Showing 271 results

Authority record

Club Bel Âge

  • Corporate body
  • 1965-2019

Club Bel Âge were a Francophone seniors group based in Maillardville, formed in 1964 as Maillardville Branch No. 86 - a local of the British Columbia Old Age Pensioners Organization. They were the only French Canadian group in the province. They successfully petitioned Council for a dedicated space in 1991, a hall at Place Maillardville on Laval Square. The hall became place where Coquitlam seniors could socialize, play cards, craft and celebrate community. They ceased to operate in 2019 when their hall was demolished and membership was in decline.

Columbian Company

  • CC-2013-10
  • Corporate body
  • 1900–1988

The history of the Columbian newspaper can be traced back to 1859. The New Westminster Times, the predecessor of the newspaper, was published on Sept. 17th, 1859 by Leonard McClure. In 1861, Leonard McClure sold the Times to a group of New Westminster citizens who renamed the paper, the British Columbian whose first issued appeared on February 13, 1861. John Robson, a future premier of the province, was appointed as its editor. The newspapers office was located at the south side of Columbia Street in Lytton Square. In March 1862, the office moved several doors east along Columbia. After the consolidation of the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia in 1868, the local economic conditions worsened and Robson moved the newspaper to Victoria in 1869 where it was eventually bought by a competing newspaper, the Daily British Colonist.;Robson returned to New Westminster in 1880 and purchased a local paper, the Dominion Pacific Herald in 1880. In August, 1881, his brother, David Robson, joined John Robson. Robson with the help of his brother published the first issue of the new British Columbian in January 1882. However, in 1883, John Robson again returned to Victoria to pursue his political ambitions and left the newspaper in the hands of his brother to manage until 1888, when the newspaper changed ownership. In this year, the newspaper was purchased by the five Kennedy brothers: George was the editor, Robert, the business manager, with the remaining three brothers being responsible for other duties. Throughout its early years the newspaper was published several times a week, but it was not until 1886, when the newspaper became a daily paper and was renamed the Daily Columbian. After the great New Westminster fire of 1898, the newspaper ceased publication for one month. The newspapers offices were destroyed and all its records lost. Forced to publish in Vancouver for the next year, on Oct. 8, 1898 the daily issues recommenced after the fire. The newspaper returned to New Westminster the following year. On Sept. 9, 1899 the newspaper moved into a building at Victoria Gardens, on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Clarkson. In 1900, a group of local citizens with the help of Richard McBride, another future premier, purchased the paper. Ownership of the paper was transferred from the five Kennedy brothers to the following new shareholders: G. E. Corbould, Fred Buscombe, Charles Wilson, T. S. Annandale, W. J. Mathers, J. W. Johnston and George V. Fraser. The new owners were shareholders in the Columbian Company Limited which was incorporated on May 17, 1900. The Kennedy brothers continued on the staff. In 1900, James Davis JD Taylor, a future MP and senator, was appointed as its managing editor (E). In 1902, JD Taylor became a shareholder. In April, 1906, J. D. Taylor became a director of the company. Subsequently, Taylor bought out the rest of the original shareholders. The Taylor family maintained ownership of the paper throughout the remainder of its history. For a time, the Columbian owned several other newspapers. In 1907, the company bought the Chilliwack Progress and operated until 1923. The Columbian also operated the Delta Times from 1909 to 1922.;C. Davis Taylor, J. D. Taylors only son, joined the paper in 1921. In 1924, he became a shareholder. In 1927, he became a director. At the time of his early death in 1940, he was the managing editor. In May, 1941, J. D. Taylor died at age 77. Subsequently, ownership of the Columbian Company was passed to his two daughters Miss Dorothy Taylor and Miss Mary L. Babe (Mrs. M. L. Emes), his daughter-in-law, Mrs. C. D. Taylor (Mrs. Walter Goodwin) and grandson, Richard D. Rikk Taylor. During WWII, there was only little or no growth as necessity and equipments were impossible; however, during the post WWII boom, the Columbian Company was able to expand its operations. Although during its early years, the newspaper was a political newspaper with several owners also being politician, the newspaper took a more independent line during its later period. The three successive editors were first, R. A. Mac McLellan, who retired in 1948. The next editor, Dorothy G. Taylor, daughter of Sen. J. D. Taylor, as also editor of the popular weekly edition of The Columbian that served the Fraser Valley until 1950. She resigned her position in 1954 and retired. I. E. Bill Hambly was editor from 1954. In 1972, the newspaper moved its operations to North Road in Coquitlam. In 1980, more than 200 staff member were working under the direction of R. D. Rikk Taylor. It was one of Canadas few remaining independent family-owned newspapers. In the early days, the circulation of the newspaper was only a few hundred copies. By 1941, daily circulation was 3,000. In the 1940s, the Columbian had reached 5,000 circulation and served only New Westminster. However, by 1964, the paper reached 22,000 circulation and served not just new Westminster, but neighbouring communities as well with five separate weekly editions: the Burnaby Columbian, the Coquitlam Columbian, the New Westminster Columbian and the Surrey Columbian, and Fraser Valley Columbian. In 1971, daily circulation was 36,000. In 1980, the daily press reached a high of 39,000. Including the affiliated Columbian weeklies, circulation reached 120,000. There were also community newspapers published under the name of Today from 1979 to 1983 for Burnaby, Coquitlam, Fraser Valley, New Westminster, and Surrey/North Delta. The Company also operated a commercial printing division, Craftsmen Printers. Circulation of the newspaper began to decline in the late seventies and burdened by increasing debt, the newspaper laboured to stay in business. A final attempt of the owners to raise more capital by selling a portion of their equity in the paper failed. Forced into bankruptcy, a receiver was appointed on October 11, 1983 to wind up the affairs of the business. The last issue of the newspaper was published on November 15, 1983. The Columbian Company was dissolved on November 10, 1988.

Como Lake High School

  • CLHS-2017-12
  • Corporate body
  • 1951–

Originally known as the King Albert High school, Como Lake High School opened in 1951, serving students from Grad 7-11. It is located at 1121 King Albert Avenue, Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Como Lake Preschool

  • CLP-2013-10
  • Corporate body
  • 1952–2011

Como Lake Preschool was founded in 1952 by Mrs. A Bennie and Mrs. Ellen Iveson in a rumpus room in the Sapperton District of New Westminster. When Mrs. Iveson moved to Coquitlam in 1954, the play group became more formalized and was relocated, first to a rented garage, then to the Como Lake United Church. The first teacher was hired in 1956 for morning classes of about twenty four and five year old children. In 1964, the preschool relocated again to the Scout Hall in Blue Mountain Park, where it remained until its dissolution. Como Lake Preschool operated as a parent participation preschool, which involved parents cooperating to run the preschool with qualified teachers.

Coquitlam Foundation

  • CF-2018-4
  • Corporate body
  • 1992–

Established by an Act of the B.C. Legislature in 1992, the Coquitlam Foundation is a registered charity which provides a vehicle for compassionate citizens to build enduring legacies; gifts that keep on giving to their community in perpetuity.

In November of 1991 Norm Cook (Secretary) introduced the concept of a Community Foundation for Coquitlam to Gordon Fulton (Chair). The two concluded that it was a very valuable project and set out to find others who might be interested in starting a Community Foundation. The ‘Original 6’ consisted of Bill Brown, Brian Canfield, Norm Cook, Ted Nikiforuk (Treasurer), Larry Rose and Gordon Fulton (CHair). The first meeting took place on January 15, 1992. The Board was originally volunteer-based. But in 2008, the level of the Foundation's activity necessitated the move to a model with staffing.

Since 1992, visionary donors have built the foundation into a growing endowment that helps local individuals and non-profit organizations meet community needs. As an endowment, the capital is retained and earnings on funds are generated for the benefit of the community.

Coquitlam Heritage Society

  • CHS-2017-4
  • Corporate body
  • 1993–

Coquitlam Heritage Society officially registered as a non-profit on September 25, 1984. They began operating in the lower level (basement) of Mackin House in June 1993. The initial objectives of the CHS were to restore Mackin House and turn it into a heritage house museum. The renovations were completed in 1999 and CHS opened Mackin House Museum to the public.

Today, CHS offers numerous services to Coquitlam’s residents. In addition to yearly exhibits in Mackin House, the CHS offers seasonal tours of the Fraser Mills Train Station and CP Rail 1970’s Caboose in Heritage Square. They also operate year-round as a Tourism Information centre for the City of Coquitlam. Yearly exhibits in Mackin House run from September to June. They also set up rotating exhibits across the community and provide a variety of events and workshops for all ages.

The CHS's collection includes local artifacts of importance as well as the oral histories of community members. Their mission is to preserve, honour and promote Coquitlam’s heritage.

Coquitlam Junior-Senior High School

  • CLJS-2017-4
  • Corporate body
  • 1938–[ca.1951]

In 1938, under School Trustee E.G. Daniel's leadership Coquiltam Junior High School was built to serve the growing need for schools in the community. The school served students from Grade 7-9. In 1944, new rooms were built for a High School. In 1946 grade 11 was added and in 1947, grade 12 was added.

Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association

  • CMHA-2017-4
  • Corporate body
  • 1963–

Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association, established in 1963, is a Tier 1 minor hockey association in the Greater Vancouver area within the Pacific Coast Division. Their mission is to provide the children and young adults of Coquitlam with the opportunity to play recreational hockey in a safe, enjoyable, and challenging environment.

Coquitlam Photo Studio

  • CPS-2017-5
  • Corporate body
  • [19-?]

The Coquitlam Photo Studio is a commercial photographers located at #102 - 2849 North Road, Burnaby.

Coquitlam Public Library

  • CPL-2020-3
  • Corporate body
  • 1978–

Coquitlam's Library was originally housed in Centennial School before a 1976 referendum approved the development of a more extensive library system. Consequently, the Coquitlam Public Library opened in 1978 on Ridgeway Avenue. Branches in Burquitlam and the Lincoln Centre soon followed but they were closed when the main Poirier Street branch opened in 1989. The City Centre Branch was located on the ground floor of the new City Hall from the late 1990s until 2012, when it was relocated to 1169 Pinetree Way.

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable

  • CRWR-2020-3
  • Corporate body
  • 2011–

The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable (CRWRt) came about as the successful outcome of a multi-phase watershed strategy (2007-2011) aimed at improving collaboration and problem-solving amongst the many stakeholders in the watershed. The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable was launched in February 2011 at an inaugural meeting of watershed partners and the community.

Coquitlam Satellites

  • CS-2021-3
  • Corporate body
  • [ca. 1971]–[ca. 1982]

The Coquitlam Satellites were a senior girls hockey team, with members aged 16 and up. The team was coached and managed by Jim Hinds from ca. 1971 to ca. 1982 and during that period won the B.C. Provincial Senior Girls Hockey champions three times. The team practiced at the Coquitlam Sports Centre (now the Poirier Recreation Complex). Around 1978 the team was sponsored by Collegiate Sports and was known as the “Collegiate Satellites” for that year.

Coquitlam Skating Club

  • CSC-2017-8
  • Corporate body
  • 1963–

The Coquitlam Figure Skating Club was founded in the summer of 1963. The club is a community-based skating club that offers Skate Canada programming, and recreational and competitive lessons for figure skating, skating skills for hockey and ringette. The club has produced many high level national and international skaters in its history and has over 400 members. The club operates out of the Poirier Recreation Complex.

Coquitlam Teacher-Librarians' Association

  • CTLA-2018-5
  • Corporate body
  • 1964–

The Coquitlam Teacher-Librarians' Association (CTLA) was formed in 1964 as a chapter of the British Columbia School Librarians' Association. Between 1964 and 1984, it was referred to as the Coquitlam Chapter of the BC School Librarians' Association. The name was changed in 1985 to the BC Teacher Librarians' Association (Coquitlam Chapter) and then changed again to the Coquitlam Teacher-Librarians' Association in 1997, although it continues to exist as a local chapter of the British Columbia Teacher-Librarians' Association.

Corporation of the District of Coquitlam

  • CDC-2017-3
  • Corporate body
  • 1891–1971

Colonial settlement of the area between New Westminster and Pitt River along the Fraser began in the 1920s in the pursuit of trapping, fishing, and logging. Industry and more intensive colonial settlement began with the opening of the 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. In the late 1880s, the landowners and pre-emptors living in the area petitioned the province to incorporate as a Municipal District.

The area was incorporated by letters patent dated July 25, 1891 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. Lehman, James Morrison, and J. Shennan. The first City Clerk was R.D. Irvine.

In 1894, a portion of the Maple Ridge Municipality between the newly formed Corporation of the District of Coquitlam and the Pitt River was added to the Coquitlam municipality, following a petition by the landowners to the province.

In 1913, the land owners in the area known as Westminster Junction wished to limit their tax liability for the development of the rapidly growing district and to establish their own tax base. A petition was sent to the province and the area seceded from the Corporation of the District of Coquitlam, forming the City of Port Coquitlam.

In the same year, The Canadian Western Lumber Company decided to incorporate the area surrounding Fraser Mills and the Corporation of the District of Fraser Mills was incorporated by letters patent in 1913. The Corporation of the District of Coquitlam and the Corporation of the District of Fraser Mills amalgamated in November 1971, when both districts revoked their letters patent and 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 December 1, 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, the 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 perceived 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, the Coquitlam Public Library, the City Archives, and Douglas College. The population of Coquitlam has more than doubled from the 1970s to the present day.

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

Cote, Gary

  • GC 2024-4
  • Person
  • 19-

Gary Coté was born in 1954 at the old Saint Mary’s hospital in New Westminster. His uncles started moving to Maillardville in the early 1940’s, all born on the homestead in Chauvin, Alberta. His father had eight brothers and sisters. His older brothers Tom (spouse Cecile), Paul (spouse Athela), Armand (spouse Germain). His father Lucien (spouse Mary), his sister Aurora (spouse Armand) and their mother Sarah (spouse deceased) all moved to Maillardville. Tom found employment at Fraser Mills and promptly relayed to the rest of the brothers to come to B.C. for work. His Aunt Aurora’s husband Armand also worked at the Mill.
His mother & father moved to Maillardville with his aunt, younger sister Ida who was 16 at the time and my older brother Wayne who was born in 1946. They all lived together until Ida met her future husband Larry Maloney also a mill employee. His mum’s youngest brother Ben moved down the hill from us on Thomas with his wife Fran. He did not work at the mill but was in construction his whole life. His father started out on the green chain and eventually went to night school to become an electrician at the mill. The brothers all worked in different roles throughout the mill.
Gary’s brother Norman was born in 1949. In 1968, he went to work at the mill until the mill closed. At 16 his dad procured employment for Gary at the mill for weekend work through high school. Not wanting to fall into the mill trap, he quit the mill one week after graduation in 1973 and went on to move into the U.S. and complete a University degree and post graduate work. He attended Lady of Lourdes elementary school (the old one in the church parking lot and the next one on Hammond Ave. before begging my parents to let me go to public school where all my friends attended.
Both elementary schools were torn down and the school continued at the newer constructed one at the top of the hill next to the nun’s convent on Laval and Rochester. All the family either went to church at Lourdes or Fatima. High mass was at 11am on Sundays all in French. The 9am and 5pm were in English. Gary currently (as of 2024) resides in Washington.

Cote, Norm

  • NC-2021-3
  • Person
  • [19-?]

Crehan, Meredith & Co.

  • CM-2021-3
  • Corporate body
  • 1938–[ca.1951]

Crehan, Meredith & Co. Chartered Accountants was founded ca. 1938. The offices were located at 402 West Pender Street in Vancouver. Lt.-Col. Maurice J. Crehan was a partner in the firm Crehan, Meredith & Co. Chartered Accountants. He was born on February 25, 1909 to Matthew Joseph Crehan and Mercy Ellen Crehan (née Wilkinson), also Chartered Accountants who operated Crehan, Mouat & Co. until ca. 1937. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps and was killed in action in Italy on October 20, 1944.

Crehan, Mouat & Co.

  • CM-2020-8
  • Corporate body
  • [ca. 1908]–1937

Crehan, Mouat & Co. Chartered Accountants and Municipal Auditors was established ca. 1908 by Matthew Joseph Crehan. The offices were located at 615 Pender Street, Vancouver. Crehan was born in Galway, Ireland in 1874 and arrived in British Columbia in 1892. He served as President of the British Columbia Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1912 and 1913. He married his first wife Annetta Etta Ward ca. 1895. Anetta died in Vancouver in 1905 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. Crehan married his second wife, Mercy Ellen Wilkinson in 1906.

Mercy Ellen Wilkinson arrived in Canada from England in 1892. She had been highly educated and had sat the Cambridge University examinations in arithmetic, drawing, and French before arriving in Canada. Upon her arrival in Canada, she became the first woman employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway west of Winnipeg. Between 1893 and 1906, she worked as a stenographer but was soon conducting accounting work for the Canadian Pacific Railway and then worked as a bookkeeper for the Hastings Lumber Mill. She helped her husband start his own firm of chartered accountants and later worked for the firm as a chartered accountant. In 1922, Mercy became the first female member of the British Columbian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the first woman chartered accountant in Western Canada.

Matthew Joseph Crehan died in Vancouver on March 22, 1930 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. The company continued operations under the same name until 1937. Mercy died in 1953 and was also buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Croton Studio

  • CRS-2017-4
  • Corporate body
  • 1949–1979

Croton Studio of New Westminster was established by brothers Don F. and Roy M. LeBlanc. In 1947 Don LeBlanc and his wife Dorothy arrived in New Westminster, and took up residence at 1011 Eighth Avenue. In 1948 Roy and his wife Violet joined him there. Croton Studio first appears in 1949, located at 911 Twelfth Street. One or both of the brothers were owners of the business at this time. Around 1960 the studio moved to 7155 Kingsway in Burnaby. By 1967 the business had been incorporated and the name changed to Croton Studios Ltd. Don LeBlanc was owner and had moved his residence to 116 East Sixth Avenue. In 1972 a Croton photographer, Bob Dibble, bought the business when Don LeBlanc retired. Dibble owned the business until his death in 1979.

Crown Zellerbach Ltd.

  • CZ-2017-4
  • Corporate body
  • 1954–1983

In 1889, the Ross, McLaren Mill was opened at Millside, an area near New Westminster, British Columbia. The mill had cost $350,000 to build, and was headed by President James McLaren, a Quebec timber investor and President of the Bank of Ottawa, and Vice-President Frank Ross. Production at the mill began in 1890. In addition to new facilities and a large amount of capital to support it, the mill also possessed the transportation benefits of frontage on the Fraser River and a spur line to the Canadian Pacific Railway system. However, despite these advantages, the mill soon faced several events that affected its production in a negative way. In addition to the death of McLaren, the mill also experienced a decreased demand for timber due to a general economic depression in 1892. Even when other mills began to recover in 1895, Ross, McLaren’s productivity was curtailed by the silting of the Fraser River, which made it impossible for large vessels to reach the mill.

All of these factors contributed to the company’s decision in 1899 to place the mill and its timber rights up for sale. An American investment syndicate, headed by Lester David of Seattle and Mr. Jenkins of Minneapolis eventually purchased the mill in 1903. The new owners sought to resolve the mill’s difficulties by dyking the area, and holding the federal government accountable for dredging the Fraser River channel and ensuring its accessibility to ships. Now called Fraser River Saw Mills, the mill was finally re-opened in 1905, as the largest mill in the Pacific Northwest. By 1906, the mill was already setting records for production levels and over 250 labourers were employed. As a result of the increased production levels and staff, both the mill and Millside were expanded; this included the construction of the Fraser Mills Sash, Door & Shingle Company Limited.

Production at the mill was so high by 1907, in fact, that the mill was nearly shut down due to a lack of available labour. The mill was taken over by an investment syndicate headed by A.D. McRae of Winnipeg and Senator Peter Jansen of Nebraska. The new owners instituted a major re-organization of the business. A half million dollar renovation and expansion of the original mill buildings was implemented and improvements made to increase transportation access to the mill via the Fraser River. The name of the town was changed from Millside to Fraser Mills.

The re-organization of the business culminated in 1910, with the purchase of enough timber rights in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island for the company, now called the Canadian Western Lumber Company Limited, to be considered to have the largest private holdings in the world. Through direct or indirect purchase, the Canadian Western Lumber Company Limited acquired full or partial ownership of the following companies by 1916: Canadian Tugboat Company Limited; Coast Lumber & Fuel Company Limited; Coast Lumber Yards Limited; The Columbia River Company Limited; Columbia Western Lumber Yards Ltd.; Comox Logging and Railway Company; Crown Lumber Company, Limited; Fraser Mills Sash, Door, and Shingle Company Limited; Lumber Manufacturers’ Yard Limited; Security Lumber Company Limited.; and Western Canada Sawmill Yards Limited. Later acquisitions include The Golden Light, Power and Water Company Limited. In 1954, the Canadian Western Lumber Company, Limited was acquired by Crown Zellerbach Canada Limited. The immediate successor company to Crown Zellerbach Canada Limited was Fletcher Challenge Limited of New Zealand, which purchased the company in 1983 and, with further acquisitions, became Fletcher Challenge Canada Limited in 1987. In 2000, Norske Skog, a Norwegian paper company, acquired all of Fletcher Challenge's pulp and paper assets, and a majority interest in Fletcher Challenge Canada Limited. This resulted in the formation of Norske Skog Canada Limited.

Cunnings, Don

  • DC-2013-10
  • Person
  • 1931–

Don Cunnings (1931–) is an educator and recreation leader who established numerous associations and organizations toward the promotion of physical education and recreation in Coquitlam. He was the City of Coquitlam’s very first Parks and Recreation Director.

Cunnings was born on February 17, 1931 in Vancouver, B.C., to Effie and Leslie Cunnings. Cunnings and his family lived in Collingwood in east Vancouver, were Cunnings attended Sir Guy Carlton Elementary School. There, school officials discovered he had congenital cataracts on both eyes, whereupon he was transferred Sight-Saving Classes at General Gordon Elementary School and later to Kitsilano Jr. Sr. High School.

Cunnings enrolled in a Provincial Recreation (Pro-Rec) class at Sir Guy Carlton Elementary, because even with his limited vision, Cunnings could still see the tumbling mats, springboard and vaulting box. He excelled at gymnastics, catching the attention of Pro-Rec instructor, Alex Strain. Under his training, Cunnings won the Provincial Jr. Boy's Pro-Rec Gymnastic Championship when he was just sixteen years old. Cunnings also became a Sea Scout patrol leader, and attained his'Queen Scout' badge, which allowed him to command a 27' whaler boat with a sighted crew.

With endorsements from both his Pro-Rec Instructor and High School PE teacher, Cunnings was accepted into the Pro-Rec Instructor Summer Training School at the BC Normal School. After graduating high school he became a Pro-Rec Instructor and was assigned a Pro-Rec class in Maillardivlle in Coquitlam, B.C.

When Cunnings was twenty-one years old, he underwent eye surgery and regained his sight. After this surgery Cunnings began his career as a physical education teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary and Secondary School from 1950-1953. He became the Division Head of Essondale's Crease Clinic Recreation Therapy Department in 1953 before taking on the position of Recreation Director for the District of Coquitlam's Recreation Commission in 1955, then Recreation Director in 1958, then Inter-Municipal Recreation Director from 1962-1965, until his appointment as the Director of the Leisure and Parks Service in 1966, which he held until 1994. By the time he retired, he had served the Coquitlam’s recreation department for nearly forty years, and has since acted as a consultant for the City.

Cunnings also received a senior gymnastic coaching diploma from the Canadian National Gymnastic Association in 1959. While he held his position as Recreation Director for the City of Coquitlam, he attended the UBC School of Physical Education & Recreation and graduated in the class of 1962, and completed an Executive Development Program for Parks and Recreation at Indiana University in 1970.

Throughout his life, Cunnings has held numerous memberships and taken on many leadership roles in his community. He was one of the founding members of the British Columbia Recreation Association (1958), and served as President for the association through 1963-1964. He also held the position of Vice President of the Canadian Association of Physical Education, Health Education & Recreation (CAPHER). After receiving emergency planning, command and control, and search and rescue management programs, Cunnings created and directed the first Search and Rescue team in Coquitlam in 1973. From 1977 to 1987, Cunnings was appointed as Acting Municipal Manager during the Manager’s annual leave. Notably, Cunnings led the visioning team that developed the City of Coquitlam’s “Town Centre” park during 1980-1994. After his retirement, Cunning has focused much of his time engaging with the community and volunteering for local organizations. He was Vice President of the Douglas College Foundation Board in 1997 and served as President of the Board of Directors for the Douglas College Centre for Sport, Recreation, and Wellness Society from 2005 to 2007.

Additionally, Cunnings has acted as a guest speaker and lecturer at local, provincial, and national conferences in Canada and the USA and has had guest appearances on television and local and provincial videos. He has published numerous newspaper articles about recreation and parks.

The City of Coquitlam, Douglas College, and School District #43 jointly named "Cunnings Field" in Coquitlam in his honour in 1999. Cunnings was inducted into the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame on June 22nd, 2012, recognizing his contributions as a gymnastics coach, his achievements as a gymnast, and for his work as Coquitlam's very first Parks and Recreation Director. Cunnings was also awarded the City of Coquitlam’s Freedom of the City award on May 5, 2014.

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