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Port Moody Yesterday

The early inhabitants of this area were the Squamish and Musqueam bands of the Coast Salish people, their ancestors having occupied the Lower Mainland for the past 8,000 years. They used the Port Moody area to fish, hunt and gather shellfish. Evidence of their summer campsites, in the form of shell middens and Indian artifacts can be found at the eastern end of Burrard Inlet. Credit: City of Port Moody Web Site.

Port Moody was established from the end of trail, now known as North Road, which was cut by Royal Engineers from New Westminster to Burrard Inlet. It was developed in case of an attack to New Westminster from the south, due to the concern about a large number of Americans arriving for the Fraser River Gold Rush. The town grew rapidly, in 1859, after land grants to the Royal Engineers prompted settlement in the area.

With the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway, for a short time, Port Moody was the western terminus for the line. This gives the City a special place in Canadian history when the first transcontinental passenger train arrived on July 4, 1886, with about 150 passengers. Land speculation soon became rampant; regardless, the CPR decided to extend its rail line from Port Moody to a new terminus further west, the new town of Vancouver. A local cairn commemorates the "Completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway."

The town experienced an influx of new residents, from 200 people in 1887 to 1,200 in 1910. Early industry became established in with a cedar sawmill in 1905. In 1915 the Imperial Oil Company created, what was then, a large oil refinery development just west of the Port Moody boundary. The area was named after the company: Ioco. Most refinery workers lived in a shack village near the refinery until 1920 when the Ioco townsite was built.

1913 saw Port Moody incorporated as a city. Port Moody continued to be primarily a mill town. With the outbreak of World War II, people of the community found steady employment. With the end of the war, the town began to spread out and Port Moody met the surrounding suburbs of Coquiltam and Burnaby. Over the decades develop continued with Andrés Wines, Gulf Oil, Weldwood, Interprovincial Steel, Reichold Chemicals and Pacific Coast Terminals opening up plants in the City.

Port Moody takes its name from Colonel Richard Moody of the Royal Engineers (Akrigg).

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