Vancouver’s 7 ‘Burbs: Port Moody
New Westminster may have once been BC’s capital, but Port Moody was almost Vancouver.
This was back in the early 1880s, when the CPR terminus was Port Moody. Van Horne, that American scoundrel, took the wind out of our glory and extended the line to Vancouver in 1887, the year after the first official transcontinental train made it to the original terminus, Port Moody. Snooty Vancouverites even then demonstrated their arrogance by flipping over bystanders in what they saucily called the “Port Moody Turn-over.”
Port Moodyites and their neighbours in Aliceville, the now disappeared town along the Barnet Highway, filed a number of lawsuits against the CPR. Sadly they lost. Vancouver got the glory because the CPR owned more land in the Coal Harbour area than in Port Moody. Don’t believe that “deeper port” hogwash.
But screw Vancouver. Port Moody’s got plenty to make the other ‘burbs blush. A sk8 park (we’ve got cool tween spelling) and condo cave-ins. And it ain’t just that we’re the City of the Arts. We’ve got:
The PMS Museum, as we called it fondly in my day. The Port Moody Station Museum cheerfully recounts the history of Port Moody in Port Moody’s second train station, a CPR-red edifice that’s been hoisted up and moved around town twice. The PMS not only founded Canada’s first museum blog, but also has one of three world-wide postcard barrels. It has at least two ghosts, lots of creaking, mysterious footsteps, it’s is the home of the 2004 third place weird vegetable contest winner, and the occasional killdeer visitors.
Port Moody is also home to a number of other haunted sites, including a haunted bar called Jake’s Crossing. There’s a haunted Christian thrift store along Ioco; old city hall boasts another ghost; unexplained noises at an art gallery along Murray Street make another supernatural locale, and then there’s the weirdly off-putting Ioco Townsite.
When it comes to deforestation, we’re catching up with you, smarmy Vancouver. Check out our Heritage Mountain. Bald as a baby’s backside. I never knew we were famous for our enviro recklessness until I volunteered for Under the Volcano back in the 90s. Even those North Shore hippies know about us.
Port Moody has better mudflats than Vancouver. Take that, you terminus-taking snobs! During low tides, you can strap on some swim flippers, grab your ski poles and slide your way across the Inlet. On high tide days, just walk the Shoreline Park Trail and pass through a long-gone railyard (one historical marker tells you when you are standing atop one of Port Moody’s worst industrial disaster sites) and the barest skeleton of one of last century’s early sawmills (on the northern end of the trail). The boardwalk above the water is the closest you’ll get to feeling like Frodo tramping around the Dead Marshes.
Or how about Boothill Junction, the local place for cowboy boots and boot repairs? The dude who runs the place is so legendary even über-cool hipsters in Vancouver know about it. Go in and have a chat with owner Steve Quigley.
You think Vancouver is exclusive? Ha! Port Moody’s only eight streets going into it – the two ends of Barnet, Clarke on Snake Hill, Thermal, David Avenue, Guildford Way, Gatensbury, and Dewdney Trunk. (The streets from the villages of Anmore and Belcarra don’t really count.)
How many in-roads does that cheap slut Vancouver have again?