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Coquitlam Yesterday

Settlement began in the 1860s after the construction of North Road in 1859. The history of the early years is one of settlement and agriculture. Growth was slow and steady and, in July, 1891, the municipality of the District of Coquitlam was incorporated.

In 1889, Frank Ross and James McLaren opened Fraser Mills lumber mill on the Fraser River. Later the mill was named Fraser River Saw Mills. By 1908, a mill town (called Millside) of 20 houses, a store, post office, hospital, office block, barber shop and pool hall had grown around the mill. The mill owners, in search of workers, looked to the experienced loggers of Quebec and in 1909, 140 French Canadians arrived, to work at Fraser Mills. With the arrival of a second group in 1910, the community of Maillardville was created.

In 1910, where the Coquitlam River joins the Fraser River, Riverview Psychiatric Hospital (commonly known as Essondale in its early years) opened with its associated gardens, called Colony Farm. Port Coquitlam became a separate area in 1913. After the opening of the Lougheed Highway in 1953, the district grew rapidly as a residential suburb and incorporated as a city in 1992.

Coquitlam takes its name from the Coquitlam First Nation Halkomelem word for "stinking fish slime." An alternative view is the name "Coquitlam" is derived from the Salish word for small red salmon. Sources: City of Coquitlam's History page and the Encyclopedia of BC.

Maillardville. With the arrival of another group of French Canadian workers for Fraser Mills in June 1910, the community of Maillardville was created. It was a vibrant community, the largest Francophone centre west of Manitoba, and the seed for the future growth of Coquitlam. The community was named for Father Maillard, a young Oblate from France. Maillardville’s past is recognized in street names that honour early pioneers and in local redevelopments which reflect its French-Canadian heritage. The area has been part of Coquitlam since 1971.

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