Coquitlam: From Being A Mill Town to a Vibrant City

Known as the 5th biggest city in British Columbia, Coquitlam is a suburban metropolis located in the Lower Mainland. It is bordered by the cities of Port Moody and Burnaby to the west, Port Coquitlam in the southeast and New Westminster to the southwest. Featuring a unique mix of industry, green space, retail and housing, Coquitlam is currently an attractive home base for around 115,000 people. Central Coquitlam is an established residential neighbourhood that is made up of a mix of contemporary and older homes, with subdivisions dating from the 1950s.

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The community was first inhabited by the Coast Salish tribe. The city got its name from the word ‘kwikwetlem’ which means ‘red fish up the river’. This small community initially got its first economic boost in 1889 when James McLaren and Frank Ross opened up the Fraser Mills, a $350,000-lumber mill at the northern banks of the Fraser River. By the year 1908, this mill town was comprised of 20 residential homes, a hospital, a post office, a store, an office block, a pool hall and a barber shop. After World War 11, Coquitlam and the Lower Mainland went through a substantial population boost that still continues today.

Housing and Zoning

Coquitlam’s geographical shape may be thought of a tilted hourglass, with two big land parcels and a small central section that connects both of them. The Coquitlam real estate market is made up of townhouses, single family houses and apartments that are mostly concentrated in the town centre, which is a neighbourhood with a City Hall, public library, fire hall and a prominent college. Apartment prices range from $400,000 t0 $430,000 (2-bedroom apartments). Their 3-bedroom homes start at $670,000. The average house prices in Central Coquitlam remains at around $750,000.


The TransCanada Highway and Lougheed Highway traverse the community, linking it to other major parts of the region. The city’s public bus system allows for transit within the city and other neighboring municipalities. Coquitlam is also served by the WestCoast Express, a commuter rail service that connects the city with downtown Vancouver. Through the years, Coquitlam has also managed to construct elaborate networks of pedestrian and biking routes.

Recreational Facilities

The locals get to enjoy easy access to Mundy Park, the city’s biggest park with over 179 hectares of forest land with extensive hiking/biking trails, recreational facilities, an outdoor poor and several sports fields. Como Lake Village Shopping Center is a popular destination for shoppers too. The Evergreen Cultural Center is an arts and culture facility designed to hosts different local events. It boasts a 264- seat black box theatre, art studios, an art gallery and a rehearsal hall.


Coquitlam currently offers 4 public high schools, several middle schools and dozens of elementary schools. The town center is also home to the 4,000 students of Douglas College—Lam Campus. The university also boasts a $39-million Health Sciences Center which caters to Nursing and other health programs. The Coquitlam Public Library currently has two branches located in Poirier and City Center. It has a collection of more than 240,000 items with a yearly budget of more than $4 million.

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