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This new documentary offers tips for living past 100 and how one Port Moody centenarian changed a city

Spirit of Port Moody film involved 100 hours of filming, many local residents and will offer viewers secrets of healthy aging and the importance of community
A documentary about Port Moody's Mary Anne Cooper will be screened for the first time Oct. 2.

If you’re told to wear red, it can be for only one reason — an event is happening for Port Moody’s beloved environment and heritage activist Mary Anne Cooper.

Cooper is known for wearing red and the bright, warm colour is often the theme of parties in her honour — such as Cooper’s 106th birthday last year.

Now, as her 107th birthday is approaching at the end of October, another special milestone honouring the long-time resident is set to take place.

In fact, many of Port Moody’s most active citizens are already planning for the first public screening of Spirit of Port Moody, a long-awaited documentary about Cooper and the history of the waterfront town.

It’s scheduled to be screened on Oct. 2 during celebrations marking Ioco Ghost Town Days.

Several public screenings are planned and director Eva Wunderman hopes viewers will leave the Inlet Theatre at Port Moody city hall with more insights into the city, Cooper and how to live your best life even as you age.

“It’s not a lecture but I hope a lot of things come through because it’s about Mary Anne’s passions.”

The film will touch on Cooper’s interest in preserving the Ioco townsite and the environment, with scenes shot in a boat on Port Moody Inlet and at Mossom Creek, where a hatchery was built to educate students about salmon.

Assisting Wunderman in the filming is cinematographer Todd Craddock, editor Shirley Anne Claydon and producer Ruth Foster. As many as 100 hours of 4K video were shot and edited for this hour-long movie while John Korsrud, a Canadian composer, produced the score.

There are some special moments, as when Cooper talks to elementary children about school, and a baking session — Cooper loves to bake — as well as community members helping with Cooper’s garden.

Much of the filming was done during COVID-19 and safety precautions had to be taken but Wunderman said Cooper’s love for her community, and her fellow citizens’ mutual regard, is very much in evidence in the final edit of Spirit of Port Moody.

In fact, there was so much involvement by Port Moody residents in the making of this film that Wunderman hopes it won’t disappoint.

“Usually I have to answer to the broadcasters, now I have to answer the whole community,” said Wunderman. 

“It makes a difference. I don’t know, I might have to go out the back door after the screening,” she joked.

Among the important themes in the film is the how to stay healthy while aging and Wunderman said she learned that having a “project” is key and that age is just a number, not a lifestyle.

“She’s 106, but she’s still planning for the future,” Wunderman said.

The screening is taking place during Ioco Ghost Town Days (Oct. 2-3) organized by the Port Moody Heritage Society, which is planning the event.

Beside screenings of the film, Ioco Ghost Town Days will include walking tours, a community festival at Ioco Road and 1st Avenue, an Amazing Race through history, logging demonstrations, magic shows and music.

Both the movie screening and Ioco Ghost Town days events are free.

For more information about the celebrations or to obtain a free ticket for the documentary, you’re encouraged to visit the Port Moody Station Museum’s website.