Search for Metro Vancouver's best neighbourhood: South of the Fraser finals
After weeks of voting, it's Fort Langley vs. Crescent Beach for the right to face Vancouver in the final 4
The origin stories of Fort Langley and Crescent Beach are wildly different — one, the first European settlement in the Lower Mainland as a Hudson's Bay Company post, the other, as a planned resort community in the early 20th century.
But both have grown into the type of idyllic communities that locals never want to leave and visitors always flock to on weekends — a big reason they've reached the final eight in the Search for Metro Vancouver's Best Neighbourhood.
"A community isn't just a community because of the stores. Community is also because of the people that love it and support it and fight for it. And we've fought for Fort Langley for years," said Jasmine Marjanovic, owner of Cranberries Naturally.
Marjanovic visited Fort Langley for the first time decades ago the same way many British Columbians do — to visit the historic fur trading fort on a school field trip.
But she fell in love with the surrounding neighbourhood of tree-lined streets and local businesses, vowing some day to return.
"I moved here 28 years ago and I haven't left," she said.
"This community has so much history. There's so many people here who live and farm here and raised their children who still live here."
Crescent Beach was a product, not of the fur trade, but of the next big transportation evolution in Canada — the railway.
When the Great Northern Railroad was built in the early 20th century connecting Washington state and B.C., development of Crescent Beach came soon after, with a hotel, pier and waterfront homes quickly built after dikes were installed.
"It's a total beach lifestyle ... you get the cool breezes from the ocean and the nice sun, but you don't get as much rain because there's no mountains close by," said Mike Reno, famed frontman for the band Loverboy and Crescent Beach resident for seven years.
"It kind of reminds me of Penticton," he said, referring to the Okanagan town he grew up in.
"I know Vancouver's a big place, Surrey's a big place. We're considered Surrey, but it feels like a small community more than a big area."
Starting with 48 neighbourhoods, Crescent Beach and Fort Langley are the two finalists in the South of the Fraser quadrant of our competition. The winner will face Mt. Pleasant, the Vancouver champion, in the semifinals next Monday.
Both are beloved neighbourhoods. But only one can move on.
Tale of the tape
- Average age: 44.
- Average household size: 2.6.
- Renter households: seven per cent
- Average total household income: $142,000
- Visible minorities as a percentage of neighbourhood population: 29 per cent
- Road to the Elite Eight: First Round bye, defeated Walnut Grove 60-40 per cent, Willoughby-Willowbrook 91-9 per cent, Murrayville 90-10 per cent and Cloverdale 66-34 per cent.
- Average age (approx.): 44.
- Average household size (approx.): 2.7
- Renter households (approx.): 17 per cent
- Average total household income (approx.): $140,000
- Visible minorities as a percentage of neighbourhood population (approx.): 15 per cent
- Road to the Elite Eight: First Round bye, defeated Sunnyside Park/Semiahmoo 85-15 per cent, Annieville 87-13 per cent, Fraser Heights 76-24 per cent and White Rock 50.7-49.3 per cent.
With files from Cathy Browne