Langley Heritage Society's Fred Pepin (left) presented the award for Milsean Shoppe to Ann and Bob Hall.

Heritage awards to Milsean, Henry Leaf residence

Three private property owners have been recognized for heritage conservation, in an award program established by the Langley Heritage Society.

The recipients include Maureen and Rob Robinson’s Milsean Shoppe in Aldergrove, Quadra Homes and HJ Properties’ Yorkson Creek development and Ted and Lynda Lightfoot’s Henry Leaf Residence inside Gloucester Industrial Estates.

The awards and recognition plaques were presented at the annual general meeting of the Heritage Society on Friday evening.

Recognition was given to the Milsean Shoppe which occupies the former Aldergrove Fire Hall that was built by volunteer effort and donations in 1959. With the construction of a new fire hall in 2000, Langley Township offered the old site and building for sale. Maureen and Rob Robinson subsequently became the new owners and determined that the old structure could be renovated to suit their needs.

Heritage Society President Fred Pepin reminisced about his time working on building the hall and said that the Robinsons’ creative renovation saved an important piece of Langley’s history. Not only does the old fire hall now house a candy factory, coffee shop and upstairs residence for the owners but it has also helped revitalize downtown Aldergrove.

Ann and Bob Hall accepted the award on behalf of their daughter Maureen and son-in-law Rob, who were unable to attend the meeting.

Ann told the audience about the history of Milsean “sweets” starting out as a tiny cottage industry and becoming a huge success requiring all the space the old fire hall provided.

The Yorkson Creek development by Quadra Homes and HJ Properties won recognition for saving three buildings important to the history of the Willoughby area. The development has incorporated the 1922 Willoughby Church, the 1925 Jones Residence and the 1930s Campbell Residence as homes inside a new residential community.

The exterior of all three buildings were restored with as much historical accuracy as possible. The interior of each building has high quality finishes such as real hardwood floors and fine woodwork.

The Willoughby Church, first as Methodist than United, served the community from 1922 until 1965. David Jones was a prominent Willoughby resident serving on Township Council in the late 1920s and later as a Justice of the Peace. Tom and Dorothy Campbell operated the general store beside their home and were a big part of Willoughby when it was still quite an isolated rural community.

Fred Pepin presented the award to Quadra’s Shawn Bouchard, who said his company was pleased to help in preserving a part of Langley’s heritage.

The Heritage Society also recognized the expert restoration of the Henry Leaf Residence by Ted and Lynda Lightfoot.

Leaf was a blacksmith by trade and emigrated from England, first to Ontario, then B.C. He and his wife, Louise, settled in north-east Langley when it was very isolated. Henry built the one and a half storey home with square hewn logs in 1897. The Leafs developed a successful dairy farm and became quite prosperous.

Fred Pepin thanked the Lightfoots for their expert restoration and preservation of a building that represents an important part of Langley’s early settlement.

The awards program, now in its second year, has three categories for award eligibility. The Lightfoots were recognized for their preservation of a designated heritage building. The Robinsons’ Milsean Shoppe was honored for the adaptive re-use of a building with heritage interest. Quadra Homes and HJ Properties received the award for incorporating heritage into the newly built environment.

The Heritage Society will continue the program by keeping track of heritage related projects in Langley and each year select a maximum of one award in each of the three categories.

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