‘How perfectly ripping!’ A glimpse of Vancouver over the decades


From Vancouver: Exponential Change.

A new collection of vintage film clips shows us how Vancouverites have spent their leisure hours over the years. A 1928 home-made melodrama, a ribald mid-century PNE, a promotional film extolling a Vancouver Honeymoon, and clips from Expo 86 and Vancouver’s centennial celebrations are among the highlights of Vancouver: Exponential Change.

Featuring newly digitized film and video, the collection was put together by the City of Vancouver Archives as part of an annual series. Vancouver: Exponential Change screens at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.) Nov. 20, along with the 2014 selection Vancouver – A Progressive City, and Nov. 27. But wait, there’s more!

Along with the screening, local historian and artist Michael Kluckner will provide commentary during the projection. The silent films will be accompanied live by jazz pianist, Wayne Stewart.

According to the Vancity website, Vancouver: Exponential Change includes excerpts from something called Bastard Love. Apparently, in their leisure time, members of prominent Vancouver families liked nothing more than to make their own home-made melodramas. Members of the Rogers, Tupper, and Molson families shot the film in 1928 on the grounds of Shannon Estate (first home to sugar magnate B.T. Rogers, and now the site of – what else – a mixed-used condo project). The dialogue slides tell bits of the story, with lines such as, “Can you come with us to Switzerland?” and “How perfectly ripping!”

The program then moves to Vancouver Honeymoon. The City and the Greater Vancouver Tourism Association created this coloured tourism promo, which local companies sponsored. A drive along the Sea to Sky highway circa 1960, a stroll in Stanley Park, a tour of UBC, and Vancouver’s natural beauty are showcased. Vancouver is “so young her story is still being written,” the narration tells us, “but old enough to develop a personality that is all her own.”

Next comes PNE footage shot around 1950, then excerpts from Vancouver’s centennial and Expo celebrations from 1986. Both include street and aerial footage.

Trailer – Vancouver: Exponential Change


From Vancouver – A Progressive City!

Vancouver: Exponential Change is the seventh annual screening of digitized movies from the Archives’ holdings. 2014’s Vancouver – A Progressive City will also screen on Nov. 20. It looks at Vancouver’s workforce, commerce, heritage, culture and important celebrations, and includes clips of the construction of Lions Gate Bridge, early milk delivery service, and Major Matthews, the city’s founding archivist.

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