The Development Known as Glenayre
Written by: A.D. McNeil of Foress Drive ~ September 1983
The Province – Tuesday, September 25th, 1956
Port Moody – Population of this city of 2700 will be more than doubled within the next three years with the construction of a $35,000,000 housing development.
First phase of the 1500 home subdivision was approved yesterday by council.
The development, to be known as Glenayre, will contain single family, duplex and apartment sites. Designer is West Vancouver Architect Warnett Kennedy. Mayor Harry Woodsworth hailed the Subdivision as “One of the greatest happenings in the history of the city”.
The Mayor was right. The last big-time Real Estate event followed the announcement by the Parliament of Canada that Port Moody was to be the Western Terminus for the CPR. This of course resulted in a Real Estate boom. A short lived boom, as CPR President VanHorne subsequently decided it should be Vancouver. But nothing matched the size of the Development known as Glenayre.
As we Glenayre residents now know, it never quite made the 1500 homes it was meant to provide. Why? Because of the lack of services. There simply wasn’t enough water and sewer capability in the late 1950’s. The large expanse of property that went down to the Barnett Highway was given back to the city by the developers. Only the parcel we now reside on, was developed.
WHO WERE THE DEVELOPERS?
The name of the company that developed our community was called Port Moody Developments Ltd. There were seven owners of the company and they brought with them a good mixture of experience in the construction and Real Estate fields. The developers purchased their 465 acres from the City of Port Moody for $100 per acre. The cost of clearing the acreage for development was supposed to be $500 per acre. The sales agents were Baker & Russell Ltd. The project manager was Mr. E.C. (Jim) Brown, also one of the developers.
IN THE BEGINNING:
In the summer of 1956 ground was cleared on which a large wooden water tower was erected. This tower was located at the N.W. corner of Glencoe and Glenayre Drive (where the fire hall is). In conjunction a 6” water line was laid from the downtown area up the hill to the water tower. Mr. Bob Moore, now a resident of Glenayre recalls seeing this tower “in the bush” as he worked on the TransCanada telephone lines that ran West to East through the area.
In the spring of 1957 one of the developers, Mr. Jim Manson, carefully paced out road and property allowances from the corner of Glenayre Drive and Seaview Drive. He paced West across a nameless dirt road (now known as Glenayre Drive) through the bush until he stopped, turned North, and looked through the trees and under bush towards the water tower into what was about to become the first street of the Glenayre development ~ Allandale. Following behind him was a D6 Cat with its blade down, driven by Mr. Elymer Parker. Allandale and Balbirnie were pushed through.
Also started at this time was the placing of an enormous septic tank and required field for the sewer hookup. The plan was to use this septic tank until the more permanent sewer treatment plant had been completed. This septic tank system would cover 50 homes on Allandale, Balbirnie and Caithness and be used for only a year or so. The tank was located between Caithness and Ballantrae Court and the extensive drain field ran West toward Ailsa Park. The input to this tank was quite unique. To help determine the amount of sewage entering the tank on a daily basis, the developers constructed a “barrel tipping device” which actuated a mechanical meter. They used this device to gather data for the proposed sewer treatment plant.
The proposed sewer treatment plant never became a reality and was a sore point with the Developers. It seems they poured a lot of concrete to house this plant (where Andre’s Wines now stands) and signed a contract with a Chicago firm for delivery of the equipment. Then the City of Port Moody decided to join the GVRD which would not allow the treatment plant to be a part of their system. Glenayre had to connect to the GVRD system. The Developers had to pay $10,000 to back out of the delivery contract and lost all time and effort put into the treatment site.
Another contentious point with the Developers was the water tower. It seems the wooden tank was not high enough to provide adequate water pressure. The tank had to be raised fifty feet higher. Arrow Transfer was given the job of raising it. But, they had problems; five of their cranes were unable to accomplish the task. In true pioneering spirit, the Developers went looking for two tall “GIN POLES” - which they found standing in Ioco, near Maude Road. They transported them to the water tower and with the help of one Arrow Transfer crane successfully raised the tower.
AN OPENING CEREMONY NO LESS
The first homes were located on the South end of Allandale, and constructed in the summer of 1957 by Bjornsen Construction. The lowest lot price was $2250. One of the first residents were Mr. & Mrs. W.G. Manson of 943 Allandale. They paid $17,000 for their home, which they moved into October 5th, 1957. The lowest price paid for a home in Glenayre was $13,700, these were non-basement houses on Balbirnie Blvd. Interest rates for mortgages were 6 ½ %.
Caithness, Eildon and the north end of Dundonald Streets were pushed through and the Eastern part of Culzean. In the summer of 1958, the sewer was connected to the GVRD system and the septic tank was no longer required and was removed.
Also in the summer of 1958 Port Moody Developments Limited decided to have an Opening Ceremony – a little late perhaps, but better late than never. Invitations were sent out to dignitaries. And while a piper played stirring Scottish music, the Earl of Dundee cut a Royal Stuart plaid ribbon strung near the sales office (near the corner of Ailsa and Glenayre Drive) while the Countess of Dundee planted Heather. Only a few people noticed that Earl had an Oxford English accent. Immediately after the ceremony was a reception held at the Cariboo Trails Motel.
WHERE DID THE NAME GLENAYRE COME FROM?
It’s Scottish of course, as are most of the street names of Glenayre. Allandale, Balbirnie, Caithness, Dundonald and Eildon were selected for their alphabetical order. The alphabetical order got dropped in the next stage of the development. All except two of the streets are place names in Scotland, most are towns or villages, a couple are Islands. If you like puzzles and have the time (one of our rainy days?) see how many you can identify on a map of Scotland. Warning ~ you will need a very detailed map to find them all. Look around the City of Ayre. The name Glenayre was selected by the wife of one of the Developers, who was instrumental in some of the other Scottish selections. Her mother, Mrs. Williamina Garrow, a grand Scottish lady, has one of Glenayre’s streets named after her. Weldon Court was named after a friend of a friend of one of the other developers. Ten acres were sold by the company to the Provincial Government for school purposes and Glenayre School was built and opened in 1958. An East addition, gymnasium and West addition were added in later years. The first principal was Mr. Ernest Tribe.
An interesting item about the school construction ~ in Ailsa Park near Glenayre pool there are two storm drains, the largest is a 30” storm drain with open water flowing South towards Ailsa Avenue. This water is called Stoney Creek. It consists mainly of water from North Road, there is also a 24” drain nearby which picks up water from Glencoe and Culzean. This 24” drain runs directly under the East side addition of Glenayre School. The school was build right over it. So, Mrs. Nelson, if you hear gurgling sounds coming from your grade two class, remember Stoney Creek.
By 1959, Glenayre was beginning to become quite a little community. The Glenayre Community Association was asking for 20 MPH speed limits and as the signs were being made, asked for 15 MPH limits. “Watch for Children” signs were erected, and in October 1959, stop signs were erected at the corner of Glencoe & Glenayre Drive and Caithness & Glenayre Drive. West Coast TV wanted to put an antenna on Glenayre’s water tower, the first signs of cablevision.
By 1960 the remainder of Dundonald Drive, Wallace Wynd and Eildon had been completed. Ailsa was extended to Fenwick Place and a little beyond. But sales were slowing down, mortgage money was only coming in spurts and that affected Glenayre’s development. The next three years didn’t see much change. Vacant lots throughout existing streets were filled in depending on the availability of buyers and mortgage money. Prospective owners on Ailsa Avenue were promised a flowering cherry tree on the front of their properties (the many blossoms this spring attest to their existence).
In 1961 when Coylton Place and Ballantrae Court were to be added, City Council would not accept these names. Ballantrae Court, they claimed, would result in spelling mistakes. However, these names had already been officially registered with the Provincial Government and since there were fees involved, the City decided to defray the extra expense (to themselves of course) and allowed the names to stand.
On December 28th, 1960, the company sold the property that the community play school now stands on to the United Church of Canada for $3,900. Glenayre now had its own Church with a visiting Minister from St. Andrew’s. The building was a specially made portable building designed for small missions. In 1973, the building was sold to the City of Port Moody, its present owner for $20,000.
In June 1961, Mackwood Construction Limited received a contract to build Glenayre’s first fire hall and by October of that year a fire hall complete with a truck was ready to use. It held one truck and faced Glencoe Drive. The present fire hall is the second, being built in the mid 1970’s on the same location.
On May 7th, 1962, Ailsa Park was planted in grass and the next month the Port Moody Kinsmen Club offered to build the swimming pool, which was completed for the 1963 swimming season. But that November a problem appeared. There were very heavy rains and water from the large land expanse above caused the pool itself, to float. One end of the pool refused to return to its original level. Next spring, A.M. Stevens Contracting Limited was awarded a contract for repairs.
ON THE MOVE AGAIN
In 1964 sales started to increase and it was time to develop DL54, the Glencoe extension and lands to the West. One of the main problems confronting the developers during this stage of the development was the oil line right of way that stretches alongside Glencoe and the school from the Oil Refinery, near the tennis courts, to the S.W. corner of the Glenayre subdivision. Every time this allowance was to be crossed with either a road, water line, drain, etc, it cost the company extra money. They had to call out Oil Company Engineers to supervise work around the pipeline. The pipeline had to be encased with compacted gravel and extra blacktop had to be used etc. Hence the reason why Fenwick Wynd and Culzean Place do not extend any further West than they do. Glencoe Drive and Ailsa Avenue are the only roads that cross this right of way.
In late 1964, the Glencoe Drive extension was put through followed by Weldon Court and the West part of Garrow. Glencoe Park (where the tennis courts are) was donated by the company to the City for park use and in August, 1965 the park was cleared, but the City couldn’t decide what to do with it. Discussions on Glencoe Park development were still being carried out as late as November 1967. At one point lumber was provided, at the request of the City for children to build forts, etc. But after a few complaints, a result of banged and cut fingers, hand and heads, the idea was dropped. The large mound or hill in the park is actually a collection of large boulders stored there from various parts of the subdivision. It was appropriately covered with dirt to form the “sleigh hill” so popular at snow fall.
Weldon Court also has a small park. Residents desirous of having their park look nice, collected and donated $90 to the City to encourage the planting of ornamental trees.
In October 1965, our community was connected to a new water line. This line comes over Burnaby Mountain and connects at the S.W. corner of the subdivision, on North Road.
In 1966, the North part of Garrow was started, followed by Foress Drive, in 1967.
Burnaby Demolition Limited received permission in February 1967 to remove the water tower and in April of that year Glenayre lost a landmark as the tower came tumbling down. For their efforts Burnaby Demolition received $950 and all the material they could haul away.
And finally, the spring of 1969 the 495th house, the last of the development known as Glenayre was sold. The lots on Foress Drive sold to builders for $4500. It cost approximately $26,000 to buy a home on Foress Drive. Interest rates were climbing and ranged anywhere from 8 ½ % to 10%. The last homes on Foress Drive were built by Raconelli Construction and Grelish Construction.
In 1971 the developers, having finished all business associated with the company, had their final annual meeting and Port Moody Developments Limited ceased to exist.