Choosing to Live in the Tri-Cities

Lafarge Lake Coquitlam

A beautiful view over Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam, Vancouver, Canada.


I have my wife to thank for this article idea. I was asked by a local realtor to provide my insights on living in the tri-cities to a potential client and on reading my letter, she thought it would be a great idea to share it on our web page. 

So here are my thoughts on why to choose living in the tri-cities:

Access 

The reason I originally moved to Port Coquitlam (from Barrie Ontario) was because my sister lived nearby. But it turns out it was a really good choice. One thing my sister told me when I moved here is you don’t want to have to cross major bridges regularly if you can avoid it. The tri-cities are one of the best connected areas to the lower mainland in that sense. We are on the same side of the Fraser river as Vancouver and Burnaby, we have a new ‘good’ bridge on Hwy 1 to BC’s second largest city (Surrey) and on to the rest of the Valley (Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack). We also have a new ‘good’ bridge connecting the north side of the valley (Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission). 

The longer drives from here are Richmond and Delta. North Vancouver and the road to Whistler are across an older congested bridge on Hwy 1 but as long as you are not at the busiest time of day it moves pretty good. If you need to get downtown, the skytrain (or west coast express) is the way to go to avoid congestion. We are getting a new skytrain connection to Vancouver in early 2017.

Shopping 

We have everything. Multiple Wal-marts (including the biggest format), Apple Store, Costco, Ikea (one of only two in Vancouver), Home Depot, Canadian Tire(s), H&M, and one of the busiest malls in BC if not Canada. You don’t need to leave the tri-cities for shopping unless you are looking for something really specialized… in which case it is probably not far away in Vancouver or Surrey.

Nature

In the tri-cities we have rivers, mountains, landscaped parks, plateaus, lakes, ocean (inlet), farms, golfing… If you wanted to take a hike to the top of a mountain in the morning and then go sailing in the afternoon on the ocean, you would not need to leave the tri-cities.

Entertainment

Tri-cities is pretty well equipped… we have bowling options (5+10 pin), casino, golf (a few par 3’s and an amazing mountain course which is not unreasonable), Silvercity theatre for movies has been updated with some of the latest trends (like small theatres which serve beer and don’t allow teenagers to ruin movies). There is an imax one town over in Pitt Meadows. We have lots of shopping and restaurants like San Remo which is hands down the best pizza anywhere. We lack any major live sports or theatre… but… this is the advantage of being close to a major city. They have everything we are missing and you don’t have to pay the cost of living there.

Schools

I’m not an expert on the system itself. We have a K and G2 kids who enjoy the local school to us. French immersion is available (sometimes there is a wait list). There is also a late French-immersion program which starts in G6. I’m not aware of any schools with a bad reputation. My wife is the teacher and could probably provide more information although she works in the next school district over.

Communities

The tri-cities have everything from super high-end to grungy areas. With property prices the way they are, the slightly grungy areas are re-developing. Some communities are:

  • Port Moody North - Most lots have amazing water views. Mountain driveways and access (some steep areas). Access is a little poor as you have to drive around the inlet all the time. New skytrain runs other side of inlet.
  • Port Moody Central - The klahanie or New Port Village areas are nice newer communities with live above and shop below type access. Parking is a challenge but access is good. Really good access to new skytrain
  • Coquitlam Blue Mountain - Big area with lots of generally larger lots and a mix of home ages. A little more expensive but good area generally. Good bus access to skytrain lines
  • Coquitlam Mallardville - This was an older area of town the originally served the mill (french settlers). There has been a lot of re-development and is a mixed assortment of grungy, light industry, and mixed residential. Lots of shopping and good Hwy 1 access. Bus access to skytrain lines.
  • Coquitlam Central - The downtown of the tri-cities. It has the mall and some great parks and city resources. Nice area of town. End of the new sky train line.
  • Westwood Plateau - Major mountain development from the mid-late 1990’s. Well developed neighbourhood with great views. Access is very car dependent
  • Burke Mountain - Current major development area. Similar to Westwood plateau, it is on a slope and even more car dependent as no shopping or transit has been added yet. But if you want a ‘new’ home, this is your area. Schools have not been built yet but have been promised by the government (many years ago…)
  • Port Coquitlam Mary Hill - Mix of 1960-1990 developments. Generally good driving access. No skytrain.Car dependent. Some good views.
  • Port Coquitlam Central - This is like a small town on its own. We frequent it because it has a little of everything. Lots of low-rise apartments. The houses in this area are a little older and it is a little grungier. Great access to west coast express (bus access to new skytrain)
  • Port Coquitlam North - This used to be a grungy area but it has been developing and with burke mountain above it and some new developments in the east area, it is worth looking at if you want access to shopping and a little more affordable. Bus access to west coast express.

River Springs Shout Out

As a final shout out, we live in a ‘secret’ community called River Springs. It is a free-hold strata with about $90/mo strata fees but we own our own house and have access to private pool, rec centre, private lake, private trails, private playgrounds, and our houses are worth about the same as a townhouse. The houses are largely from the early 1980’s with a mix of renovations but the land is flat and we are between Coquitlam central, westwood plateau, north port coquitlam, and burke mountain. The new skytrain terminus is almost in walking distance but certainly is in bike range or a short bus ride. We will be able to get from our door to a Canucks game or the airport on major transit come 2017. We love this area so much and couldn’t consider moving for much of anything. 

https://www.google.ca/maps/place/River+Springs,+Coquitlam,+BC/@49.289629,-122.7846561,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x54867f162bab3dc1:0xa61b3f4d5de00f3d!8m2!3d49.2896309!4d-122.7671465


 By James Bell - Author | Owner/Operator of Solid State Inspections Inc