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Langley is centrally located in Metro Vancouver, east of Surrey, and within convenient driving distance of the Fraser Valley and downtown Vancouver. Although the area is commonly referred to as Langley, it is made up of the Township of Langley and the City of Langley which, although geographically adjacent, are two different political municipalities. Although the City was a part of the Township since 1873, it separated in 1955 in response to the City's unmet demand for street lamps. The Township covers over 306 square kilometers, while the city is small in comparison, covering just over 10 square kilometers. The many unique and diverse neighbours of both municipalities are what make Langley a wonderful place to call home. One such neighbourhood is the historic village of Fort Langley, the site of the first settlers of the Hudson Bay Company fur traders, and officially named as the Birthplace of British Columbia.
Langley is home to dozens of beautiful parks and trails. Douglas Park, found in the City of Langley, has a permanent stage that makes it, in addition to its many other amenities, a natural host for many events and festivals. In the Township of Langley, you can take a walk through history along the banks of the Fraser River on the Fort-to-Fort trail, which links the Fort Langley Historic Site and Derby Reach Regional Park. Derby Reach also includes a 4 km hike through the trees, known as the Houston Trail, popular for runners and walkers alike. If you find yourself on the north side of Langley, a visit to Fort Langley is a must, as its heritage shops and buildings are a major attraction for visitors. Langley also has many community centres, libraries, pools and ice rinks, including Walnut Grove's Sportsplex. The Township of Langley is also home to several local vineyards and the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Both the city and township are serviced by the Langley Memorial Hospital, which also includes a Maternity Care Clinic.
Langley is designed on a grid system. However, the Fraser Highway and Glover Road, which enter Langley at opposing angles, intersect it. The Fraser Highway eventually runs through the City of Langley, but in only one direction, making it a generally quieter area. In the south section of the township, Highway #10 provides a route to Surrey; in the north section, Highway #1 serves as a direct route to the rest of Metro Vancouver. The suburban community of Walnut Grove formed around this highway, and thus provides easy freeway access for commuters. Langley has a bus service provided by Translink, however, there is presently no SkyTrain service. A recently added express bus service now connects residents directly to the New Westminster SkyTrain station, making travel to Vancouver much easier. There is also the newly added Golden Ears Bridge, which connects Langley to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
The Township of Langley contains 25 elementary schools, four middle schools and 11 secondary schools. In the City of Langley there are six elementary schools and one middle school, H.D. Stafford Middle School, while all the secondary schools are located in the Township. The schools are populated by children from the surrounding neighbourhoods and include Brookswood Secondary School, Walnut Grove Secondary School and a Langley Fine Arts School in Fort Langley. Students can also continue their post-secondary education in Langley by attending Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
The reported income figures differ between the City and the Township. According to the 2005 statistics, the median income in the City was $25,758 and in the Township was $29,617. Given that the city is much smaller than the township, their respective populations vary widely. The city contains 25,081 people and the township's total population is 104,177. The City of Langley has a municipal tax rate of 2.63 percent and its water rate is $1.07 per cubic meter, in addition to a $50 annual fee. The Township of Langley has a municipal tax rate of 2.79 percent, with 16 percent of the total taxes collected (from residents with selected services) allocated to water, sewage and garbage.
One of the most well known events in the province, the Arts Alive Festival, takes place every summer in the City of Langley. The event invites people from all over the Lower Mainland to enjoy the visual and performing arts, and includes live music and great activities for families. On Canada Day, celebrate together in Fort Langley, the birthplace of our province, with festivities for the whole family. Also in Fort Langley is the Cranberry Festival and Harvest, which showcases cranberry products and goods from local vendors. As no year would be complete without a holiday event, the City of Langley hosts the Magic of Christmas parade with Santa Claus in December. Whether in the City or Township, Langley is a wonderful community that offers many convenient amenities and green spaces. One of the major advantages of living in Langley is having all the benefits of a smaller city while being able to access the rest of Metro Vancouver quickly and easily. Hidden away in Langley is the beautiful Fort Langley, a special heritage place for all to visit, and it is just one of the many wonderful neighbourhoods that make up this vibrant city.