According to VancityBuzz, when most people in the Lower Mainland hear “Sapperton,” the SkyTrain station will most likely come to mind. However, with the new neon art installation along Brunette Avenue in New Westminster, the sign is helping shed a little light to a lesser-known piece of the region’s history.
The Sapperton neighbourhood was named after the “Sappers” – Columbia Detachment of Royal Engineers – that helped settle the area in 1858. Their purpose was to survey the Canada-U.S. border to prevent American infiltration during the gold rush, as well as construct roads, infrastructure and survey land for settlement. Many died as they built roads in the harshest conditions. One of the roads they built, North Road, is still in existence. The Sappers are now an integral part of the Canadian military, located across Canada in both militia and regular force units and working on international peacekeeping missions.
If you want to learn more about the neon art piece and the history of the Sappers of New Westminster, click here to read the rest of the VancityBuzz article.