Fort Langley, the birthplace of B.C., 100 years later
On a rainy November morning in 1858, before an audience of 100 dignitaries in the trading post of Fort Langley, Governor James Douglas read aloud the short proclamation that officially created the colony of British Columbia. British Columbia grew from a far-off destination for gold-seekers and fur traders to a strong and vibrant part of a united Canada, famed for its natural beauty - hence the provincial motto, Splendor sine Occasu ("Splendour without diminishment"). The CBC Digital Archives celebrates B.C.'s sesquicentennial with a look at the people and the events that have shaped its history.
• Douglas had an unusual heritage, being described as "Scotch West Indian." He was born in British Guiana in 1803 and was of "remarkably dark of complexion, a matter often commented on," wrote biographer, M. Derek Pethick.
• Fort Langley was originally built as a trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company in 1827. Its usefulness was drastically reduced after 1858 when HBC lost its monopoly on the territory and it ceased operation sixty years later. It was designated a National Historic Park in 1955 and restoration began in anticipation of centennial celebrations in 1958.
• Princess Margaret was a controversial royal figure, largely due to her very public romances. She was once romantically linked to future Canadian prime minister John Turner and had several extramarital affairs. She was often vilified in the media, to the disgust of author and personal friend Gore Vidal, who said, "It was inevitable: when there are two sisters and one is the Queen who must be the source of honour and all that is good, the other must be the focus of the most creative malice, the evil sister."
Program: CBC Television Special
Broadcast Date: July 22, 1958
Guest(s): W.A.C. Bennett, Princess Margaret
Last updated: February 1, 2012
Page consulted on March 29, 2012