This suburb of Vancouver is a gem when it comes to travel destinations, although few people visit this beautiful city. Coquitlam is a city that is rich in culture, as well as having plenty of leisure activities to enjoy.
There is over 890 hectares of green space and over 80 parks and natural areas in Coquitlam, making it a great city for outdoor lovers. It also has a laid-back, but contemporary feeling to it, complete with great shopping and dining opportunities.
One of the great things about Coquitlam is that it is accessible to Vancouver by rapid transit, making it easy to enjoy all that the much larger city has to offer without having to actually be in the thick of it. If you ever have the chance to visit the city, these are the best things to do in Coquitlam:
1. Keep your eyes open for bears
One of the city’s top attractions is Mundy Park, which is the largest park in Coquitlam. The 176 hectare park is filled with wildlife and a great spot to look for black beers.
There are also racoons, geese, ducks, swans and a large array of birds living in the park, making it popular amongst birdwatchers. The parks walking trails make it easy to be on the watch for wildlife.
Mundy Park is also home to sports fields, an outdoor pool and a lacrosse box. There are also picnic areas and a playground for the kids.
2. Go fishing
This is possible to do right in the city at Como Lake. This is a small lake that is right in the centre of Como Lake Park; an urban park in the southwest part of the city.
The lake is a popular spot for fishing, being home to carp, rainbow trout and catfish. It is also a good spot for jogging and walking, as the lake is encircled by a one-kilometre trail.
Como Lake also forms the Como watershed, leading to the Fraser River and from there flows into the Pacific Ocean. The watershed is around 5.4 square miles.
3. Hike through a park
There are three primary trails that run through the 200 hectare Minnekhada Regional Park. The park is in the northeast part of Coquitlam and in addition to trails, also features trees, birds and an abundance of wildlife.
The park is home to five lookout points that offer stunning views over the Pitt Meadows and Pitt River. These lookout points are accessible by hiking along the trails.
Combined, the three trails total 5.2 kilometres, not including the side trails to the lookout points. There is also a lodge in the park that is open to the public every Sunday.
4. Go for a swim
No matter what time of year it is, you can go for a swim at the City Centre Aquatic Complex. The modern aquatic centre was designed with a Florida Keys theme, complete with palm trees, pelicans and painted murals.
The City Centre Aquatic Complex features an Olympic sized pool with 8-lanes, adjustable depth flooring, two diving boards and a rope swing. There is even a mini zip line.
Other features of the centre include a wave pool, a lazy pool, a 54 metre waterslide, a hot tub and a bubble pool. There is also a 280 square metre fitness centre, a poolside café and a viewing terrace.
5. Immerse yourself in culture
The Evergreen Cultural Centre is a theatre, art gallery, music venue and a rehearsal hall all in one. There are even four art studios onsite.
The centre opened in 1996 to showcase Coquitlam’s diverse culture. Live theatre, musical concerts, comedy and visual arts workshops are all offered at the centre.
Numerous festivals are also hosted at the Evergreen Cultural Centre. The most popular is the Water’s Edge Festival, which is a 25-hour continuous music festival.
6. Hit the casino
The Hard Rock Casino Vancouver is the largest casino in the province, and despite its name, it is actually located in Coquitlam. The 7,400 square meter casino also houses a show theatre.
The casino features 70 table games, an eight table poker room, a high-limit room and 1,000 slot machines. There is also a six-level car park to accommodate the hordes of people that come to the 24-hour casino.
When you want to take a break from gambling you can go to one of the numerous onsite restaurants. Everything from a quick bite to a fine dining meal are offered at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver.
7. Walk around a lake
Not only can walk around Buntzen Lake, but you can also take in the phenomenal views. The 4.8 kilometre lake is encircles by a trail that sits at an elevation of 100 metres.
The trail is a total of eight kilometres and takes around 4-5 hours to walk around. If time is a factor, try the 45 minute Old Butzen Lake Trail.
Buntzen Lake is surrounded by beautiful nature and there are a number of other trails in the area that are not only good for hiking, but also horseback riding and mountain biking. Hiking time along these trails vary from two to 12 hours.
8. Go to the beach
Just outside of Coquitlam along Sasamat Lake are a few beaches that are popular amongst both locals and tourists. They are within the Belcarra Regional Park and are accessible through nearby Belcarra or Port Moody.
If you don’t have access to a car, jump on a bus to White Pine Beach at the north end of the lake and spend the day swimming, relaxing and playing on the beach. If fishing is more your thing, head to the south end of the lake.
Belcarra Regional Park is also a popular spot for boaters, as there are several islands about. There are also cabins for rent for those that wish to stay overnight.
9. Watch a game
Coquitlam is home to a number of professional sports teams, offering plenty of opportunities to watch a game. There is a baseball team, a basketball team, a Canadian football team and even a cricket club.
The biggest team in the city is the Vancouver Canucks, although they play out of nearby Vancouver. Other teams to watch include the baseball team the Coquitlam Reds and the Coquitlam Adanacs of the Western Lacrosse Association.
There city is also home to the Windies Cricket Club, which is affiliated with the British Columbia Mainland Cricket League. There are also numerous minor sports leagues in the city.
10. Play a round of golf
There are two world-class golf courses in the city that no golfer should miss while holidaying in Coquitlam; the Vancouver Golf Club and the Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club.
Of the two, the Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club is the more popular and is rated as one of the best courses in Canada! There are two courses, as well as a teaching course and a restaurant.
The Vancouver Golf Club is one of the oldest clubs in the region, dating back to 1910. It is a prestigious club with an extremely high member’s fee that sits on the west side of Blue Mountain.
11. Visit a museum
Coquitlam’s only museum, Makin House Museum is in what was once the home of the General Manager of Fraser Mills. The house was built in 1909 and shows special exhibitions.
The museum and historic home displays items that depict what life was like in the city in the 1900s. The museum is run by the Coquitlam Heritage Society and admission is on a donation basis.
Makin House is located at the corner of Brunette Avenue and Marmont Street. It has been a landmark since it was built.
12. Have fun at a festival
There are numerous yearly festivals that take place in Coquitlam throughout the year that attract all sorts of different people. Most highlight the culture and activities in the city.
Of all of Coquitlam’s festivals, Festival du Bois is one of the biggest. It is also the largest Francophone festival in Western Canada.
Music lovers will enjoy the 25-hour Water’s Edge Festival or the Blue Mountain Music Festival. Cultural buffs will like the B.C. Highland Games and Scottish Festival.
13. Go for a boat ride
Hire a boat and spend an afternoon on the water. Boats are available with or without a captain and are launched in Port Moody.
Enjoy cruising along the water and enjoying the scenery, or opt to go tubing, fishing, wakeboarding, water skiing or scuba diving.
You can even have a barbeque on the boat or chose to have a three course meal. All trips are tailored to suit your needs.
14. Enjoy a fabulous meal
No matter what your budget is, you will find all sorts of great places to enjoy a meal in the city. Whether you are looking for fast food or fine dining, there are plenty of options in Coquitlam.
The city is home to big fast food chains like McDonalds and Dairy Queen, as well as local bistros. There is Thai, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Indian cuisine, as well as fish and chips, Dutch pancakes and pub grub.
Families, couples and solo travellers will all find a place to eat in the city that is suitable to their needs and their wallets.
15. See the city from above
Take a helicopter ride and soar above the city, enjoying the spectacular views. These tailor made tours take you through the majestic mountains, over the lakes and rivers, and over the city, as well we others in the area.
The views of the coastal mountains are mesmerising, as are those of the city. There is no better way to take in all of the beauty of Coquitlam and its surroundings.
You can also soar above Vancouver and enjoy views of the larger city from above. Flights are around 1 hour and can include a lovely picnic lunch.