In 1889, Frank Ross and James McLaren opened what would become Fraser Mills, a $350,000, then state-of-the-art lumber mill on the north bank of the Fraser River. By 1908, a mill town of 20 houses, a store, post office, hospital, office block, barber shop, and pool hall had grown around the mill. A mill manager’s residence was built that later becamePlace des Arts. In 1909, Ross and McLaren, in search of workers, recruited a contingent of 110 French Canadian mill workers from Quebec. With the arrival of a second contingent in June 1910, Maillardville was born. Named for Father Edmond Maillard, a young Oblate from France, it became the largest Francophone centre west of Manitoba.
In 1971, the City of Coquitlam and the Village of Fraser Mills were amalgamated, which gave the city a larger tax base. The mill closed in 2001, and is now rezoned into a residential area. Maillardville’s past is recognized today in street names, the Francophone education system and French immersion programs, French-language guides and scouts, and celebrations such as Festival du Bois. Maillardville celebrated its 100th birthday in 2009.