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Happy 125th Birthday Vancouver: Old Video Collection

April 6th, 2011 @ 8:11am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Over the last seven years I have published over 3,700 posts about our region, 229 of which have been specifically about Vancouver’s history and 22 so far for Vancouver125. As the City of Vancouver celebrates 125 years since incorporation today I’m almost at a loss for words so I figured a bit of a video tribute would be appropriate to start:


1946 – Advertisement for “Vancouver, City of Destiny” presented by Canadian Paramount News.
Archives Item#CVA 1184-2346. Photographer: Jack Lindsay

1907 Streetcar Footage

1940s Parks Board (silent)

1962 “Since Yesterday” transportation film

1960’s “Vancouver Honeymoon” – hat tip to Darren Barefoot for this one

1986 – Expo86 Remembered

1998 – Vancouver Television Promo (VTV)

2010 – Vancouver Time Lapse

2010 – Stephen Brunt Video Essay (Olympics)

I was born and raised in Surrey and while I have only lived in Vancouver proper for the last six years, it’s always been a part of my life.

Little Me & The Lions Gate
1981, Me in Stanley Park

I went to Expo86 every weekend with my family, we rode ponies at the Stanley Park Zoo, and we walked by dazzling window displays at Woodward’s.

In school we would come out to Science World and visit the Museum of Anthropology. As a teen, my friends and I would hop on the SkyTrain at Gateway and ride it to Broadway or Granville to explore the daring big city on our own.

In my twenties a man from Iowa moved to Vancouver to start a life with me and together we started a business. Now in my thirties, I write about the city several times every day. I talk about its history, culture, communities and its people. If I weren’t passionate about my subject matter there’s no way I could have kept this up – and I have no plans to stop anytime soon.

Vancouver: City of Destiny
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

No matter how frustrated you might get with packed buses, traffic congestion, or umbrellas under awnings poking you as they pass, when the clouds part the city just melts your heart. Gazing at the snow-capped mountains blanketed in evergreens, having coffee on a patio in February, watching the sun bounce off glass buildings then quietly fall into English Bay as the city turns to neon at night.

It’s still gritty and by no means perfect but it’s our home to take care of, enjoy, and celebrate. Happy 125th Birthday, Vancouver.

Vancouver’s birthday celebrations today will take place at Jack Poole Plaza and check @Vancouver125 on Twitter for official events throughout the year.

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13 comments

  1. bob garlick says:

    Man the Expo86 video really took me back. I remember the crazy highway sculpture with all the gary vehicles like it was yesterday.

  2. UBC Library says:

    Great selection of videos, especially the Expo one!

  3. Thanks for collecting these videos into one place, Rebecca. You know what would be amazing? A split-screen video with the 1907 streetcar vid and what it looks like today. The downtown shots shouldn’t be too hard. And I bet some of those grand old homes at the end of the 1907 clip are still around.

  4. Rebecca says:

    They actually re-shot the entire route in 2007-2008 a hundred years later. You can get it on DVD “City Reflections”

    Here’s my post about it. Very neat stuff.

  5. Mom604 says:

    When a young man and his wife and their two little daughters moved from Germany to Canada, they ended up in Vancouver. They loved it. Stanley Park became a regular visiting spot and the PNE became part of the summer traditions. They bought a lot out in Surrey, built a house on it and raised they little girls there. Regular car trips into Vancouver were very special. They loved Expo! They invited the world! They were your Oma and Opa. They loved the city and what it meant to their family. They wouldn’t have wanted to raise them anywhere else.

  6. Lori M says:

    We don’t want you to stop either…keep up the great blog:)

    I too, used to enjoy the window displays at Woodward’s.

  7. fotoeins says:

    Rebecca, your post is making me go through my own memories of growing up in Vancouver through the `70s and `80s. Thank you.

  8. Paul Barriscale says:

    Rebecca,excellent coverage on Vancouver’s 125th Anniversary.
    I watched the 1962 Transportation video “Since Yesterday”. I notice
    the voiceover is by John Ansell Sr. John was the General Manager of radio station CJVI when I worked in Victoria in the 1980s. Great stuff. Keep it comin’!

  9. Frank Avila says:

    Come visit and watch us grow up:)

  10. Dilara says:

    Fantastic post and videos! We’re glad you have no plans of stopping – keep up the great work!

  11. Mom604 says:

    Enjoyed 54-40 in the Plaza last night. Made me feel young. What a great performance!

  12. Michael says:

    …and in honour of its 125th Birthday, today, one day later on April 7th, the City of Vancouver issued a demolition permit for the 1908 Pantages Theatre – the oldest surviving vaudeville theatre in Canada. What a shame.

  13. What an eye-opener. Can’t say, “…in the good old days; anymore.” Geeez… way back in 1907 (Street Cars) there were ‘jay-walkers’. Thought they only showed up since the 70’s.

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