Vancouver Photographer: Harry Torkington Devine


Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 — 10:25am PST
Comments 3

On my daily search of the Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives I come across the work of local photographers from the last century (and beyond). While a photo from the archives makes us reflect, compare, and contemplate “early Vancouver”, it’s always important to note who took that photo, which is my aim with the Vancouver Photographer series. This week’s feature is Harry Torkington Devine — “H.T. Devine“.

Born in Manchester England in 1865, H.T. Devine came to Vancouver in 1886 by way of Brandon, Manitoba where he worked for a few years as a photographer. In Vancouver he set up shop with a partner, J.A. Brock, but by 1889 he had stopped working as a photographer. He returned to photography for a short period between 1895 and 1897. [Source: Vancouver Public Library]

The most iconic “Vancouver Real Estate” office photo that ever was:


1886: J.W. Horne’s real estate office in hollow log at approximately Georgia and Granville (today). Archives# LGN 454.

He moved to Vancouver in 1886. After the Great Fire of June 13, he photographed the first city council and first police department in front of a tent. His partnership with Brock ended in 1887. He worked again as a photographer from 1895 to 1897, then went into other work. [Source: Vancouver History]

First photos of Vancouver after The Great Fire of 1886:


1886: Archives# LGN 1046.


1886: VPD in front of City Hall (tent). VPL# 1090 & First City Council Meeting after the fire. VPL# 508.

A busy corner of Gastown (still today):


1886: Corner of Water and Carrall. Archives# Str P83.

Entrance to Stanley Park:


1890s: Archives# LGN 1048.

Before False Creek was filled in:


1890: View looking north on Main from 7th Ave. Archives# Van Sc P147.

Related Photographer Posts: Curt Lang, Stanley Triggs, Daniel O’Neill, Croton Studio, Art Jones, Philip Timms, Leonard Frank, Walter Edwin Frost, Bailey Bros., Don Coltman, Fred Herzog.

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3 comments

  1. Tyler Ingram says:

    I think they should put in some archway on the causeway just before Stanley Park. Sort of a commemoration of the old archway.

  2. I think so too Tyler…i really enjoyed looking at the old photos. I sometimes wish things could remain so simple as they were back then…but hey…progress happens despite our resistance to it. There are some wonderful things that it does provide…like sharing your blog…thanks, Debi

  3. Susan McInnis says:

    Thank you for the writeup on my Great Grandfather, HT Devine. I know there are a lot of other photographs he took, but it’s hard to find copies of them. These are only a small sampling of the photographs he took of early Vancouver.

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