Vernon historian has unearthed footage from various BC locations from the 1960s

60-year-old road trip

Today's trip down memory lane stops in several areas of BC.

Vernon historian and videographer Francois Arseneault as compiled footage from the 1960s into a digital video.

But this week, Arseneault is doing things a little differently.

These days, videos are shot in a digital format and largely taken with smart phones of some sort, however, 60 years ago everything was recorded on film.

Today's episode is a combination of both 8 mm and 16 mm footage from 1964 and 1962 respectively from various locations in the province.

Arseneault compares the two formats side by side.

The footage begins with a journey between Vancouver Island and Tsawwassen aboard one of BC Ferries’ ships, the crown corporation was only four years old in 1964.

“It’s a beautiful warm sunny day with clear blue skies. The waters of the Strait of Georgia are always busy with pleasure craft, fishing boats and other work boats,” Arseneault said.

“For the first-time traveler on the ferry, the experience is wonderful, everyone has their own memory of that first ferry passage. The sea air, the breeze, the squawking of seagulls, the blast of the ship’s horn approaching Active Pass. The shuffling down the stairs back to our cars to patiently wait to drive off the ferry.”

The traveller then heads underground top the George Massey Tunnel, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1959 to overwhelming support.

The 629-metre long tunnel was considered an engineering marvel, and was the first rectangular reinforced concrete immersed traffic tunnel in North America and second of its kind in the world.
The road trip then heads eastbound on the Trans-Canada Highway where it enters the Yale Tunnel, 59 years ago on freshly paved highway.

The next reel appears to be in northern BC, possibly at the WAC Bennet Dam construction site near Hudson's Hope.

It is then back to Vancouver Island, but Arseneault is not sure exactly where.

“It might possibly be Esquimalt given the structures and crane,” he said.

At the four-minute and 14-second mark, the footage switches from 8 mm to 16 mm on Quesnel Lake in 1964.

“The difference between 8 mm and 16 mm is quite evident. To be fair, 16 mm cameras were offered with much better lenses than the more economical 8 mm cameras. This camera in particular had a wonderfully sharp lens,” said Arseneault.

Quesnel Lake is a glacial lake or fjord and is the major tributary of the Fraser River and with a depth of 511 m (1,677 ft), it is claimed to be the deepest fjord lake in the world, the deepest lake in BC, and the third-deepest lake in North America, after Great Slave Lake and Crater Lake.

Arseneault is always looking for more information on the vintage footage he digs up, and he encourages people to add their input in the comments section on his Youtube page.

Arseneault has an extensive collection of vintage footage, and he is looking for more.

Anyone who may have old 16 mm or 8 mm film footage of the Vernon and Okanagan area is invited to email Arseneault at [email protected]

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