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Jul 09, 2019 Return to Headlines

Coquitlam Archives Celebrates Westwood Racetrack

by Colleen Smith |

COQUITLAM, BC July 9, 2019 – Start Your Engines! Westwood Racing Circuit 1958 – 1990 is the latest in a series of online exhibits from the City of Coquitlam Archives.

Available at www.coquitlam.ca/westwood, the online exhibit provides an overview of the 30-year history of Canada’s first purpose-built road racing circuit. Coquitlam’s Westwood Racetrack saw some premiere drivers race its curves, such as brothers Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve Sr., Keke Rosberg and Michael Andretti. The online exhibit has many historical racing photos as well as official programs from early races.

The first official race held on July 26, 1959 had an estimated 20,000 people in attendance, with the final race—a seven-hour endurance race—held on Oct. 8, 1990 before the land was sold and developed as a housing community —today’s Westwood Plateau.

Designed and built by the enterprising members of the Sports Car Club of British Columbia (SCCBC), the notoriously challenging Westwood track was financed through the sale of debentures and named in honour of Earle C. Westwood, then Minister of Recreation and Conservation, who was instrumental in lease negotiations for a remote parcel of Crown land in the District of Coquitlam

Artefact Display at City Archives Complements Online Exhibit
The City of Coquitlam Archives has also borrowed a number of physical artefacts including a racing suit, helmet, programs and racing banners, and even a piece of the former track, which will be on display at their Pinetree Way location until the end of 2019. Appointments to view the display can be made by contacting the Archives at archives@coquitlam.ca

Additional Online Exhibits
Earlier online exhibits from the City of Coquitlam Archives (still available for viewing at www.coquitlam.ca/archives) included historical aerial photography of Coquitlam, an overview of the importance of plywood to Coquitlam’s history, and a commemoration of a First World War soldier who died at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, among others.

About the City of Coquitlam Archives
In January 2019, the City of Coquitlam Archives moved to its new location at 1171 Pinetree Way, adjacent to the Coquitlam Public Library, City Centre branch. The move has enabled the Archives to continue to fulfill its mandate to 'preserve and make accessible the records of enduring value of the City of Coquitlam and its predecessor administrative bodies.'

Since the inception of the program, the Archives has been raising its profile to encourage people to use its services and discover the trove of records in the collection. In addition to online exhibits, other outreach includes weekly #TBT posts on the City’s social media platforms and a collection of historic photos at www.historypin.org. Thousands of archival records, including hundreds of historical images, are available in digital form through the Archives’ online search portal, Quest searcharchives.coquitlam.ca.  

The Archives anticipates having drop-in opening hours later this summer. For more information about the City of Coquitlam Archives and to view the online exhibits, visit www.coquitlam.ca/archives.

Media contact:
Emily Lonie
City Archivist
City of Coquitlam