Port Moody – City of the Arts! – is located at the head of Burrard Inlet and at the foot of Eagle Mountain. A vibrant city of 34,000, Port Moody is located an easy 40 minute drive from both downtown Vancouver and the US border, and just steps from seaside parks, mountain trails and lakes. The early inhabitants of this area were the Squamish and Musqueam bands of the Coast Salish people, their ancestors having occupied the Lower Mainland for the past 8,000 years. They used the Port Moody area to fish, hunt and gather shellfish. Evidence of their summer campsites, in the form of shell middens and Indian artifacts can be found at the eastern end of Burrard Inlet. Non-indigenous people began to occupy the area around 1800. Fur traders regularly traveled through this region. With the appearance of gold prospectors during the Cariboo Gold Rush of 1858 and the need to develop a back-door defence for New Westminster, in 1859 the Royal Engineers–under the command of Col. Richard Moody–were sent to clear a trail. The trail, later known as North Road, would allow ships anchored in Burrard Inlet to unload military supplies and personnel if New Westminster were attacked from the south. No attack occurred, but a town – at first no more than a cluster of tents and shacks – began to grow. Big changes came in 1886 when Port Moody was named the original Pacific terminus of the transcontinental railroad, later extended to Vancouver. The town experienced an influx of new residents, from 200 people in 1887 to 1,200 in 1910, and the combination of railroad and harbour proved ideal for many light and heavy industries that have come and gone over the past century. Port Moody was incorporated as a city in 1913. On June 16, 2004, Port Moody was officially trademarked as the “City of the Arts.” Historically, Port Moody was a destination for artists because of its low rent, beautiful scenery and ambient lighting. Today, it is home to annual festivals, arts groups and diverse facilities that help foster a creative community. The Port Moody Arts Centre offers a number of fine arts and photography classes for residents of all ages, and has three diverse art galleries that feature a number of constantly changing works. The Port Moody Station Museum hosts a wide assortment of artifacts from Port Moody’s past, and has restored a heritage train venosta for tours. Arts Connect is an organization that connects artists from the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody), and hosts regular artists’ circles. Artists can find studio space in Port Moody at 2709 Esplanade, with open house tours taking place every year in April. Popular festivals in Port Moody include the Canadian Film Festival (February), the Festival of the Arts (September), Golden Spike Days (July), the Wearable Art Awards (yearly, next is May 9 & 10, 2009) and the CP Rail Holiday Train (December). Port Moody is also home to the Inlet Theatre, an intimate 200 seat venue. Port Moody is home to Rocky Point Park. It includes 3.8 hectares of space, the park has hiking trails, a newly renovated spray park, a skate park, a bike trials park, a playground, a picnic shelter, a boat launch and a recreational pier. Home to Golden Spike Days, the park is a popular destination in the summer. Bert Flinn Park encompasses 138 hectares of largely undeveloped parkland on former industrial lands. Popular with mountain bikers, and with an extensive unmarked trail system along old logging roadbeds, the park also has an off-leash dog walk. Old Orchard Park is another popular destination in Port Moody. At about 1.4 hectares in size, it is directly across the inlet from Rocky Point Park and is the northern end of Shoreline Trail. It has a sandy beach, picnic shelter with BBQs and adventure playground in a quiet park setting. Old Orchard Hall is also located here and is a popular facility for weddings and other special events. The old Ioco town site also offers trails and grassy fields to residents and is especially popular with dog walkers. Finishing construction in 2008, Port Moody has renovated its recreation complex. Home to an Olympic size ice rink, this new facility has an indoor running track, a state-of-the-art gym, a curling rink and an athlete’s lounge. The Port Moody Happening, a quarterly publication, features all recreation programs offered at this new facility.