About səmiq̓ʷəʔelə

About the site

səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview is a 244-acre site in southeast Coquitlam. The site is managed by BC Housing in partnership with kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem First Nation).

The site was called Riverview Hospital until it closed in 2012 after more than 100 years of mental health treatment. Over the years it was called Essondale and Valleyview Hospital. Today the site hosts several health care facilities, commercial tenancies and is an active site for filmmakers.

History of the land

The history of this land doesn’t begin in the 20th century.

Prior to 1904, and for thousands of years, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm stewarded these lands as part of its core and ancestral territory. Artifacts found on site have been carbon-dated and reflect over 4,000 years of kʷikʷəƛ̓əm activity. kʷikʷəƛ̓əm oral stories reflect a history of time immemorial on these lands.

In respect of kʷikʷəƛ̓əm’s ancestral history on the Lands, BC Housing affirms kʷikʷəƛ̓əm as a partner in the stewardship of – and future planning for – the site. We are in Phase Two of səmiq̓ʷəʔelə project

About the Name

The səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview site has had several names over the years. It was called Hospital for the Mind at Mount Coquitlam when the first mental health building opened in 1913. Later it changed to Essondale. In 1965, the Province renamed it Riverview Hospital, a name that was in use for more than 50 years.

Part of the Vision for the land is to be a place of healing. In this spirit, BC Housing and kʷikʷəƛ̓əm decided together, as an act of reconciliation, that the land should formally be given a traditional name. The name səmiq̓ʷəʔelə (The Place of the Great Blue Heron) was given by the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm membership, based on memories and accounts of the area as a heron roosting grounds.