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Reminder: Revisit a piece of Port Moody's past at Ioco Ghost Town Festival

Self-guided walking tours, food trucks and live entertainment are on the event's agenda, including a special film presentation on Mary Anne Cooper.
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The Ioco Grocery store, at the old Ioco townsite, remained open until 1995.

For four hours this weekend, a key piece of Port Moody's industrial history will be revitalized.

Local residents are set to explore the old Ioco townsite that included an oil refinery that served as the backbone of a bustling town before it eventually connected to the greater metropolis.

The Ioco Ghost Town Festival is returning tomorrow (Sept. 17) and will be hosted by the Port Moody Heritage Society.

It's set to include self-guided walking tours by way of recently-installed interpretive panels that include information about the revamped community's structures, like the grocery store and community hall.

Ioco's village once teemed with vitality as refinery workers and their families organized gatherings like an annual picnic, May Day celebrations, played baseball and established a lawn bowling club.

The advent of a road connection along Port Moody’s north shore diminished the need for a company town as workers no longer needed to live in close proximity to the refinery and much of the townsite fell into disrepair.

By the 1960s, most homes were vacant, and in 2002, Port Moody council passed a bylaw that designated the townsite as a special heritage conservation area. It was also added to the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Since then, efforts to preserve the townsite, or even transform it into a tourist attraction, have waxed and waned.

The festival is also set to screen Spirit of Port Moody on Sunday (Sept. 18), 2 p.m. at the Inlet Theatre (100 Newport Dr.). 

It tells the story of Mary Anne Cooper, who fought tirelessly to preserve the townsite until her death in 2021 at the age of 107.

Meanwhile, live music and food trucks will be at the site on Saturday — located at the intersection of Ioco Road and 1st Avenue.

The Ioco Ghost Town Festival is scheduled for 12 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 17.

For more information, you can visit the Port Moody Station Museum's website.

- with files from Mario Bartel, Tri-City News