Tourism Week: 15 Fun Facts About Coquitlam
Did you know that Hollywood stars used to come to Coquitlam during the 1930s and ’40s for salmon fishing retreats? Or that British royalty reportedly vacationed at Minnekhada Lodge?
As Canadians celebrate Tourism Week from May 26 to June 2, we take this opportunity to play tourist in our own town. You’ll learn some fun facts and gain even more appreciation for this beautiful place we call home.
At the end of the week, we’ll be giving away a prize package including a $100 gift card for Coquitlam Centre, four rounds of golf at Eaglequest Coquitlam and a copy of Colleen MacDonald’s book about local bike rides, Let’s Go Biking. Watch for details on our Facebook page (facebook.com/visitcoquitlam) on Saturday, June 2.
Here are 15 facts you might not have known about Coquitlam.
- Many Hollywood stars, including Clark Gable and John Wayne, used to fish the Coquitlam River. They would take retreats in Coquitlam, staying at the Steelhead Lodge, which is no longer in existence. Some of the streets in the neighbourhood are named after them, including (Errol) Flynn Cres., (Clark) Gable St., (Kim) Novak Dr. and (Clara) Bowe Dr.
- Coquitlam is hosting one of Canada’s largest national lacrosse championships this summer. More than 500 athletes from across the country will be here this August for the Canadian National Lacrosse Championships. And in 2022, we’ll host the FIL Men’s World Field Lacrosse Championships, which hasn’t been in Canada since 2006.
- There’s only one Hard Rock Casino in Canada – and it’s located on Coquitlam’s United Boulevard. Check out the rock ‘n roll paraphernalia and see big-name musical acts on the Molson Canadian Theatre stage.
- British royalty reportedly once vacationed at Minnekhada Lodge. Eric Hamber, the 15th Lieutenant Governor of B.C., purchased the farm in 1932, making it into a retreat where the world’s elite were wined and dined. It became home to a polo club and hunting lodge during the 1930s. It’s rumoured that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed there in 1939. Today, Minnekhada Regional Park is a popular hiking, filming and wedding location.
- Lafarge Lake in Town Centre Park was once a gravel pit. Lafarge Company donated the man-made excavated lake to the City of Coquitlam in the 1970s. Today, it attracts visitors from around the world, hosting everything from sporting events to festivals and concerts.
- Got kids? Don’t miss the Teddy Bear Picnic and Parade on Sunday, June 9. Attracting thousands of kids each year, organizers estimate over 100,000 teddy bears have attended the picnic over the last 30 years. This event, completely organized by volunteers, is free to attend, making it accessible to all families.
- CanWest Games, which takes place July 26-28 at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park, is the largest functional fitness event in Canada. And the third largest of its kind in North America! Over 1,100 athletes will compete this year.
- Coquitlam’s Centennial Rose Garden is one of the best in Canada – and it’s free to view! Rose enthusiasts travel from around the world to sniff the more than 900 plantings and participate in the annual rose show, this year June 22-23. The neighbouring Canadian Heritage Rose Garden, also maintained by the Fraser Pacific Rose Society, only contains Canadian hybridized roses, a first in B.C. It includes three beds by Coquitlam hybridizer George Mander, the only Canadian to be honoured in the World Hall of Fame for his Glowing Amber rose, 2015.
- Did you know Coquitlam has an official Visitor Booth? You’ll find it at Mackin House Museum in historic Maillardville. Learn about Coquitlam’s French Canadian history and explore this unique museum, which is like stepping back in time into a house set in the early 1900s.
- During the 1980s, a logging company wanted to cut down 253 hectares of Burke Mountain forest. When the province refused to let them log, the company optioned their land to another company, which wanted to build a ski resort. After many studies and petitions, the province created a 38,000 hectare park called Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, which today is a major recreational area for hikers and bikers.
- On Aug. 16, 1979, so many shoppers came to the opening day of Coquitlam Centre, it caused massive traffic jams. At the time, it had the largest parking lot in Western Canada. Today, the mall has nearly 200 stores, making it one of the largest in B.C.
- Highland games and gatherings have been held in B.C. for more than 100 years. In the past 27 years, Coquitlam has been hosting the BC Highland Games and Scottish Festival (this year on Saturday, June 15). The Paperboys kick off the Games the night before with a free concert on the Ceilidh (Kay-lee) stage Friday, June 14 at Town Centre Park.
- Did you know Coquitlam has more than 300 restaurants? From the foodie strip of Glen Drive in City Centre to the area unofficially known as “Koreatown” on North Road, we’re a foodie city. Scope out your options.
- Maillardville in Coquitlam has the largest French Canadian population west of Manitoba. It’s named after Father Maillard, the first priest in Maillardville. Don’t miss Festival du Bois 2020, celebrating French Canadian culture.
- Coquitlam was home to the first purpose-built road racing track in Canada, which ran 32 seasons from 1959 to 1990. Several street names in the residential area of Westwood Plateau are named after the racetrack circuit (Firestone Place, Carousel Court and Deers Leap).
Don’t forget to share your adventures with us on social media @VisitCoquitlam by tagging #explorecoquitlam. Thanks and enjoy Tourism Week!