In Coquitlam, history is everywhere. Immerse yourself in our rich heritage and culture.
- kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation (Kwikwetlem First Nation) take the time to learn, read and acknowledge the history of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation at the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation website. Including “The kʷikʷəƛ̓əm have lived in and cared for our ancestral territory which is referred today as the Coquitlam Watershed since before remembered time. We remain true to the teachings of our ancestors to guide future generations. Today, as in the past, we honour and respect our role as stewards and guardians of the lands, spirits, waters, and all living things.The kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people are the First Peoples of the Coquitlam Watershed. Archaeology findings have confirmed continuous occupation of ancestral lands for at least 10,000 years, since the last ice age. The Cities of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam take their name after our people. The kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people are descended from ancestors who were renowned spirit and winter dancers, skilled canoe builders, and master sturgeon and salmon fishers. The rich culture and history of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people is based on ancient Coast Salish laws and protocols which granted us the responsibility to govern our territory in accordance with our customary laws. Our land is central to every aspect of their life, and today, as in the past, we are guided by teachings to responsibly use and care for our lands, waters and all that is above and below. kʷikʷəƛ̓əm draw our name “Red Fish Up the River” from an early spring sockeye salmon run that once flourished in the Coquitlam River and Coquitlam Lake prior to the construction of the Coquitlam Dam. Elders talk of these sockeyes running so thick that it was difficult to navigate canoes. Our name reflects the strong connection our people have always had to our lands, and the river and lake at the heart of our traditional territory”. *Source kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation website
- Colony Farm This farm was purchased by the province in 1904 as the location for a new psychiatric facility. Opened in 1910, the facilities were a provincial demonstration farm for the hospital known as Riverview. The park is now a birdwatcher’s delight of grasslands, waterways and marshes crisscrossed by wide, flat trails. Colony Farm is managed by Metro Vancouver and hosts a variety of events and workshops throughout the year, including nature walks and educational tours.
- Lafarge Lake Town Centre Park was once the site of a gravel plant and pit. Today’s picturesque Lafarge Lake is, in fact, a man-made lake donated to the City by the Lafarge Company in the late 1970s. The Province later gave the surrounding land to the City, which developed it into a state-of-the-art sport and recreation facility. Town Centre Park officially opened in May 1989, with more recent developments including the addition of Percy Perry Stadium and the TD Community Plaza. These improvements have not gone unnoticed: in 2017, Town Centre Park was rated the #1 public space in Canada by the Canadian Institute of Planners. A giant frog sculpture outside Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain station is a prominent reminder of the area’s transformation from a quarry to a green landscape. The sculpture, TransLake by Trent Hutton, aptly represents the lake’s evolution.
- Maillardville & Carré Heritage Square At the end of the 19th century, Frank Ross and James McLaren opened the state-of-the-art Fraser Lumber Mills. By 1908, a mill town of 20 houses, a store, post office, hospital, office block, barber shop and pool hall had grown around the mill. A year later, one of the most significant events in Coquitlam’s history took place. Mill owners, in search of workers, turned their attention to Quebec to recruit experienced loggers. In 1909, a contingent of 110 French Canadians arrived. With the arrival of a second group in 1910, Maillardville was born. To explore the neighbourhood on a self-guided walk, pick up a tour brochure at Mackin House. Walk toward Carré Heritage Square, which marks the historic entrance to Fraser Mills. The tour will lead you to the Fraser Mills Station and Place des Arts, Coquitlam’s community arts centre and music school. It began as a non-profit society in 1972 in Ryan House, a turn-of-the-century residence built by the Fraser Mills lumber mill. Take a peek inside Our Lady of Lourdes, a church built in 1938 on the site of the original church, which was a focal point for Coquitlam’s vibrant French-speaking community who began to arrive in 1909. In front of the church, you’ll find Hommage Aux Pionniers, an artwork that tells the story of Maillardville.
- Minnekhada Regional Park & Minnekhada Lodge Once a working farm, later to become a retreat where the world’s elite were wined and dined, Minnekhada Regional Park is an important historical site that today serves as a popular hiking, filming and wedding location. Minnekhada Farm dates back to 1895, but it didn’t receive its name until 1912, when it was purchased by a wealthy lumberman from Minnesota. Harry Leroy Jenkins turned it into a robust working farm of 1,600 acres and named it Minnekhada, which is derived from the Sioux Indian language and means “rattling water”. The farm had many owners until it was purchased in 1932 by Eric Hamber (President of B.C. Mills, Timber & Trading Co.), the 15th Lieutenant Governor of B.C. During the 1930s it became home to a polo club and hunting lodge. Hamber played host to many affluent guests. It’s rumoured that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed there in 1939. Sold in 1958 to Colonel Clarence Wallace (President of Burrard Dry Dock and 18th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, 1950-1955), it reverted to the Crown in the late 1970s. The GVRD (now Metro Vancouver) acquired Minnekhada Lodge in 1987 and the Park in 1995.
- Mundy Park In 1895, George and Jane Munday, who emigrated from Hampshire, England, were granted 150 acres of land, some of which would eventually come to be known as Mundy Park. Although the family never occupied the land, their name was given to the park, the lake, and the street that ran the length of the property. For reasons unknown, the “a” was eventually dropped and the name Mundy was used instead. Today, the 178-hectare urban forest is Coquitlam’s largest park. Many different species of plants and wildlife make their home in this unfragmented second-growth forest, with trees dating back more than 100 years.
- Robinson Memorial Cemetery Among its first burials in 1937, there is a large area of unmarked graves where many patients from Essondale (Riverview Hospital) were buried during the Depression. You’ll also find the grave of Emery Barnes (one of the first black politicians elected in British Columbia). Take a walk around this cemetery to discover these historical landmarks.
- Riverview Lands The Riverview Lands are a 244-acre site located in Coquitlam and managed by BC Housing. For more than 100 years, it has been home to Riverview Hospital (formerly known as Essondale), a place of healing for those with mental illness. The lands today are a renowned heritage site with a treasured arboretum that includes more than 1,800 trees planted in the early 1900s. In March, 2021 the Riverview Lands were renamed səmiq̓wəʔelə (pronounced Suh-MEE-kwuh-EL-uh), in recognition and respect of the Kwikwetlem First Nation’s (kʷikʷəƛ̓əm) historical and cultural ties to its ancestral land. kʷikʷəƛ̓əm asserts Indigenous rights and title to səmiq̓wəʔelə as part of its core traditional territory. “The name səmiq̓ʷəʔelə means ‘The Place of the Great Blue Heron’ in our traditional hən̓q̓əmin̓əm language,” said Chief Ed Hall, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation. “This name was given by the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people based on memories of how the land was once widely used as roosting ground for the great blue heron due to its proximity to what was then the floodplain of the Coquitlam River. *Source kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation
- Westwood Plateau / Racetrack A racetrack at Westwood Plateau was the first purpose-built road racing track in Canada and ran 32 seasons from 1959 to 1990. Racing legend Michael Andretti set the fastest lap time on May 21, 1983 (0:58.795). Several street names in the residential Westwood Plateau area are named after parts of the track (i.e. Deers Leap Place and Carousel Court).
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