Have you ever wondered how we get the names for the streets and parks at The Foothills? The naming process goes through the City of Coquitlam, and stakeholders have an opportunity for input. Millard Orchard Park was recommended by the Northeast Coquitlam Ratepayer’s. Here is why:
The Millard family was one of the first few families to homestead on Burke Mountain. Their property ran from the eastern banks of the Coquitlam River to the western side of Coast Meridian and south of Highland. Two of the Millard sons lived on and fanned the property settled by their parents. Rill Millard was well known for the violins he created, and Bert Millard grew strawberries after helping to clear some of the land. These strawberry fields were located where the present day plans call for an elementary school west of Watkins and Highland. One of the Millard daughters married George Marten, and they lived all their lives with their family at the west end of Highland Drive. This family planted an orchard across Hyde Creek westward to the drop off to the Coquitlam River.
There are Millard grandchildren and great grandchildren still living in Coquitlam. A grandson, Stan Millard, is still living. One great grandchild is living in a new home on Canary Place, immediately south of and adjacent to Millard Park. As well, a Millard grandson, Arlen McConnell and his wife Sylvia, live on Coast Meridian just south of Highland.
Some of our long time residents have suggested that, in order to avoid any future contusion, the little neighbourhood park on Millard Avenue could be named “Millard Orchard Park”. Perhaps this would encourage the planting of flowering cherry or plum trees on the perimeter of the park. It is not suggested that actual fruit trees be planted, since they would unnecessarily attract the local bear population.
Information about the Millard family was recounted by Vi Johnstone who has lived on her family’s property at 1503 Coast Meridian tor the last 78 years, and who was personally acquainted with many members of the Millard family. As well, the recollections of Quirin Walz, a very long time resident of the David / Glenbrook / Coast Meridian area, have added considerable personal knowledge of the family.
Freda Hart, President of the Northeast Coquitlam Ratepayers at the time, wrote a letter stating that “By allowing the Millard name to remain attached to this little park, City staff and members of Council would demonstrate sensitive recognition of the heritage value of places and names on Burke Mountain.”
There’s a lot of history at Burke Mountain, and the naming of parks (like Millard Orchard Park) and streets in our neighbourhood help to keep that history alive, and honour people who made Burke Mountain and Coquitlam what it is today.