Deep Bay Brickyards
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The shores of Kwilákm once rang with the sounds of mining and industry. In the late 1800s, two major quarry operations mined the steep clay banks near what is now the Lagoon, and manufactured tons of red bricks that were used in the buildings of Vancouver. Piles of discarded broken bricks still can be found on the shores of Kwilákm.
As historian Irene Howard writes in “Bowen Island 1872 – 1972”(available to borrow from the Bowen Library), brickmaking was an important industry in the Lower Mainland during the early days of the building of the city of Vancouver, and the 60 to 80 acres of blue clay underlying Kwilákm and Snug Cove (link to Clay Beds) was a valuable resource. The clay was exposed in steep banks, easily quarried by hand, and then formed into molds, air dried, and baked in wood-fired kilns to make bricks. Ships were loaded with the bricks during a high tide, and transported to Vancouver. This industry preceded construction of the Causeway, when what is now the Lagoon (link to Lagoon section) was a narrow inlet of the sea.
One clay quarry and brickyard was on the north side of what is now the Lagoon and owned by David Oppenheimer, an entrepreneur and mayor of Vancouver from 1888-1891. The other brickyard, operated by Joseph Mannion, was near the south end of the Causeway. After closure of the Mannion brickyard, the flat floor of the clay pit became the site for Playing Field #1 and a popular band shell for the Union Steamship Company resort.