Port Coquitlam Celebrates 100 Years

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Port Coquitlam is kicking off a series of celebrations that will take place throughout the year in honor of their 100th birthday in March. Join the community on Friday, January 4, 2013 at the Port Coquitlam Rec Complex (2150 Wilson Ave) from 5:00pm to 9:30pm to see what’s in store for the rest of the year.


Port Coquitlam History

Today Port Coquitlam is a community of 57,000 with commercial and industrial areas, 217 hectares of parkland (including the Traboulay Trail), and residential neighbourhoods. Here’s a brief history from the PoCo100 site:

When European explorers discovered this region in the early 1800s, the Coast Salish people had already been hunting, fishing and farming between the Pitt and Coquitlam rivers for thousands of years. In addition to fertile land, rivers teeming with salmon and forests providing wood and game, the area offered a strategic location near the important transportation links of the day: rivers and, after 1885, rails.

By the time the 1860s arrived, homesteads, businesses and roads were starting to sprout up throughout the area. Surveyed land was selling for 10 shillings an acre, and two reserves were set aside for the Kwikwetlem First Nation, named for Chief Kwikwetlem William (later the namesake for Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam). In 1886, the first train passed through the Westminster Junction railway station on what is now Kingsway Avenue, further spurring growth.

An estimated 1,200-1,500 people had settled in the area when the City of Port Coquitlam was incorporated on March 7, 1913, splitting off from the largely rural District of Coquitlam. Lively Kingsway Avenue, the town centre at the time, was lined with businesses and wooden sidewalks, while Canadian Pacific Railway was the biggest employer. A devastating fire on Kingsway in 1920 shifted the downtown core to the Shaughnessy Street area, where the City Hall had been built in 1914.

Growth was slowed by war and the Great Depression, but the end of the Second World War in 1945 and completion of Lougheed Highway in 1948 brought an influx of residents and businesses to both the north and south sides of the CP Rail operations. Between 1941 and 1951, the population more than doubled from 1,539 to 3,232. By 1961 it had more than doubled again, to 8,111.

By 1980, when a young Port Coquitlam hero named Terry Fox inspired the world with his Marathon of Hope, the population was approximately 27,000. The late 1990s and 2000s saw more population and infrastructure growth, with the renovation of City Hall, Hyde Creek Recreation Centre and the Port Coquitlam Recreation Complex, and construction of Fire Hall #1, the Operations Centre, Leigh Square Community Arts Village, Coast Meridian Overpass and other facilities. The population reached 50,000 in the early 2000s.

Traboulay PoCo Trail Traboulay PoCo Trail

PoCo 100 Events

After the launch on Friday, there will be over a dozen other events that will showcase community pride and spirit including: Spirit Week (February 9 to 16, 2013), Taste of PoCo Spirit (February 16, 2013), the Community Birthday Celebration (March 7, 2013), May Day Trolley Tours (May 11, 2013), Homecoming Event (August 17 to 18, 2013) and much more. Follow Port Coquitlam 100 on Facebook for event information.

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