Advancing the conversation on land and real estate issues in BC.
Concept for the new Valleyview building on the Riverview lands to house the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre for Youth and Provincial Assessment Centre. Credit: flickr/Province of BC
“Riverview Hospital is a massive property in Coquitlam, 244 acres (almost 100 hectares) of gently rolling land overlooking the Coquitlam River. It is what is left of 1,000 acres that was dedicated more than a century ago to establish the Hospital for the Mind at Mount Coquitlam, soon renamed Essondale . . .” writes Richard Stewart, mayor of Coquitlam.
Riverview Hospital was at its peak in the 1950s, caring for about 4,500 psychiatric patients. This would soon change, however, as the “deinstitutionalization” movement took hold over the next few decades. Riverview’s patients were gradually moved back into the community, and the hospital closed in 2013.
“Early in the institution’s history, BC’s first Provincial Botanist, John Davidson, established an arboretum, nursery, and botanical garden on the Riverview Hospital site,” says Stewart. “Tending the gardens of Riverview was often done with the assistance of patients, as there was a belief in the therapeutic value of planting and gardening.”
Riverview’s arboretum today contains hundreds of species of trees and plants from around the world, and interest in preserving the arboretum along with the heritage buildings on site has been gaining interest.
The Province of BC is “. . . revisiting the future role of the Riverview site and has embraced many of the aspirations of the community and advocates who want the site preserved,” writes Coquitlam’s mayor. “Another important stakeholder, the Kwikwetlem First Nation, has been significantly involved in this process, as these lands had been very important to the Nation for centuries prior to the establishment of Riverview Hospital.”
Plans for the Riverview site to contribute again to health care in the region are well advanced.
|Download Spring 2020|
To read more about the future of Riverview Hospital, see Stewart’s “Does Riverview Hospital Have a Future?” in the Spring 2020 edition of Input. Download Spring 2020
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