COQUITLAM, B.C., June 15, 2022 – The newest online exhibit from Coquitlam’s City Archives reminds us that history is not always dry and dusty – and in fact, sometimes it’s wet and scaly.
The salmon-themed public art found throughout Coquitlam alludes to this area’s long-standing connection with the well-loved fish – back to the origin of its name and to the local first nations people who were the original stewards of the land, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm, which meant “red fish up the river.” Posted at www.coquitlam.ca/salmonstale the new exhibit There and Back Again: A Salmon’s Tale sheds light on this historic relationship and recounts the work of volunteers to protect and enhance local salmon populations.
Restoring the Watershed
Part of the Coquitlam River watershed, Hoy and Scott Creeks were important sockeye salmon nursery and spawning grounds for thousands of years, until the construction of several dams in the late 1800s. The damming ultimately destroyed the run of salmon for which Coquitlam was named – a key food source for Indigenous communities such as the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation.
This situation persisted until 1992, when a group of Coquitlam residents volunteered to restore the watershed and start a salmon hatchery in Hoy Creek Linear Park with the support of the Coquitlam Optomists Club and Department of Fisheries Canada.
Operating as the Hoy Creek Streamkeepers, the volunteers restored and repurposed an old trout-rearing facility in 1995 while working to protect, restore and advocate for the watershed. By 2002 the group had evolved into the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society (HSWS), which, 20 years later, continues to be actively involved in watershed restoration, public awareness, education and preservation.
Illustrated with photos and incorporating tidbits of local history for context, the Archives exhibit describes the impact of human involvement on local salmon runs over time while demonstrating what a group of volunteers can achieve through hard work and commitment.
Dive into Hoy-Scott History
A gift of records to Coquitlam Archives from the HSWS in 2020 provides insights into the rich role the community has played in restoring the Hoy-Scott watersheds. Meticulous records also highlight the thought, care and training involved in reintroducing salmonids to the Coquitlam watershed.
To browse the HSWS physical records, make an appointment to visit the City Archives at email@example.com or 604-927-3900, or drop in during its reference hours, Tuesday-Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.
Explore Online Exhibits
The City of Coquitlam Archives exhibits’ webpage at www.coquitlam.ca/onlineexhibit features 17 online exhibits on a variety of topics. Archives staff produce a new exhibit each quarter, mining the Archives for insightful and sometimes quirky stories about Coquitlam’s past. Some exhibits also share information about new acquisitions or highlight upcoming events.
Each online exhibit marries engaging text with scans of documents, maps and photos to bring the subjects to life. Online visitors can time learning about the local business that was Canada’s first plywood producer, Coquitlam’s First World War soldiers, early scrapbooking efforts, Colony Farm’s Holstein herd, the Westwood racing circuit, psychiatric nursing at Essondale, the 1981 B.C. Summer Games and more.
About the City of Coquitlam Archives
The City of Coquitlam Archives serves a dual purpose: to preserve and to make accessible. Since the inception of the Archives program, the Archives has been raising its profile to encourage people to use its services and discover the trove of records in the collection. Other outreach includes weekly #TBT posts on the City’s social media platforms and a small collection of historic photos at www.historypin.org.
For more information about the City of Coquitlam Archives and to view the online exhibits, visit www.coquitlam.ca/cityarchives.