Living in Port Coquitlam
As a growing community of 61,000 residents, Port Coquitlam is strategically located within Metro Vancouver. It offers a healthy base of businesses, 271 hectares of parkland – including the 25-km Traboulay PoCo Trail –, has well-established neighbourhoods, and its strong sense of community spirit is aptly known as PoCo Pride. Throughout its years of growth, families have chosen Port Coquitlam to be their home, as the City has retained its small-town charm, its authentic historic downtown core, and a tradition of community involvement.
The City’s History
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. By the 1860s, homesteads, businesses and roads were sprouting 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. In 1886, the first train passed through the Westminster Junction railway station on what is now Kingsway Avenue, further spurring growth. CPR moved its freight operations to the site of Port Coquitlam from Vancouver in 1911.
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, was lined with businesses and wooden sidewalks, while CPR was the biggest employer. 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. 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 about 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.
Since the City of Port Coquitlam was incorporated in 1913, the years have brought about various changes to its City Council structure and election process. Mayoralty contests, for example, were held annually from 1913 to 1923. Port Coquitlam Mayors began serving two-year terms in 1923. In 1990, the Local Government Act increased the term of office to three years. R. C. Galer was Port Coquitlam’s longest-serving Mayor, serving 21 consecutive years from 1925 to 1945.
Schools In Port Coqutilam
Birchland Elementary School
1331 Fraser Ave, Port Coquitlam
Blakeburn Elementary School
1040 Riverside Dr, Port Coquitlam
Castle Park Elementary School
1144 Confederation Dr, Port Coquitlam
Cedar Drive Elementary School
3150 Cedar Dr, Port Coquitlam
Central Community School
2260 Central Ave, Port Coquitlam
Coquitlam River Elementary School
4250 Shaughnessy St, Port Coquitlam
Hazel Trembath Elementary School
1278 Confederation Dr, Port Coquitlam
Irvine Elementary School
3862 Wellington St, Port Coquitlam
James Park Elementary School
1761 Westminster Ave, Port Coquitlam
Kilmer Elementary School (French Immersion)
1575 Knappen St, Port Coquitlam
Mary Hill Elementary School (French Immersion)
1890 Humber Cres, Port Coquitlam
Westwood Elementary School
3610 Hastings St, Port Coquitlam
Citadel Middle School
1265 Citadel Dr, Port Coquitlam
Kwayhquitlam Middle School
3280 Flint St, Port Coquitlam
Minnekhada Middle School
1390 Laurier Ave, Port Coquitlam
Pitt River Community School
2070 Tyner St, Port Coquitlam
Riverside Secondary School (French Immersion)
2215 Reeve St, Port Coquitlam
Terry Fox Secondary School
1260 Riverwood Gate, Port Coquitlam
Wah Wing Restaurant
For over two decades, Wah Wing has been the standard set for Asian cuisine in the Tri-City area. It has consistently been voted one of the most popular eateries of any type, year after year. Now serving its 2nd generation of Tri-City residents, it's pretty obvious they are here to stay!
CUISINE: Chinese, Dim Sum
MUST-TRY: Ginger Beef
WHERE: #207-2748 Lougheed Highway, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 6P2
PHONE: (604) 945-3333
The Burke Beer House
The hot spot on a Friday and Saturday night – or any night for that matter – this double-decker bar is perfect for watching the game on a Tuesday and having fun on the weekend. They have a wide selection of craft beer on tap. And the food is unreal, too, including the “CBBR” Chicken Burger made with chicken, bacon, bbq and ranch!
CUISINE: Bar, Pub
MUST-TRY: ”CBBR” Chicken Burger
WHERE: 2099 Lougheed Highway, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B1A8
PHONE: (604) 554-0198
Laces Restaurant & Cafe
If you haven’t been here for a homemade ½ pound patty burger, stop whatever you’re doing and go right now! Their menu displays everything from Beef Brisket Pancakes – SO good – to Ginger Beef. They have breakfast, lunch, western classics and even Asian comfort food. Pair that with an unbeatable price; this little café will keep you coming back on the daily.
CUISINE: Western Classics, Asian Comfort
MUST-TRY: Beef Brisket Pancakes
WHERE: #100-1485 Coast Meridian Road, Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 5P1
PHONE: (604) 941-2947
San Remo Pizza
For over 30 years the San Remo family has been providing consistently great food, maintaining the flavour you expect and the quality you deserve. Their pizzas are made using homemade crust and sauce, with plenty of toppings that will leave you wishing you could eat just one more piece! And be sure to save some room for Tiramisu – a decadent dessert made by Mama Dina!
CUISINE: Pizza, Italian
MUST-TRY: Bill’s Mediterranean
WHERE: #108-3008 Flint Street, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 4H4
PHONE: (604) 941-8644
Their chicken souvlaki will leave you speechless. Pallas Athena has a great atmosphere for any type of occasion. They offer delivery and take-out! Which is convenient since you’ll probably be ordering from them weekly. Forget boring old Taco Tuesdays and try Greek Tuesdays! Trust us; it will be your new thing.
MUST-TRY: Pacific Wild Halibut Fish & Chips
WHERE: #101-1250 Dominion Street, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 8G7
What to do in Port Coquitlam
Port Coquitlam’s strategic location in the heart of Metro Vancouver makes it an easy jump-off point for a day trip to Vancouver, or out towards to the Fraser Valley. But if you don’t feel much like leaving home, there’s plenty to keep you entertained locally.
Outdoor enthusiasts will no doubt love Traboulay PoCo Trail. Taking you along the Dyke, through Peace Park, beside water and through forest, this 25 km is great for walking or bike riding. Whether on foot or two wheels, the mountain views you’ll take in are breathtaking. And you’ll find plenty of places to stop along the way such as Lions Park, the PoCo River, and Gates Park. Trabouloay PoCo Trail will also take you right through Colony Farm Regional Park. Its open fields, hedgerows and wetlands provide habitat for more than 200 bird and animal species, has picnic tables for an afternoon BBQ, and welcomes visitors to check out its community gardens. Fido is welcome here as well, but must be leashed and under control at all times.
Fancy a round of 18 holes when the weather is nice? Say no more and head over to Carnoustie Golf Club where you’ll find its mature course offers exceptional greens, lush tree-lined fairways and a comfortable approach. Not to mention that the scenic coastal mountains frame the course for a spectacular afternoon with your friends or family. And if you prefer something on the water, Guided Fishing BC will take you out for the afternoon in a Sturgeon and Salmon Fishing Adventure you won’t soon forget. Their freshwater trips depart from Port Coquitlam and can be booked in lengths of 6 and 8-hour trips.
Indoor recreation more your cup of tea? No problem! Hyde Creek Recreation Center is a completely renovated aquatics complex complete with a lap pool, leisure pool, river run, climbing wall, water slide, sauna, whirlpool, steam room, and bright roomy change rooms for men, women and families. And if that doesn’t whet your appetite enough, the extensive complex also includes racquetball and squash courts, a gymnasium, a full service weight and fitness room with the very latest machines, an aerobics/dance studio and a martial arts studio complete with a sprung floor.
For a night on the town, Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre has been the best kept secret in the Lower Mainland. And it’s Port Coquitlam location makes this SNL-style, rock-concert type, interactive musical comedy venue easily accessible, without having to drive all the way to Vancouver and back. Having entertained thousands of residents since it opened its doors in 2001, you’ll enjoy a fantastic dinner and a memorable evening that will have you laughing for more!
Finally, history buffs will adore a trip to the PoCo Heritage Museum and Archives. Celebrating its upcoming 30 year anniversary in 2018, the museum features permanent and special exhibits, which include historical photographs, First Nations artifacts, tools, collectibles, maps, and antiques. And you’ll find an ever-expanding collection of photographs, newspapers, historical documents, videos, and full library in the Archives.
Oh, and don't miss…
No matter the season, people from all over visit this shop; it’s PoCo’s best-kept secret. Although gelato isn’t the only food provided, people can also try his freshly made coffee, Paninis, soup, and much more. Located at 2615 Mary Hill Road, you’re in little Italy once you step through the door! The gelato here is so fresh and creamy, you’ll stay the whole day just to try every flavour. Gelato is commonly thought to be ice-cream, but there are several differences between the two. The Italian word for gelato translates to “ice-milk”, which uses a lower butterfat, making it a healthy, all natural treat. Little ones are just as welcome as their parents at this restaurant. Come order a flavorful feast and sit outside if it's nice!
Poco Grand Prix
Sports fans, families and festival-lovers will want to be in downtown Port Coquitlam during the summer for annual PoCo Grand Prix. It’s a day of professional cycling, live entertainment and free family activities. As part of BC Superweek – Canada’s largest professional road cycling series – the PoCo Grand Prix will be one of six events taking place throughout Metro Vancouver each July. The criterium-style race will feature a mass start on a 1.3-kilometre circuit that cyclists will navigate for 40-65 laps. Approximately 200 male and female professional cyclists will whiz by about every minute, making for an exhilarating spectator experience.