Canada Day Weekend at the Station Museum

flutes

Come join us at the Station Museum this Sunday to see the Greater Vancouver Garden Railway Club (GVGRC). The display includes working model steam engines and a model Thomas the Train display.  Joining the GVRC at the museum will be the Morse Telegraph Society as they teach visitors all about the telegraph and the basics of Morse Code.  Throughout the Canada Day weekend visitors can enjoy our Family Days in conjunction with our feature exhibit “Chinese Legacies”.  Activities include lantern making, spike driving, a scavenger hunt and two musicians.  On July 1st, from 11am to 1pm, Joanna Wang will be playing the Erhu, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument , and from 1pm to 3pm Larry Yan will be playing a series of traditional Chinese flutes.  For more information on parking and costs visit our “What’s On” page.  See you on the weekend!

“Chinese Legacies” exhibit on now at the Station Museum

Chinese labourer camp site


From May 14th to November 16th, 2012 the Port Moody Station Museum is proud to host the travelling exhibit Chinese Legacies: Building the Canadian Pacific Railway. The exhibit, created by the Revelstoke Railway Museum and the Revelstoke Museum & Archives, explores the story of the thousands of Chinese labourers who contributed to the building of the CPR between Port Moody and Craigellachie, BC.

As the original terminus for the CPR, Port Moody has a deep historical connection to the Chinese railway workers. To provide additional labour to build the railway from Port Moody to Kamloops Lake, Andrew Onderdonk recruited thousands of men from China. These men, along with other supplies for building the railway, came by ship into Port Moody before traveling onto the construction site. Many of these workers tragically fell ill with Beri Beri disease upon their arrival and were buried on the hillside in Port Moody, later to be exhumed and brought back to China for final burial.

The exhibit recounts the difficulties that faced the some 15,000 Chinese workers between 1880 and 1885 and includes a diorama of a typical Chinese worker’s campsite, artifacts such as opium pipes, coins, incense burners, as well as a slide show of historical photos.  It is estimated that between 600 and 2,200 workers lost their lives due to malnutrition, dangerous working conditions, and disease during this time. Discrimination was a daily reality for these workers, who would be paid half the salary of the white workers and were forced to do the most dangerous work in the camps.

To honor the exhibit, the Station Museum is offering educational programming for children and special Family Days. Starting Canada Day weekend, the Museum will host weekly Family Days every Sunday, from 11 to 4, in July and August.  On this day, families can participate in guided activities and crafts such as spike driving, lantern making, a scavenger hunt and demonstrations of Chinese culture. Check our Upcoming Events page soon, for more details. 

For more information about the exhibit or to book a program, please contact us at 604-939-1648 or info@portmoodymuseum.org.

Holiday Tea on the Train is Back!

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Our popular holiday teas are back this year on Sunday, December 11th and 18th from 12:30-3:30pm. Drop by our 1920s rail car to enjoy some old fashioned holiday music, cookies and a warm drink in a festive holiday atmosphere. Price is $5 per person – tax included. Reservations not required. Cash only please.

New Feature Exhibit – “Negotiating Spaces”

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During the late nineteenth Century in Canada, traveling on the train connected the individual traveler to a collective whole. This means of transportation made the confederation visible. Today, traveling on those tracks speaks of a national memory that has almost been forgotten. In today’s age, saturated with social media and rapid transport, it is archaic to think this nation was once connected through the building of metal tracks, yet this poetic nationalism is alluring.

NEGOTIATING SPACES: Visual Recollections of Train Travel in Canada, is an evolving art installation exploring contemporary train culture in Canada, comprised of medium format and Polaroid photography, video, audio and written blog accounts. Negotiating Spaces works to re‐initiate a dialogue between the individual and the land by critically investigating Canadian perception of space, myth of the land and the reality of the rail travel experience. Created through a two‐month journey from Vancouver to Halifax and Winnipeg to Churchill, this body of work confronts traditional landscape imagery and looks to re‐define what being a Canadian means via rail.

Artist Lindsey Bond is a third generation Canadian, born in Alberta and brought up in the vast prairies and wide skies of the western belt.  According to Bond, “This land and light taught me what being Canadian meant.” Upon returning from living abroad, Bond realized that she had very little first-hand experience of the country she called home. It was this realization which inspired Bond to seek out what the term home meant to her. Negotiating Spaces is the result of this exploration. Bond says, “This exploration pushed me to de-mystify gaps in my own knowledge about the history, people and ultimately the identity of Canada, landscape and myself.”

The newest component of the project is The Story Line, a blog where visitors can contribute their own railway memories, photographs or drawings.  In exhibiting Negotiating Spaces at the Port Moody Station Museum, Bond hopes to further the dialogue critically investigating Canadian perception of space. We encourage you to share your own rail travel experiences on The Story Line blog at home or when you come to see the exhibit at the Museum.

As part of our celebration of the 125th anniversary of the 1st trans-Canada passenger train, the Port Moody Station Museum is pleased to host Negotiating Spaces on now until February 26th, 2012. You can preview the exhibit on Ms. Bond’s website

Lego Display at the Station Museum

Lego Town Mill

Lego Town Mill


This summer the Port Moody Station Museum is hosting a Lego display created by the Vancouver Lego Club. The display, Lego Town, was inspired by the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the first trans Canada train on July 4th, 1886. It depicts a heritage town similar to Port Moody complete with moving train, a replica of the Port Moody train station and sawmill.

Lego Town will be on display until August 31st, 2011.

Lego Town Street

125th CPR Train Anniversary Celebration

1st Passenger Train Arrives in Port Moody - July 4th, 1886

1st Passenger Train Arrives in Port Moody – July 4th, 1886

Friday, July 1st – Sunday, July 3rd
11am-4pm

This year the Port Moody Station Museum celebrates the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the 1st trans-Canada passenger train. July 4th, 1886 was a hallmark event for Canada and Port Moody. To celebrate the occasion, the Greater Vancouver Garden Railway Club will have a display of its G Scale model trains on July 1st. On July 2nd and 3rd the Vancouver Lego Club will have a train display inside the Museum.

heritage actors

Costumed heritage actors

Throughout the weekend, costumed heritage actors will be on site to delight you with stories from 1886. The Morse Telegraph Society will demonstrate their telegraphy skills and artist J Peachywill be doing live painting. Lots of free activities for the family to enjoy including our popular Golden Spike Scavenger Hunt, costume photos on our rail car, railway crafts and the opportunity to personalize your own Museum rail tie. Free cake every day!

Also find our booth at the Golden Spike Days Festival to see our model train and map of old Port Moody.

model steam train

The Port of Port Moody

This past summer the Port Moody Heritage Society put together its 5th online exhibit for the Community Memories project hosted by the Virtual Museum of Canada. The exhibit “The Port of Port Moody” includes photos, maps, and oral histories which showcase significant port activities that occurred in the North end of Burrard Inlet ever since European settlement. The following information can be found in this exhibit with accompanying photos and oral history excerpts.
Port Moody’s development began due to its proximity to deep waters. Europeans began to use the area as a route to New Westminster. North Road, constructed by the Royal Engineers, gave access to Burrard Inlet. This provided another option for getting supplies if the Fraser River was frozen or if the royal city was attacked from the River. It was because of this that Port Moody was named after Col. Richard Moody, head of the Royal Engineers in BC.
Port Moody’s next encounter with fame came in 1879 when the Canadian House of Commons chose this location as the site for its Western Terminus. Again, because of the deep water access, it was thought to be a suitable location for exchanging goods between ship and rail. When the CPR completed the railroad in 1885, it greatly increased the amount of freight shipped between the East – primarily Japan, China and India – and Eastern Canada and Europe. From Nov. 1885 to June 1887, Port Moody played a pivotal role in this route between Asia and Canada. Large sailing ships came and went from the CPR wharf in Port Moody exchanging tea and other Asian exports for Canadian lumber. When the CPR extension to Vancouver opened in 1887, Port Moody’s role greatly diminished but was not forgotten.
In early 1900 the lumber industry took over as a primary industry in Port Moody. Mills sprang up around the North end of the Inlet. Tugs became a familiar sight as they were used to tow logs and log booms in and out. The Baird family was the main provider of tug boat services from 1920 until the 1970s. Bill Baird and his sons ran a number of tugs under the names The Best, Our Best, Myn Best among others. They provided services to Flavelle sawmill tugging logs into the mills and sawdust out. They were also hired to break ice in the Inlet during the occasional winters, such as that of 1948, when the Inlet would freeze over. They also provided help with barges coming in and out of the local oil refineries and later in moving ships into and out of Pacific Coast Terminals.
Oil refineries played an important role in the development of Port Moody throughout the 1900s. The BC Refining Company started in 1908 and operated under a variety of names. Today, this site is occupied by Petro Canada. Imperial Oil opened its refinery in 1914 and was in operation until 1995. For both companies barges were the chief means of getting crude oil into the refining plant until 1953 when the Trans Mountain Pipeline was built.
But Port Moody’s port was not only occupied by industrial vessels. In the early days, ferries were an important part of the transportation system around the Inlet. At different times, three vessels helped move people between Port Moody and Vancouver as well as making stops at Old Orchard, Sunnyside, Belcarra, Ioco, Barnet and Dollarton. Known as the New Delta, Scenic and Skeena, these ferries played an important role in the lives of people living in Port Moody. Many have fond memories of taking the New Delta 8am trip to Vancouver for a day’s outing. There was also a ferry which transported workers between Port Moody and Ioco. This ferry ran back and forth at shift times for Ioco workers who lived in Port Moody.
Some of the other unique vessels that have navigated these waters were owned by the military. In the mid-late 1800s British Naval vessels came to this area for target practice. As evidenced by the numerous cannonballs found on the north shore of Port Moody, these vessels would fire cannons onto the unoccupied shore as practice. The Ioco dock saw a submarine during WWI, the Canadian gunship HMCS Curlew in the 1920s and a Canadian gunboat in 1935. While most of these vessels did not stay long, they each made quite a stir for residents in their time.
Today, we see the large ships of Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT) coming and going though the waters of the Inlet. PCT opened its Port Moody facility in 1960 to ship sulphur, wood chips, coal and chemical fertilizers. Today it is considered the largest exporter of sulphur in the world. Ships from PCT are sent around the world and are known as PanMax ships because they are suited to crossing the Panama Canal.
In today’s Inlet, we more frequently see smaller sailing and motor boats. This is in part because of Reed Point Marina. Built in the 1970s, Reed Point is one of the largest marinas in Canada. Reed Point reflects a modern Port Moody who has shifted away from large industries and is known to residents as a beautiful place to enjoy nature in the forest, along the shore and in the water.
The Port of Port Moody exhibit will be available online at www.virtualmuseum.ca/English/CommunityMemories/index.html by the end of February 2011. We hope that you will take the time to visit the site and enjoy the history of our great port.

Holiday Lights at the Station

Check out our holiday lights! We’re trying out the new LED’s on our Venosta train car. Let us know what you think.

New Exhibit – Connected: A Modern History of Communication.

Starting this summer, the museum is hosting Connected, a new exhibit that details the many ways our society has communicated throughout modern history.

This exhibit, which will be on display until the end of October in our temporary exhibit area, features many artifacts dating back to 1890. Included are typewriters, radios, telegraphs, telephones, vintage magazines and newspapers, postcards, a television produced in Port Moody, and an interactive component featuring a typewriter and a telephone.

Also particularly informative exhibit features extensive display panels detailing the history, uses, and social impacts of each featured communication device.

Connected: A Modern History of Communication will only be on display from now until the end of October, so be sure to visit before it’s too late!

More Mention of the Museum – TriCities Examiner – examiner.com

There was more mention of the museum relating to the Heritage Week Display honouring sports and athletes of the past. Lynne Melcombe wrote in their TriCities Examiner section as part of their “Vanouver’s Winter Games 2010” section about it:

Port Moody Station Museum has come up with an interesting way to honour the 2010 Winter Olympics and local heritage at the same time. From February 10 to 28, they will be hosting a display of sports and recreation from days past at the Port Moody City Hall Galleria and the Museum.

You can read the rest of the article on their site:

Port Moody Station Museum honours sports and athletics of the past

The exhibit and the museum are getting a lot of coverage with the Olympics in town.