One of my fondest childhood memories is going for bike rides with one of my best friends, Mark, from our houses in south Port Coquitlam, to Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam. Riding beside the Pitt River, sneaking over the railroad tracks, past the legendary Wild Duck Inn, then riding the rural backroads to the park. Minnekhada Lodge, which is a heritage building that has stood since 1934 (Queen Elizabeth once stayed there!) hosted a brunch every Sunday afternoon. Nothing too fancy – hot dogs, pop, chips, baked goods, and all the delicious stuff that kids like. Over time, we befriended the caretakers (Vern and Joan I believe) They were an older couple who loved meeting the visitors and tending to the gardens.
Fast forward a few years. The caretakers don’t work there anymore, and my friend moved out to Hope, so we don’t ride there every Sunday anymore. (Plus, you know, jobs and life) But I still find myself coming back to the lodge. Except now, it’s for weddings!
Minnekhada Lodge is actually one of my favorite wedding venues. The rustic lodge itself is spacious enough for around a sixty person wedding, with plenty of room to get ready. And there’s so much to see in the areas just adjacent to the lodge. You can have your ceremony at the fountain statue. Then there is a beautiful Japanese Garden with a vibrant red bridge over a pond. A short walk down the hill will lead you to a picnic area that overlooks Minnekhada Marsh, and many of the nature trails throughout the park.
The rustic interior:
The bridal room:
For the groom and his groomsmen!
The back deck, when you need some fresh air after dancing too hard:
In front of the lodge - great spot for a ceremony!
And finally, the Japanese Gardens. Everyone loves the red bridge!
Need directions? Head into Port Coquitlam, and then from the Lougheed Highway, turn north onto Coast Meridian (it’s the only way you can turn!). After you’re through the business area of northside Poco, veer right onto Apel Dr., then right onto Victoria Drive. Up and down a hill, then turn left onto Cedar Dr. This will eventually turn into Oliver Rd. Careful, it’s a narrow one lane road, but there are some pullouts if you need to let someone get by you. And finally, you’ll hang a left at the end of the road, then up the hill into the trees, and finally to the lodge. Make sure you stop and enjoy the sounds of nature; always nice to take a few moments to clear your head and appreciate the present, right?