Vancouver History: Before and After Photos

Comments 16 by Rebecca Bollwitt

During my visit to the City of Vancouver Archives I was captivated by their collection of photographs. Tens of thousands of images depict daily life and the making of our City into what we see today. In over 100 years Vancouver has changed dramatically in some areas, and has barely aged in others. This is not so much a “before and after” as it is a “then and now” although with the City’s ever-changing landscape, that could work either way.

Lost Lagoon

Jack Lindsay Ltd. Photographers


Photo credit: dennissylvesterhurd on Flickr

Maple Tree Square – Gastown

City Planning Department


Photo credit: SqueakyMarmot on Flickr


City Planning Department – slide file photographs


Photo credit: deve82 on Flickr

False Creek

Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association – Collected


City Planning Department


City Planning Department


Photo credit: steena on Flickr

Photo credit: steeljam on Flickr

I think it’s pretty exciting (to someone like me anyway) that many of the photographs at the City Archives are available as prints for under $20. You can browse their collections online or in person.

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16 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Tyler IngramThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 9:58am PDT

    I love seeing photos of Vancouver that show the before and after. I want to see more of them! Keep em coming Rebecca!

  2. @PvTThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 10:03am PDT

    I love this stuff. Visited a Black & White film processor the other day and the old Vancouver photos he was working on were so amazing. Vancouver street scenes, folks all dressed sharp, moments captured in time forever. Thanks for posting these as it’s a shame if we let these memories fade.


  3. cbjerrisgaardThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 10:07am PDT

    I always love stuff like this. I think I saw another post somewhere about this that went into detail. I did a quick search and found this although its not exactly working well.

    I can attest that even in the last 7 years Vancouver has changed in major ways. I moved here back in April 02 and since then the entire city has grown and changed in ways I cant even begin to explain on a blog post comment.

  4. KaterThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 10:49am PDT

    Science World developed a teacher’s resource for the Virtual Museum of Canada that incorporates changes of Vancouver over time through time lapse photos/video. It’s called “Developing Story” and can be found here

  5. PATThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 11:40am PDT

    I love Vancouver, and love your photos too.

  6. I.A.M.Thursday, August 13th, 2009 — 11:53am PDT

    Love this post and glad it’s here!

    There’s an image database for the BC Archives as well, but its organisation leaves much to be desired. If you know the photographer, or the file number, then you’ll get the image you want. If you want to find images of a particular subject, it’s more difficult if not impossible.

    That said, there’s more than enough material there to provide hours of on-line browsing…

  7. TawcanThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 12:53pm PDT

    The panorama linked above is amazing. I stumbled onto that site a while ago. It’s amazing to see all the changes.

  8. Sharon BonnerThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 8:17pm PDT

    these photos are great. Keep them coming. Sharon

  9. photodreamzThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 9:50pm PDT

    You should check out the book A View Through The Trees by Elspeth Bradbury. Some really interesting photography on West Vancouver, which I believe is older then Vancouver itself?
    The West Van Archives has a lot of interesting work as well.


  10. KimmThursday, August 13th, 2009 — 10:59pm PDT

    I love looking back at black and white photos of the past.

    False Creek has changed so much over the years. I love how Science World came to be after Expo 86. If not the “golfball” would have been knocked down. The creek has been my playground for the last 15 years, I wonder what the creek will look like in another 15 years or in a 100 years.

  11. Paul AlbrightonFriday, August 14th, 2009 — 4:12pm PDT

    This city is growing so fast, it is hard to keep up to date with new buildings. Every Downtown resident or owner seems to have a great story of what used to be “across the street”!

  12. Vancouver History: Before and After Photos Part Two » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittTuesday, August 18th, 2009 — 9:46am PDT

    […] week my Vancouver History: Before and After Photos received such a great response that I’m making this a weekly feature. I started thinking of […]

  13. Vancouver History: Before and After Photos Part Three » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittWednesday, August 26th, 2009 — 8:25am PDT

    […] the first two installments of my Vancouver History: Before and After Photos have been a big hit (1, 2) it has become a weekly feature. This week is a bit of a hodge podge, featuring landmarks and […]

  14. carolbrowneSunday, November 15th, 2009 — 2:10pm PST

    Whoa! I’m late to the “before and after” party, but this is so great! I love seeing the history in pictures. Thanks so much for posting this.

  15. LeeSunday, March 21st, 2010 — 12:48pm PDT

    I am so happy to have found your pictures. I have my grandmother’s photo album of her “single” life and in it, was a picure of an interesting place where she had worked. I could never find the name of the building. I was able to from your pictures here – it was the Hotel Europe.
    You solved a mystery for me. Thanks.

  16. Michael McLintockMonday, August 8th, 2011 — 7:54pm PDT

    Great pictures,I remember all of them and really enjoy going thru your website

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