Ioco Ghost Town Days


Ioco Ghost Town Days Port Moody Anmore

This October marks the 10th anniversary of Ioco Ghost Town Days. The event was begun in celebration of the establishment of the former Ioco town site as a designated heritage area. Helping to make all of this happen was one 96-year-old woman.

Mary Anne Cooper isn’t from Ioco, but you wouldn’t know it to hear her talk. Over the last 15 years, she has made it her mission to preserve the town’s rich history. Having been a professional in conservation education who lived near the former Ioco town, Mary Anne could not stand idly by as the town’s buildings were in danger of being demolished. Mary Anne was one of a group of locals who worked tirelessly to get the City of Port Moody to designate the area a heritage site. Despite being considered impossible by most, in 2002 the City passed a bylaw protecting the site. In celebration of this event, Ioco Ghost Town Days was born.

Ioco Ghost Town Days is a free family event where locals can come together for some old fashioned fun while learning about the heritage of the former Ioco town. In spite of her growing age, Mary Anne helped lead a group of volunteers to put on the event for eight years. Over those years, Ioco Ghost Town Days has had numerous performers and various activities. According to Cooper, “My favourite activity was always the skit. Locals would get together and play characters from Ioco’s past. This was how we told the importance of Ioco’s history to the people who came.”

Last year, Mary Anne decided to pass the torch to the Port Moody Heritage Society. For 2011, the Heritage Society has organized a two day event on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2. On the first day Ioco residents will reunite at the old lawn bowling green. On October 2 from 12:00-4:00pm the big show will return to the Ioco townsite [map]. There will be 10 different performing acts, tours of the town in antique cars, artisan displays, pony rides, kids’ crafts and much more. Keeping in the tradition of celebrating local heritage and with a spirit of community, the event is free to everyone.

Rebecca Clarke, representative for the Heritage Society says, “It has been amazing working with Mary Anne. I have never met someone so dedicated to their cause and committed to making it fun at the same time. It is an honour to work with someone who has witnessed over ninety years of history first hand and is still making history every day.”

Mary Anne is not finished. She still works with the Ioco Days event in an advisory capacity but not being the primary coordinator allows her more time to follow her passion – advocating for the preservation of Ioco. She dreams of making the site a place full of life where people can come together to learn. Thanks to her work in preserving Ioco’s heritage, Mary Anne has been nominated for the 2011 Ruby Nobbs Achievement Award offered by the Heritage Society of BC.

For more information about Ioco Ghost Town Days visit www.portmoodymuseum.org.

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Comments

  1. Dan Fisher says:

    My Grandmother…Mrs. Elisabeth Blackburn…Husband Art Blackburn lived at the Ioco Townsite way back when probably around 1920 on. They had many children, my mother was Edith Blackburn, she went to school there prob. around 1939 on as she was born in 1923 I think. Her sister Doris married a man called Tuck, I think his last name was tucker he played on the Baseball team there and was quite the player when he was younger. Anyways I always visit the townsite, once a year anyways, it is beautiful and I can only imagine the splendor of the place years ago. I always drive and walk the old streets picking the ocasional flower and walking the bridge over the creek. I would sure like to find out my grandparents address as I have an idea. I think second ave. at the top. The house is gone most likely but just knowing where it was would be wonderful. I have talked to a few old timers years ago that were still living in their houses. They were sad to know they were having to move, I felt for them. They knew my mother, small town I quess! Some beautiful houses were demolished but the soul of the place still survives. I can only guess how it must have been so many years ago. My mother loved it and always said how beautiful it was. Her ashes were put in the creek to flow to the arm, that I am sure she would want to be.