Part of Surrey's Heritage
A Trading Post on the Fraser
In 1824, James McMillan of the Hudson's Bay Company and a party of forty-seven passed this shore on an exploratory trip from Fort George (Astoria) at the mouth of the Columbia River to the Fraser River. They were sent to find a suitable site for a new fur trading depot.
The expedition left Fort George on November 18, 1824 with three boats, travelled across the Puget Sound, continued up the coast, and entered this bay on December 12, 1824. After making their way up the Nicomekl River, the men portaged across to the Salmon River and followed it down the Fraser River.
Fort Langley, built in 1827, was the first permanent European post on what is today the coast of British Columbia.
Expedition Journal Excerpt
Monday, December 13, 1824 "... proceeded to the entrance of a small river up which they continued about 7 or 8 miles, in a very winding course ... immense flocks of plover were observed flying about the sand ... The navigation of the little river is very bad, after getting a short distance up it was often barred up with driftwood which impeded our progress, the Indians cut roads through it for their canoes yet they were too narrow for our boats. ... In the river nothing but thick willows are seen for some distance from the water, where the banks though low are well wooded with pine, cedar, alder, and some other trees. There are the appearance of beaver being pretty numerous in this river. Where we are now encamped is a pretty little plain."
Journal of John Work, McMillan Expedition, quoted by T.C. Elliott in The Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. III, p. 217