Fort Langley Brigade Days

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Have you ever captured your own dinner, portaged a canoe, or made your own clothes? Fort Langley Brigade Days is your chance to meet people who carry on the unique skills and traditions of those who lived and travelled along the Fraser River over 150 years ago.

Fort Langley

Fort Langley Brigade Days

  • When: August 3-5, 2019 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
  • Where: Fort Langley National Historic Site
  • Admission: Brigade Days is $7.80/adult, $6.55/senior and FREE for youth under 17 and for annual pass holders. Tickets are available in the Visitor Centre at 23433 Mavis Avenue. An adult annual pass is $19.80.

During the three-day festival, meet history enthusiasts from all over British Columbia and Washington showcasing 19th century fur trade culture through demonstrations of sewing, laundry, weapons, blacksmithing, cooking, laundry and music. Collect “trading cards” from each individual you meet, similar to baseball cards, as a souvenir of your day. New this year, kids—who get free entry—can even make their own trading card.

Fort Langley Bridge Days Highlights

Saturday, August 3rd

As you explore the Brigade Days encampment, you will see and smell all kinds of period dishes being prepared for the Chief Trader’s Dinner, including a pig roast on August 3rd.  Explore the heritage kitchen garden and visit our goats, rabbits, and chickens.

This Brigade Days tradition that has its roots in Fort Langley’s history. According to historian James Morton, the “Brigade Ball” was the other main annual event hosted in the Big House besides Christmas and New Year. C.C. Gardiner referred to the 1858 Brigade Ball as being conducted with the “best possible decorum,” including dancing with violin music.

In 19th century Fort Langley, “Hogs seemed to flourish…” Hogs and cattle were raised mostly for export as meat – either fresh or salted. One shipping record mentions “360 lbs of pork (2 pigs) fresh,” suggesting each weighed 180lb. Fresh meat was also exported in 200 lb barrels.

Sunday August 4th at 12:30pm

Aren’t you hot wearing that?” This is one of the most common questions our interpreters are asked in the summer. Don’t miss this year’s Fur Trade Fashion Show, curated by Dana Repp from Fort Nisqually: “I love trying to recreate looks pictured in historic photos. It’s a fun challenge! Plus, nothing helps you understand what it was like living in the 19th century like wearing what they wore and then trying to carry on with your daily tasks. It’s a great deviation from our modern ultra-casual clothing. When women wear long dresses with the proper underpinning and men dress in cravats, waistcoats, jackets and top hats, it’s really quite beautiful!”

Sunday, August 5th at 2:30pm

Want to get in on the Brigade Days excitement? New this year, visitors can compete in our “Fort Feats of Strength” contest, an exciting old-fashioned relay race, on Sunday August 4th at 2:30pm. Come with your team of eight adults (age 18+), or team up with other visitors on the spot. The champions will have their name displayed on site.

Monday, August 6th at 1:00pm

Gather in the fort at 12:30pm and follow a bagpipe procession down to the Fraser River shore, where you can witness a re-enactment of “The Arrival of the Fur Brigades.” Paddlers of a dozen canoes and a replica York boat will travel from Hope to Fort Langley where they traditionally unloaded their cargo of furs and barrels at Fort Langley’s Marina Park. Cheer on the canoe brigades, and witness a Kwantlen welcome song. Hear the exciting bagpipe and black powder salute! This traditional reenactment portrays the annual return of fur traders in the 1800s, who transported the year’s intake of furs from interior and northern trading posts to Fort Langley. The goods were later delivered by ship back to England.


Catching our own food may be considered recreational today, but in the mid-1800s it was a life skill. Learn about the tools and techniques of the fur trade, and hear the blast of the musket during our historic weapons demonstrations.

Follow Fort Langley National Historic Site on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

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