A blast from Coquitlam's past

Coquitlam Archives opened its new digs last month, in the same building as the City Centre branch of the Coquitlam Public Library.

It’s a far cry from what it used to be. 

From its birthplace in a crammed room at the bottom of city hall, Coquitlam Archives is now in its second stage of life — located in a well-lit, open space at one of the city’s busiest corners.

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And, best of all, said archivist Emily Lonie, who launched the program six years ago, “everything is now in one place.”

During a tour today (Friday) of the facility, sited in the same building as the City Centre branch of the Coquitlam Public Library, at 1171 Pinetree Way, Lonie explained its benefits to residents — especially those living in heritage homes — students, developers and history buffs.

The 1,500 sq. ft. area is split in three: with a reading room at the front that includes two scanners; a printing section for documents; and a locked 550 sq. ft. vault that’s temperature controlled.

Inside, in many Hollinger storage boxes, are rows of documents from Coquitlam’s past.

There are bounded issues from the now-defunct Coquitlam Now as well as The Tri-City News plus fonds from the Coquitlam 100 Years and 1991 BC Summer Games collections, the Caisse Populaire Maillardville Credit Union and the Canadian Western Lumber Company (formerly Fraser Mills), to name a few.

There are also city tax assessment rolls, glass-plated photo negatives, community association minutes, sports clubs’ scrapbooks, aerial photos and maps — including a recently restored drawing of the Robinson Cemetery, complete with doodles.

Still, there’s more material Lonie and her staff don’t know about, waiting in water-resistant boxes, that have yet to be processed.

Last month, the provincial government released 22 boxes to Coquitlam Archives of Riverview Hospital fonds. Though there is no sensitive information, Lonie expects the material to include nursing-related notes and graduation class photos, among other things.

With the more high-profile location, Lonie hopes the public will pop in (currently by appointment only, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to gaze at the documents that once shaped the city’s future.

So far, she said, they’ve had only a few visitors: city planning staff and Mario Bartel, a photojournalist with this newspaper.

• To make an appointment, call 604-927-3900 or email archives@coquitlam.ca.

 

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POCO MILESTONE

Port Coquitlam is 106 years young next Thursday.

And, to mark its March, 7, 1913, incorporation, staff and volunteers with PoCo Heritage will host a party at the museum (150-2248 McAllister Ave., behind city hall) from 4 to 6 p.m.

The anniversary celebration includes a cake cutting at 4:30 p.m., a heritage photo session (using the Terry Fox Library digital green screen) and a colouring activity.

Visit pocoheritage.org

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