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Introduction During this period Coquitlam began to change from a semi-rural area to a densely populated suburb of Vancouver. This process continued at an accelerated pace through the 1970s and 1980s. Before 1950, the local economy was based on the sawmill at Fraser Mills, logging, gravel extraction, small-scale agriculture, and some private and public sector service industries. By the end of the 1960s, the construction industry played a much bigger role in the local economy. Many new roads and bridges were built or improved, and affordable housing spread throughout the western and southern parts of the city. With the housing came schools, parks, playing fields, swimming pools, shopping centres, and all the other local amenities required to raise families. These were the years of the Baby Boom, so there were plenty of children to fill the new houses and schools. As in most other North American cities during these years, the automobile was the dominant form of transportation and dictated the form of urban development. Many residents commuted to work in Vancouver or other neighbouring cities, but many others lived and worked in Coquitlam. The main theme of this era is growth. This story contrasts the values of the 1950s with the more permissive 1960s.

Demographics The population of Coquitlam increased during these years, as shown by this table:1

Year Population % Increase

1951 15,697

1961 29,053

1971 53,225

1981 61,077

1991 84,021

2001 112,890

85

83

15

37.5

34

1966 43 % 12 %

2006 25 % 22 %

Coquitlam was a very different community in 1961 from our community today. In 1961, 56% of residents reported their ethnic origin as “British Isles”, 15% as “French”, 7% as “Scandinavian”, 6% as “German”, and for almost all of the remainder, “European.” Only 248 persons, less than 1%, reported themselves as “Asiatic”, and 85 persons reported “Native Indian and Eskimo.” By 2006, on the other hand, almost 39% of Coquitlam residents classified themselves as members of a “visible minority.” (The Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as ‘persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.’) For example, 17% of Coquitlam’s total population reported themselves as “Chinese.” And 1,565 residents, or over 1% of the population, identified themselves as “Aboriginals.” In 1961, 79% of the city’s dwellers reported their mother tongue (first language) as English and 11% as French. Only 123 residents identified their mother tongue as Chinese, fewer than the 167 residents who said their mother tongue was Finnish. By 2006, the percentage whose mother tongue was English was 58%, French 1.5%, and other languages, 40%. It is also interesting to compare the age structure of Coquitlam’s population in 1966

Age Group

0 - 19 55 and over

The 1950s and 1960s

The 1950s and 60s

with that of 2006. See table above. Based on this comparison of age structure, the needs of Coquitlam residents in 1966 were very different from those today.2

1950s Police The decade began with a change in the City’s police force. Prior to 1950 Coquitlam had been policed by the B.C. Provincial Police. In that year the B.C. Police were disbanded, and the R.C.M.P. took over its policing duties throughout B.C., including Coquitlam.3 New Subdivisions One of the most important local events in the early 1950s was the completion of Lougheed Highway.4 This made the District more accessible and contributed to the development of new subdivisions such as Harbour Chines, Ranch Park, Cape Horn, and Oakdale.5 Other signs of development were the extension of natural gas lines into the District and the construction of improved Some new water and sewer services.6 industries, such as a plant manufacturing plumbing and bathroom fixtures (owned by 107

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Hoc historybook030311 blk  
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