Port Coquitlam History

Port Coquitlam City Hall
City Hall

Port Coquitlam like most cities and towns in British Columbia has an interesting background story. The city itself still holds true to its historical background and roots and this is one of the reasons as to why it is such a great place to live and call home.


Part of Port Coquitlam’s historical story lies in its geography. The city is bound to the south by the Fraser River and by the Pitt River to the east. To the west lies the Coquitlam River and the Coast Mountains sit north of the city. It was this geography that played such a historical role in the development of Port Coquitlam. This access to three major water routes, its close proximity to Vancouver and sprawling undeveloped level land made Port Coquitlam very attractive to industry and the more importantly, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

In 1911, because of this access to water and abundance of land, the CPR decided to move its freight operations from Vancouver to Port Coquitlam and call the city home. The CPR was soon followed by many residents and businesses not only because of employment opportunities but also because of its beautiful surroundings and natural charm. In 1913, the bustling town of Port Coquitlam became incorporated as a municipality.

History – Pre War

The history of Port Coquitlam can basically be broken down into pre-World War 2 and post-World War 2. Prior to World War 2, Port Coquitlam was mainly an industrial town that catered to rail traffic and trade. Prior to that, Port Coquitlam was home to a First Nation’s fishing village at the mouth of the Coquitlam River. The word “Coquitlam” is aboriginal for salmon and the Coquitlam River is famous for its bountiful supply of this fish.

Post World War 2

Veterans park in Port Coquitlam
Veterans park

The city of Port Coquitlam changed rapidly after World War 2. Major industry began to move to Port Coquitlam after the war and became a major employer for the region. To this day, major industry continues to call Port Coquitlam home and employs many local residents. Because of these new found economic opportunities, the population of the town also grew steadily after the war. Prior to World War 2, the population of Port Coquitlam was 1 500. After the war, in 1952, the population had grown to 3 000 and by 1960, there were over 8 400 people who called Port Coquitlam home. Today, the city’s population is around 57 000.

Port Coquitlam Today

The city of Port Coquitlam still embraces its ties with the railway and its industry. The CPR still operates and maintains its freight operations in the city. Industry continues to thrive on the banks of the three surrounding rivers and Port Coquitlam is still a major transport hub for shipping and trade. The city itself has become far more residential as focused to set out to restore some of the older parts of the city as well as its downtown core. This focus has given the downtown district of Port Coquitlam a unique charm and has given rise to new residential development opportunities right downtown.

Its unique history as well as its natural beauty and surroundings make Port Coquitlam a very sought after place to live. It boasts beautiful neighbourhoods, heritage homes as well as sleek new condo developments all nestled into a very beautiful part of the Lower Mainland. There is something for everyone in this friendly city and it is no wonder why more and more people are calling Port Coquitlam home.

If you would like any more information about the city’s unique history or would like to see for yourself some of the diverse real estate opportunities in the beautiful city of Port Coquitlam, please contact me! I would love to show you why Port Coquitlam is a great spot to call home!


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