by Al Harmer (an adaptation from research by Lawrence Holbrook)
Anmores first community organization was the Farmers
Institute. This brought together the male residents in 1915 to
increase purchasing power and to provide a unified voice on Anmore
Valley issues. While initially the Institute acted as a co-op
to buy bulk quantities of homesteading goods such as stumping
powder, lime and fertilizer, it eventually, through debate and
discussion was able to resolve many issues with respect to development
of the area in the 1920s to the 1950s. The Institute
was instrumental in getting government approval for the school
house and lobbied for road improvements.
The Ladies Guild was created in parallel to the Farmers
Institute to provide for many of the social functions that occurred
in the Valley. Activities such as the Fall fair, the Christmas
party and the Halloween party, were organized and supplied for
in such a way that the "Ioco Times" described it as
an "exhibition of home canning, cooking and domestic science".
In the early years, Anmore was socially vibrant with many activities
centered around the schoolhouse. A social club formed and raised
funding to acquire a piano and furniture for the school that in
effect served as a community hall. The late 30s and early
40s saw an increase in cars in the area and thus social
life migrated to a degree to loco where there were new and exciting
activities. The building of a hall on Cecil Harts property
on East Road though did spark a resurgence in the social scene
and increased local awareness of the area.
As an aside of miscellany, the first settlers who came to the
Anmore Valley referred to it as "stump land" or the
"stump ranches" in reference to its logged condition.
The name that lasted though was Sunnyside until it was changed
to Anmore when the area got its post office.
Anmore is an adaptation of the name given to the creek that flows
in the northern area of the Village. Franklin John Lancaster,
a part-time homesteader wished to secure water rights to the creek
which ran through his property in an effort to prevent the Port
Moody Sand and Gravel Company from redirecting the waters flow
for industrial purposes. To stake his claim he had to create a
name for the creek. The contraction of his wifes and daughters
first names, Annie and Leonore produced the name of Annore, which
was given to the creek in 1917. By 1947, the Vancouver City Archivist
noted that people had gotten into the habit of saying Anmore.
Firms printed calendars with the name on it and the store was
named Anmore grocery. Thus in time its widespread acceptance led
to the post office adopting it and the region officially recognized
as such by the Geographical Board in Victoria.
Homesteading began in earnest in the Anmore area after the government
sale in 1914. As part of the terms of issuing of land title, settlers
were required to pay a $10 "homesteading fee" as well
as paying 25$ of the cost up front. The remaining payments were
to be spread out over three years. To qualify settlers had to
be in residence on the property for at least six months of the
three years of paying off the debt. The owner had to clear at
least two acres of land and build a home of a value of $300 or
more. After the conditions were met inspection was done by a Federal
Inspector and a grant was issued to be exchanged for land title.
Not all settlers stayed. Some abandoned the land on first inspection
while others left discouraged after making slight improvements.
However, by the 1920s nearly all of the liveable land had
been purchased and settled.
homesteaders must have been shocked by the Anmores landscape
at the time. The area was covered with burnt stumps and bush.
The stumps were a result of pre-settlement logging operations.
Fire had swept through the area before the turn of the century.
The resulting small growth trees were burned again by another
fire in the 1920s that raged through the valley and cleared
timbers from the northern mountains. The new barrenness of the
rock helped facilitate the naming of Eagle Mountain due to a rock
formation that had the shape of an eagle. Goat Mountain got its
name because of the wild goats that inhabited its open rock faces.
The rumour was that Buntzen Lake Power Project worker had released
the animals into the hills after the project was completed in
Housing in the early settlements was modest, consisting of tents
or one room shacks. By the later 1920s though, the area
was settled and houses increasingly were built for comfort. Wood
was the home fuel of choice until oil eventually supplanted it.
Electricity arrived in the 40s for Sunnyside and the 50s
for East Road and with it came electric washers and fridges. Indoor
plumbing was available to a few who had a flowing creek that allowed
a gravity feed. Outdoor pumps were required for other homes. The
issue of water though has always been a problem for Anmore. Next
month we will explore the difficulty of finding its sources. Transportation
was lacking in the Anmore region for many of the early years.Before
1915 settlers had to cross Burrard Inlet by boat because there
was no road around the inlet. In 1915 a road was finally built
around the to the north side of Burrard Inlet to Ioco but this
was just a small logging trail through the bush. The government
started a dirt and gravel road up to Buntzen Lake. Funding, being
limited allowed only for the road to be built around the stumps
and rocks instead of removing them. Poor road quality led to serious
mud problems in wet weather and spring break up.
There were few public buildings in the Anmore region in the pre-1950s.
There was however a small one room schoolhouse built in 1916 at
the corner of East and Sunnyside Roads. A teacherage was built
adjacent to the school to provide modest accommodation for the
schools teacher. The school provided for 10 to 16 children
ranging from grades 1 to 6. The Farmers Institute was instrumental
in getting the school built through government assistance.
group also built the facility that served as schoolhouse and town
hall for most of its existence. The school closed in 1963 and
the building demolished in 1973. The first store in Anmore was
started in the 30s by Mrs. Montgomery on Sunnyside Road.
Another was started by Johnny Bedard that began the first post
office in Anmore The war years in the valley saw preparations
for W.W.II raids. The ARP (Air Raid Precaution) and the PCMR (Pacific
Coast Militia Rangers) were two organizations set up to prepare
and protect citizens. Blackout was enforced by requiring that
houses have curtains of tar paper stapled on the wooden frames.
Cars were required to have blackout headlights that allowed only
a 6" by 1.5" sliver of light to illuminate the road.
The ARP were equipped with overalls and hard-hats and had two
ratchets with which two people were to run up and down the road
warning of imminent danger. The PCMR were a well-organized group
of male residents who had not yet been called to serve in the
Armed Forces They were trained as guerrillas and were allowed
to keep their rifles after the war. Their numbers dwindled by
wars end as the younger members were called to serve. The group
disbanded in 1945.
The 1950s to the 1990s saw development plans emerge
as Anmores road access improved. Anmores sense of
intimacy waned as residents found social and recreational activities
outside the region and outsiders discovered more of the quiet
idyllic area. The 1952 release of "The Lower Mainland Looks
Ahead" by the Lower Mainland Regional Planning Board proposed
that the Anmore Valley be considered for urban development. A
subsequent report called Chance and Challenge in 1964 also recognized
Anmore as acreage suitable for dense urban development. Anmore
was to become one of several "compact communities that...build
around Regional town centers" In 1968 the Provincial Government
announced that it was going to construct a housing cooperative
on 300 acres of land at the north end of the Valley. However problems
arouse with the land chosen as the building site was not under
the jurisdiction of the governments plan. Geological tests
revealed that the terrain was unsuitable and eventually the LMRPB
considered the area unserviceable because of distance from facilities.
In 1971 development of medium densities occurred when a mobile
home park was constructed on the northernmost end of Sunnyside
Road. Approximately 16 acres of land were utilized to house 88
units on A.H. Peppars land and fish hatchery. Earlier in
the 1950s a home park evolved on land known as Hart,s Homestead
on East Road. Thirty-nine units grew on 6 acres. All other residential
developments occurred on large five acre minimum lot sizes.
"Anmore Advance Development Plan" or AADP prepared for
the GVRD in 1978 outlined a pattern of roads to facilitate subdivision
in Anmore and ensure access to all dwellings. In response to public
pressure for zoning for smaller size lots the AADP called for
holdings of a minimum three acres in areas of proposed urbanization
and proposed a road system adequate enough to facilitate the transportation
needs of 15,000 residents. The population explosion envisioned
by the urban planners was expected to occur in ten years.
With the GVRDs 1978 vision of Anmore to have 15,000 residents
by 1988, Anmores residents had a ten year window in which
to oppose the proposed urban development. One plan of opposition
involved the inclusion of 80% of its land in the Provincial Governments
Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The Valleys unsuitablity
for farming though rendered the plan not viable.The "Anmore
Concept" was born as a realistic alternative to the planners
dreams of widespread urbanization for the area. The "Concepts"
genesis can be traced to Anmore resident and first president
of Greenpeace, Bob Hunter as well as active Anmore
resident and current mayor Dr. Hal Weinberg. The "Anmore
Concept" called for a traditional plan of to uphold a "ruggedly
individual way of life" with limited services, houses on
acreage, and community control with respect to local issues. The
plans novelty lay in its promotion of a "small is beautiful"
goal, in contrast to Canadian planners that saw progress as bigger
is better.The scheme was to merge successfully the peoples
desire for a rural lifestyle with their wish to remain connected
with the nearby urban culture.
1979, Hal Weinberg became Director of Electoral Area B, area that
included at some time or other loco, Belcarra, and other jurisdictions
within the GVRD. To secure the vision of the "Anmore Concept",
Hal Weinberg deemed it necessary to pursue incorporation for the
Valley. Incorporation was a long outstanding issue in Anmore.
In the early 1970s people begun to question the GVRDs
development plans for the area. Incorporation was viewed as the
best option to avoid urban development. The loco-Buntzen area
had submitted a proposal as early as 1973 for incorporation as
a distinct municipality. However the provincial government of
the time chose not to carry it out.
Report "Future Options for Electoral Area B" concluded
that this was the most viable option. The status quo was of questionable
suitability because the GVRD priorized its concerns on a region
wide basis rather than on any given concerns of an area such as
Anmore. The option of amalgamation was rejected also. Combining
with Belacarra was ruled out because it had "little, if anything
to offer the Anmore area". Amalgamation with Port Moody did
offer the promise of access to many city resources, but Anmores
possible exclusion from some resources while paying higher taxes
and its limited political input precluded the option of joining
Port Moody. At public meetings of the time, overwhelming public
support for the incorporation option was voiced. A study in 1985
confirmed that it was viable to incorporate and maintain the public's
taxation and servicing expectations. The report proposed that
incorporation would likely build "a stronger sense of community,
give quicker response to certain local problems and serve as a
focus for planning the orderly development of the area".
City of Port Moody though had plans for annexation of Anmore.
Previously, annexation had been rumour until development of the
North Shore began in earnest in 1974. Plans had been stalled by
citizen protests. The City in the 1980s though hoped to
expand its tax base by annexing the single largest source of Anmores
revenue (85% of all Anmore taxes), Imperial Oils loco Refinery.
In 1982 the City, breached a tacit agreement on non-annexation
by asking the Provincial Government for funds to proceed with
amalgamation. The Citys intransigence and manner in undertaking
annexation campaigns provoked anti-Port Moody, pro-incorporation
attitudes in Anmore. The fear of higher taxes and widescale subdivision
made the action to incorporate Anmore all the more vital.
campaign to incorporate as a Village with mayor and Council, began
in earnest in the mid 1980s. Initiated by the people of
the Anmore region and Electoral Area B Director Hal Weinberg in
1985, an application was made to the Provincial Government for
incorporation. The proposal was put on hold pending the completion
of a government study regarding municipalities. In 1986, another
application was made to the Provincial Government and again resulted
in delays by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Restless residents
mounted a letter writing campaign in support of the action.
the Provincial Government stalled, a report tabled recommended
against municipal status for Anmore and recommended that amalgamation
with Port Moody as a viable alternative.However in spite of the
numerous delays and unfavourable study, the citizens of Anmore
remained stalwart. Finally in 1987, the Provincial Government
gave Anmore the right to hold a vote on incorporation and the
Minister of Municipal Affairs vowed to act on the voters
wishes. Voter turn out was high at 78?o of eligible voters, 333
votes were cast with 296 (78%)voting for incorporation. While
the vote was positive, Anmore as a concession in a three way agreement
between the Province, Port Moody and Anmore lost the tax revenue
of Imperial Oil.
officially became a Village on December 7, 1987. Municipal elections
were held shortly after produced the first council with Hal Weinberg
as Mayor and Harry Anderson, Jim Jones, Leo Stroh and Gary Tremblay
as Councillors. Anmores municipal affairs were initially
administered out of a trailer situated at the corner of Sunnyside
and East Roads. In 1988, the Village was able to rescue the former
dwelling of "Ma" and George Murray from the wrecking
ball. With the assistance of the Provincial Government,the Village
was able to purchase the land while the owners, the Smurthwaites
donated the structure to the Village.
heritage home has provided a splendid municipal hall for the Village
while sparing the cost of planning and building a new structure.
The building houses a museum that serves as a focus for the Murrays
legacy and Anmores heritage.