It has been over a year since John and I received a preview copy of the 1907 trolley car footage of Vancouver on DVD. The film is the earliest footage of Vancouver and was shot with a hand-crank camera mounted on the front of a B.C. Electric Railway streetcar by William Harbeck of Seattle.
Included in the DVD liner was a Google map outlining the route the trolley took through Gastown and over to the West End.
Over the last few years the Vancouver Historical Society has recreated the route shown in the film and now 101 years later it will be screened for the public and available for sale on DVD.
What: City Reflections – Vancouver 1907 / 2007 movie screening
When: Thursday May 22nd 2008 @ 8:00pm
Where: Vancouver Museum, 1100 Chestnut Street
More Info: There are no tickets to the screening, it’s first come first serve. The DVD of 1907 – 2007 footage will be on sale for $20. View photos from the launch May 7th, 2008.
In the original film you can only spot one car and the city is bustling with people, bicycles, and some horse-drawn carriages trotting along the dirt-covered Cordova Street.
Here are some other events of historical significance that took place in 1907, courtesy of VancouverHistory.ca and soon available in the book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver.
…The Montreal-based jeweler, Henry Birks & Sons, came to Vancouver in February of  and bought the well-established shop of George Trorey, at the northeast corner of Granville and Hastings. They kept Trorey on as managerâ€”and they kept his famous sidewalk clock, too. The Birks clock and the store can just be glimpsed as our movie-streetcar swings east onto Hastings from Granville.
…The most famous writer in the world at the time, Rudyard Kipling, visited Vancouver again. Kipling really liked this city; this was his third visit, and he even bought land here (at the southeast corner of East 11th Avenue and Fraser Street.)
…David Spencer, who had earlier (1873) started a store in Victoria, put his son Chris, 38, in charge of a big new Spencerâ€™s on Hastings Street in Vancouver. Chris had started working for the Victoria store in 1882 at age 13. The new store was so successful that it eventually took up almost an entire city block. Today, the building is SFUâ€™s downtown campus.
…A fellow named Richard Cormon Purdy opened a shop on Robson Street and began selling chocolates.
The electric trolley in Vancouver has had a sordid history, from the Interurban to the recent retirement of the old electric Flyer buses. Although this city has had a love/hate relationship with transit over the years, more than anything this film proves that it can provide valuable glimpse into Vancouver’s past.
(Hat Tip to Karen for the heads up about the event on Thursday)