Blogathon Vancouver 2008: "I" is for Ioco

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 — 10:00pm PST
Comments 1

Ioco is much more than a road that runs through Port Moody, its origins are rooted deep within the history of our entire region.

From the City of Port Moody
– Site clearing for the Imperial Oil refinery at Ioco began in 1913, followed by installation of the crude oil processing equipment in 1914. The refinery began refining in January, 1915.

– As construction continued on the refinery, more manpower was required and as a result the tent town expanded and became a more permanent “shack town.” This tent-and-shack town squatted on both sides of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) right of way south of the present townsite. By 1917, approximately 200 men, women and children were living in the shack town, which now boasted a school and two grocery stores.

– The land was cleared and housing construction began in 1920. The first houses, however, were the cottages from the refinery, which were towed to their new site using donkey engines (portable steam engines used primarily in the lumber industry). Between 1920 and 1924 83 houses were built

Side note: The word Ioco is actually an anagram of Imperial Oil Company.

Being the original western terminus for the CPR in 1879, Port Moody (est. 1913) now flourishes as the “city of the arts”, which contrasts its thick industrial heritage but is a testament to its growth. This makes Ioco well worthy of one of my Day Tripping posts, which is forthcoming – you know… once I get through this whole Blogathon thing.

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One comment

  1. fotoeins says:


    I remember as kids we used to blight Ioco for being the armpit of Burrard Inlet, figuratively and literally. When I spent the few years up at SFU up top on Burnaby Mountain, I often found myself wondering about how things were like next to the open flame emanating from the refinery below.

    Years later, as I often took the train up and down the Rhine between Mannheim/Heidelberg and Frankfurt am Main, I would see the open flame atop one of the stacks associated with the BASF complex in Ludwigshafen. How odd and striking it was then, at those moments, to be thrown immediately back to my visual memory of Port Moody & Ioco.

    I haven’t wandered through Port Moody and Ioco in a very long time, but you’ve given me the idea to go back and find out.

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