Maple Ridge is a small, dynamic city located in the northeast of Metro Vancouver, situated between the scenic Fraser River and the Golden Ears, the southernmost summits of the Garibaldi Range as part of the Coast Mountains. Only designated as a city in 2014, Maple Ridge boasts a thriving economy, based around its forestry and agricultural past, as well as a recovering tech industry.
Located in one of the most spectacular natural settings in all of British Columbia, Maple Ridge keeps strong ties to its heritage, keeping old cultures alive in its neighbourhood names, like Haney, Port Hammond, Whonnock and Ruskin – while paying homage to the settler population that gave life to the area; all the while looking to the future of development and growth.
History & Geography
Maple Ridge occupies the ancestral territories of the Kwantlen First Nation, a heavily alpine region straddling the coastal mountain range and the Fraser River, offering some of the mildest climates in the country - enjoying the longest frost-free period and growing season in Canada. Spring and fall can often be very warm from June-September. The city experiences an estimated 1,400 – 1,800 hours of sunshine annually with 73% of sun occurring from April through to late September. On average the summer temperatures range from 22 – 28 degrees celsius, and average winter temperatures only hover around the 2-4 degree celsius mark, so if snow does fall, it doesn’t stay for long.
On September 12th, a group of settlers met at John McIver’s farm, and voted to become a municipality. With a population of less than 50 families at the time, the District Municipality of Maple Ridge was born in 1874, named after a stand of maple trees located on McIver’s farm – making it one of the oldest municipalities in all of British Columbia. These early settlers began founding and building distinct communities on a tract of land measuring 130 km2. Until the expansion of Metro Vancouver in 1995, Maple Ridge was a member of the now defunct Dewdney-Alouette Regional District, alongside the city of Pitt Meadows and District of Mission. It wasn’t until March 26th of 2014 that Maple Ridge residents and council decided to vote to become a city, and on September 12th of 2014, marking the 140th anniversary of the municipal incorporation, the City of Maple Ridge was born.
Parks and Recreation
Brace yourself; the community parks and trails network boasts over 100 kilometers of local riding and hiking trails, with an additional 50 kilometers of trails accessible via the Golden Ears Provincial Park nearby. Maple Ridge’s municipal park system includes public and neighbourhood parks, sports parks, open recreational space and natural parks.
Of particular interest is Allco Park, a 27 acre site that’s half developed to give a perfect mixture of natural and manicured terrain. The park includes picnic facilities, equestrian trails and hiking trails within its borders. The Kanaka Creek Regional Park features local hotspot, the Cliff Park and Falls along the Canyon Trail. Nestled amongst towering hemlock and fir forest, a water canyon complete with a water-sculpted sandstone creek bed have been a popular trail hike and picnic spot for years and years – throw in some baseball diamonds, horse trails, and soccer fields for good measure.
Deer Fern Park is a stunning family park that features basketball courts, a fitness circuit, splash pad water feature, and numerous walking trails; and Cedar Park is a beautiful neighbourhood family park that features a spray park, fitness circuit, and natural terrain made accessible with boardwalks through the forest.
Arts & Culture
The ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge has been a gathering spot for the area’s arts and cultural community since 2003. The facility boasts impressive arts programs, gallery exhibitions, theatre arts presentations, and concerts, reaching a vast audience of over 87,000 annually. The ACT is managed by the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts council in cooperation with the Maple Ridge Parks and Leisure Commission. The aim of the facility is to bring vibrant arts and cultural program to Maple Ridge while promoting arts appreciation in society. The ACT is home to many festivals and events, including the Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film, a cinematic showcase that premiered 6 shorts and 6 feature films over 3 days in 2017 – receiving the BC Audience Choice Award.
Maple Ridge is also home to a plethora of festivals and special events – showcasing everything to world class concerts, to writers circles, vintage car swap meets, and humble bake sales. The city hosts a festival and event calendar on their website shining a local spotlight on various gatherings and events. The region is home to a popular Earth Day celebration, as well as a stunning Canada Day display, and a unique Philosopher’s Cafe bringing stimulating discussion and informal public conversation to the city.
Like all of Metro Vancouver, the City of Maple Ridge is serviced by TransLink, including bus service and the West Coast Express. Haney Place Exchange represents the main bus terminal with all Maple Ridge buses making a pit stop here along their routes. Maple Ridge is connected to both Pitt Meadows and Mission via Highway 7, and the Dewdney Trunk Road heads north to cross through Mission via Stave Falls. Maple Ridge also benefits from the Golden Ears Bridge, a 6-lane bridge spanning the Fraser River, connecting the city to Langley.
Located in the Fraser Valley, the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport is the only air field in the immediate area, aside from water access airports, located 2.5 km east of the Fraser River. For international flight needs, the Abbotsford International Airport is only 40 km away, shuttling flyers to the US, Caribbean and elsewhere in Canada.
Healthcare & Education
Maple Ridge is home to 18 elementary schools, five high schools and a community college. The public school board is upheld by the School District 42 – Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, serving both communities. Of particular interest is the experimental and alternative schooling methodologies featured in Maple Ridge. The Kanaka Creek Elementary School features year-round classes, trading in the typical summer break for additional breaks throughout the year – and the Yennadon Elementary School which allows students to work remotely from home.
Sprott Shaw also operates a college in Maple Ridge, specializing in Business Administration and Early Childhood Education programs. Alternatively, the British Columbia Institute of Technology – one of BC’s largest post-secondary school institutions – offers courses as part of its BCIT School of Business Entrepreneurship program.
Healthcare is the region is provided by the Ridge Meadows Hospital, as part of Fraser Health. Ridge Meadows is home to 718 beds, specializing in residential care, mental health and substance abuse programs.
Following the roots of the city’s founding settlers, agriculture and forestry continue to make up most of Maple Ridge’s economy. Forestry companies continue to be the largest private-sector employers in the area, with the Interfor Hammond Division Sawmill manufacturing building materials, yachts, and posts.
While the agricultural economy has always been strong, the soil and climate in Maple Ridge aren’t receptive to the cultivation of traditional cash crops; instead, the Maple Ridge ag-sector is able to generate upwards of $40 million annually from nurseries, horse breeding, and berry crops. Maple Ridge was also home to one of the largest high volume manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries in North America, but now only hosts a product testing facility.
The sales/service and trades sectors also represent large economic drivers for Maple Ridge, contributing to an average income (2005) of $30,047, topping the provincial average of $25,722.
For more guides of the lower mainland, be sure not to miss:
- The Ultimate Guide to Coquitlam
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- The Ultimate Guide to Port Coquitlam
- The The Ultimate to Tsawwassen Bc
- The Ultimate Guide to Surrey
- The Ultimate Guide to Langley Bc
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