From pristine mountains to agricultural plains; from home
businesses to lumber mills; from forested park land to urban
sophistication; Maple Ridge offers a wealth of diversity to all who live
or visit here.
Located an hour’s drive east of Vancouver, one of Canada’s major
commercial centres, our community benefits from the many advantages
a sophisticated city has to offer, while enjoying a quieter lifestyle, away
from the urban pace.
With the majestic Golden Ears Mountains to the north and the
mighty Fraser River, to the south, Maple Ridge consists of 260 square
kilometres of land, that is a reflection of both it’s rural heritage and an
While there was unprecedented growth in population during the
eighties, growth began to slow during the early nineties. Recent
improvements in highway access to our community and the addition of
the West Coast Express commuter train service, has contributed to
another upturn in the Maple Ridge population. Though approximately
65% of residents commute to work in other communities, there is rapid
growth in commercial development, local business and housing to meet
the needs of our increasing population.
Maple Ridge’s industrial roots lie in agriculture, fisheries, forestry
and mining. Today our primary industries still reflect this history. The
largest manufacturing industry is wood processing, with two
companies, Interfor and Fletcher Challenge Canada accounting for
more than one third of the manufacturing work force. Agricultural roots
are maintained in rural farming, nursery, and green house operations.
Other industries include boat building, metal fabrication, battery
manufacturing, plastics, and sand and gravel. There are presently three
active industrial areas, Maple Meadows Business Park, containing light
and medium industrial manufacturing, and some high tech industry;
Albion Industrial Area with mixed industrial use; and Ruskin/
Whonnock Industrial Area with primarily wood related industries. Two
proposals are under consideration at this time for future industrial land
use in the north east sector of the District.
Our slower pace and still tranquil surroundings also make Maple
Ridge an attractive location for home business owners, artists and
Maple Ridge is a place for families.
A friendly, small town atmosphere is maintained with the
many festivals and celebrations, from agricultural fairs to jazz
festivals, held throughout the year. It is rare to attend one of these
events and not run into friends and neighbours.
Sports and recreation facilities including a leisure centre,
winter club, skating rink, and several parks and sports fields,
provide many alternatives for healthy living. A new twin rink ice
facility is presently under construction with plans to open in the
Fall of 1998.
Clean, modern schools offer quality education for children of
all ages and abilities.
The Thomas Haney Campus of Douglas College, a unique
concept in Canadian education, was planned and built to house a
secondary school and college campus under one roof. This
combination of secondary school and college allows students to
progress uninterrupted from grade eight to the completion of a
college diploma, university transfer courses or preparation for other
programs of study. Proximity to Vancouver, also offers students a
wide range of choices in post secondary education.
A network of health, social and emergency facilities and
services are locally available, including a modern hospital,
extended care facilities, social service agencies, and police, fire,
and ambulance services.
Maple Ridge and the Fraser Valley experience the longest
frost free period and growing season, approximately 230 days, in
Canada. With a Marine West Coast climate and mild moist winters,
vegetation is lush and rich year round. The District receives from
164 to 195 cm of precipitation per year, 95% of which falls as rain.
In summer, winds are light, usually off the Pacific from the south
Surrounded by beckoning beauty, the outdoor recreation
possibilities are limitless. The many forests, lakes and estuaries;
parks, trails and dike systems offer boundless opportunities for
residents and visitors alike to walk, hike, bike, canoe, kayak, camp
and fish. Maple Ridge boasts one of the largest horse populations
per capita in Western Canada, again reflecting it’s rural past. A
network of over 20 miles of equestrian trails offer ample space to
ride. Abundant bird and wildlife populations thrive in the nearby
rivers, marshes, lakes, estuaries and in the nearby Reibolt Bird
Sanctuary. Avid golfers will find several challenging courses
located in these stunning surroundings.
Maple Ridge offers the best of both worlds to it’s residents.
With Vancouver only an hour away, we have access to universities
and colleges, libraries, museums, galleries, theatres, world class
sporting events and venues, health care facilities, and international
travel opportunities, all while living in, and enjoying, our rural
surroundings, right at home.
A Brief History
The Katzie and Whonnock natives that have lived in this favoured land for thousands of years travelled in their cedar dugout canoes on the many rivers and streams that now define our borders. The settlers that began to come here in the mid 1800's also travelled by water, on the paddlewheeler that plied the Fraser River.
Fewer than fifty families had begun the task of building a community here in 1874 when they formed the Municipality of Maple Ridge. This was the fifth area in British Columbia to incorporate, preceded only by Victoria, New Westminster, Langley, and Chilliwack, so we can count ourselves a true pioneer district. Many early settlers had worked at the Hudson's Bay Company trading post at Fort Langley, and some were members of the Royal Engineers who were dispatched to this area in 1858 when British Columbia became a crown Colony.
John McIver took up a land grant on the height of land north of the Fraser River and cleared it for farming. He had the vision to bring the men of the district together on his farm to form this Municipality. The stately western broad leafed maple trees that bordered McIver's property lent their name to both his original farm and in 1874 to the whole district. Story has it that the organizing meeting took place under the shelter of one of these maple trees. People may still visit that tree, on the south end of the first hole on Maple Ridge Golf Course, now occupying McIver's farm property.
Nothing was easy for these early pioneers of Maple Ridge, which then stretched from the Stave River on the east to the Pitt River on the west. The first task was to cut down the heavy forest cover so they could begin farming. Building roads, collecting taxes and lobbying the B.C. government for a bridge occupied early council members. Meanwhile, people formed community groups to build churches, erect schools, and begin the Fall Fairs that have continued here since 1901.
Some of that original community spirit in Maple Ridge lives on today as local groups work to volunteer their time and effort to help make this a viable, human scale district that still respects its natural endowment of water and wild areas.
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