Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

Gin Bottle

Although Sewell Moody (1834-1875) famously forbade drinking in his mill town during his lifetime, plenty of booze bottles have been found at the site. His Yankee practicality and work experience likely led him to realize that alcohol and machinery did not mix, and that drinking could be a detriment to productivity. He may also have been influenced by North America’s temperance movement, which sought to reduce social evils by advocating total or partial abstinence from drinking alcohol. This attitude does not appear to have lasted; a visitor in the late 1880s noted that the Moodyville Hotel served fine spirits. This green glass case gin bottle was excavated from the town’s former dump in 1972, which is littered to this day with pieces of such bottles. Striations on the bottle show that it was made in a wooden mould.

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Holland case gin was regularly imported to Canada’s West Coast from Rotterdam, Holland. Gin was a real workingman’s drink. The four-sided bottle was designed to fit into a case of 12.

At the time, Rotterdam had 300 distilleries exporting around the world. Gin was made from grain and flavoured with juniper berries.

The bottle dates from about 1885 or 1890. Moodyville workers may have drunk gin to ease muscle strains and the dullness of their repetitive jobs.

After Sewell Moody’s death, Moodyville’s men argued that it was better to have one drink at home every night than to go on weekend benders across the inlet in Vancouver.

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