Maillardville is a community on the south slope of the city of Coquitlam. Its beginnings are rooted in the industry associated with Fraser Mills, a lumber mill on the north bank of the Fraser River, which created a mill town of 20 houses, a store, post office, hospital, office block, barber shop, and pool hall. In 1909, rapid growth at the mill resulted in the recruitment of more than 100 French Canadian mill workers and their families from Quebec. With more workers following in 1910, Maillardville was born, named for Father Edmond Maillard, a young Oblate from France.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Canada from France in 1841 to promote Christianity to Indigenous people and new settlers. While many of their contributions were celebrated in the past, they have more recently issued apologies for their role in the residential school system and for the part they played in the “cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism” towards Indigenous people.
Maillardville soon became the largest Francophone centre west of Manitoba. Evidence of Maillardville’s past is recognized today in street names, the Francophone education system and French immersion programs, Place des Arts cultural centre, French-language guides and scouts, and celebrations such as Festival du Bois.