New Westminster - British Columbia

New Westminster has well over 100 years of important British Columbian History within its city limits. It all started when the city was named the first capital of British Columbia in 1859 by Queen Victoria of England, and gained the nickname "the Royal City." Later during the gold rush, New Westminster was a popular spot for prospectors who were preparing to travel by steamboat or canoe up the Fraser River.

The first Federal Penitentiary west of Manitoba was opened in New Westminster in 1878. It was a maximum security prison and was for the next 102 years. Today "The Pen," as it is now known, has been converted into condominiums and a restaurant. The original centre block is still said to be haunted by the souls of those who had trials and who were executed on the Penitentiary's grounds.

The Raymond Burr Theatre on Columbia street is also said to be haunted, by Mr. Raymond Burr himself. This live theatre used to be a movie cinema and volunteers have spent numerous hours uncovering and restoring the original murals that covered in the inside of the theatre.

New Westminster also has two popular shopping districts. The eastern shoreline of town has two main shopping areas: Columbia and Front Streets.

Columbia Street is home to many retailers including several wedding stores, specialty retailers, the city's police station, and the Burr Theatre. Front Street, which runs along the Fraser River shoreline, is the location of the city's original china town, and now has several antique shops, second-hand stores, the Royal City Star Riverboat Casino, and the New Westminster Quay shopping centre.

Just minutes up the hill is the second commercial area known as "6th and 6th" (because it the where these two streets intersect) has the Royal City Centre. Other than these two main commercial areas, the rest of New Westminster is mostly single family homes.

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