The Hidden Lives Behind Coquitlam’s Corner Stores


Corner stores are part of a thriving community. Unlike bigger chain stores,  each corner store has its unique history and individual blend products they sell. It is important to collect their stories, as they provide us with a picture of our community; and give us a historical record. The corner store is often ignored or taken for granted till they disappear or change. As part of our project, we interviewed several corner store owners throughout the city. We also hired Jonathan Desmond, a local photographer, to take pictures of the stores and their owners to be featured at Place des Arts on March 31, 2023.

Essential to this project are Karter Masuhara, Daphne Cui, Sophia Kishi, Tasia Valencia, Naomi Fong, Ciara Javier, Emily Zhang, and Markus Fahrner.


Jonathan Desmond is a Vancouver-based photographer specializing in weddings, portraiture, and street photography. As a photographer, Jonathan takes a traditional, organic approach to this work – he enjoys capturing scenes organically with minimal posing or direction, and prefers working with film cameras and creating prints. The physicality of his approach informed the creation of a book documenting a year in Vancouver’s Chinatown, titled I Was Lured Into a Tea Shop, as well as his “in the moment” capturing of Coquitlam’s corner stores, documenting his encounters as a patron might. In his own words, he wants people to “remember the moment and not remember that they were photographed”.

Photo taken by Kirk Mastin.


Photograph courtesy of City of Coquitlam Archives – CA CCOQ C6-S01-C6.37

Pett’s Meat Market

Pett’s Meat Market, later general store, was one of the first stores in Maillardville located on the corner of Laval Square.

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Founded in 1919 by Henry James Pett, Pett Meat Market was notorious for always being the first to get new technology in Maillardville. For instance, the Pett family were the first to have a neon sign in their storefront. At the time, Maillwardville residents had never seen a neon sign and initially thought the store was on fire. The Pett family were also the first to own a radio.

The site of Pett’s Meat Market is now residential property.

Photograph courtesy of City of Coquitlam Archives – CA CCOQ C6-S01-C6.20

Photograph courtesy of City of Coquitlam Archives – CA CCOQ F20-S02-F20.38

Proulx General Store

Proulx General Store was one of the first general stores in Maillardville, situated in the corner of Laval Square which was once a business hub for the community.

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The store was run by Georges Hector Proulx, who arrived in Coquitlam in 1910 with his family and bought the store shortly after. At 8PM on August 1920, Proulx witnessed an attempted robbery at his store. The would-be thief had ordered a taxi from Vancouver to Maillardville and held the store clerk at knifepoint, and demanded the customers hand over their money and valuables. Unbenknownst to the robber, Proulx had been in the store and called Emery Paré and Antonio Lanoue, both of whom served as some of Maillardville’s first local police, and they managed to surprise and overpower the thief.

The site of Proulx General Store is now residential property.

Photograph courtesy of City of Coquitlam Archives – CA CCOQ C6-S01-C6.966

Trev’s Confectionary

Trev’s Confectionary was located on Brunette Avenue and was one of the oldest stores in Coquitlam.

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It started as Filiatrault’s barber shop and hairdressing salon in the early 1930s, where Anne Bohonos Protheroe was hired as a hairdresser. After Mr Filiatrault left the business, Anne bought the store and turned it into Anne’s Beauty Shoppe. In 1939, she married Trevor James Protheroe, who worked as a fireman on a freighter and spent a lot of time in the Far East. After being injured during a typhoon, Trevor was not well enough to work, so Anne expanded the business into a store and a place to eat.

Although permanently closed, as of 2022, Trev’s Confectionary is considered a heritage building and is owned by the City of Coquitlam.


Rosemarie’s Treasures

Rosemarie’s Treasures was an assortment goods store located on Ridgeway Avenue.

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Founded by Rosemarie Bella, Rosemarie’s Treasures was initially a secondhand clothing store before transitioning to sell locally-crafted artisanal items and ethically-traded goods. It was bought by Debbi Rasmussen in 2014, after Rosemarie’s retirement.

Rosemarie’s Treasures closed permanently in 2021 and its premises have since been used to expand Blue Mountain Produce.





To mark the end of our exhibit, The Corner Store Project, we are having a giveaway!

Tell us about your best memory at a corner store and stand a chance to win some delicious goodies from local Coquitlam corner stores. The winners will receive their gifts on June 23rd at our Music in the Square event, and the winning stories will be shared on social media.

Submit your story today!

Coquitlam Heritage Society at Mackin House

1116 Brunette Avenue
Coquitlam, British Columbia
V3K 1G2

Visit the exhibition

Dates: March 31, 2023 to May 25, 2023
Location: Pace des Arts at 1120 Brunette Ave, Coquitlam, BC V3K 1G2

Admission free.