Arts benefit Langley’s heritage
In the early 1920s the Willoughby neighbourhood in Langley Township did not even have a school. Through volunteer effort, the Willoughby Community Hall was built in 1924 so that local children had a place to go to classes.
Today the Willoughby Hall, a designated heritage site and still run by volunteers, continues to serve the community. Down the road the one-room school built in 1931 is also a heritage site and now used as a day care on the grounds of the Willoughby Elementary School.
These reminders of Langley’s heritage stand in the face of urbanization with subdivisions, town homes, apartments and a commercial town centre.
At last evening’s annual Harvest Dinner in the Willoughby Hall the result of a fundraiser by the arts community to help conserve the Hall was announced. Last week’s Heritage Matters Concert at Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley raised over $16,000 for the conservation cause.
The 310-seat theatre sold out for performances by TKO, Liana Savard, Ryan Faas and Cole Armour.
An acrylic painting of the Willoughby Hall by Langley’s Dean of Art, Al Colton, sold for $3,200 in a brief live auction during the evening.
The funds raised will be combined with money the Langley Heritage Society has earmarked for an enhancement project at the Hall in memory of dedicated Willoughby volunteers, Shirley and Roy Baker.
Willoughby Hall Society President, Karl Dreise, thanked Brenda and Kurt Alberts of the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery for organizing the successful fundraiser.
Full restoration of the Hall onto a new foundation is a condition of development on the adjoining lands. Plans include an office building, apartments, and an Irish Cultural Centre. A public hearing on the development permit is expected in November.