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Riverview trees, gardens the focus of new Coquitlam Archives exhibit

Online show by Coquitlam Archives highlights the collection of the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society, which was donated to the city last year for preservation.
A photograph of the Riverview Hospital grounds (date unknown). | COQUITLAM ARCHIVES

Historical records donated last spring by the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society make up a new Coquitlam Archives exhibit.

Launched Monday (June 19), the online display about the century-old səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview Lands offers images from the society’s collection and a history about its conservation and advocacy efforts for the grounds.

Opened in 1913 as Essondale Hospital, the psychiatric institution was once home to — and the workplace of — 4,500 people.

The hospital, which closed in 2012, has one of the best arboretums in Canada; it was planted by B.C.’s first botanist: John Davidson.

The online exhibit also has a photocopy of the plans for Finnie’s Garden, named after a nurse, farmer, former logger and Navy veteran who started it as a form of therapy for the patients; the site was originally called “Farm-view.”

The society’s collection also includes DVDs of filmed tree tours, as well as binders, scrapbooks and gardening journals.

To view Archives in Bloom: The Organic Nature of the Fonds, go to To make a donation to Coquitlam Archives, email [email protected].