When some people think about the Metro Vancouver, they might think that the City of Vancouver is the centre of our region. The reality is quite different. Our region has always contained many town centres. Development today is still based around these original town centres throughout Metro Vancouver.
Langley Prairie, now the City of Langley, and Ladner are some of the earliest colonial settlements in our region. Both communities served as some of the original business and service centres for the farming and fisheries communities. You can see this even in some of the early buildings.
For example, both Langley City and Ladner have two fairly imposing federally-constructed historic buildings.
|Federal Building in Downtown Langley|
While the City of Langley building is now an office building, the Lander building still serves as a post office.
Yesterday, I had the chance to take a walking tour of Lander, which is located in South Delta, and snap some photos. They are in the following flickr slideshow.
One of the interesting things that I noticed was that Lander went through a bit of a building boom in the mid part of the 20th Century. Unfortunately for Ladner Village, some of the pedestrianly-friendly, street-oriented buildings were replaced with strip malls. Newer buildings in the community now promote walkability.
One of the oddest developments is Harbourside Plaza in the heart of Ladner. This mixed-used building actually wraps around a historic masonic lodge. Sadly, one of the defining features of this development is its unflattering parking lot.
Ladner also has a working waterfront, though in recent years, some sections have come under hard times. The Corporation of Delta has purchased one parcel of property along the waterfront which was the home of the 7 Seas Company. Delta plans to turn it into a public amenity at some point in the future, but it seems that all residents in Lander have to show to date it a sign stating such.
Delta has also spent some effort in improving the sidewalks in some parts of Ladner Village. For example, 48th Avenue has a great public realm. Sadly, some parts of Lander are completely missing sidewalks, or the sidewalks are so narrow that people have to walk single-file. Lander has a large seniors population, so I can imagine that this is a barrier to accessibility.
Another challenging for Ladner is that the bus exchange is in the middle of nowhere. Because of this, Ladner Village doesn’t have frequent bus service.
Places like Langley City and Ladner are incubators for small business because the communities are more affordable. I saw many great local small businesses while walking around Lander yesterday.
Living in the South of Fraser, it is fun to see all the communities that make our region so special.