Category Archives: travelogues

This Week in History: The Hope-Princeton Highway

On November 2, 1949—70 years ago—the Hope-Princeton Highway was officially opened, providing a new and long-awaited direct car and truck route between the Lower Mainland and the southern Interior. The new highway was important for commerce, but also played a  critical role in the postwar development of automotive tourism in the province. The BC government travelogue Peachtime in the Valley (1949-1951) promoted the Hope-Princeton as a route to the Penticton Peach Festival.

This episode of the CHEK-TV/Royal BC Museum series This Week in History looks at the highway, the opening, and the film that promoted it.

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Program for the official opening of the highway. (Call number: NWp 971.42 B862b c. 3, BC Archives library collection.)

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Map showing the Hope-Princeton (in black) as part of the Southern Trans-Provincial Highway.

 

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Visitors pause for photos at “Ye Olde Manning Park Gallows” on the Hope-Princeton Highway, 1957. (BC Archives photo I-28674, detail.)

 

 

It’s the Cariboo, Dude! (1950s)

The dude ranch featured in this travelogue clip is the Flying U Guest Ranch at Green Lake, B.C., 21 kilometres northeast of 70 Mile House.  The Flying U is one of the oldest and best known guest ranches in British Columbia.  The central ranch house was built in 1862.  Purchased by the Boyd family in 1883, the property was turned into a guest ranch by Jack Boyd in the early 1920s.  At the time this footage was shot, in the 1950s, the ranch was being operated by Mr. and Mrs. Bert Gammie.

Writing in the Kerrisdale Courier (2 August 1956), Chuck Bayley highlighted the Flying U with “a recommendation for young cowboys and dudes who dream of riding saddle over rolling cattle country.”

The source film is Legend of the West, directed by Richard L. Colby, and released in 1956 by the British Columbia Government Travel Bureau.  Incidentally, all of these BC government travelogue clips were included in the DVD Evergreen Playland: A Road Trip through British Columbia (RBCM, 2008).

For a full archival description of Legend of the West, click here.

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“Bucking barrel at a Cariboo dude ranch.” (BC Archives I-29868 [detail])

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1935 promotional brochure for the Flying U Guest Ranch. (BC Archives NWp 796.56 F648)

Car culture and heritage buildings at a Cariboo Road stopping-house north of Clinton, ca. 1955.

Car culture and heritage buildings at an old Cariboo Road stopping-house north of Clinton, ca. 1955. (A video frame grab from “Legend of the West’, BC Archives AAAA1211.)

Qualicum Beach Delights (1941-42 & 1949)

The delights of resort village Qualicum Beach were showcased in two 1940s travelogues from the BC Government Travel Bureau—Vancouver Island: British Columbia’s Island Playground and Qualicum by the Sea, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The source films are preserved at the BC Archives as film items AAAA3013 & AAAA0355. The edited excerpts shown here were previously featured in the Royal BC Museum DVD Evergreen Playland: A Road Trip through BC (2008).

Hope & the Fraser Canyon

This video clip consists of excerpts from two BC government films. The brief look at the town of Hope is from the travelogue The Fraser Valley, British Columbia (1947-48). The Gold Rush scenes are historical re-enactments from the documentary The Fraser Canyon (1957-59).

The source films are BC Archives items AAAA1954 and AAAA1948, respectively, at the Royal BC Museum.

This edited sequence originally appeared in the Museum’s 2008 DVD release Evergreen Playland: A Road Trip through British Columbia. Used by permission.

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Production still from a re-enactment of the 1858 Fraser River gold discovery, staged in 1958 for use in the BC government film “The Fraser Canyon.” (BC Archives I-27785, detail)

Victoria and the Island Highway (1941-42)

At the start of the Second World War, the BC Government Travel Bureau launched an ambitious program of in-house film production.  The Bureau’s Photographic Branch shot 16 mm colour footage on Vancouver Island and throughout the southern Interior. In the early postwar years, the filming program would be extended to northern and central BC, the Hope-Princeton Highway, the Alaska Highway, and the route of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway. This footage would be fashioned into several colour-and-sound travelogues highlighting the province’s major regions and local attractions.

The first production completed was Vancouver Island: British Columbia’s Island Playground (1941-42).  The edited excerpts above showcase the Inner Harbour; downtown streets and shops; cricket, lawn bowling, golf and tennis facilities; swimming at Thetis Lake; the Malahat Drive and Lookout; the making of Cowichan sweaters at Koksilah trading post; and BC Provincial Police Highway Patrol. For a description of the complete film, see BC Archives AAAA3013.

Excerpts from this and the other BCGTB travelogues of the 1940s and 1950s are featured on the RBCM DVD release, Evergreen Playland:  A Road Trip through British Columbia (2008).

“Tourism: A British Columbia Industry” (1940)

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The film’s title frame illustrates the simple but effective graphics that would enhance the BCGTB’s 1940s travelogues. (Digital frame grab)

These excerpts from a silent film with inter-titles, shot on Kodachrome stock (ca. 1940), show the efforts of the BC Government Travel Bureau to promote tourism in the province. At their offices on Superior Street in Victoria, we see office staff at work; the preparation of ad campaigns; design and printing of brochures; handling of public correspondence; and the promotion of automobile travel. There are brief shots of a car ferry, a steamship, a steam train, and an airliner—as well as the Craigflower Bungalow Court & Motel in Esquimalt.

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Clarence Ferris, the BCGTB’s first filmmaker, sets up a shot on the grounds of the BC Legislature, ca. 1940. (Digital frame grab)

Of particular interest is a section on film production, which shows longtime staff member Clarence Ferris (above) operating a movie camera and splicing film. A crew from Leon Shelly’s Vancouver Motion Pictures is also seen shooting the BCGTB-sponsored travelogue Beautiful British Columbia (1940 version, now lost).

Tourism: A British Columbia Industry is BC Archives item AAAA2909 at the Royal BC Museum.

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Vancouver Motion Pictures crew at work on a BCGTB travelogue, ca. 1940. (Digital frame grab)

 

 

A Visit to Nelson (ca. 1939)

This footage shows a visit to Nelson and area just before the Second World War. The clip begins with high-angle views of the city and its setting, followed by street-level shots of some local businesses. These include: Palm Dairies Ltd.; a building housing a Shell station and Nelson Transfer Co. Ltd.; West Transfer Co., with a moving van and movers at work in a residential area; Kootenay Motors (H. Harrop), another Shell station, beside the Greyhound Bus terminal; the Madden Hotel (and a streetcar); and another downtown hotel. The clips ends with shots of the Harrop cable ferry, and a scenic shot of a wharf with boats.

These are edited excerpts from silent 16 mm film footage shot by Vancouver filmmaker Alfred E. Booth (1892-1977). In the 1930s and 1940s, Booth travelled extensively in the BC Interior, shooting footage of the various regions and communities for his own company, Travel Films. The source film is the compilation reel “[Kootenay-Boundary area] : [footage and out-takes]” (AAAA1072), one of 39 film reels in the Alfred E. Booth fonds at the BC Archives, Royal BC Museum.

For more BC Interior and Vancouver footage shot by Alfred E. Booth, see these blog posts:

 

Peachtime in Penticton (ca. 1950)

“Sun on a peach!”

These travelogue excerpts show highlights of the Penticton Peach Festival, ca. 1950, including the parade, midway and rodeo.

The source film is Peachtime in the Valley: Penticton, British Columbia (BC Government Travel Bureau, 1949-51), BC Archives item AAAA2354 at the Royal BC Museum.

The film’s opening and closing graphic—a painting of ripe peaches on the tree, with the shores of Okanagan Lake in the background—exemplifies the simple but effective artwork that enhanced the BCGTB travelogues of the 1940s and early 1950s.

At play—and work—in the Central Okanagan (mid-1940s)

During the Second World War, the BC Government Travel Bureau launched an ambitious program of in-house film production.  The Bureau’s Photographic Branch shot 16 mm colour footage on Vancouver Island and throughout the southern Interior.  This material would be fashioned into several colour-and-sound travelogues highlighting the province’s major regions and local attractions.  Most of these films were finished and released in the early postwar years, when the filming program was also extended to northern and central BC, the Hope-Princeton Highway, the Alaska Highway, and the route of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway.

Some of the wartime footage appeared in The Okanagan Valley: British Columbia’s Orchard Playground (1943-47).  The edited excerpts above include scenes from Kelowna and Summerland, with glimpses of Peachland and Naramata.  They highlight the Kelowna Regatta and the packing of apples by female workers at a packing house.  For a description of the complete film, see BC Archives AAAA2464.

Excerpts from this and the other BCGTB travelogues of the 1940s and 1950s are featured on the RBCM DVD release, Evergreen Playland:  A Road Trip through British Columbia (2008).

Kelowna. Aquaplaning On Okanagan Lake, 1943.

Kelowna; Aquaplaning On Okanagan Lake, 1943. This photo was taken by the Travel Bureau crew while shooting footage for “The Okanagan Valley”. (BC Archives I-29928, detail)