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Apr 10, 2019 Return to Headlines

Archives’ Online Exhibit Explores the Holstein Herd at Colony Farm

by Colleen Smith |

COQUITLAM, BC, April 10, 2019 – Take a look back at Colony Farm’s early 1900s dairy herd through The Legen-dairy Holstein Herd of Colony Farm, the City of Coquitlam Archives’ latest online exhibit.

Development of Mental Health Services at Colony Farm
The online exhibit not only explores the herd’s history at the farm and its dairy production, but also its instrumental role in the development of mental health services in the province.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Province purchased 1,000 acres of land, which would become Riverview Hospital and Colony Farm, and the facility would emphasize safe care in peaceful surroundings in the developing field of occupational therapy.

Opened in 1910, Colony Farm was more than a Provincial demonstration farm, it also provided the opportunity for patients to earn a small salary to work and live at the farm and participate in work at the dairy and nursery.

The Holstein Herd
The Holstein herd was acquired in 1910 and included just 22 locally-purchased cows. The dairy operation grew swiftly with the addition of an imported collection of 50 Holsteins that was housed in fully-automated, state-of-the-art facilities. The Holsteins were bred by Colony Farm Superintendent, Pete Moore, and became a quality stock that supplied dairy farms across the province.  

By 1913, the farm was producing almost 50,000 gallons of milk annually with production that grew substantially over time. Colony Farm’s herd regularly took top prizes at the Pacific National Exhibition.

Documentary Heritage is Preserved
In 1946, a rash of fires broke out at Colony Farm and while no one was hurt, much of the documentation of the herd's history was destroyed. Some of the few records that remain include a collection of gelatin dry plate negatives, which were transferred to the City of Coquitlam Archives by the Riverview Hospital Historical Society. The Archives online exhibit presents some of these glass plate negatives from the early 1900s and discusses the inherent preservation concerns related to these fragile records.

The City of Coquitlam Archives’ facilities ensure the collection of glass plate negatives are stored in a stable environment, so that the legacy of the Holstein Herd at Colony Farm can live on.

Read the full exhibit at

Earlier online exhibits from the City of Coquitlam Archives (still available for viewing at 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 early 2019, the City of Coquitlam Archives moved to an exciting 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 Thousands of archival records, including hundreds of historical images, are available in digital form through the Archives’ online search portal, Quest
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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