- Our Town
An historic snapshot of Mannion Bay
Last week, David Wilmot, great-grandson of Joseph Craddock Mannion presented a framed picture of his grandfather to Cathy Bayly and Deirdre Farah of the Bowen Island Museum and Archives, and it now hangs on the wall of the archives.
Bayly mentioned that the archives have lots of interesting documentation of Mannion Bay from days gone-by. One of these gems is a piece written by Norah Mannion Wilmot recalling her childhood in the 1880s. Her father, Joseph, ran a brickworks factory in the neighbourhood we now know as Deep Bay.
Here’s a snippet:
Memories of the late 80s, when my family camped on the little point between Mannion’s Bay and Snug Cove while the “big house” was being built, are now vague pictures of a very happy, carefree childhood.
My father owned a 640-acre piece of land, which included two points and extended back to Sucker Lake (Killarney). The house and orchard and some cleared land were situation on the middle part of the bay, where the present resort hotel now is.
We lived there for ten or twelve years before moving back to Vancouver. It was then sold to Jack Cates, who called it “Terminal Farms.”
There was no school, post office, nor any settlers on the Island when we moved there permanently - possibly in 1886. A few Spaniards had some fishing huts on the far side of Snug Cove, and the Davis family came soon after, also the Andersons and the Dormans....
We had many visitors - all from Vancouver. They came over by private row-boats, etc. and later the Union S.S. ferry, which predated Jack Cates, the Terminal S.S. Co....
My brothers (one a year older and one a year younger) and I had a very happy but unusual childhood. My father was a wonderful swimmer and taught us to swim and row when we were very young, and at six, seven, and eight years of age we could swim across the bay and around to Snug Cove (followed by father in a row-boat). We used to walk back through the woods sometimes and cross the lagoon by a huge log with a plank spiked at each end and anchored above high tide mark. My mother would never cross on this, but we always scampered over…
We did a lot of fishing - trolling - inside the bay from point to point, for salmon. We caught red cod (or snapper) off the rocky point towards the Becker farm and flounders and sole off our own dock...
We could always get large, beautiful crabs off our own little dock, in a home-made net (barrel hoop with fish netting) and cooked them on the beach. We had built a little fire-place and father put a sheet of iron across the top, and in a big black pot of salt water our crabs were boiled. What feasts we had - with a great plate of fresh home-made bread and butter, salt and pepper, and a fresh lemon - and all the milk we wanted to drink.