The Community Hall
was built in 1921 and is, “a large building with a jerkin-headed roof, half timbering in the gable ends, and triangular eave brackets that are reminiscent of a Craftsman style. The building has been finished with wooden siding” (Donald Luxton- Port Moody heritage Inventory).
This structure was the centre of activities in Ioco. It provided a dance floor, a stage for public plays, movies and a meeting place for many of the service groups. Bountiful social events and recreational activities all contributed to the strong sense of community.
Fairs, Festivals and dances happened almost weekly, with many concerts, teas, and weddings held there. The New Year’s Eve dance and the Refinery Boys dance, held in October, were always big events. The Refinery Boys dance raised funds during World War II for the Red Cross and Prisoners of War Funds. A variety of clubs used the hall, and even the Imperial .22 gun club held target shooting in the basement.
In the 1980’s, the hall was renovated and modernized with a new kitchen, two restrooms and a new floor. Electricity was brought up to code, and new windows were put in. However, with the downsizing of the refinery’s operations, the hall was closed in 1995.
As the years went on, many of Ioco’s events and clubs diminished or disappeared from lack of funding or attendance. However, the Ioco Social Club, formed in 1970, carried on with dances and the annual company picnic until the refinery closure.
Square dancing was there on Saturday nights, and parents would sit on sidelines or pick up kids after. A fun was had by all.
The Horseshoe club had a Strawberry Festival and the Horseshoe Dance.
We had movies in the hall. We used 16mm and needed two machines - we had to move quickly. Once one roll fell out, we had to start the other one.
At Halloween parents and kids alike dressed up and visited homes on the streets, and later a party was held in the hall with a parade of costumes and prizes for the winners. At Christmas and New Year’s, everyone’s doors were open for a visit on 4th and 3rd streets. 1st and 2nd street were mostly management.
The celebration of the year was the Refinery Boys Dance in the Ioco Hall. The women would work all day making sandwiches in the hall for the event, and the men would decorate the long tables downstairs in the hall, the upstairs was also gala decorated. All the women prepared their hair for the event (Marcels were the thing those days, with a hot iron) and tried to find the money for a new dress. The next day all the kids in the town had left—over sandwiches and paper hats and novelties left over from the dance.
I can still remember the smells of the devilled egg, salmon and ham. The fathers and mothers (some had hangovers) were tired but then had to work cleaning up the hall from the evening's activities.
We had a community hall too on the refinery before the the hall on the townsite which was known as the Ioco hall. They used to have concerts and people all got together, and if they had a voice or if they could recite or dance they did. There was a lot of Scottish dancing and that type of stuff. You know they would get busy and perform and have a great time. A lot of people used to come over from Port Moody just as we used to go over there and entertain. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble. We even had exhibitions and May Days and all that stuff over here.
At Halloween parents and kids alike dressed up and visited homes on the streets and later a party was held in the hall with a parade of costumes and prizes for the winners. My mom and dad always participated.
My father (William Kreut, (called “Darkie” by everyone who knew him because of his dark curly hair) was good with kids and was Santa Clause every year at the Welfare Concerts held in the hall. He was Santa for the last time at 80 years of age. He also used to walk miles as a clown in the May Day parade and as a different clown every year.
The Ioco Times, October 1924, Page four
IOCO REFINERY BOYS’ DANCE.
The Annual Meeting to arrange for the Ioco Refinery Boys’ Annual Dance will be held in the Hall at 8.00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29th. Everyone who is interested is requested to be present and help organize for the big event of the season.