Langford, British Columbia
|City of Langford|
Location of Langford in British Columbia
|Incorporated||December 8, 1992|
|• Governing body||Langford City Council|
|• Mayor||Stewart Young|
|• Total||39.94 km2 (15.42 sq mi)|
|Elevation||76 m (249 ft)|
|• Density||885/km2 (2,290/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC−8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC−7)|
|Postal code||V9B, V9C|
|Area code(s)||250, 236, 778|
Langford is a city located on southern Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Langford is one of the 13 component municipalities of Greater Victoria and is within the Capital Regional District. Langford was incorporated in 1992 and has a population of over 40,000 people  Its municipal neighbours are Colwood to the southeast, Highlands to the north, Metchosin to the southwest, and View Royal to the northeast.
The City of Langford was officially incorporated on December 8, 1992. Langford boasts a long history of European settlement dating back to 1851, when Captain Edward Langford established one of the four Hudson's Bay Company farms in the Victoria area. In the early 1860s, the region of Langford experienced a short-lived gold rush in what is now Goldstream Provincial Park. The area was once a favourite recreation destination for thousands of Victorians in the late 1800s: day-trippers travelled via railway to the popular country resort Goldstream House Hotel; hunters built their lodges on the shores of the lakes near the mountains; and a summer colony of the well-to-do city folk relaxed and socialized at Langford Lake. In recent times, the region has become the fastest growing little city on Vancouver Island, with big retail stores and new residential developments, and the expanding suburban town of Langford became a city in 2003. The motto of Langford is “Golden in setting, determined in Spirit” containing a reference to the natural beauty of the City of Langford, specifically Goldstream Provincial Park, and a comment on the community's drive to enhance Langford's special character and future.
Langford is one of the fastest growing communities in British Columbia attracting new residents from all over Greater Victoria, the Lower Mainland, and Alberta due to new housing developments; strong real estate market and affordability; desirable temperate climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters; ample amenities as the commercial centre of West Shore; and year-long recreational activities. Although the pace of development and some planning decisions (particularly "big-box" retail developments and aggressive suburban sprawl) have attracted criticism - some would argue the city is expanding too quickly at the expense of natural surroundings and existing infrastructure, and city council is too pro-development - the community continues to grow rapidly and attract residents. It is the largest municipality in the Western Communities, and third-largest in the Capital Regional District after Saanich and Victoria. Activities in Langford include shopping at the many retail stores at Millstream Village and Westshore Town Centre (formerly Canwest Mall) with its 55 stores and services including major department, grocery, and retail chain stores as well as a seven-screen Cineplex movie theatre. Many city parks are attractions in Langford including City Centre Park, with a family-friendly entertainment zone including a Family Fun Park, and Veterans Memorial Park located in the heart of downtown, and at the center a cenotaph commemorating the men and women of the Canadian Forces who have given their lives in the line of duty and where Langford holds its yearly Remembrance Day ceremony. Community events include many parades, seasonal Goldstream farmer's market, the Summer Festival, and Luxton Fair. Rugby Canada has its headquarters in Langford practicing at Westhills Stadium. A new $30 million YMCA/YWCA Aquatic Centre opened in May 2016, acclaimed by the mayor to be the "biggest project in the history of Langford", and features multiple pools, recreation facilities and a new library. Visitors can also participate in go-karting and mini-golfing, and watch stock-car racing and demolition derby at Western Speedway. Langford is home to world-class golf courses including Bear Mountain Resort on Skirt Mountain. The large community resort offers a system of mountain bike trails as the training centre for the Canadian National Mountain Bike Team and is currently planning the development of clay tennis courts for the national team and a professional disc golf course. There are many lakes in the area for fishing, swimming and non-motorized boating including Langford, Glen and Florence Lake. Langford is known for the many nature parks and network of trails popular with hikers and walkers alike including Mill Hill Park, Mount Wells, Thetis Lake Regional Park and the challenging high-elevation Mount Finlayson. Cyclists enjoy the picturesque multi-use Galloping Goose Trail, formerly a railway line, that moves through urban and rural parts of Langford and is used as a commuter trail to downtown Victoria taking only approximately 45 minutes on bicycle starting at Goldstream Village (faster than rush hour traffic). Goldstream Provincial Park is a large 477 ha (1,180 acres) nature reserve home to old-growth trees, waterfalls, estuaries and an education visitor centre Nature House offering many visitor activities such as camping, picnicking, hiking, and wildlife watching like eagle viewing during the annual salmon run.
Langford is the urban core of the five suburban municipalities comprising the region of West Shore for a combined population of about 75,000. Notable physical features of Langford include the three prominent lakes (Langford Lake, Glen Lake and Florence Lake) and the Humpback Reservoir, several peaks such as Mount Finlayson and Mount Wells, and the notable Goldstream Provincial Park. The Malahat drive, part of the Trans-Canada Highway, begins in Langford, and the Galloping Goose Regional Trail and the E and N Railway go through the city. Langford enjoys a temperate climate with mild temperatures and distinct dry and rainy seasons. Most built-up areas in Langford are on basalt bedrock, while lower-lying regions of the Langford Plain from Langford Lake to Royal Bay is comprised of glacial till, and Happy Valley and Goldstream River valley are on deep sand of the Colwood Delta. Old growth forestlands were once abundant in Langford but urban sprawl threaten natural habitat including coastal Douglas fir, western red cedar, arbutus trees and Garry oak ecosystems. The last remaining pockets of arbutus groves and Garry oak meadows are unique to southern Vancouver Island and only about five percent of the ecosystems remain in their natural state, landing on the province's list of species at risk. The unique Mediterranean characteristics of the island's climate supports the Garry oak ecosystem and are common in its natural habitat in the few remaining undeveloped areas of Langford and are under threat due to rapid growth, high-density subdivisions, and urbanization.
As of 2016, Langford has an estimated population of approximately 44,000. It is experiencing tremendous growth and had a population of 22,459 people in the 2006 census, which was an increase of 19.2% from the 2001 census count. It has a growth rate of approximately 5% annually. The population is expected to double again by 2026. The median household income in 2005 for Langford was $60,199, which is slightly higher than the British Columbia provincial average of $52,709.
|Canada 2006 Census||Population||% of Total Population|
|Visible minority group
|Other visible minority||35||0.2%|
|Mixed visible minority||70||0.3%|
|Total visible minority population||1,345||6%|
|Total Aboriginal population||940||4.2%|
- (South) Langford Proper/ Goldstream Village/ Langford Lake
- Humpback/ Goldstream Meadows
- Glen Lake
- Luxton/ Happy Valley
- Triangle Mountain/ Walfred
- Olympic View/ Latoria
- Mill Hill/ Atkins
- North Langford/ Millstream
- Thetis Heights
- Florence Lake
- Bear Mountain
- Ryder Hesjedal, Canadian Olympian and professional racing cyclist
- Tyson Barrie, NHL player
- Moka Only, Musician
- Bob Rock, Musician
- Jennifer Tilly, actor
- Meg Tilly, actor
Langford is a part of the School District 62 Sooke with approximately 10,000 students in Sooke, Port Renfrew, Metchosin, Colwood and Langford. Ten of the 25 schools are in Langford including one middle school and one high school. In 2015, two new state-of-the-art high schools were built to a LEED Gold standard to replace the 65-year-old Belmont high school: lake-front Belmont Secondary School (the largest on Vancouver Island) in Langford with a capacity of 1,200-students, and the ocean-side Royal Bay Secondary School in Colwood with 800 students. Both high schools are already overcapacity due to rapidly expanding region. There is also the Westshore Centre for Learning and Training, and the Lighthouse Christian Academy which serves Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Langford is an evolving community, outgrowing its reputation as the rough "redneck" suburban outskirts of Victoria. Mayor Stew Young and city council have proposed major upkeep and tidiness of the central downtown district and the city has received numerous community showcase awards including the Provincial "Communities in Bloom" Award. Council were winners of the 2014 Golden Scissors Award by The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) for their simple but transformative initiative of making business licenses permanent. Langford council has also set up a pioneering program for developing affordable housing requiring developers of new subdivisions within the City of Langford to build one affordable home for every 10 single-family lots subdivided. The first Canadian community based on the LEED environmental standard, Westhills, was developed near Langford Lake. Langford has three fire stations with a mix of 60 volunteer and career members. Every year in mid-December, Langford hosts an annual fire truck parade which features decorated emergency vehicles from around the province. The region is policed by the West Shore detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Controversies and Bear Mountain Tree-Sit Protest
Langford made news in 2006 as a growing protest brought attention to a conflict surrounding Bear Mountain Resort. Protestors against the development claimed that the construction of the country club and high-end resort community (renaming it "Bare Mountain") desecrated sacred First Nations caves located on their property. A "tree sit blockade" was made to protest the resort and clearcutting of old growth land but development went ahead at City Hall's approval. A main concern of Langford appears to be the extreme gung-ho pro-development stance of the long-established city council and Mayor Stew Young, who has held power since 1993, and the lack of concern for environmental management and nature conservation by use of the controversial practice of clearcutting since Langford is home to old-growth habitat. City council and its "development friendly" business model has been criticized for having a poor growth plan including lack of public consultation as the region becomes a much more crowded place adding thousands of people and vehicles annually to an area that is only 16 square miles. Most of the new subdivision developments are high density and built on clearcut land with tightly knit residences on very small lots with little to no yards. It is widely criticized that developers appear to be shaping Langford rather than City Hall planning. The small town has evolved into a rapidly growing city and the short-sighted "build now, adapt later" response to business and housing development, including the approval of large commercial centres and plan for 20,000 more residences in Westhills, Skirt-Bear Mountain and Happy Valley over the next few years, has superseded any concerns for environmental oversight, infrastructure improvement and long-term civic planning as traffic congestion on British Columbia Highway 1 and Malahat and neighbourhood streets-turned-arterial roads has become a major source of frustration. Furthermore, there have been concerns of conflict of interest regarding the mayor as Stew Young owns the Alpine disposal company that takes care of Langford waste removal including having the only facility to manage garden waste. In recent news, the arrival of the Hells Angels and the spike in crime and high profile offences (including the number of disturbing cases of random targeted attacks on women) and the lack of effective response at city hall have residents concerned as city council seemingly continues to concentrate on development growth over other issues like public safety, crime prevention and need for increase in policing 
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