A new book penned by a local history group explores North Delta’s past, tracing the community’s roots from the site of Indigenous fishing camps, through early settlement by European (and other) pioneers and into modern times.
The recently released North Delta History and Heritage is a labour of love researched and written by a dozen members of the Delta Heritage Society’s North Delta Advisory Group. The 190-page book offers a first-of-its-kind look at the history of the various communities that now comprise North Delta, including numerous photographs — many seldom seen before — and both single-page and pull-out maps to help readers put the past into context today.
Local historian John Macdonald, who edited the book and contributed to its writing, said readers might be surprised to learn how far back the history of the area goes.
“[When] most people think of the history of North Delta they think … it started with Annieville, and it did in a way, but it started long, long before the Norwegians got there, and of course the First Nations people have been here for thousands of years,” said Macdonald, who has written several articles about local history and authored the book Kennedy’s Trail: Past to Present.
“There’s never been a book like this on North Delta, and because of the history of Delta a lot of things tend to be Ladner-centric. That’s why I think it’s been so well received.”
The book’s initial printing of 200 copies in May sold out in just 10 days, and fewer than 75 copies remain of the book’s 300-copy second printing in mid-June. A third printing of 300 copies will be coming soon.
“We’ve had people take one, get as far as their car and come back and get another one. So I’ve started saying to people, ‘Are you sure you don’t want more than one?’” Macdonald said.
The book features several maps and aerial photographs to help readers orient themselves with the North Delta that was, and navigate the past in the here-and-now.
“There’s so much you can miss. My wife and I have driven all over Delta exploring places, but some places you just don’t notice.”
For example, people may not realize the reason 112th Street takes a turn at 90th Avenue is because the land in the area was pre-empted by early settler James Kennedy before the government survey in 1873 that laid the groundwork for the orderly grid of streets seen elsewhere in North Delta and Surrey.
“In 1861, the provincial government allowed people to go out and pre-empt land, which means driving a stake in the ground — or four stakes in the ground — and that’s what happened in Annieville. That’s what James Kennedy did and others along there, all the way from 96th [Avenue] all the way to Burns Bog.”
“The back of Kennedy’s lot became 114th [Street] at an angle, and the same with a little piece of 90th [Avenue] that jogs down to River Road there. That was the edge of Kennedy’s property, and that was where Kennedy’s Trail came up.”
Copies of North Delta History and Heritage are available for $20 (tax included) by contacting John Macdonald at email@example.com.
Want to learn more about North Delta’s history? Check out the stories below, written by several of North Delta History and Heritage’s authors.
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