From 1891 to 1990, the first classes in Coquitlam were held above the general store in Fraser Mills and taught by the nuns from the Order of the Child Jesus. In 1904, a new class was started in a small room in the home of Mr. Martin on North Road. Sometime before 1910, a “Little Red Schoolhouse” was shipped to the Blue Mountain area and would serve 29 students. In 1907, Millside School was opened and three years later, East Coquitlam School began its classes in 1910. In 1911, a tiny school was built for the children of workers from Essondale and that same year in Maillardville, Our Lady of Lourdes School was opened for the children of many Fraser Mills workers. Two years later, a one room, multi-grade schoolhouse was built called Glen School, which would remain until a new two room Glen School was built in 1941, due to a fire burning down the original. Another small school, Silver Valley School, opened in 1915. A second school was built at Essondale in 1920 called the Boys Industrial School. Central School was opened in 1923 in the Nelson Street and Marmont Road area. East Coquitlam High was opened in the 1930s, making it no longer necessary for teenagers from Coquitlam to go to school in New Westminster (Coquitlam Public Library New Horizons for Seniors Committee, p. 97). Mountain View Elementary was built in 1938 and replaced the old Little Red Schoolhouse on Blue Mountain (Pioneer Tales Book Committee, p. 213).
Student life was much different in early Coquitlam than it is today. Children walked to school, often through woodland areas, and classes were held in small rooms, often with many grades, and they were not to make noise. Despite this, many children enjoyed school, as Florence Allard Seguin, born in 1918, recalled: “I went to Our Lady of Lourdes school and I loved it there” (Pioneer Tales Book Committee, p. 111). Margaret Bain Bergland went to Glen School in the late 1920s, she remembered the following: “My sisters, brothers and myself would go off to school, a 20-minute walk on a gravel road. We arrived in time at Glen School [... and] the school was heated with a wood-burning stove” (Pioneer Tales Book Committee, p. 203). She continued, “Miss Custance was my Grade 1 teacher in 1929 [...]. She stood in front of multi-aged students in that one room, ready to teach Grade 1 to 8, all in one day. On average, there might be three or four kids in each grade. While the teacher was busy with other classes, we were supposed to be quiet and do our work” (Pioneer Tales Book Committee, p. 203). Outside of school, students rejoiced in activities such as the annual May Day parade.
Coquitlam Public Library New Horizons for Seniors Committee. Coquitlam Then and Now. Coquitlam, B.C.: Coquitlam Public Library, 2011.
Pioneer Tales Book Committee. Coquitlam, 100 Years: Reflections on the Past. Coquitlam, B.C.: District of Coquitlam, 1990.