Thursday, August 27, 2020

Aerial photo shows western portion of Downtown Langley City in 1985

I am interested in the history of Langley Prairie, now Langley City. It is important to know about the anthropology for where we live, including how we move around. Langley City exists today because it was a path between what we now called the Salmon River and Nicomekl River. Later, it became an important commercial hub as it was at the intersection of Yale Road to the interior, and Glover Road to Fort Langley. Yale Road became the first alignment of the Trans-Canada Highway.

You can learn a lot about a community by observing its transportation networks. Last year, I wrote a post called, “The search for the meaning of “crescent” found in aerial photos of mid-20th century Langley City.” The post contains old aerial photos of Langley Prairie from that time period.

Downtown Langley City in 1985, focused around 203rd Street. Select image to enlarge.

Recently, I received a Facebook message directing me to Waite Air Photos which has aerial photos of Langley dating back to 1985. These pictures must be purchased for use.

One of the pictures that stood out to me shows the western end of Downtown Langley in 1985.

It is interesting to see the significant changes to the road network over the years.

For example, 203rd Street did not connect between 56th Avenue and Fraser Highway. It was the site of a Safeway. Today, I wonder if extending 203rd Street was a good idea; the extension has made a challenging intersection.

You can also see how 56th Avenue between 7-11 and the former Langley Hotel was a major route. The bottom of the photo (where there is a parking lot) was the old Interurban rail alignment which provided passenger and freight service from Vancouver to Chilliwack until the mid-20th century.

201A Street was also a major route. You can see some of the early apartments that were built in our community. 201A Street made a 90 degree turn at what is now Linwood Park, to connect to 200th Street back then.

If you look at the top of the photo, there is no Willowbrook Mall, and the Langley Bypass actually bypassed Langley City.

There are many other observations that can be made by looking at Langley City 35 years ago.


Anonymous said...

I was a 10 year old in Langley in 1985. I love this aerial shot. I remember some of this. I remember when they were building 7-11. Willowbrook mall was there, but much smaller. I remember it had K-Mart at one end, where Sport Chek & Toys R Us are now, and eventually Safeway at the other end which became Toys R Us in the early 90’s.

Anonymous said...

Yes I was going to say Willowbrook mall ( the first phase) between Safeway and Kmart was definitely there. Along with the original food court by the Kmart. The surrounding land was all field where mall currently is and of course Willow trees which they have removed just about all traces of. I remember when they added the second phase in early 90s it was very exciting lol.
The original Langley mall or the “Old Langley mall“ along 56th ave had a Super-valu where Frills is and a Zellers where the Army and navy was. Old TD bank was where the Opus is now. Also it was a covered mall. They removed the roof by the late 90s . Always thought that was weird but by the 90s it was a dead mall. Even as a toddler I remember all the old seniors that used to be hanging around in the Super valu and in the walking area between shops . Back then for some reason they always dyed their hair dark black . It always seemed too harsh for their skin lol.
In the front facade there was a hallmark cards store we’d get our fancy scratch and sniff stickers lol. Inside beside the card shop was a jewelly store where my dad bought a chiming clock like 1979. We still have same clock . I could go on about that old mall and have even more memories of the willowbrook mall how it used to be and all the changes of various stores. Not to mention all the Canadian chain stores (shoes, clothing etc) that used to be there. Langley used to be such a great town to live in but so sad how development or rather re-development is removing everything that was here and every tree is killed. Cramming people in like sardines is not fun for anyone and definitely not “progress”.