Nestled below the Blue Mountain on the north bank of the Fraser River, the quiet pastoral community of Maple Ridge proudly boasts a rich heritage of First Nations and pioneer history, much of which has been well preserved.
From the Coast Salish people to the settlers of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Maple Ridge (then known as Port Haney), was the third municipality to be incorporated into the new province of British Columbia, in 1874.
Maple Ridge is named after the farm of John McIver, who settled on a ridge above the Fraser River in 1860. With an abundance of broad-leafed western maple trees on his fertile land, McIver named his farm Maple Ridge.
The Golden Ears, so named for two pronounced mountain peaks, dominate the northern landscape. Golden Ears Provincial Park offers up some of the region’s best hiking, boating and camping. You’ll find well maintained camping sites close to Alouette Lake and Gold Creek.
Maple Ridge celebrates its long history with a number of preserved buildings from the past, some of which have become museums. St. John the Divine Anglican Church, British Columbia’s oldest, is just up the hill from the few remaining buildings of historic Port Haney. The Fraser River Heritage Walk links key heritage sites in the Port Haney area and is only a few minutes walk from Maple Ridge’s downtown. While certainly a community in its own right, many of the residents of Maple Ridge consider themselves to be living in a countrified suburb of Vancouver. Locals will tell you that the soil is rich, but it was only in the last 40 years that any serious farming took root here.
Location: Maple Ridge is located on the north bank of the Fraser River, on both sides of the Lougheed Highway (Highway 7), 26 miles (42 km) east of Vancouver. To the west of Maple Ridge is the community of
Catch a glimpse of life in years gone by at the Maple Ridge Museum on 116th Avenue, overlooking historic Port Haney on the Fraser River. Located in a heritage home built in 1907 for the manager of the Haney brick and Tile Company, the museum displays pioneer and First Nations artifacts, historic photos, a miniature railway, and a Canadian Pacific Railway caboose.
The Haney House, originally owned by the well-known Haney family, was built in 1876 for Thomas Haney, the founder of Port Haney. On display in the house at 11612 224th Street, donated to the city in 1977, are many original pieces of furniture, clothing and household effects.
The oldest church on the British Columbia mainland, the St. John the Divine Church was built by the Royal Engineers in 1859 and still stands on its original foundation. Now a provincial heritage site, the church is located at Laity Street and River Road.
The Maple Ridge Art Gallery at Haney Place presents works from both professional and amateur artists, and a variety of shows throughout the year.
There’s also picnicking in the park farther upstream at the Bell-Irving Kanaka Creek Fish Hatchery. This open setting beside the main fork of Kanaka Creek (the two forks merge below Cliff Falls) lacks some of the mystique of Cliff Falls, but none of the calm (except in April, when schoolchildren gather for the annual release of fry from the hatchery).
Golf: The area offers a number of beautiful golf courses: Meadow Gardens Golf Course is notable for the water, sand, tree-covered rolling mounds, and the attention to the needs of nature. From the winding entry drive to spectacular views of the Golden Ears mountains, the theme of harmony and challenging golf repeats itself on every exciting hole. Golden Eagle Golf Club is situated amidst the beautiful Thompson Mountains in scenic Pitt Meadows, offering 36 fun and challenging holes divided between the North Course and South Course. Rolling fairways surrounded by plenty of water and bunkers lead you to massive bent grass greens testing all aspects of your game. Pitt Meadows Golf & Country Club, situated on the old Greybrook Farm property, offers an enjoyable course, challenging yet fair, with perfectly manicured lawns and a picturesque backdrop of the Golden Ears Mountains (18 holes, par 72, 6,549 yards). Swan-E-Set Bay Resort Club is set in an inspired setting, complete with meandering streams, crystal-clear lakes, and the breathtaking backdrop of the coastal mountains. From the tranquil Pitt River Valley, Lee Trevino sculpted two unique championship golf courses that offer both challenge and playability for all skill levels.
Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Horseback Riding: Saddle up! Maple Ridge is the Horse Capital of British Columbia, with a network of riding trails that encompasses over 100 kilometers of local riding and hiking trails, as well as 50-60 kilometers in nearby Golden Ears Provincial Park. Horseback riding in Maple Ridge caters to a variety of riders, from the occasional weekend rider to top-level competitors representing Canada at international competitions.
The tranquil Blue Mountain Forest in Maple Ridge provides a soothing setting for picnicking in Kanaka Creek Regional Park. Tables are spread about in a sunny location just above Cliff Falls. Come June, the salmonberry bushes are laden with ripe fruit, in brilliant shades of red and gold. They both taste the same (the yellow ones are rarer) and provide a sweet, juicy accompaniment to whatever else you have on your menu. Although the best way to experience the lower section of the park is by boat, for an easygoing walking tour, follow Riverfront Trail on foot as it leads out to Kanaka’s confluence with the Fraser from the Hwy 7 trailhead. Along the way, climb the three-storey observation tower beside the creek, which provides an overview of the landscape here. Bring your binoculars, as this quiet refuge sustains a host of fascinating flyers. The creek and river close in on both sides of the nose of land as you follow the trail west. Decaying pilings offer mute testimony that fishing boats once tied up in this sheltered backwater. From an observation deck that overhangs the riverbank, you get broad views of the Fraser.
The Maple Ridge Park and Campground, a lovely forested municipal campground, is home to an imaginatively designed water park that is open on sunny days from the end of May until early September. The sound of the Alouette River is a pleasant backdrop.
East of Maple Ridge, the countryside becomes noticeably less populated. The well-marked turnoff to Rolley Lake Provincial Park is at the mill town of Ruskin, 6 miles (10 km) north of Highway 7, to the northeast of Maple Ridge. Rolley Lake Provincial Park’s vehicle/tent campsites are rather spaciously laid out, with special features including hot showers, a small beach, a gentle walking trail and the darling Rolley Lake nearby. You can launch a small boat or inflatable raft from the beach. Powerboats are not allowed on Rolley Lake and tranquillity prevails here. Bring binoculars for wildlife viewing, and a fishing rod, as the lake is well stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout.
Maple Ridge is the entrance to Golden Ears Provincial Park, a 55,625-hectare playground for nature enthusiasts, hikers, mountain climbers, and horseback riders. There are many trails to explore along Alouette Lake, and numerous creeks and lakes in the Coast Mountain Range. A boat launch is available, and 343 well-spaced campsites are located at two locations in the park, at Alouette Lake and Gold Creek Campground, as well as wilderness campsites dotted throughout the park’s backcountry.
A long-running event that has received numerous awards, the Maple Ridge Agricultural Fair, held during the fourth weekend in July, features traditional logging sports, plus a Logging Show, Flyball Dog Tournament, the P.N.E. Youth Talent Search, Jackpot Cattle Penning, and a number of 4-H Shows.
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Circle Farm Tour: Join the kids for some lighthearted agri-tainment, shop for seriously nutritious food, and beautify your yard on this delightful tour. The whole family will enjoy the farmers market, corn maze activities, and the world of bees. Shop for organic berries, hormone-free beef, old-fashioned ham, bacon, and sausages, and sample fine fruit wines. Pick up bedding plants, hanging baskets, trees and water plants to take home to your garden. Check with the Visitor Centre for more details.
Neighbouring Maple Ridge is the picturesque community Pitt Meadows, an agricultural area known for its specialty crops, including blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries. This rural area between Port Coquitlam and Maple Ridge comprises the communities of Hammond and Pitt Meadows, separated from Coquitlam by the Pitt River and Pitt River Bridge.
East of Maple Ridge lies the town of Mission, nestled in the rugged Coast Mountains, named after the first and largest mission in the Pacific Northwest, the Roman Catholic St. Mary’s Indian Mission, founded in 1861. Dubbed the Gateway to the Fraser River, Mission was a popular stopping place for trappers, settlers, and other river travellers, and remains an important junction to this day.
Circle Tour: See the best of the area on a driving Circle Tour. Head north out of Vancouver for a scenic tour of the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island, or stay on the intensely scenic Sea to Sky Highway, passing through the magical winter resort town of Whistler and looping through the Coast Mountains. To explore the rural farmlands and forests of the fertile Fraser Valley, travel 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.