Nestled between Pajo's Fish and Chips and The BoatHouse Restaurant at Rocky Point Park sits a quaint two-storey building. Though it has been a fixture in Port Moody for nearly 10 years, many passersby may have dismissed it as nothing more than a storage house.
But if you peer into the windows, numerous life jackets, paddles and sailing equipment line the walls and a large selection of colourful kayaks and canoes is stacked neatly at the rear of the building. With the smell of water from Burrard Inlet filling your nose, it becomes quite clear what the building is for.
The city-owned Old Mill Boathouse (not to be confused with the neighbouring BoatHouse Restaurant) has served local water sports enthusiasts for the past decade.
Home to the Rocky Point Sailing Association, Inlet Rowing Club, Abreast In A Boat dragonboaters, Dogwood Nothin' Dragon Dragonboat Racing Team, Port Moody Rowing and Paddling Centre, Port Moody Power and Sail Squadron and Port Moody Canoe and Kayak Club, the building stores canoes and kayaks between practices and serves as a meeting place for club members.
According to Dave Smith, treasurer of the Old Mill Boathouse Society, which operate the facility, approximately 650 community members use the building on a regular basis.
While it has become a major hub for water activities, plans to create the historic building had to pass through two Port Moody mayors before construction actually began.
The remains of a 100-yearold saw-sharpening building at the Flavelle Cedar Mill were salvaged from demolition in 1995 and used in the construction of the new smallcraft centre.
And it is from the salvaged roof trusses that the facility's name originated.
In July 2002, during Golden Spike Days, the $1.4-million building was officially opened and dedicated to small boat owners and clubs in the area.
"It's provided a centre for a variety of non-powered water sports," said Smith, who has been with the society since 2004.
"There are a number of youth and adults, as well as younger children, who learn water skills by sailing and rowing. It's a much bigger contribution to the community than most people realize."
The Old Mill Boathouse has become more than just a canoe storage house - it's a symbol of community spirit and perseverance to satisfy a need within a growing area.
"It provides the community and its youth with [options for] learning safety and water boating skills," Smith said.
"In a year, to have 600 people involved in aquatic activities that otherwise there would be no facility for is amazing."
The boathouse is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Sunday, Aug. 26, and locals are encouraged to attend an open house at Rocky Point Park.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be displays, club videos, a meet and greet and finger foods available.
Following the public open house, there will be a private buffet dinner to honour local dignitaries, benefactors and volunteers who helped bring the Old Mill into existence.