Tag Archives: photographs

Our Expo 86 holdings

Thirty years ago on May 2, 1986, Vancouver’s World’s Fair, Expo 86, was officially opened by TRH Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales. Originally known as Transpo, Expo 86’s theme was “Transportation and Communication: World in Motion – World in Touch”. The 173-acre exposition site featured 65 pavilions representing countries, provinces and territories, and corporations.

Expo Centre, August 1986. Photo: CoV Archives, Ernie Reksten, 2010-006.440

Expo Centre, August 1986, Ernie Reksten. Reference code: AM1551-S1-: 2010-006.440

Expo 86 Information Board, August 1986. Reference code: AM1551-S1-: 2010-006.396

Expo 86 Information Board, Ernie Reksten. Reference code: AM1551-S1-: 2010-006.396

While the official records of the Expo Corporation are part of the holdings of the BC Archives, we do have some related materials in our holdings. Here’s an overview of what we have. Continue reading

New in the public domain 2016

On January 1st, the copyright expired for some of our holdings: they are now in the public domain in Canada. Digital materials are no longer restricted to being viewed only at the Archives, but are available online to all. Here’s a quick look at some of the digital objects that have become easier to view and re-use.

8 clowns in a group pose

Publicity photo of Polack Bros. Circus 1965 clowns. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6027.

Continue reading

Merging Time: A Modern Perspective

The popular photography exhibit, Merging Time, is now showing at the City of Vancouver Archives gallery. This year’s collection features 13 new “now-and-then” interpretations of images from the Archives holdings.

A member of the public views the Merging Time: A Modern Perspective photography exhibit. Photo credit: Christine Hagemoen.

A member of the public views the Merging Time: A Modern Perspective photography exhibit. Photo credit: Christine Hagemoen.

Every fall, the Archives features new works created by students in Langara College’s Photo-Imaging Program. Students are assigned to visit the Archives to find photographs with unique elements defining the past, such as fashion, transportation, advertising, and storefront signage. Then, with a DSLR camera, they return to the original location of the archival photograph to shoot a modern-day version. The students merge a digital version of the archival photograph with the modern-day replication to produce a composite of the past and present. This year’s selections date from the 1900s to the 1950s, and feature the West End, Gastown, Chinatown, downtown Vancouver, UBC and Mount Pleasant.

Archival photograph selected by Courtney Naesgaard for the Merging Time exhibit. Street traffic at Pender Street and Richards Street, 1946. Reference code: AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-4225.

Archival photograph selected by Courtney Naesgaard for the Merging Time exhibit. Street traffic at Pender Street and Richards Street, 1946. Reference code: AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-4225.

The main challenge the students face is figuring out where and how each photograph was taken. Sometimes the original photograph may have been taken with the camera in the middle of the road or where a new building now stands. Determining the focal length and angle of the shot further complicates the process of matching the current-day image with the original perspective. This is where the techniques taught in the course come into play. Using Photoshop, the students adjust the perspective of their modern-day image to match the framing and composition of the original archival photograph.

Digital composite by Courtney Naesgaard, 1946/2015. Street traffic at Pender Street and Richards Street, incorporating Archives image AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-4225.

Digital composite by Courtney Naesgaard, 1946/2015. Street traffic at Pender Street and Richards Street, incorporating Archives image AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-4225.

Once the perspective is matched, students block, mask, blend and merge the past and present elements into a single photograph. The result is a seamless digital composite where the two eras converge and are presented simultaneously.

Archival photograph selected by Amberlee Pang for the Merging Time exhibit. Hotel Balmoral, Hastings Street, c. 1926. Reference code: AM54-S4-: Hot N35.

Archival photograph selected by Amberlee Pang for the Merging Time exhibit. Hotel Balmoral, Hastings Street, c. 1926. Reference code: AM54-S4-: Hot N35.

This returning photography show is the Archives’ most popular exhibit, and we are always thrilled to see how artists apply their creative skills to the digitized material in our holdings.

Digital composite by Amberlee Pang, c.1926/2015. Hotel Balmoral, Hastings Street, incorporating Archives image AM54-S4-: Hot N35.

Digital composite by Amberlee Pang, c.1926/2015. Hotel Balmoral, Hastings Street, incorporating Archives image AM54-S4-: Hot N35.

Merging Time: A Modern Perspective will be on display at the Archives until the end of January, 2016. Please visit during our regular hours: Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM.

For those who are unable to attend the gallery in person, you can view the Merging Time exhibit in this Langara College flickr album.

Giving the gift of history

It’s that time of year again, the season of giving. Stuck for holiday gift ideas? Why not give the gift of local history? How about creating your own artwork using historical photographs of Vancouver? Sound intriguing? Then read on for a step-by-step guide to downloading hi-res photos from our online database.

The City of Vancouver Archives has approximately 80,000 high-resolution photographs that are available for download from our online database. They are either Public Domain or City of Vancouver copyrighted images, which means that you are free to download and use them for anything your heart desires. The creative possibilities are endless, so let’s get started.

  1. First, navigate to the City of Vancouver online database – searcharchives.vancouver.ca
Search Archives main page. Select "Advanced search" at top of page.

1. Search Archives main page. Select “Advanced search” at top of page.

Continue reading

Friends of the Vancouver Archives Photographic Cold Storage Facility

We have a specialized, custom-built freezer to provide the highest standard of care for the storage of our photographic materials. It was the first institutional freezer built to the specifications researched by the Smithsonian Institution and it was officially opened by Mayor Philip Owen on February 20, 2002.

Mayor Owen being offered scissors

Mayor Owen is offered scissors to cut the ribbon on the freezer in 2002.

Why a Freezer?

Some types of photographic materials are unstable and cold storage will prolong their useful lives. Storage at freezer temperatures will prolong their lives the longest.

Without cold storage, cellulose acetate negatives wrinkle and become brittle 
as they give off acetic acid (vinegar). Continue reading

Pacific National Exhibition photographs are now online

Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program, we’ve recently completed a project to digitize over eight thousand images from the Pacific National Exhibition fonds that you can easily view and re-use. In addition, we’ve digitized another 874 images that are under copyright to other parties, but which can be viewed at the Archives. The dates range from 1914 to 1980.

2 people sharing a hot dog

Man and woman eating foot-long hotdogs from P.N.E. Gayway concession stand, 1953. Photographer unknown. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-2219.

These photographs were either created for the P.N.E. or collected by the P.N.E. staff. They document a wide variety of activities at the fair, including rides, displays, competitions and performances.

Colour photo of chair lift over grounds

Women on Sky Glider chair lift, 1971. Photographer Bob Tipple. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6891.

Many buildings on the site are shown, including: Continue reading

Merging Time returns to the City of Vancouver Archives’ gallery

The newest Merging Time exhibit is now on display in the City of Vancouver Archives’ gallery. Since its initial showing at the Archives three years ago, this annual photography exhibit has become an attraction for both historians and photographers alike. This year, the exhibit features 16 new digital interpretations of our scanned archival photographs.

The creators of this year’s Merging Time show: Langara’s Professional Photo-Imaging Class of 2015.

The creators of this year’s Merging Time show: Langara’s Professional Photo-Imaging Class of 2015.

Every year, students in Darren Bernaerdt’s Principles of Imaging Processing course (PHOTO 1248) are assigned to visit the Archives to find historical photographs of Vancouver. After determining the exact location and perspective of each selected photograph, they travel to the original site to replicate the photographs with Continue reading

A new “Through the Lens” at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

John Atkin and Michael Kluckner have curated two new “Through the Lens” shows for the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s digital Planetarium Star Theatre. Using historic photographs from the early 20th century paired with contemporary shots of the same locations, these “indoor” digital walking tours allow you to experience the changes that have occurred in our city over the past 100 years.

The Canadian Fishing Co. Ltd. and New England Fish Co. building on the Gore Avenue Wharf, 1920. Reference Code: AM54-S4-3-: PAN N163

The Canadian Fishing Co. Ltd. and New England Fish Co. building on the Gore Avenue Wharf, 1920. Reference Code: AM54-S4-3-: PAN N163

The historic images come primarily from the Archives’ W. J. Moore panorama negatives, which we’ve featured here before. Remarkably, the Space Centre uses the same high-resolution JPG images that you can download from our online search and projects them to fill the dome of the Star Theatre. They are matched with stunning modern panoramas and other audiovisual elements to produce two unique shows. This year, there will also be some historic aerial views which, on the planetarium dome, promise to provide a unique, if dizzying, perspective on the city.

Aerial view of Kitsilano Beach and Park, 1945 Reference code AM54-S4-: Air P28

Aerial view of Kitsilano Beach and Park, 1945 Reference code AM54-S4-: Air P28

Last year, Through the Lens: Building Vancouver’s History, was so popular it sold out and was repeated earlier this year. Don’t miss your chance to see this year’s shows!

7:00pm Thursday, November 13 (Michael Kluckner)
7:00pm Thursday, November 20 (John Atkin)

Tickets available at the door

Friends’ Fall Fundraiser: Vancouver—An Ever-changing City

Please join us on October 22nd at 7:00 pm at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre for “Vancouver—An Ever-changing City,” a fascinating virtual walking tour of Vancouver then and now, and a chance to support the work of the Archives.

Andy Coupland and John Atkin will explore the changing nature of the city through before-and-after images selected from the blog Changing Vancouver and the Archives’ holdings. Set against the background of selected historic panoramas, they will take you through a hundred or so years of development, displayed on the dome of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s Star Theatre.

cordova-east-from-cambie

West Cordova Street – east from Cambie. From “Changing Vancouver”

Sponsored by the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives, the event is the Friends’ annual fall fundraiser. Founded in 1993, the Friends have played a key role in promoting the Archives and raising funds for various projects. Among their most notable purchases:

  • The first web publishing software that allowed the Archives to make its database searchable on the Web
  • The dye-sublimation printer that for years produced 8×10 photo reproductions of images in the Archives’ holdings
  • A portion of the cost of the Archives’ cold storage facility (for preservation of deteriorating photographic negatives)
  • The lease of an early public-use photocopier for the Reading Room
  • Indexing of Major Matthew’s’ 7-volume Early Vancouver
  • Reproduction of damaged Vancouver City Directories

Most importantly, since 1999, the Friends have received over $98,000 in provincial gaming grants to allow the Archives to describe and digitize images in its holdings. They have contributed over $90,000 of their own funds to the program, as matches on the applications. Tens of thousands of the images you see on the Archives’ website are there due to the generosity and fundraising efforts of the Friends. These include photographs by Williams Bros. Photographers Ltd., Stuart Thomson, James Crookall, John Davidson, and over 18,000 of the images collected by Major Matthews.

Net proceeds of ticket sales and all donations will go toward the Friends’ support of the Archives. We hope to see you at the event, and we sincerely thank you for your support.

Archival Images at the 2014 Pacific National Exhibition

Archival images from our holdings will be on display in a big way at this year’s PNE!

Couple on amusement park ride in P.N.E. Gayway, 1948. Item CVA 180-1520

Couple on amusement park ride in P.N.E. Gayway, 1948. Item CVA 180-1520

Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC, we are currently digitizing thousands of archival images from the Pacific National Exhibition fonds.

Loopo plane ride in midway carnival, 1940. Item CVA 180-0798.

Loopo plane ride in midway carnival, 1940. Item CVA 180-0798.

PNE staff have curated a looping show of about 300 images that can be seen on the jumbo screens in Celebration Plaza, where the BBQ Competition is held.

Acrobatic performance in midway carnival sideshow, 1940. Item CVA 180-0799.

Acrobatic performance in midway carnival sideshow, 1940. Item CVA 180-0799.

Be sure to look up when you’re there to see the PNE as it used to be!