A History of Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge Municipal Hall
Municipal Hall

Like most other towns in British Columbia, Maple Ridge’s history is largely tied to the railway and the Fraser River. Here is a brief look at Maple Ridge’s development and history as well as some of the highlights of the city’s storied past. Maple Ridge still holds true to its historical roots and offers a perfect blend of old and new, which is why it is such a great place to live and call home.

Geography

Maple Ridge is considered part of the Greater Metro Vancouver Area and shares borders with Langley and Surrey. The borders of Maple Ridge are also defined by the Pitt River and the Fraser River. The topography of the area is hilly and offers great wilderness opportunities as well as a network of trails and parks. The climate and weather of Maple Ridge is very similar to all of the Lower Mainland and is considered a coastal rainforest climate.

History – Early Years

The original inhabitants of the Maple Ridge area were the Kwantlen First Nations. They occupied over 10 villages and were engaged in traditional hunting and fishing. These villages were all located around the Fraser River.

Maple Ridge gets its name from one of its original settlers. John McIvor, a dairy farmer in the area, named it Maple Ridge in 1859 because of the large stands of maples that lined the ridge that separated McIvor’s farm from the Fraser River.

Maple Ridge became British Columbia’s sixth municipality in 1874. The newly incorporated municipality was over 33 000 acres (130 km2) but only had 50 families living within these borders. These original families settled the area during the early years of British Columbia’s gold rush. The Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in Maple Ridge in 1885 and spurred settlement and growth in the area. The arrival of the railway also meant that you could travel to Maple Ridge without a boat.

In 1915, a bridge was built over the Pitt River, which linked Maple Ridge with the ever expanding populace and city of Vancouver. This new route opened up the area for logging and forestry which proved to be an engine of growth for the area. This progression attracted many French and Asian immigrants.

In 1960, the Lougheed Highway (Highway 7) provided another route for easier access to and from Maple Ridge. This newly developed infrastructure brought the first subdivisions to Maple Ridge as well as the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport (1963).

Thomas Haney

One of the most prolific settlers in the Maple Ridge area was Thomas Haney. Thomas Haney, who was originally from Ontario came to Maple Ridge in 1876. He searched the banks of the Fraser River to find the perfect clay to set up his brickworks. He finally found the perfect place to set up his business and purchased sixty acres of prime waterfront property. This area quickly became known as Haney’s Landing. Haney helped set up many of Maple Ridge’s earliest services including waterworks as well as donating land for the local church. Haney also held public office and was an integral part of helping Maple Ridge gain its municipality. To this day, Thomas Haney is recognized as an important figure in Maple ridge and part of the downtown district still holds his name. The original Haney House is one of Maple Ridge’s most popular historic heritage sites.

Maple Ridge Today

Today, Maple Ridge is a booming and expanding community. With a multicultural and diverse population of 76 000, the community of Maple Ridge is a great place to call home. Maple Ridge offers all of the amenities of any medium-sized city yet still offers friendly, safe neighbourhoods with a small town community feel.

A visit to Maple Ridge will quickly show you why this is a rapidly expanding city with a wide range of affordable real estate options. This nice balance of antiquity and history combined with new developments and modern architecture make Maple Ridge a unique and enticing city.

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