Heritage gets a home in Port Coquitlam
A long journey is about to end for the Port Coquitlam Heritage and Cultural Society.
And a new one is about to begin with the opening next week of a new PoCo museum and archives.
After years of talk and fundraising, volunteers have finally opened their dream museum, nearly 2,000 sq. ft. of archive and exhibit space in The Outlet at Leigh Square on McAllister Avenue.
A section of the former post office, once home to the 1000 Villages store, will now house research archives, exhibits (including a Kid Zone, and a First Nation exhibit), and other resources.
Called Heritage at Leigh Square, the space will allow people to learn about PoCo's more than 100 years of history through video and story boards as well as exhibits that will change frequently, explained Steve Smith, the project manager.
"Even though it's about history, people are going to see that it's a very modern sort of space and we're utilizing modern technology and we'll continue to expand that over time," Smith said.
The idea for Heritage at Leigh Square has been in the works for some time but with $97,000 from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage and $54,000 from the city, the group was able to bring it to fruition. The society also contributed $42,500 of its own money collected through fundraising, community and private donors.
It took about six weeks to finish renovations, including a heritage window covering featuring photos from PoCo's past.
"This has been done primarily by an all volunteer group. It's been an immense amount of work," Smith said.
Volunteers will also be running the museum. Society president Brian Hubbard said it's a big challenge to take on the job but he said the volunteers are relishing the opportunity and are looking for help, and are connecting with students from School District 43 and Douglas College.
"It's very exciting but the responsibility is awesome," he acknowledged.
The public can get a first glimpse of the new museum on Thursday, March 7 — the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Port Coquitlam — from 3 to 8 p.m. (see sidebar). The open house is being held in connections with PoCo's 100th anniversary events, marking the date of the city's first council meeting.
Port Coquitlam Heritage and Cultural Society is opening Heritage at Leigh Square, a new museum and archives on Thursday, March 7 — the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Port Coquitlam.
The public is invited to an open house from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Outlet, Leigh Square, on McAllister Avenue beside city hall, to learn more about the place "Where Stories Connect."
For more information, visit www.pocoheritage.org or call 604-927-8403.