Minoru Park History
Minoru Park has a long history, starting with its development as a horse-racing track in 1909. Over the past century the park has evolved, but has always maintained its role as a place for social activity and community enjoyment.
Sam Brighouse, a Richmond farmer and councillor, sold one of his Richmond fields to businessmen to develop the Township’s first thoroughbred horse racing track in 1907. The track was named Minoru Park, after a horse that won the derby at Epsom Downs in 1909 for King Edward VII. 1909 was the official opening of Minoru Park which soon became regarded as the finest racing surface on the Pacific Coast. The track also doubled as an airstrip, which saw a number of firsts in Canadian aviation history. The park was also used for automobile racing exhibitions, polo matches, and community events like May Day celebrations. Minoru Park closed in 1914 during WWI and was reopened in 1920 under new management as Brighouse Park. After WWII, profitability of the park diminished and the track was permanently closed in 1941.
In 1956 there were two planning directions for the site. One included establishment of public park, surrounded by residential and commercial uses; the other recommended converting the site into a multimillion dollar commercial and light industry site. After significant debate, the park and commercial / residential plan was pursued. The City of Richmond purchased the land and reestablished the name Minoru Park to honour its horse racing history. In 1962 the City purchased Brighouse Estate, north of the park, to expand it to the 65 acres it is today. The part of the park became the Lakes Area. Capital spending through the 1970s was concentrated on playing fields and athletic facilities to accommodate the growing population. In the 1970s and 1980s designs for the lakes area, developed by Clive Justice, the firm Desmond Muirhead, Tattersfield Kovacs and Gibbon, and CBA Engineering were implemented.