Located on the northern shore of the Fraser River, the area was originally the site of a sawmill. The mill was known at first as the Ross McLaren Mill and opened in 1889. However, it closed soon after when co-founder James McLaren died. The site remained unused for many years until the mill was reopened as the Fraser River Sawmills. Due to a labour shortage, 400 Francophones were recruited from Quebec. They settled in an area just north of the mill now known as Maillardville. During the Great Depression many workers were laid off. Wage reductions which were imposed on the remaining workforce led to a six-week strike. The mill eventually closed in 2001.
The city has designated the area as Waterfront Village Centre and has re-zoned it to include both commercial and residential use.