Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

Moody, Dietz and Nelson Sawmill

In the late 19th century, popular magazines often celebrated the promise of industry. This engraving shows a somewhat glorified view of the Moodyville mill, based on a photograph. The picture would have come across to the public as a vision of progress rather than as a document of the rape of the forest, as we might interpret it today. At the time, Canadian society held imperialistic, colonial attitudes. Making the most of natural resources in the motherland’s far-flung territories was the proper thing to do. Today’s attitudes and environmental consciousness are, of course, very different. This image shows mill details, such as the flume bringing water down the mountain to the boilers to run the mill’s steam-driven saws (zoom in on the checkered-like line, two thirds of the way up on the left). You can also see how raw logs floated to the site were pulled up a chute and into the mill.

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WHAT
This engraving, based on a photograph, was published in the Canadian Illustrated News, which was Canada’s first national magazine.

WHERE
Canadian Illustrated News was published out of Montreal.

WHEN
This image is from the June 22, 1872, issue of the Canadian Illustrated News. The magazine was published from October 30, 1869 to 1883.

WHO
David Withrow, a cabinetmaker and the first photographer on Burrard Inlet, took the photo on glass plate from which this engraving was made.

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