Paving the Way
The notoriously challenging track was designed and built by the enterprising members of the Sports Car Club of British Columbia (SCCBC). The SCCBC began as an informal group of enthusiasts but was incorporated under the British Columbia Societies Act in 1951.
Road Racing became a popular sport in North America following the Second World War, as high-performance European cars were introduced by returning veterans. The first road circuits were re-purposed airport landing strips that were decommissioned after the war. In early 1950, the SCCBC reached an agreement with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to allow racing on the Abbotsford Airport runway. Races were held from 1950 until 1958, when the RCAF transferred the Abbotsford Airport to Transport Canada. Soon, the search was on for a new site and eventually the SCCBC settled on a remote parcel of Crown land in the District of Coquitlam.
The SCCBC found a supporter in the form of Earle C. Westwood, then Minister of Recreation and Conservation, who was instrumental in the difficult lease negotiations for the land. The track was named in his honour.
The club financed the construction of the track through the sale of debentures to members and enthusiasts. SCCBC President C.C. Wilson implored members to "squeeze out those extra pennies! Stop Smoking! Stop Drinking! Take the Bus! But buy debentures!" ("Pit Pass" Official Monthly New Magazine of the Sports Car Club of British Columbia). The dedicated volunteers held a ceremonial sod-turning on December 6, 1958.
The track was designed by the SCCBC members and followed the natural features of the land. The famous Deer’s Leap came about because of the steep gradient of the land, which could not be easily flattened. Volunteers spent hours clearing brush and trees and the process cemented many life-long friendships.
But it wasn’t all hard work. There was some fun to be had before the track was finished. Drivers enjoyed challenging themselves in their mud buggies for the "Mud Runs" before the track was paved.