mɛtokomɛn/ Lang Bay
Lang Bay is a community that has held many names, and throughout its history, these names have been shared with the creek that runs through the community. The first name for the area comes from the Tla’amin Nation who have called Lang Creek Metokomen for centuries. Although the meaning of the word has been lost over time, Metokomen remains a significant location in the histories and culture of both the Tla’amin and Sechelt Nations due to the creek’s salmon runs. Adjacent to the community of Lang Bay is a small Reserve belonging to the Sechelt Nation where Tom Timothy, a former chief of the Tla’amin Nation, is known to have lived.
When settlers arrived in the area around 1894, they began to call it Wolfsohn Bay/Creek after Johann Wolfsohn, a German diplomat who settled in Vancouver. The name did not stick however, and during the first World War residents voiced their displeasure at the community’s German name and voted to change it. They called it Lang Bay after Thomas, Harry, and Fred Lang, three brothers who grew up in the area and were overseas in France at the time.
Lang Bay’s first settlers were men who came to work in the logging industry. Between 1894 and 1922, a succession of companies that operated out of Lang Bay. These companies were:
Many of these companies also employed a significant number of Chinese labourers who worked at separate camps, most of whom were paid approximately forty percent less than the average company employee.
Many employees brought their families with them and lived in small cottages around the shoreline. At the height of the logging industry at Lang Bay, ships carrying supplies, goods, and people arrived at the wharf almost daily.
In 1911 first school opened and operated from 1911 to 1920 when the community decided a bigger building was necessary. The new schoolhouse had capacity for up to thirty students, but by 1937, there were no longer enough children in Lang Bay for the community to have its own school and children attended the Stillwater school from this point onwards. The empty school was purchased by the residents and became a community hall. Today, the building continues to serve this purpose.
In the year 1922, Lang Bay residents faced many difficulties. The year prior, there was a major windstorm, which knocked down many trees and caused widespread destruction. The community had not yet recovered from this when a fire broke out and consumed the community, and only two homes and the new schoolhouse were spared. The fire is recorded as being so brutal that it forced residents into the ocean where they could escape the flames, and that the fire was so hot that driftwood burned as it rose and fell with the tide. When Brooks, Bidlake and Whittall ceased its operations at Lang Bay, the population of the area slowly began to decline. With nowhere to work or live, many families moved on to settle elsewhere.
By 1927, Lang Bay was connected to Powell River via road, which gave residents further opportunities for work, leisure, and socializing.
In the summer of 1973, the Malaspina Country Fair coincided with the opening of the Lang Bay speedway, and stock car races were held. The track was located off Dixon Road. The races were enormously popular, and over the years, racers and fans from all over the province visited the Lang Bay Speedway. After nearly a decade of racing, the speedway closed in the early 1980s.