Sunday, June 28, 2015

Vancouver's Past - Local History

Old photos give us a peek into the past, when times were slower and the cars were too. These images of Vancouver come from the archives. 

The Orpheum Theatre
Circa 1940s
Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Archive Photo

Several decades later, the same theatre with new buildings in the background.

Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC Street Scene

The Orpheum is a theatre and music venue in Vancouver, British Columbia which was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1979. The theater and its neon sign have been used as a key location in several episodes of the science-fiction series Battlestar Galactica and Fringe, as well as Highlander: The Series. In the latter decades of the 20th century, the theatre's interior still retained the aura of a grand lady, golden and elegant. 

The Orpheum Interior, Vancouver, Canada, see Credits * below.


Woodward's Department Stores

Note the fashions and styles on the ladies in the vintage photograph below. 

The Woodward's Department Store Archival Imge, Vancouver, Canada

The Woodward's Building was a historic edifice in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The original portion of the building was constructed in 1903 for the Woodward's Department Store when that area of Cordova Street was the heart of Vancouver's retail shopping district. It endured past 100 years of age before its demise. Why did it fail after so many years? The area was changing in demographics, it was no longer a family destination, and the store managers made an ill-fated attempt to change their target market.

The store was famous for its Christmas Window animated displays, and its basement Food Floor, an unusual feature for those times. The prominent "W" sign at the top of the building was a distinctive landmark in the downtown core of Vancouver.


Duck down the alleyway. . .when they were unpaved.

A Vancouver, BC, Residential Alley Image from the Archives

Nostalgia comes in many forms. It's usually referring to a memory of places or things which have been enhanced with the passing of time. Children played in these alleys, or cut across to the next street on their bikes. Now, domestic entrepreneurs near the Pacific National Exhibition sell parking spaces in the alleys. Lane-way homes are starting to appear. Dusty in the summer and muddy in the winter, it was ordained that alleys should be paved to reduce the dust. Power poles lined the way, much like the laundry poles found in many of the backyards of yesteryear.


Do you like historical photographs? Do you like to see comparisons of places them to the same place in a different time? Do you like browsing the archives of your city or country?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. I have been a bit absent due to life issues monopolizing the time, but I hope to improve that after the summer. Thanks for dropping by!



* Interior image of Orpheum Theatre stage:
Author: Michael Thoeny

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

History of Vancouver wiki

The Orpheum wiki

The Woodward's Building wiki's_Building