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Apr 10,2008 Vancouver Sun

Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ioco is not an aboriginal name. It's an abbreviation for Imperial Oil Company, which built B.C.'s first oil refinery on the north shore of Port Moody Arm, the eastern end of Burrard Inlet.

Some of the landmark years of a company town:

1914: Imperial pays $175,000 for its first 85 acres of land. (It now owns about 650 acres, or 263 hectares, in the city of Port Moody and village of Anmore.)

1915: The refinery begins processing crude oil. Within a few years, about 200 men, women and children are squatting in a tent-and-shack town on both sides of the CPR line. Other workers live in Port Moody and take the New Delta ferry across the inlet to Ioco. Some even row across the inlet.

1920: Imperial began building 83 permanent houses at the Ioco townsite, which still isn't connected by road to Port Moody. Other amenities follow: a grocery store, a tennis court, a lawn-bowling green and a school.

1993: Citing declining demand for petroleum products and the capital costs of meeting future environmental regulations, the company announces plans to shut down its Ioco refinery. Most of the 165 jobs at the refinery disappear when the refinery closes two years later.

2008: Ioco is now a distribution terminal with no oil refining. About 20 employees operate a 24-hour, 365-day operation. Railway tanker cars bring in bunker oil, which is mixed with barged-in diesel oil to make fuel for marine vessels like freighters and cruise ships. Imperial also sells many other products to wholesalers, such as bulk motor oil.

Sources: Imperial Oil, City of Port Moody Heritage Inventory and The Ioco Story, by Al Sholund.

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