglas became 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 2023, the event took place on Saturday, November 18th. As always, the Douglas Day event happened 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
At last year’s event, there was Métis jigging, Caribbean food, bagpipe performances, African cultural dancers and more. There were also educational exhibits and booths to check out.
The 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 in November 2023 are below. Expect these to be comparable in 2024.
- 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 for free. Access to all Douglas Day demonstrations, live entertainment and activities is free with admission.
FORT LANGLEY TOURS
Fort Langley Tours is a new walking tour company that offers guided tours around the Village of Fort Langley. If you want to learn about the history of the town, a walking tour is a great way to do that!
2023 Schedule of Events
In 2023 the festivities ran from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm on Saturday, November 18th. The schedule of events and entertainment for that day is listed below.
- 10:15 am – Bagpipe Performance by Colin Fraser
- 11:00 am – Cedar Weaving Demonstration
- 11:30 am – Blacksmith Demonstration
- 12:15 pm – Curator’s Corner
- 1:00 pm – Métis Jigging Presentation by Lisa Shepherd
- 2:00 pm – Highland Dancing with Bagpipes
- 3:00 pm – Steel Pan Drumming
- 3:30 pm – African Cultural Dance Performance
- 4:00 pm – Blacksmith Demonstration
- 4:30 pm – Flag Lowering with Bagpipes by Colin Fraser
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.
At the event a couple of years ago, most dishes had Caribbean influences. For example, there was jerk chicken and Caribbean slaw, as well as Jamaican-style patties and soup. There were also refreshing mango and guava smoothies. 2024 details may be comparable.
For full details about the event, visit the Parks Canada Fort Langley website.
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