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Life in Coquitlam for Immigrants – Pros and Cons

Looking to live in Coquitlam? Read this article to see the highs and lows of this mountain-guarded city in the lower mainland.

Are you looking for a change of scenery? Perhaps you work is forcing your hand, or maybe you’re about to move in with a family member. Now you’re wondering what life in Coquitlam for immigrants is like.

Look no further! In this article, we intend to paint you a picture of what you expect to meet as an immigrant in the neighbourhood friendly city of Coquitlam.

This article therefore, attempts to cover the most important things you need to know including populace, sort of weather to expect, terrain, cost of living, transit, schooling, media, hobbies and fun places, etc.

Where is Coquitlam

Coquitlam is one of the 21 municipalities in Metro Vancouver, a regional district in the province of British Colombia, Canada. It is a friendly, communal city; the sixth largest in British Colombia. The city shares borders with 7 other municipalities; Burnaby and Port Moody to the West, New Westminster to the southwest, Port Coquitlam at the southeast end, then the mountains Eagle Ridge, Burke, and Coquitlam northward.

Furthermore, Coquitlam is one of the municipalities that make up the Tri-cities; an informal group of three adjacent cities, and two close villages. The other two cities in this group are Port Moody and Port Coquitlam.

Coquitlam has no lack of tourist appeals; theme parks, festivals, casinos, etc. It is also a busy city by day, with a lot of its citizens surviving on employed labour. In addition, life in Coquitlam for immigrants won’t be so lonely for them, considering how much of their population is made up of fellow immigrants.

The most spoked language here is English, followed by various immigrant languages which will be discussed shortly.

Let’s take a dive into other aspects of this city.

Population of Coquitlam

From the last conducted elections in Canada, Coquitlam had a population of about 139,284 citizens; a number guaranteed to have significantly risen since then. The most of this number however, comprises of people of European descent, with about 2.8% being indigenous Canadians; First Nations, Inuit, and Metis.

The remaining 50% of the population comprises of immigrants from different Asian nations (China, being the most prominent with 21%), Africa, Filipino, and other minorities.

About 50% of the Coquitlam population claim to be native English speakers, with well over 90% saying they have at least minimal knowledge of English. About a handful of people here speak French. Other languages such as Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, etc., are also spoken among small immigrant communities.

Coquitlam is also open to various religious groups. The biggest group in the city is Christianity; with about 48% of the population identifying as Christians. The second biggest religious group is that with no religious affiliation; about 41% Coquitlam citizens identify here. Other religions such as Islam (5.2%), Buddhism (2%), Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, etc, are also present, but in much smaller numbers than the first two groups.

Climate/Weather in Coquitlam

A great reason to want to live in Coquitlam is that the city is one of the temperate ones in Canada. It has warm summers, cold winters, and decent rainfall throughout the year. The summers come with an average temperature of 13.4 degrees Celsius to 22.7 degrees Celsius.

The winters, on the other hand, come with temperatures of 0.9 degrees Celsius to 5.6 degrees Celsius. The reason for these relatively mild temperatures is that the warm Alaska water currents and the many mountains between the arctic and the city taking the worst of the cold air.

If you wish to relocate to Coquitlam, you don’t need to fear extreme temperatures; at least by Canadian standards.

Jobs in Coquitlam

Life in Coquitlam for immigrants will obviously involve what sort of jobs are available to them. The economy within Coquitlam is largely carried by employers of labour. The major industrial area within the city lies in Fraser Mills, near the Fraser River. Some of the biggest employers in Coquitlam are the City of Coquitlam itself, Coca-cola, Art in Motion, Hard Rock Casino, Marine Propulsion division of Rolls-Royce, etc.

This number, however, only accounts for a small part of the city’s population. Being only a small town, most of the citizens have jobs outside of town. The population’s majority still has to commute to Vancouver, Burnaby, and other nearby municipalities every morning to get to work.

Some of the most in-demand jobs in Coquitlam at the moment are;

  • Sales associate
  • Cook
  • Tutor
  • Barista
  • Hair Stylist
  • Meat cutter, etc.

Coquitlam Healthcare

Coquitlam have access to healthcare via 3 major hospitals in the city;

  • Eagle Ridge Hospital; operated by Fraser Health. The hospital provides regular health checkups as well as elective surgery for urology, gynaecology, plastics and orthopedics. In addition, they offer various health education and rehabilitation programs.
  • Royal Columbian Hospital; although located in New Westminster instead of Coquitlam, this hospital is operated by Fraser Health as well. Fraser Health is Coquitlam’s health service, hence, people covered by their service can use Royal Columbian Hospital when out of town.
  • Riverview Hospital; a mental health facility, operated by BC Mental Health and Addiction services.

Besides these mentioned above, citizens of Coquitlam also have access to clinics, pharmacies, etc.

Cost of Living in Coquitlam

One of the cons of living in the city of Coquitlam is the high cost of living there. Though small, the cost of housing and basic needs in the city is higher than the average earner can easily afford.

If you intend to live in this city, it’s best you sit back and do the math first before making any moves. If you live on minimum wage, it might do you better to look to any of the neighbouring municipalities.

Schools/Schooling in Coquitlam

The city of Coquitlam has its schooling system operated by the School District 43 Coquitlam. It oversees four public secondary schools in the city, seven middle schools, and a whole bunch of elementary school.

There is no institution of higher learning in Coquitlam itself, however, there are schools in surrounding municipalities. For example, there’s the University of British Colombia, Simon Fraser University, British Colombia Institute of Technology, etc.

The Francophone schools however, are operated by Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique.

Transit in Coquitlam

Being a very busy city with industrial and residential areas on different parts, transit is a very important part of life in Coquitlam for immigrants and even every other citizen. Here are the modes of transport made for people who live in Coquitlam.

Air

There are two international airports with which Coquitlam citizens commute in and out of the province to other provinces or even outside of Canada. Vancouver International Airport and Abbotsford International Airport are both located outside of Coquitlam, but are the closest international airport in the state.

Other airports around include; Pitt Meadows Airports, Boundary Bay Airport, and Langley Airport.

Rail

The millennium line runs through Coquitlam, Port Moody, and to Lougheed Town Centre. The West Coast Express provides transit to Vancouver from Monday to Friday except on holidays. These lines serve to connect Coquitlam to the rest of Metro Vancouver, providing effective transit for those who commute outside the city to work.

Road

Coquitlam every morning, has a lot of its citizen commuting to other towns for work. This leads to incredible traffic jams nearly every day; hence another con associated with living in Coquitlam. The Trans-Canada highway connects the city to others in the lower mainland. Various diesel bus services and taxis are available for those who do not have private cars or would rather not use one.

Coquitlam Media

Coquitlam is largely covered by the same media as the rest of Metro Vancouver. They also have the Tri-cities newspaper service for those who are interested. There’s also a radio station to provide entertainment and news for the citizens.

Things to do in Coquitlam

So how about on days when you don’t go to work or have other engagements? What is life in Coquitlam for immigrants on those days? How else can you spend your time and have fun? Let’s take therefore, a look at some of the fun things to do in this city.

Nightlife/Dining out in Coquitlam – Popular Spots

After a long day in Coquitlam, people often go to bars, pubs, casinos, etc. to cool off from the day’s stress. Hence, here ae some of the best of these in the city;

  • Milltown Bar and Grill
  • Hard Rock Casino
  • The Frog and Nightgown
  • Arms
  • Samz Neighbourhood Pub, etc.

Furthermore, some of the best restaurants in the city for dates and hangouts include;

  • Joey
  • The Wild Fig
  • My Greek Taverna
  • The Coquitlam Grill
  • Cactus Club Cafe

Libraries

Those who prefer the comforting smell of parchment and paper are not left out of the planning of Coquitlam. The libraries in the city provides access to hundreds of resources, e-books, audiobooks, etc. Here are the major libraries in the city.

  • Coquitlam Public Library, Poirier Branch
  • Coquitlam Public Library, City Centre Branch
  • Millside Free Library

Coquitlam Tourist Attractions

Here are some of the best tourist attractions in Coquitlam; places you wouldn’t want to miss should you come visiting.

  • Hard Rock Casino
  • Evergreen Cultural Centre
  • Town Centre Park
  • Lafarge Lage
  • Crystal falls, etc.
Life in Burnaby for Immigrants

Immigrating to Coquitlam

The easiest way to immigrate to Coquitlam is via the British Colombia Provincial Nominee Program. This program is operated by the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) in harmony with Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement (CBCIA).

Through this program, people who meet certain qualifications can easily process their Canada visa with as little hassle as possible.

Conclusion

Coquitlam is a great place to live, by any standards. However, it is important you do the math and be sure you’re well-suited to the possible change in lifestyle you might experience. From temperate weather to friendly neighbourhoods, this is a city you would not want to leave quickly.