Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

Tennis Court at The Big House

The cream of Burrard Inlet society would gather at Invermere, or the Big House, for events like this tennis party held by the Springer family. Social visits had become more feasible with the improvement in ferry service. People also crossed the inlet for concerts given by touring performers at the Moodyville community hall. The Fourth of July was a major celebration (Sewell Moody, George Dietz and other mill partners were originally from the U.S.), drawing the entire inlet community for sports competitions, boat races, dinner, a ball and fireworks — free for everyone. Attendees in this photo of the garden party include Dr. Bell Irving, the Springers and their children, Dr. and Mrs. Beckingsale, Mrs. John Bowell (daughter-in-law of Sir Mackenzie Bowell [1847-1917], who was prime minister of Canada from 1894 to 1896), Miss Nell Boultbee, Miss Rose Townley and her mother, Miss Mackay, Miss Monte Wood, J. O. Benwell and several unidentified women.

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WHAT
Mill manager Benjamin Springer and his wife hosted this garden party. The company is seated next to the tennis court of the Big House at Moodyville.

WHERE
Benjamin Springer improved his residence’s grounds after 1880 for use as a croquet lawn and tennis court.

WHEN
This photo was taken in 1888. Two years after Vancouver’s Great Fire, Moodyville was still the centre of “civilization” on Burrard Inlet.

WHO
Richard Flood, a Moodyville store clerk and husband of Mr. Springer’s sister, blocked off the first tennis-court lines with a mixture of whiting and water poured from a jug.

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