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Jul 20, 2017 Return to Headlines

Online Exhibit Explores Coquitlam’s Changing Boundaries

by Colleen Smith |

COQUITLAM, BC, July 20, 2017 – When Coquitlam was incorporated on July 25, 1891, the community and its boundaries looked substantially different than they do today.

“Coquitlam’s Changing Boundaries,” a new online exhibit launched by the City Archives July 25, explores how Coquitlam’s physical boundaries have changed since the time it was a sparsely populated community known as Westminster Junction, located where Port Coquitlam is today. 

It’s the second in a quarterly series of online exhibits at www.coquitlam.ca/archives that mine the Archives for insightful stories about Coquitlam’s past, share information about new acquisitions and highlight upcoming events. The series kicked off in April with a look at the sacrifices of Coquitlam soldiers at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 

Featuring scans of century-old documents and maps, the new exhibit leads readers through Coquitlam’s journey from its original boundaries in 1891, to the addition of the western portion of Maple Ridge (which previously spanned the Pitt River) in 1894, to the loss of Port Coquitlam when it was incorporated in 1913, to the amalgamation with the municipality of Fraser Mills in 1971.

The source for much of the information is the various letters patent – legal documents approved by the provincial government that create municipalities, establish their legal name, set out their boundaries and provide instructions for electing a mayor and council.

Letters patent are still in use today for changes to municipalities – such as when a district changes to a city, as Coquitlam did in 1992. The exhibit includes a scan of the 1992 letters patent and photo of the Council of the day. 

Time was not kind to Coquitlam’s older letters patent, however. By the time the Archives were founded in 2013, the 1894 document had extensive tears, cracks and tape damage, and the paper had become acidic and brittle. 

The letters patent has since been repaired by a local conservation firm and a copy has been framed and hung in the Archives at City Hall. Before-and-after scans are also included in the online exhibit.

About the City of Coquitlam Archives
The City of Coquitlam Archives serves a dual purpose: to preserve and to make accessible. Since the inception of the archives program, Coquitlam has been raising its profile to encourage people to use its services and discover the trove of records in the collection. Other outreach includes weekly #TBT posts on the City’s social media platforms and a small collection of historic photos at www.historypin.org.

For more information about the City of Coquitlam Archives and to view the online exhibits, visit www.coquitlam.ca/​onlineexhibit.

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Media contact:
Emily Lonie
City Archivist
City of Coquitlam
604-927-3907
elonie@coquitlam.ca