British Columbia municipalities were first formed in the late 1800s when residents saw the need for their growing communities to have the benefit of locally provided and locally controlled services. The City of Port Coquitlam was incorporated as a municipality in 1913. The years have brought about various changes to Port Coquitlam City Council's structure and to the election process.
Mayoralty contests, for example, were held annually from 1913 to 1923. Port Coquitlam Mayors began serving two-year terms in 1923. In 1990, the Local Government Act increased the term of office to three years. R. C. Galer was Port Coquitlam’s longest serving Mayor. He served as Mayor for twenty-one consecutive years from 1925 to 1945 inclusive.
The number of councillors and the method of their selection have also changed over time. From 1913 to 1968, the community elected five aldermen to serve two-year terms. In 1969, this number increased to six and the elected officials were called Councillors. The term of office for a Councillor increased to three years in 1990.