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Oct 19, 2017 Return to Headlines

Online Exhibit Looks at Coquitlam’s Plywood History

by Robbin Whachell |

COQUITLAM, BC, Oct​. 19, 2017 – If you need to build a subfloor or clad a wall these days, you’ll likely head to the hardware store for some sheets of plywood.

It was a different story 100 years ago, before the Canadian Western Lumber Company – based on the banks of the Fraser River in Fraser Mills – became Canada’s first producer of plywood in 1913.

“Plywood – the material of unlimited uses,” a new online exhibit by Coquitlam’s City Archives, investigates the early days of this ubiquitous building material through the records of one of Coquitlam’s longest-running lumber mills.

It’s the latest in a quarterly series of online exhibits at that mine the Archives for insightful stories about Coquitlam’s past, share information about new acquisitions and highlight upcoming events. Earlier exhibits, still available for viewing, included a look at the sacrifices of Coquitlam soldiers at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and the changing boundaries of Coquitlam.

The new exhibit is built around Canadian Western Lumber Company records such as machinery schematics and promotional materials. Plywood – made by gluing thin sheets of wood together – revolutionized construction because it was lightweight, durable, and available in sizes that couldn’t be achieved through earlier timber processing methods.

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

For more information about the City of Coquitlam Archives and to view the online exhibits, visit


Media contact:
Emily Lonie
City Archivist
City of Coquitlam


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