1907 Film of Vancouver

Click on the photo to view the film

CBC has posted a video of the earliest film shot in Hollywood North. In 1907, Seattleite William Harbeck bolted his hand-crank camera to the front of a streetcar and filmed along Granville, Hastings, Carrall, Cordova, Cambie, and Robson streets. Very little is recognizable to the 21st century Vancouverite. Robson Street is entirely residential, for example, and 1907 landmarks like the old CPR station at the foot of Granville are long gone. This is what the city looked like when the Asiatic Exclusion League mob rampaged through Chinatown and Japantown later that year. Try and spot the only car in the video (although getting around looks familiarly perilous).

The Vancouver Historical Society has produced a DVD version entitled City Reflections, which includes a 2007 film of the same route taken by Harbeck and is available for $20.

Harbeck made a similar video of Victoria the same year. His final film gig didn’t turn out so well. In 1912, Harbeck was hired to document life aboard the maiden voyage of an impressive new ocean liner, the Titanic.
For more info, see Chuck Davis’s history site.

2 thoughts on “1907 Film of Vancouver

  1. Yeah, caught the 1907 reel a few years ago at the Vancouver Museum.

    Perhaps you were there– they also showed one of the city’s slum clearance propaganda films featuring bits of Strathcona.

  2. I read the book of the great fire of Vancouver in 1886 and I love it and it IS INTERESTING and AWESOME to learn all about my favourite city and how it became an awesome city I love Vancouver BC forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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