Metro Vancouver’s self-professed “City of Art,” Port Moody, is a vibrant community located in the foot of Eagle Mountain in the east end of the Burrard Inlet, and is the smallest of the Tri-Cities. An easy 40 minute commute to Vancouver to the west, and to the north lies the iconic Coast Mountains, and the villages of Belcarra and Anmore. Port Moody is a thriving community of 34,000 striving to couple the harmony of such an idyllic natural setting with the bustling economy and quality of life associated with the communities of Metro Vancouver.
Port Moody, known as PoMo to locals, takes great pride in its seaside parks, it’s accessibility to mountain trails and scenic lakes, while being able to maintain a connected, small town feel.
The City of Port Moody lies on the ancestral territory of the Squamish and Musqueam bands of the Coast Salish people. Earliest evidence of habitation can be traced back to 8,000 years ago when First Nations people used the end of the Burrard Inlet as an ideal spot to hunt, fish, and gather shellfish. Non-native people first began to settle the area around 1800 when fur traders began to travel throughout the area frequently.
Gold prospectors came knocking in 1858 and settled in Port Moody during the Cariboo Gold Rush, leading to the requirement of another point of access. Colonel Richard Clement Moody, later the first Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of British Columbia – after whom the town was named – sent the Royal Engineers, a detachment of the British Army, to clear a trail to the settlement as backdoor defence for nearby New Westminster in the event that the budding community endured an attack from the south; the American border is a mere 40 minutes from Port Moody.
The construction of the Canadian Transcontinental railroad sparked interest in Port Moody as it was named the original western terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1879. This excitement led to the thought that Port Moody would become a major metropolis of Western Canada. Real estate prices skyrocketed when the first passenger train arrived on November 8th, 1885 – but the town dropped off the map when an extension of the CPR was extended to service Vancouver to the west.
From here, Port Moody was developed by remaining lumber mills, real estate developers, and a few sailors, thanks to its natural setting and proximity to the ocean.
Arts & Culture
In the summer of 2004, Port Moody began an extensive rebranding and was officially trademarked as the “City of the Arts.” The community saw great potential in attracting a population of creative entrepreneurs and artists because of its typically low rent prices, access to natural settings, and lighting associated with weather. These days, the city is attempts to integrate art into just about everything, and is home to a number of formidable arts institutions like the Port Moody Arts Centre, a comprehensive gathering space and training facility for fine arts students.
The Inlet Theatre and Galleria is a local 200-seat theatre and gallery space and the city hosts a plethora of festivals and events like the Canadian Film Festival, the Festival of Arts, the Wave Festival dedicated to youth musical talent, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, the winter edition of the Port Moody Farmer’s Market, and many, many more.
The city also owns and operates a series of artist studios located at 2709 Esplanade, geared towards supporting and showcasing the work of local artists through the community-driven Public Art Policy. There’s also a sub-committee of Port Moody council dedicated solely to the arts who provide council with direction on issues pertaining to culture and arts in the community. The city is also busy preparing a comprehensive Arts & Culture Master Plan to help shape the cultural and artistic future of Port Moody for the next 10 years. The majority of the plan will be completed with data collected from residents and local stakeholders.
Parks & Recreation
Central to a plethora of natural settings and incredible views, Port Moody is no slouch when it comes to parks and recreational space. The city is home to 28 parks, including the Alfred Howe Greenway, a scenic multi-use 2.2 km trail loop with a 100 metre elevation gain that connects the Glenayre and College Park neighbourhoods to the seaside.
Rocky Point Park is arguably PoMo’s most popular park at 3.8 hectares. It features an outdoor pool, the trailhead for biking and hiking trails, a skateboard park, a biking trials riding park (which was one of the first urban trials parks in North America), a boat launch, a world-class splash pad, and ample opportunity for wildlife watching. The largely undeveloped Bert Flinn Park is a stunning 126 hectare park that occupies land used as logging roadbeds in the early 1900’s.
Port Moody also boasts two accessible trail systems in the Shoreline Bike Trail, a 3 km paved biking pathway, and access to the Trans Canada trail – a 21,500 km trail that traverses Canada in its entirety. Port moody also features 3 off-leash dog parks in unfenced natural areas. A fenced off-leash park is located at Rocky Point Park.
The Port Moody Recreation Complex features two gymnasiums, an aerobics studio, weight room, hot tub/steam room, as well as a curling centre, indoor running track, and an Olympic sized ice rink.
As a part of Metro Vancouver, PoMo is connected to the TransLink system by way of numerous bus routes. Port Moody is also the first station on the West Coast Express commuter rail line, connecting to downtown Vancouver. The Millennium Line links Coquitlam to Port Moody as well via SkyTrain.
Highway 7A connects Port Moody to Vancouver as well, with highway 7 connecting Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows. PoMo is easily accessible from the Trans Canada Highway as well, located to the south in New Westminster.
Healthcare & Education
Eagle Ridge Hospital serves as the only major healthcare facility for 216,000 residents of the Tri-city area. Located in Port Moody, Eagle Ridge was opened in 1982 and has a total of over 200 beds. It’s a premiere choice for doctors, athletes and patients from the lower mainland requiring elective surgery. Services include emergency, medical Imaging, lab, ambulatory care, physiotherapy and cardiology. The hospital also provides important asthma and diabetes outpatient clinics, as well as outreach public health services.
The public school system in Port Moody is served by School District 43, and offers residents two public high schools, two middle schools and seven elementary school locations. As for post-secondary campuses, nearby Burnaby is home to a campus of Simon Fraser University and Douglas College keeps a campus in Coquitlam to the east.
The traditional economy of Port Moody and area has typically been that of a seafarer mentality, with deep sea bulk loading terminals, and large wood products manufacturers using the Burrard Inlet as a highway to bigger markets. In addition to these old school industries, PoMo features two large petrochemical distribution centres, and a thermal electric generating station that contribute many jobs to the small population. The city also features a growing healthcare and social services industry, as well as many cultural businesses and mom-and-pop shops.
The recent shift in economic focus has been on the arts and culture market and represents one of the youngest populations in the region – with the vast majority occupying the 25-54 age group. The city’s 2005 statistical economic profile boasts that retail trade is the largest employer of Port Moody residents with 6% involved with arts and culture. Average household income for Port Moody rests at about $70,000 with the community experiencing a growth rate of 2.1% since the last census.