District of Coquitlam

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

District of Coquitlam

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence



The area between New Westminster and Pitt River along the Fraser River in British Columbia became settled in the pursuit of trapping, fishing and logging beginning in the 1820’s. Industry and significant settlement began with the opening of Fraser Mills sawmill on the north bank of the Fraser in the last years of the 19th century. Coquitlam comprised an area of approximately sixty-five square miles that had been surveyed by Royal Engineer A.L. Breakenridge in 1863. By the late 1880s, it became evident that the area should be incorporated into a Municipal District, and to this end, a petition was made by a majority of the landowners and pre-emptors living in the area.

By letters patent dated 25 July 1891, the area was incorporated as the Corporation of the District of Coquitlam. The letters patent called for the nomination of five councillors and a reeve and the first meeting of a municipal council were assembled in Kelly’s Hall on August 22nd, 1891 at Westminster Junction, now within the City of Port Coquitlam. The first reeve was R.B. Kelly and the first councillors were E.A. Aitkins, James Fox, S.W. Selman, James Morrison and J. Shennan. The first City Clerk was R.D. Irvine.

In 1894, that portion of the Maple Ridge Municipality between the newly formed District of Coquitlam and the Pitt River was added to the Coquitlam municipality. The City of Port Coquitlam and the District of Fraser Mills both seceded from the District of Coquitlam in 1913 in order to limit their tax liability for the development of the rapidly growing Coquitlam District and to establish their own tax base, taking just over a almost 7000 acres of land away from the Coquitlam District. Fraser Mills rejoined the District on 1 November 1971, when both districts revoked their letters patent and a new letters patent was issued incorporating the area as the District of Coquitlam. Supplementary letters patent were issued in 1973 and 1986 to reflect changes in municipal boundaries.

Effective 18 June 1992, the District of Coquitlam’s status was changed by new letters patent to that of a city municipality and it became known as the City of Coquitlam. Today, it is bordered by the municipalities of Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby and New Westminster as well as the Fraser River to the south, Pitt River to the east and the Coastal Mountains to the north. It includes the community of Maillardville, a region near Fraser Mills settled by French Canadians in the early part of the 20th century.

History of the municipality’s bylaws indicates both the remoteness of the region and its rapid urbanization. Road taxation began in 1897, the sale of liquor was first regulated in 1909 and municipal health regulations were first passed in 1912. Coquitlam had electricity by 1911, and plans for running water began in 1916. The building of a separate fire hall in 1946 and expansion of water service in the mid-1950s indicate a particularly vigorous period of population growth. The municipality assumed responsibility for paved roads and sidewalks by 1961. Zoning changes in the 1970s and 1980s reflect a change in land use from agricultural to single-family suburban residential and low-density apartment housing. An average of two development permits was issued every month by the early 1980s.

The town centre, developed in the 1980s and 1990s, provides cultural and recreational facilities and includes the Coquitlam Centre Mall, the Evergreen Cultural Centre, the Public Safety building, City Hall, the Pinetree Community Centre, the City Centre Aquatic Complex, and Douglas College. The population of Coquitlam has more than doubled from the 1970s to the present day. A dyking project that began in the 1990s has eliminated the Coquitlam River flooding and bridge washouts that sometimes occurred over the last century.

City Clerks, District and City of Coquitlam
R.D. Irvine 1891-1899
John Smith 1899-1913
A. Haliburton 1913-1917
Robert Newman 1918-1927
Alan M. Shaw 1928
William Russell 1928-1947
F.L. Pobst 1947-1972
R.A. Leclair, acting clerk, 1965, 1966 1967
H.F. Hockey, acting clerk, 1967
Ted Klassen, acting clerk, 1967
Ted Klassen, 1972-1991
Sandra Aikenhead, 1991-1994
Warren Jones, 1994-2000
Trevor Wingrove, 2000-2002
Sonia Santarossa, 2002-2008
Jay Gilbert, 2008-present

Reeves and Mayors, District and City of Coquitlam
R.B. Kelly 1891-1896
E.A. Atkins 1897-1903
Ralph Booth 1904-1908
D.E. Welcher 1909-1910
James Mars 1911-1913
L.E. Marmont 1918-1922
George H. Proulx 1923
R.C. MacDonald 1924-1941
J.W. Oliver 1942-1944
L.J. Christmas 1945-1969
J.L. Ballard 1970-1971
James L. Tonn 1972-1983
Louis Sekora 1984-1998
Jon Kingsbury 1998-2005
Maxine Wilson 2005-2007
Richard Stewart 2008-present


Legal status

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Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

City of Coquitlam (1992-present)

Identifier of the related entity


Category of the relationship


Type of relationship

City of Coquitlam is the successor of District of Coquitlam

Dates of the relationship


Description of relationship

As part of the centennial celebrations, Coquitlam applied for City Status, which was granted by the Province in 1992. The municipality officially became the City of Coquitlam on June 18th, 1992 by Letters Patent.

Related entity

The Corporation of the District of Coquitlam (1891-1971)

Identifier of the related entity


Category of the relationship


Type of relationship

The Corporation of the District of Coquitlam is the predecessor of District of Coquitlam

Dates of the relationship


Description of relationship

The Corporation of the District of Coquitlam because the District of Coquitlam through Letters Patent issued in 1971 following the amalgamation with The Corporation of the District of Fraser Mills.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

created 2017-03-27




Maintenance notes

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