Downsizing in Maple Ridge
On September 12, 1874, a group of settlers met at John McIver's farm and decided that they should incorporate and become a municipality. At that time there were less than 50 families but these early pioneers saw the potential of their new home as a place raise their families and create prosperity and opportunity for future generations.
With a vote of the assembled citizens, one of BC's first municipalities was born. The choice of the name came from the trees and topography of John McIver's farm. There was a magnificent stand of maple trees along the ridge that ran along the edge of the McIver farm and followed the line of the Fraser River. This new municipality officially became 'Maple Ridge.'
Over time, the character of Maple Ridge would begin to form and bring with it all of the opportunities that those who first settled the area hoped would come. Neighbourhoods like Hammond, Whonnock, Webster's Corners, Ruskin, Albion, and Yennadon sprung up and provided the homes where families could flourish. Each had their own post office, community centre, churches, stores, and schools.
Maple Ridge grew alongside the province's earliest transit route - the Fraser River. When the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1895, the community gained further benefits as the railway ran along Maple Ridge's southern border adjacent to the Fraser River and brought with it the enormous economic benefits associated with 'The National Dream' of a coast-to-coast rail system. The railway helped local agriculture, forestry and manufacturing industries grow and prosper as the markets for local products expanded both east and west.
Since those early days Maple Ridge's economy has grown to encompass manufacturing, high tech, education services and has become a favourite destination for the television and film production industry. Today Maple Ridge has a population of approximately 76,000, and this area has been identified as one of the high growth areas of the Metro Vancouver Region.
The community boasts one of the most diverse natural settings, with the Fraser River to the south, the Golden Ears Mountain to the north and a series of rivers and parks that allows citizens to escape to nature within minutes of their home. Add to this the top quality arts and recreational facilities, and you can see that the vision of the families that met at the McIver farm have been realized.
As amazing as the natural setting is, the spirit of those original pioneers is alive today in the current citizens. Maple Ridge is a community where any evening or weekend you'll find a community festival underway, arenas and sports fields full of kids playing their favourite sports and service clubs and community organizations working to make the community, and the world, a better place to live. All of these events are powered by volunteerism. From the day-to-day operation of the many sports associations to the organization of Maple Ridge's hosting of the Rick Hansen Man in Motion Tour, the Caribbean Festival, Country Fest and the annual Santa Parade, this is a place where people get involved.