Letter: Fort Langley hall an integral part of village’s history

Editor: In the 41 years that Bays Blackhall and I served on the Community Hall committees the question of re-developing the plaza never arose. Our meetings revolved around the the maintenance and booking of this remarkable two-storey piece of architecture.

Conceived by the ladies of the I.O.D.E. (Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire) the hall opened its doors to village events in 1932.

These ranged from celebrations of villagers being “hatched, matched or snatched,” to important matters of civic concern.

The hall is flanked on either side by the now stately maple trees planted to commemorate those men and women of the First World War who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Completing this tableau, the lawn gently sloping upwards towards the hall entrance is a carpet of emerald green grass and complementary shrubs. This unity of lawn with the natural accents of trees and shrubs illustrates the structural majesty of the hall.

The gentle design of natural beauty allows for the intended purpose to be realized, which is allowing the great hall to be the main focal point in the setting.

This triumvirate of grass, trees, shrubs and hall offers this village many advantages of a practical and financial nature.

The list is long, but to mention a few: the movie industry loves this site, Christmas carols around the big tree, antique car exhibits, outdoor and indoor weddings with photo opportunities on the lawn. For many years, local villagers enjoyed playing croquet. The list is endless.

Could many of the aforementioned events take place in or on the concrete jungle proposed by the present hall committee? Few if any stately homes or halls are complemented by pavement.

Like it or not, our village has and will continue to experience an ongoing gentrification process, thus giving credence to the hall complex as an ever-welcoming oasis.

Members of the hall committee and new local villagers should be trying to preserve these vestiges of our past that spell out its history.

They might well learn something from Joni Mitchell in her song, Big Yellow Taxi, with the words, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

Even more, a listen to Pete Seeger’s famous album, God bless the grass.

Bob Blackhall,

Fort Langley