Port Moody is changing from the back water it was in the 40 years ago into one of the trendiest inner suburbs. The upcoming permanent sky train connection to Vancouver is simply the latest and most obvious example but this has been years in the making. The city has created two well designed urban villages (New port Village & Suter Brook) that have among the best connections to park and forest space in metro Vancouver, these spaces, have in turn attracted young professionals to the area which have changed the commercial character of the city. Wheras Port Moody 20 years ago was home to dunkin donuts and soup and sandwich spots artisanal and faux artisanal coffee shops have proliferated. Next came the breweries. now let me be clear not all breweries are created equally, some are better than others, and there are some terrifically bad ones in many suburbs. Port Moody is home to some of the best around with Twin Sails, Yellow Dog and Moody all winning awards in their short lives. Awards aside their success can also be attributed to their local clientele who are among their most important revenue streams. In short the success of breweries suggests a high urban awareness specifically in Port Moody and more broadly the Tri Cities. Even so, the cultural renaissance is far from complete. There are still a dearth of decent restaurants in town, although places like Originals Mexican are bright spots. Things maybe changing though as Romers burger bar (despite their poor Yelp reviews) opened their first location outside of Vancouver in Port Moody, and another trendy taco joint (Taps & Tacos) looks to open in Port Moody. Still, quality food is lacking.
So what am I getting at? Port Moody is modernizing and most aspects of local society are aware of that, one section that seems to be left behind is art & culture.
Port Moody bills itself as the City of the Arts, and by every measure it lives up to its billing, but just as not all breweries are not equal not all art is either. Port Moody continues to be a patron of the safe and the old. Art displays are happy cheerful and if at all possible linked to the city’s mythos of Trans Canada railroad terminus. Free concerts take place through the summer with little air of excitement as faux has beens and safe acts take the stage. For example an oft heard rumour was that Golden Spike days stalwarts Trooper weren’t asked back after one band member swore on stage. The rumour is likely untrue but the fact that the rumour ever existed suggest that Port Moody residents are all aware of the safeness of the city
Port Moody has an opportunity to change all of this though. Beyond the central railroad terminus mythos is a long history of aboriginal settlement by the Tsleil Waututh nation which is by and large ignored by all in Port Moody, Port Moody would be well served to invite this culture back into the area in the spirit of reconciliation. By doing so Port Moody would benefit with a new dynamism to its art and culture scene and begin to right structural wrongs present not only in Port Moody but any place with a history of colonialism. Further opportunity for cultural dynamism exists in inviting a different and varied contemporay art to share the stage with acts like Mostly Marley. Metro Vancouver has a wealth of young people who very quickly make there marks on the greater world around them, before ceding the stage to Trooper could we not possibly see one of the former Peak performance artists (I use this example with the awareness that acts must remain somewhat appropriate)? Port Moody is home to some of the most pedestrian festivals in Vancouver the best example being Golden Spoke days, an event nearly entirely catered to the young and old, ignoring the young adults and professionals save for a beer garden. Port Moody has an incredible festival space and it’s not impossible to think that a stellar more modern festival could be staged there to advance the profile of the city. My own personal dream is a craft-beer-folk-festival where a small group of breweries (all 4 locals and perhaps 4 more invitees) and several mid-level metro Vancouver folk indie rock bands get together at Rocky Point on a warm summer day… no kids though…
Port Moody is changing, so can the art and culture