You may know Riverview as the mental health care facility located in Coquitlam. Since closing, the property and its buildings have been featured in countless movies and TV shows. It’s a 244 acre, provincially owned piece of land. How to use the land in the future is a question the province is asking and has tasked BC Housing to lead a visioning process with the public.
The size of the property is astonishing and much more than what you see when driving along Lougheed Highway. At the turn of the last century, the provincial government built a “mental hospital” in a part of the Lower Mainland that was mostly rural. At its peak in the 1950s, there were over 7,000 patients and staff living and working there. It was a fully functioning community with a farm, separate men’s, women’s, and boy’s health care buildings, a fire hall, bakery, postal outlet, Doctors’ and nurses’ housing, a cemetery…the list goes on.
The buildings that served this community still remain, some of them dating back to the early years of the hospital. What stands out to most visitors are the Lawn Buildings – West, Center and East Lawn. Opened between 1913 and 1930, they are impressive examples of the Edwardian architecture of the time although building age, previous uses, and building materials may make them difficult to use for modern purposes.
Large open green spaces with a unique collection of trees are also prominent at Riverview. The gardens were designed to compliment the buildings and to provide calm and tranquil surroundings for patients.
Currently three state of the art mental health lodges, operated by Fraser Health, provide residential care for 64 patients on site. The Province and Fraser Health have stated that any development at Riverview, whatever it may be, would include the continued operation of the lodges.
Since the beginning of the year, BC Housing has been consulting with the public through a number of events, information kiosks, and meetings with stakeholders to inform plans for the future.
Most recently workshops challenged participants to imagine themselves on the ground, experiencing a completed re-imagined property. Artists were on hand to draw ideas and activities and bring to life the potential future.
The Province and BC Housing encourage everyone to join the conversation about the future of this provincially owned property. Through the Riverview website you have an opportunity to see all the images produced through the workshops and rate the ideas.
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