Located at the geographic centre of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the dynamic and vibrant city of Coquitlam is set in beautiful and natural surroundings. The word Coquitlam is derived from the dialect of Burrard Inlet First Nations people for a small red fish similar to sockeye salmon.
Like many towns in the Fraser Valley, Coquitlam developed as a Hudson’s Bay trading post and fort, and became a haven for pioneers and prospectors during the boom of the Gold Rush, with a history of settlement and agriculture.
Coquitlam was opened up in the mid-1800s with the construction of North Road to provide Royal Engineers in New Westminster with access to the year-round port facilities in Port Moody. Growth was slow and steady, and in 1892, the Municipality of Coquitlam was officially incorporated.
As it grew, Coquitlam was groomed to become the capital city for the province, as well as the final western terminus for the CPR, the first trans-continental railway in Canada. When these ambitions were eclipsed by other cities (Victoria and Vancouver, respectively) Coquitlam settled down to become the residential and commercial extension of Vancouver.
The city received a major boost at the end of the Nineteenth century when Frank Ross and James McLaren opened Fraser Mills, a then state-of-the-art lumber mill on the banks of the Fraser River. By 1908 an impressive mill town had grown up around the mill, with the arrival of experienced French loggers from Quebec in 1909 and 1910 giving birth to Maillardville, the seed for the future growth of Coquitlam.
Growth through the early and mid twentieth century was spectacular, with a residential growth boom in the 1960s and 1970s, a period of rapid expansion that continues today.
Opportunities abound to accommodate the recreational pursuits of all ages and interests in Coquitlam, from the fringe of the rugged Coastal Mountains to the wetlands of the majestic Fraser River, and everywhere in between.
Location: Coquitlam is located north of the Fraser River and the Trans-Canada Highway 1, 16 miles (26 km) east of Vancouver. Neighbouring communities are New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody.
For a culture fix, the Evergreen Cultural Centre is a fully-fledged gallery and art facility, complemented by a 264-seat flexible theatre for performances, meetings and banquets, located on Pinetree Way in Coquitlam.
The Blackberry Gallery on St. Johns Street in nearby Port Moody showcases the talents of local artists, musicians and performers, craft fairs, visual art exhibitions, performances and multi-discipline art festivals.
Step back in time when visiting the Port Moody Station Museum. This station was once the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, where Port Moody welcomed Canada’s first transcontinental train on July 4, 1886. A collection of pioneer artifacts and railway memorabilia is on display at the museum, moved from its original site on the mainline track and fully restored in Murray Street in nearby Port Moody.
For recreation of a more urban variety, visitors can visit the City Centre Aquatic Complex with an Olympic sized swimming pool, wave pool, waterslides and therapeutic whirlpools.
Nearby Riverview Forest is certainly worth hiking through. A little-known sight here is a large stand of some of the Fraser Valley’s last old growth trees.
Golf: Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club is set high above Coquitlam on Eagle Mountain. Offering great golf in a spectacular mountain setting, Westwood Plateau provides some of the finest golf in the Vancouver area incorporating large Douglas Firs, massive granite rock faces, and rugged ravines into the 18-hole, par-72, 6,770-yard course. Lessons are provided at the Westwood Plateau Golf Academy, with a 9-hole Westwood Plateau Academy Course. Vancouver Golf Vacations.
Fishing: There are several fishing spots in the area, including Belcarra Park, Buntzen Lake, Lafarge Lake, Sasamat Lake, Pitt Lake and along the banks of the Coquitlam River. Fishing in Como Lake is open to children and seniors only.
Mountain Biking: If you’re a mountain biker looking for an aerobic workout, head for trails on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam. You’ll be in good gearhead company here. The mountain is a network of old skidder trails and logging roads and some more recent singletrack, including the in-your-face Sawblade, which is comparable to even the nastiest technical riding trails on the North Shore. To find the trailhead, from Highway 7 go north on Coast Meridian Road. Instead of heading for the PoCo trail continue on almost to the end of Coast Meridian and turn right on Harper Road, following the road as it climbs Mount Burke. Park beside a gate next to the Coquitlam Gun Club and begin pumping uphill from here. Follow Woodland Walk Trail on your left. It soon divides, with the beauty-view Coquitlam Lakeview Trail heading off to the right. Both Woodland and the Lakeview trail are crossed in several places by the rough – and renowned – Sawblade Trail. An alternate route is the Galloway Trail. To find it, stay right at all turns as you cycle east from the gun club. Watch for the Galloway trailhead on your right before the road passes beneath some power lines. Although the trail begins with a steep descent, it soon moderates to an intermediate singletrack with a sweet drop to paved Galloway Road. Turn right on Galloway, which leads back to Harper.
Mundy Park in southeast Coquitlam is one of the Lower Mainland’s largest forested parks, at 435 acres. Mundy Park’s network of walking trails and two scenic lakes (Mundy Lake and Lost Lake) attract visitors year round. The three main trails are the Perimeter Trail, a 4-km loop trail circling Mundy Park, and Interlaken Trail and Waterline Trail, both around 1km in length. There are also sports fields, a lacrosse box, an outdoor swimming pool, disc golf area, a playground, and picnic area.
Belcarra Regional Park lies enticingly close across Burrard Inlet to the north. In hot months the beaches at Belcarra’s Sasamat Lake and at nearby Buntzen Lake are extremely popular, so an early start is essential. On a calm day, paddle over to explore the area around Belcarra’s Admiralty Point. Just be mindful of the occasional large freighter that may be gliding slowly into one of the nearby oil terminals. Anglers and crabbers use the dock at Belcarra Park and the pier at Jericho Beach as an excuse to spend some time in the outdoors, and divers consider this the place to head to for underwater exploration in Indian Arm. Besides wading in from the beach beside Belcarra’s pier, there’s a small street-end park at Whiskey Cove on Coombe Road where divers also put in, located a 5-minute walk east of the picnic area. The park boasts numerous easy and moderate hiking and walking trails ranging from 2.5 to 7 kilometres in length.
Historic Minnekhada Regional Park in northeast Coquitlam has almost 5 miles (8 km) of trails, most of which are of the gentle-walking variety. These trails lead through a wooded area surrounding two large marshes. You can walk the perimeter of the park in two hours, viewing abundant wildlife and experiencing the moods of the seasons. For those with enough energy, High Knoll Trail will get your heart rate up in a hurry. Although not a long trail, its ascent is steady from the marsh to the viewpoint that overlooks the Pitt and Fraser Rivers and the farm fields.
The 38,000-hectare Pinecone Burke Provincial Park lies south of Garibaldi Provincial Park, west of Pitt Lake and Pitt River, extending south to Burke Mountain in Coquitlam. This park is a wilderness area that is not regularly serviced or patrolled, and offers day hiking, overnight backpacking, camping, rock climbing, wildlife viewing, winter sporting activities, and much more.
Hiking: Hikers and naturalists will enjoy other local parks, including Colony Farm, with walking trails rich in wildlife and gardens, Como Lake Park, a beautiful man-made lake featuring two playground areas, walking trails and fishing, and Blue Mountain Park, which protects a magnificent stone sculpture garden that displays six granite carvings of Native Indian Design.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on a driving Circle Tour. Head north out of Vancouver for the scenic Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island Circle Tour, or stay on the intensely scenic Sea to Sky Highway, passing through the magical winter resort town of Whistler and Coast Mountains Circle Tour. To explore the rural farmlands and forests of the fertile Fraser Valley, take the Fraser Valley Circle Tour, travelling outbound on the scenic route north of the historic Fraser River, returning westwards along the Trans Canada Highway 1 to Vancouver. Circle Tours in British Columbia.