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Growth and development is booming in Coquitlam

From humble beginnings to modern facilities, Coquitlam just keeps growing

Since Coquitlam was born in the mid-1800s, the community has been a destination for investment, job creation and development.

Coquitlam’s name was derived from a Coast Salish term, “Kwikwetlem,” meaning “red fish up the river.” At the time of European settlement and exploration in the late 1860s, growth was slow but steady. By 1891, the District of Coquitlam was officially incorporated.

Coquitlam felt its first real economic boost at the end of the 19th century when Frank Ross and James McLaren founded Fraser Mills, a lumber mill on the north bank of the Fraser River. By 1908, the mill town was home to about 20 families and boasted a store, post office, hospital, office block, barber shop and pool hall. But it wasn’t until the mill owners brought over 100 experienced loggers from Quebec that Coquitlam really started to expand.

No longer a quiet suburb of Vancouver, Coquitlam today is a vibrant and growing community of 140,000 residents – predicted to nearly double to 224,000 by 2041 – making it one of the fastest growing communities in the Lower Mainland. Factors such as its proximity to Vancouver, parks, trails and community facilities, arts and culture opportunities, excellent educational institutions, efficient and modern transportation and infrastructure contribute to its rapid expansion.

But the City of Coquitlam has grander aspirations.

If all goes as planned, Coquitlam will become Metro Vancouver’s newest commercial hub. Capitalizing on its major transportation infrastructure, the City is focused on creating development and business opportunities throughout the community. Besides the increased development of the city centre core, the city has invested in the development of several neighbourhoods and areas near rapid transit line stations to serve their bustling community.


The city’s growth may also be linked with recent major infrastructure project investments including the SkyTrain Evergreen Extension ($1.4B), Port Mann/Hwy 1 improvements ($2.5B) and the King Edward Overpass ($60M). The Evergreen Extension alone represents a significant, long-term transportation investment in Coquitlam and a key city building opportunity. Now, the Evergreen Extension provides Coquitlam, Port Moody and Burnaby with a direct connection to the existing Millennium Line.

To respond to the Evergreen Extension, the City’s Transit-Oriented Development Strategy will ensure that new development around stations follows the principles of transit-oriented development: supportive densities, pedestrian-friendly streets, and a mix of land uses to allow more people to live and work close to high-quality transit service.

Several large amenity projects, such as the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, the City Centre Public Library, and the Town Centre Park Plaza, combined with significant investment in private sector development projects (an average of $357M per year in building permits over the past five years), are all helping boost the city’s popularity.

Coquitlam also has the distinction of being one of the first North American communities to launch a dark-fibre commercial enterprise. Beginning in the 1990s, the City connected its civic buildings to improve the quality and reduce the cost of its telecommunications services. The Coquitlam Optical Network (QNet), which was established in 2008 to continue the expansion of the fibre network, is a unique utility that allows both residents and businesses to link up to the network and enjoy virtually unlimited connectivity and bandwidth. Since its inception, the City-owned utility has saved Coquitlam thousands of dollars in telecommunications fees and generated income by leasing unused capacity to businesses, governments, and telecom service providers.

Today, Coquitlam, which won the BC Small Business Roundtable’s 2013 Open for Business Award, is home to a variety of business sectors ranging from manufacturing to technology to retail and professional services. A great quality of life coupled with housing prices about one-third the price of comparable properties on Vancouver’s west side are just a few of the reasons on a long list of why Coquitlam is attracting entrepreneurs, investors, businesses, young families, downsizers and everyone in-between. 

For further information on business and investment opportunities, contact Coquitlam’s Economic Development Office at