In 1904, 400 hectares of land in Coquitlam near the Fraser Rivers was set aside by the provincial government to build a new mental health facility. In 1909, the provincial government started to build the hospital and its first building, called West Lawn, was completed in 1911. On April 1, 1913, the hospital was opened under the name “Hospital for the Mind” and it would later be called Essondale, after Dr. Esson Young, who was responsible for its construction and was also the Provincial Secretary and Minister of Education. The hospital, later renamed Riverview Hospital, was considered state-of-the-art at the time and by 1913 it was home to 453 patients. The hospital continued to expand over the years and provided many in Coquitlam with work, both at the facilities and at Colony Farm (patients also worked at the farm as part of their physical therapy). Riverview reached its peak populations in thousands by the mid-1950s. However, by the 1980s, there would be a steady decrease in patients at Riverview. In 2012, the final 40 patients at Riverview were moved to different facilities in Surrey and Vancouver. Over a hundred years after its opening, Riverview was then closed.
Coquitlam Public Library New Horizons for Seniors Committee. Coquitlam Then and Now. Coquitlam, B.C.: Coquitlam Public Library, 2011.