Skip to content

Bruce Coughlan releases song about Maple Ridge settler

Samuel Robertson was the first European to settle and farm in Maple Ridge

A Maple Ridge musician is marking the city’s 150th anniversary with a song about the past.

Singer and songwriter Bruce Coughlan just released a new song called A Simply Extraordinary Life, about the life of Sam Robertson – a Scottish native who became the first European to settle and farm in the Maple Ridge area, taking up his homestead in 1858. According to the Maple Ridge Museum, after striking gold in 1864, Robertson increased his holdings from 160 acres to 700 acres, between Kanaka Creek and the Fraser River, including all of what is now called Albion. He planted orchards which can still be found near the mouth of Kanaka Creek.

In 2022, Coughlan was commissioned to write a song to commemorate the birth of agriculture in B.C. by the British Columbia Farm Museum in Fort Langley.

After much research Coughlan discovered Robertson was the first independent agriculturist in B.C. and decided his was the story to tell through song.

“As Maple Ridge celebrates its 150th year, the story of Sam Robertson echoes in a very profound way. Robertson was already well established in the area as a farmer, orchardist, developer, and supplier before the township was even formed,” explained Coughlan.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge musician raising money to make documentary about Sam Robertson

Coughlan has been writing songs for more than a quarter of a century about the frontier history of Pacific Canada, and with his band internationally acclaimed Tiller’s Folly, they have been performing these songs across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

“Even as a child, I remember being transported by song. A good song can paint pictures in our minds, but what’s more, a good song can often connect us with our own humanity and feelings. I strive to create music that does that,” said the singer-songwriter.

RELATED: For Maple Ridge musician, music is like living in an adventure novel

“I endeavour always to create music which is authentic. Whether I’m singing Traditional ballads or original Rhythm & Blues, I approach each song with sincerity. I always seek to acquire a oneness with each tune. To immerse myself and draw you in with me,” he continued.

Coughlan even produced a short documentary combining music, media arts, history, heritage, culture, education, and tourism, telling the story of Robertson for a pilot episode for his series called Stirring Up Ghosts.

ALSO: Preserving history through song

A Simply Extraordinary Life features: Coughlan on vocals, guitar, and the whistle; Nolan Murray on fiddle and the mandolin; Laurence Knight on bass; and Chris Nordquist on drums.

The song was recorded by Larry Anschell at Turtle Sound Recorders, in White Rock, and mixed and mastered by Joby Baker at Baker Studios, in Victoria.

For more information go to:

A Simply Extraordinary Life is available at:,’s-folly, and

Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
Read more