Coquitlam is situated some 10 to 15 km (7 to 10 miles) east of Vancouver, where the Coquitlam River connects with the Fraser River and extends northeast along the Pitt River toward the Coquitlam and Pitt lakes. Coquitlam borders Burnaby and Port Moody to the west, New Westminster to the southwest, and Port Coquitlam to the southeast. Burke Mountain, Eagle Ridge, and 1,583 m (5,194 ft) tall Coquitlam Mountain form the northern boundary of the city. Coquitlam's area, 152.5 square kilometres (58.9 sq mi), dwarfs the other communities in the Tri-Cities; it is about six times larger than either Port Moody or Port Coquitlam.
Coquitlam's geographic shape can be thought of as a tilted hourglass, with two larger parcels of land with a smaller central section connecting them.
Southwest Coquitlam comprises the original core of the city, with Maillardville and Fraser River industrial sector giving way to the large residential areas of Austin Heights, colloquially referred to as "The Bump" due to its high and flat plateau topography. These older residences, with larger property dimensions, are increasingly being torn down and replaced with newer and larger homes. The Poirier Street area was the city's original recreational centre with the Coquitlam Sports Centre, Chimo Aquatic and Fitness Centre, and sports fields located there, while City Hall was previously located further south in Maillardville.
The Austin Heights area contains Como Lake, a renowned urban fishing and recreation area, and headwaters for the Como watershed. The watershed represents one of the last urban watersheds in the Tri-Cities that supports wild stocks of Coho Salmon as well as other species at risk such as coastal Cutthroat Trout (both sea-run and resident) and bird species such as the Great Blue Heron and Green Heron.
Coquitlam Town Centre, was designated as a "Regional Town Centre" under the Metro Vancouver’s Livable Region Strategic Plan. The concept of a town centre for the area dates back to 1975, and is intended to have a high concentration of high-density housing, offices, cultural, entertainment and education facilities to serve major growth areas of the region, served by rapid transit service. It is in the town centre that many public buildings can be found, including City Hall, a branch of the Coquitlam Public Library, R.C.M.P. station, Coquitlam's main fire hall, the David Lam Campus of Douglas College, the Evergreen Cultural Centre, City Centre Aquatic Complex, Town Centre Park andPercy Perry Stadium. Coquitlam Town Centre is currently undergoing an update of the Town Centre plan.
In 1989, the provincial government sold 570 hectares (1,409 acres) of second-growth forested land on the south slope of Eagle Mountain, known locally as Eagle Ridge, to developer Wesbild. This resulted in the closure of Westwood Motorsport Park in 1990, and the creation of Westwood Plateau, which was developed into 4,525 upscale homes, as well as two golf courses.
With development on Westwood Plateau completed and the opening of the David Avenue Connector in 2006, Coquitlam's primary urban development has now shifted to Burke Mountain in the northeastern portion of the city.
Coquitlam is served by School District 43 Coquitlam, and offers four public secondary schools, several more middle schools, and dozens ofelementary schools. Francophone education in the Tri-Cities is offered by Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique.
Coquitlam Town Centre is home to the 4,000-student David Lam Campus of Douglas College, which offers university transfer, career-training and academic-upgrading programs. Therapeutic Recreation, Hotel and Restaurant Management, and Animal Health Technology programs are housed in the original main campus building. The $39 million Health Sciences Centre opened in 2008, with state-of-the-art facilities for Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing and other health-career programs.
There are two major universities, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, located in the nearby municipalities. The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in neighbouring Burnaby provides polytechnic education and grants degrees in several fields. Vancouver is also home to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and the Vancouver Film School.
The Coquitlam Public Library has two branches: City Centre and Poirier. The library has a collection of over 240,000 items, and an annual budget of over $4 million.
Professional sports teams in the area include the Vancouver Canucks (National Hockey League), BC Lions (Canadian Football League), Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Major League Soccer), and the Vancouver Canadians (Northwest League baseball). The 2010 Winter Olympics were also staged in the Metro Vancouver and Whistler areas.
The city is responsible for the maintenance of numerous sports and recreation fields, including 40 grass/sand/soil sports fields, five FieldTurffields, 35 ball diamonds, several all-weather surfaces, a bowling green, a croquet/bocce court, and a cricket pitch. The city also operatesPercy Perry Stadium and the Coquitlam Sports Centre. Privately owned Planet Ice features 4 additional ice rinks, and more rinks are found throughout the Tri-Cities.
The city manages four all-age community centres (Centennial, Pinetree, Poirier, Summit), and two senior community centres (Dogwood Pavilion, Glen Pine Pavilion).
Baseball - The Coquitlam Reds of the B.C. Premier Baseball League play their home games at Mundy Park; the Reds' most famous alumnus is former Major League All-Star and National League MVP Larry Walker. Coquitlam is also home to Coquitlam Little League, which has been part of Little League International since 1955; Coquitlam finished 3rd at the 1984 Little League World Series. In 2008, Coquitlam hosted the Junior League Canadian Championships.
Basketball - Coquitlam is home to the Tri City Youth Basketball Association; formed in 1999, it serves the Tri-Cities with over 1,400 players from grades 2 to 9. The program is part of the Steve Nash Youth Basketball program administered by Basketball BC. It is open to both boys and girls, and operates out of school gyms across the Tri-Cities area.
Cricket - Coquitlam is home to the Windies Cricket Club. The club consists of over a hundred members with 3 adult teams playing in the Premier, First & Third Divisions. The club is affiliated with the Metro Vancouver Cricket League and games are played at Mackin Park, Coquitlam. A youth Kanga Cricket Program was formed with the aim of promoting and growing the game of cricket in Coquitlam, BC. The SuperStrikers cricket team is open to boys and girls aged 6 – 16.
Football - Coquitlam is home to the Coquitlam Minor Football Association, which is a member of the Vancouver Mainland Football League. CMFA players range from 6 to 18 years of age, and play against teams from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Coquitlam was also the home of the Tri-City Bulldogs of the Canadian Junior Football League from 1991-2004.
Golf - In addition to courses in neighbouring communities in the Tri-Cities, Coquitlam itself is home to several golf facilities. The Vancouver Golf Club, located in southwest Coquitlam, has hosted two major LPGA tour events as well as one Senior PGA Tour event. The Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club is one of the highest rated golf courses in Canada. Both the Westwood Plateau Golf Academy and Eaglequest Golf Centre are designed as executive learning courses.
Hockey - Founded in 2001, the Coquitlam Express of the British Columbia Hockey League play at the Coquitlam Sports Centre.Coquitlam is also home to the Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association, a AAA club in the Greater Vancouver area in the Pacific Coast Division, with almost 1000 members from Initiation Hockey 1 to Juvenile.
Lacrosse - Coquitlam is home to the Coquitlam Adanacs of the Western Lacrosse Association, who play at the Coquitlam Sports Centre, and to the Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association. In July 2008, Percy Perry Stadium hosted the 2008 ILF Under-19 World Lacrosse Championships.