(1907) - As It Is Now (2009)
Saturday, May 4, 1907
was a special day in the history of Victoria.
That was the day that William Harbeck produced a cinematograph of downtown Victoria.
a streetcar loaned by the British Columbia Electric Railway Company, he
travelled down the streets, turning the hand crank of a camera fixed to
the front of the car. He began at City Hall, travelled down Douglas
Street, turned on to Yates and then on to Government, where he
concluded his journey at the Post Office.
He was so taken
with the view of the Empress Hotel being built on the former mudflats
that he took a panoramic view of the harbour - including the Empress
Hotel site, the Legislative Buildings, and the CPR terminal.
In the afternoon, he travelled by sea to the Point Ellice Bridge where
he photographed the harbour and the sealing fleet. He then transferred
to an electric launch and travelled up the Gorge Waterway as far as the
Gorge Bridge. On the return trip he captured the Isle of the Dead
and the saw mills, conveniently in full operation.
The Victoria Daily Colonist of May 5, 1907
the experience and notes that Mr Harbeck would be travelling "along the
line of the E & N to Nanaimo: Stopping at Shawnigan Lake for
photos of the "glittering sheet of water and the pretty little hotel."
He then made his way to Vancouver where he shot 400 feet of film and
planned to then travel up the CPR as far as Lytton.
From this trip, only the footage of Victoria and Vancouver remains. It
was found in the Australian archives a few years ago and brought back to
What is interesting about the video is the number of buildings that are
shown along the route that remain today, over a century later. It is the purpose of this website to provide the viewer with
information on the buildings which would have been on the route in
1858, and then in 1907, and what is now here today.
This Hallmark Heritage Society project was funded by the Hbc Foundation and the BC150-Heritage Legacy Fund.
Project manager and researcher: Helen Edwards.
Principal Photography & Consultant:
Ron Bukta, West Ventures Photography.