Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

The Old Waterfront, Vancouver 1898

In 1884 it was announced that the Canadian Pacific Railway’s western terminus would be located on the south shore of Burrard Inlet, at Vancouver. This news sounded the death knell for Moodyville’s position as the inlet’s leading community. The first passenger locomotive arrived in May of 1887. Vancouver rapidly outgrew other communities in the region, and land speculation replaced timber exporting as the primary regional activity. By the 1890s, Moodyville’s industry was suffering the effects of that decade’s worldwide depression. Voracious logging had also depleted the area’s famous trees, and the larger mills on the Fraser River were more competitive due to rail access. As this painted view from Vancouver illustrates, by the last decade of the 19th century, Moodyville’s relevance and status in the region was rapidly diminishing.

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This painting of “The Old Vancouver Waterfront” shows Hastings Mill and the bustling rail and steamship terminals at Vancouver.

This aerial oblique view from the south shore of Burrard Inlet looks northeast. Moodyville is but a wisp of smoke on the distant shore.

The painting depicts the Vancouver and south shore waterfront in 1898, but it was painted almost a century later, in 1991.

This work is by the well-known contemporary Canadian painter John Horton, who trained at art schools in Britain and specializes in historical maritime scenes.

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