Riverview Lands

 
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Over 100 years ago, the Riverview Lands were set aside to be a sanctuary and residential treatment facility for the mentally ill, and to be the site for a provincial botanical garden. Today, Riverview is the home of historic buildings and a beautiful arboretum with unique trees and plants enjoyed by the community.
From its earliest days as a residential treatment facility, the Riverview Hospital and lands have been a sanctuary for patients and a valued botanical showcase for the region. When Riverview was selected as the site of the first botanical garden in Western Canada, it set the stage for the magnificent park and world-class arboretum that today attracts the community and visitors who treasure this beautiful natural habitat. Riverview also has great significance in the history of health care in British Columbia. The architecture of the main building, the old arboretum, Finnie’s Garden and the cemetery all hold great historic significance for the community and the province.
The trees on the Riverview lands are unique in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest and are considered by some as a world class collection of trees in Canada. The value of the individual trees is estimated at more than $50 million, but the age, variety and condition of the collection as a whole make the collection worth much more. The site also has unlimited potential as a Horticultural Centre and Provincial Botanical Garden. It is also important to preserve and enhance the natural habitat areas and streams to protect wildlife habitat and corridors and restore wetlands.
Riverview also contains small streams which emerge from the forest and flow down to the Coquitlam River as well as delightful natural areas, which are referred to as “Riverview’s backyard”. Because of its location, the site is also an important link in a green corridor that reaches from Colony Farm Regional Park uphill through Riverview to the coniferous forests of Coquitlam’s Mundy Park and then into a forested escarpment with connections to Burrard Inlet. Wildlife, including deer, black bear, bobcat and the occasional cougar, rely on this corridor as a place of refuge in the increasingly built-up areas of Coquitlam and Port Moody. Enjoying nature can be both enriching and uplifting as well as offering opportunities to botanize or bird. But, it seems, the landscapes of Riverview also have a special healing touch.
During 1992, the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society formed with the goal of informing the public about the beautiful Riverview Lands in Coquitlam. Their Mission Statement is: “To preserve and protect the Lands and Trees of the Riverview Hospital Site as a community oriented, financially viable centre for horticultural, educational and therapeutic activities.” In recent years the Society has broadened its mandate to include mental health issues and the history of the site.

 
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Our Roundtable Watershed Coordinator can be reached at coordinator@coquitlamriverwatershed.ca

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