The District of Maple Ridge was incorporated September 12, 1874. It covered an area of 33,000 acres (130 km2) yet only had approximately 50 families living in the town. Maple Ridge is British Columbia's sixth-oldest municipality (after New Westminster, Victoria, Langley, Lake Cowichan, and Chilliwack). Until the expansion of Metro Vancouver (the GVRD) it was part of the now-defunct Dewdney-Alouette Regional District with the city of Pitt Meadows and District of Mission and other north-side communities east to Chehalis.
Maple Ridge is made up of several different historical areas. These areas are often identified with a cultural group. For instance, Webster's Corner and Albion are represented by the many Finnish families that settled in the area. While Port Hammond is known for its small cottage like mill houses originally built by the local mill to house its workers. Ruskin is the location of a community hall of the Sons of Norway, while Kanaka Creek originally was a village for Kanaka employees of Fort Langley.
Port Haney, located adjacent to the Fraser River to the southwest of downtown Haney, and the site of the West Coast Express commuter rail station, is a heritage district created to protect some of the remaining buildings from earlier times. In addition to buildings already on-site when this was the steamboat landing as well as the CPR station, other heritage buildings from around the District of Maple Ridge were relocated to Port Haney to preserve them and enhance the heritage flavour of the location.
In the past 20 years, Maple Ridge has grown very rapidly, with a 12.5% population increase between the 1996 and 2001 censuses. The construction of new residential subdivisions has threatened many sensitive wildlife habitats as well as the District's limited agricultural land. About two-thirds of those who work outside the home commute into other suburbs or Downtown Vancouver. Because of burgeoning growth connected to the expansion of the Vancouver metropolitan area, Maple Ridge joined the Greater Vancouver Regional District in 1995 (now renamed Metro Vancouver), having historically been a member of the now-rescinded Dewdney-Alouette Regional District (DARD) (Mission and other eastern parts of that regional district are now in the Fraser Valley Regional District). The completion of the Golden Ears Bridge and the construction of the new high level Pitt River bridge span also signal increased growth in coming years.