A tour to Port Hammond

Port Hammond, the most extensive neighbourhood of heritage residences in the District of Maple Ridge

The Hammond brothers arrived from England in 1862, an early date for white settlement on the B.C. coast. The Cariboo gold rush of the late 1850s had brought a small influx of settlers to the Fraser Valley, and a few farms had been established on the Albion Flats in the future Maple Ridge; at New Westminster, the seat of colonial government, Her Majesty’s soldiers were still living in tents.

The plan for Port Hammond Junction subdivision, registered 1883.  Most of it was never realized. By 1883, with the railroad’s arrival, the Hammonds prepared to subdivide their farm on the Fraser into urban plots and sell them. Their subdivision was registered as “Port Hammond Junction.” Development was slow until the early 1900s, when a mill was established next to the railway line. The Hammond Cedar Mill still dominates central  Hammond, and is one of the largest private-sector employers in Maple Ridge. Continue reading

The subtle charms of downtown Maple Ridge

Metro Vancouver’s 1996 Livable Region Strategic Plan tagged the Maple Ridge Town  Centre as one of eight regional hot spots for commercial and employment growth, alongside Metrotown, central Coquitlam and downtown Richmond.

Local government invested $100 million in new civic buildings to fulfill the dream, but the private sector money never followed.  Even on a municipal scale, many residents  judge that the current retail opportunities in Maple Ridge are second-rate; they drive to Pitt Meadows, Langley or Port Coquitlam to shop. Continue reading

Aesthetic Maple Ridge

My neighbour Claus Andrup and I recently published a little book about our home town in Metro Vancouver, if “published” is the correct term.

Our purpose with the book is simply to take a walk through Maple Ridge. “The central area, while significantly improved since 2009, is still vastly under-developed.  Outside the central area, neighbourhoods have been created, and are being created, without nearby commercial services or aesthetic focus.  And while there is something called an Official Community Plan, there is a lack of civic cohesion or consensus around what direction we should take.” Continue reading