HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Whonnock adopted its name from the local First Nation people meaning the “place of the hump-back salmon.” First Nation people have been living continuously in the area for more than 10,000 years. The first white settler in Whonnock was Robert Robertson who made his clearing by the river’s edge in Maple Ridge in 1860.
In 1880, with the coming of the railway, homesteads began filling up with settlers primarily from Great Britain and Norway. A post office, general store and school were established when the railway station was built and shortly followed by church buildings.
Postal service was established in Whonnock in 1885. This small postal station was rebuilt in 1928 and again for the final time in 1932. It stands in the very center of the Whonnock commercial area and is symbolic of the community that it has served for many years.
The Whonnock General Store was built by Nils C. Nelson, a local carpenter. The storefront retains its centered entry. It served as a grocery store for many years and now houses a feed store. It remains part of the historic core of Whonnock.
Whonnock was the center for social life in the area for many decades. The Ladies Club, built in 1912 by the women of Whonnock, the church and other organizations played an important part in the shaping of community life. Members of the Norwegian community built their own small wooden church that held Lutheran services in Norwegian for many years.
Between the two world wars, the Japanese farmers began growing fruit and had unprecedented success in the Whonnock area. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941, the Canadian Government evicted the Japanese from their lands and homes and sent them to live in internment camps in the interior.
Learn more about the history and the pioneer families of Whonnock at the Maple Ridge Museum.
The Heritage Resources of Maple Ridge is a great resource for additional information about the Whonnock area.
HISTORICAL BUILDINGS IN WHONNOCK
- Armes Residence | 10016 272 Street | Circa 1910
- Lee Residence | 10225 272 Street | Circa 1914
- Residence | 26887 River Road | Circa 1931
- Residence | 26903 River Road | Circa 1931
- Robert Davidson Studio | 26914 112 Avenue | Circa 1973
- ‘Skyacres’ | 26011 Lougheed Highway | Circa 1909
- St. John The Evangelist Anglican | 27123 River Road | Circa 1921
- St. Paul’s Anglican Church | 10184 272 Street | Circa 1891 | TODAY: Private Residence
- Stahl Residence | 26742 98 Avenue | Circa 1911
- Watson Residence | 9860 272 Street | Circa 1926
- Whonnock General Store | 26927 River Road | Circa 1937
- Whonnock Post Office | 26915 River Road | Circa 1932
- Whonnock United Church | 27091 River Road | Circa 1914
- Whonnock United Manse | 27091 River Road | Circa 1914
- HISTORIC CEMETERIES IN WHONNOCK:
- Langley First Nation Cemetery | 96 Avenue | Circa 1874
- Robertson Family Cemetery | 269 Street | Pre-1912
- Whonnock Cemetery | 96 Avenue | First Burial 1905
- HISTORIC LANDSCAPE: Sugar Maple Trees | 26721 100 Avenue | Circa 1914
Lumberyards and mills continue to be active on the waterfront, albeit on a smaller scale than before. Whonnock remains a rural residential area where many people have horses and maintain small tree and fruit farms.
Whonnock Lake Park is a popular destination with a small sandy beach, a swimming area, hiking trails, a new playground and is stocked annually with Rainbow Trout. The Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club is based on Whonnock Lake.
The Whonnock Lake Centre serves as a community hall for the local residents and is a well-known location for weddings, film production and many other events.