Vancouver Archives blog welcome news for history buffs

Post by Mike Klassen in

2 comments


A "citizen journalist" took this archive footage circa 1979 on Granville Mall

Thanks to a tweet this afternoon by @RodMickleburgh I made a new discovery. The coveted City of Vancouver Archives have started a blog called AuthentiCity at vancouverarchives.ca. You might guess that because it's a creation of a City Hall department that it is a lavish website with all the bells and whistles that taxpayer dollars can buy. But you'd be wrong.

AuthentiCity is as simple and thrifty as it gets – a basic WordPress blog with a stock template. They've also launched a Twitter account, YouTube page and a Flickr photo gallery. The Flickr gallery includes several recently digitized images – The Moore Collection, described here.

The video above is shared in a Vancouver Archives blog post titled Protest: Citizen Journalism in 1981, and it features what looks like a fundamentalist Christian group led by former city councillor Bernice Gerard picketing outside a Vancouver cinema.

The movie was Caligula, a Roman period flick run amok when a number of hard core sex scenes were added to the final cut. It was the first and probably last time a screening of this kind took place in a mainstream cinema, and of course it wasn't welcomed by of some of the more God fearing citizens in our midst.

Like Mickleburgh I think it's a treat to come across a digital version of a Super 8 film recording of Vancouver's past, and it makes me eager for more like them. I certainly remember Granville Mall from those days, and I still don't know what to make of Bernice Gerard.

Once again I'll make my pitch for a combined media archive featuring the Vancouver Archives, the UBC Archives and the coveted CBC Archives as part of a curated media history of Vancouver. I've waxed about it before, and suggested that a facility like this factors into a more ambitious idea for a Vancouver Centre for the Arts located downtown.

Those public archives have a treasure trove of moving and still images, innovative journalism on 16mm, audio recordings from the 20th Century which really describe who we are as a culture, and whence we came from. While efforts are being made to improve the accessibility of this material, there is no one place where the public can experience it. Furthermore, this material is at some risk of being lost if the funding to preserve and transfer it to digital doesn't materialize.

I hope that future benefactors from the private and public sector, as well as the directors of the VAG and Vancouver Museum boards can find a way to collaborate on an idea like this.

For now I hope our readers will also take some pleasure in this new blog by City Archives staff, and I salute efforts of these hard-working folks to move parts of their collection into accessible environments like YouTube and Flickr.

Welcome, AuthentiCity!

- post by Mike

2 Comments

this is very exciting

AuthentiCity can be a wonderful digital infusion into our contemporary culture. And your suggestion Mike, of a combined CBC, Van and UBC Archives is equally enticing. Perhaps such a facility could be housed in the maybe soon to be vacated Courthouse / VAG building. Think of all those flowing gallery spaces which could present a range of digitized 'footage' some scheduled, some on-demand.

This is also another provocative and stimulating variation of an earlier suggestion I spoke about to decentralize and soften the elitisms of the 'fine' arts in part by bringing the not so precious and more precious morsels closer to the mainstream population. What better way to start than by digitizing not only our real/reel and ethereal past (maybe also starting with the VAG basement... who knows where next...). Then this could also be put onto the net and be available on-line and in neighbourhood satellite 'galleries''. I'm excited. VAG would then have a world stage.

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