Dec 05, 2016 Return to Headlines

Coquitlam Wraps Up a Year of Celebration, Stories and Connections

by Heather Escaravage |

COQUITLAM, BC, Dec. 5, 2016 – It was a year to remember, and a year to build on. As Coquitlam celebrated its 125th anniversary throughout 2016, the community came together to forge memories that will serve as a catalyst for deeper connections moving forward.

Tens of thousands of residents, hundreds of volunteers and many corporate partners joined in events, public art projects and cultural activities that highlighted what makes Coquitlam unique: its history, its arts and culture, its multiculturalism, its neighbourhoods, and its continued growth into a complete, progressive community. Woven through the year’s events and projects was the theme Stories told, stories to be created.

Lights at Lafarge on Saturday – with its enthusiastic turnout despite the rain – capped off a series of Coquitlam 125 signature events that included the Activate Coquitlam 125 kick-off, the Dish & Dialogues multicultural dinner series, and the two-day Kaleidoscope arts and culture festival. Although the planned Heritage Picnic in September was rained out, some of the materials were repurposed at Lights at Lafarge.

The 125th anniversary theme was also carried into existing events, such as Canada Day and an expanded Coquitlam in Bloom program that earned the City a national win in the Communities in Bloom competition.

Community Engagement Artists were on hand throughout 2016 to help the community explore its stories through activities such as roving heritage characters, video booths, writing and acting workshops, an online photo gallery and video coverage. 

Residents also flocked to the free family-oriented Neighbourhood Nights held at different parks or schools, and came together for the 125 Block Party Challenge and hosted 127 block parties (topping the goal of 125), with the help of $150 grants from the City.

Adding to the festivities were more than 80 community-based events – from sports tournaments to arts and cultural activities – that were sanctioned as official Coquitlam 125 events and received marketing assistance from the City. One of the largest events was the Coquitlam 2016 55+ BC Games, which attracted over 3,000 participants and 1,100 volunteers from around the province.

As a permanent legacy of Coquitlam 125, 12 fibreglass salmon sculptures were commissioned and handpainted in themes honouring the community’s past, present and future. These sculptures have been permanently installed in parks and public spaces throughout Coquitlam.

The Coquitlam 125 tree – with etched Plexiglas leaves decorated by community members – will also have an ongoing home in the City’s annual winter lights display, and the City Archives have been bolstered with new archival material collected throughout the year, including over 160 written and video stories submitted by residents and the Community Engagement Artists, which can be viewed at www.coquitlam125.ca/ourstories.

The striking new Town Centre Park Plaza overlooking Lafarge Lake will also provide a lasting memory of the City’s milestone.

A less tangible but no less important legacy are the new relationships and strengthened community pride and involvement that were inspired by Coquitlam 125, evident in the high participation rates and positive feedback.

Behind the scenes, hundreds of community volunteers helped organize and execute the year’s events. The volunteer-driven Coquitlam 125 Anniversary Steering Task Force (CAST Force) planned and delivered the events, working with a number of event-specific subcommittees and hundreds of on-the-ground volunteers. 

As well, dozens of corporate partners stepped forward to provide financial support for the events and salmon sculptures, augmenting a $116,500 federal Building Communities through Arts & Culture grant and a Federal Legacy Grant of $500,000 towards the Town Centre Park Plaza. The complete list of Coquitlam 125 corporate partners are highlighted at www.coquitlam125.ca/corporatepartners.

A video capturing the Coquitlam 125 anniversary year is posted to the City’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/cityofcoquitlam and can also be viewed on the Coquitlam 125 website at www.coquitlam125.ca.

About Coquitlam 125

Coquitlam has celebrated its 125th anniversary throughout 2016 with a year-long celebration honouring the community’s rich history and setting the stage for a dynamic future.

When Coquitlam was incorporated on July 25, 1891, it was a small agricultural community, with a state-of-the-art lumber mill – the future Fraser Mills – under construction near the Fraser River. Today, Coquitlam is home to over 140,000 people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and over 6,200 businesses.

The Coquitlam 125 Anniversary Steering Task Force (CAST Force) has been guided by the Coquitlam 125 vision – Stories told, stories to be created – as it has engaged the community through meaningful experiences that have celebrated our heritage, created strong connections and inspired lasting legacies. For more information, visit www.coquitlam125.ca

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Downloadable photos from the Coquitlam 125 anniverary year celebrations are available on the City’s Flickr page at: https://flic.kr/s/aHskymDPVX