Today vintage.es takes us to Vancouver, B.C. in the 1970s.
See all of them in the full gallery at vintage.es
Wow I love these vintage pictures, they look so clear and cheery.
The building behind the first picture looks incredible cool..
It has a modern 70s retro chic look, only it’s current to the era. It would look entirely hip today.
“Cigs” 55c! Dammit, When they hit 60c, I quit…Just spent $8.00 for some Pall Malls…..
They’re $16 here downtown!
$5 for a pack of Marlboro here
Thanks for posting these. The building in the first picture looks like a modern building down here in Denver! Somebody was way ahead of their time.
Apparently it was a restaurant and art gallery.
Paul, very cool. Like Shorpy, this may well become another site I visit daily to keep me away from the news sites.
Thank you for these. I like that vintage pre-1970s Texaco branding, and retro gas station branding in general. I wish some oil companies would do some vintage identity on their stations. I still appreciate that ‘Esso’ and their logo remains in Canada.
Sinclair still does. All their stations still have Dino outside. Don’t know if the oil still says “aged 100,000,000 years” though.
Great shots. All these pictures have a very intense blue. I suppose the photographer used a filter, to get these intense colors. There is very little glare off the glass surfaces. That makes me think a polarizing filter was involved.
In those days, a polarizer was almost mandatory. Used one many times myself. Except when I used Kodachrome.
Are those gas prices per gallon, or per liter?
Those prices would be in gallons. As gas in Canada would been have around 81 cents a liter after 2000. Canada started converting from imperial measures to metric in the mid 1970s.
As a kid, I used to get a kick out of our freeway speed limit signs switching to 100 km/h.
And those were Imperial gallons, about 20% larger than the US gallon.
I love the bright colours and the Googie Architecture.
As a Vancouver resident, that sure brought back memories! The most obvious thing is the lack of traffic. Vancouver is one of the most congested cities in North America now.
The photo of PayLess Gas is cool, but wasn’t from Vancouver. PayLess was from Vancouver Island, run by Allan Vanderkerkof (sp?) who really tried to end the virtual monopoly the big oil companies have. He started the whole concept of a price war, here, anyway. In the end, he sold out to Shell. He was quite a local hero!
Gallon. These shots were mostly taken in late fall 1977, Canada went metric in 1979.
By going here I calculated that gas now costs about $5.40 CDN per Imperial gal,
bear in mind that is 4.546 liters as opposed to 3.8 for the US.
Just for fun I did both conversions for currency and gallon size and $3.44 US per US gallon is my number.
Gas was indeed a bit cheaper then, but the cars used a lot more!
I spent C$1200 on gasoline last year. Not a bad deal.
Right on. As soon as I saw the price listed at 81 cents a gallon I recalled that in Alberta at that time a gallon was around sixty-something cents. I had an ex-RCMP Custom 500 with a 460 V8 at the time.
Thankfully my radio station paid for most of my fill ups as I used the car for work purposes.
Delightful, and reminiscent of an era when, despite automotive malaise in the performance department, the cars themselves had varying personalities and colours. These are not today’s look-alikes with varying saturations of monochrome on the outside and rodent grey on the inside.
It’s funny, today I totally appreciate and respect any car that is a survivor from another era. Regardless, of it’s book value or reputation.
When I look at all these pics of Novas, Vegas, LTDs, etc., serving as daily drivers from their era, I can’t help but see them as the multitudes of malaise rustmobiles many were. And I am so grateful to have the wide choice of reliability, durability and economy of cars today. 😉
Vancouver looks great and much like I remember from my first time there – in late summer of 1978. It was clean, sunny, not hot but pleasant, not crowded and, to me, very different from Seattle – where I had been a day prior.
I remember the PNE Coliseum. It was back then a fairly modern hockey arena and by now is probably obsolete. Also something that shocked me – the Enver Hoxha Bookstore in the downtown area. This was a bookstore named for the leader of the then very Stalinist and closed country of Albania. I didn’t go in; I knew I wouldn’t be interested in the material stocked.
That trip I drove from Seattle in a rented Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country wagon with California plates. I remember that car because it was such a very odd car to get from Hertz at Sea-Tac. Had a reservation for a wagon and expected a Ford LTD or Chevy Impala but got that goofy Chrysler instead.
The Coliseum is still there, but now for minor league hockey.
Vancouver has always been an “anything goes” kind of place. Stalinist bookshops? Hell, yeah! Weed shops all over the place, we got ’em! See a guy dressed as a drag queen bozo the clown riding a unicycle on the sidewalk? Nobody would even bat an eye. And the great thing is, it works just great!
Inter-racial marriage and children? Everywhere. People with international bases from which to operate? Check! Does everybody get along? Well, our crime rates would show that all the right wing propaganda is just that.
I think of Vancouver as the San Francisco of Canada.
In some ways, yes. San Francisco without the huge numbers of homeless. SF without crumbling infrastructure.
Great pics, certainly a lot cleaner than NYC during the same decade . I was 15 when Canada went metric, and I still struggle with it today.
I like the Datsun F10. Must be something wrong with me. Oh well….
I’ll take the yellow greenish nova sedan
Google ‘Fred Herzog’ for great pictures of Vancouver in the late 50s and 60s. I wonder how much those houses with the back alleys are worth now? 1.5 million plus? With the Hi-Low, it took till the mid 80s to get rid of 1950s design in supermarkets in Canada.
You beat me to it! Some years ago the Vancouver Art Gallery had an exhibit of his photos. He had had a few exhibitions over the years, but not many. Given the technology at the time, he had to set up a slide projector and make a slide show of it.
For the VAG exhibit, he’d printed out a bunch of the images on a large-format ink jet printer. He said he’d digitally restored the sometimes faded colors to their original brightness, but he’d had to resist the temptation to punch up the colors beyond what they’d been!
I really enjoyed the exhibit. It left me feeling that it would have made me nostalgic for the Vancouver of my youth if I’d been a Vancouver native, which I wish I’d been!
A lot of the nighttime photos showed neon signs. At some point Vancouver took down most or all neon signs as part of a beautification effort. Previously Vancouver had had more neon signs per capita than any other city in the world.
Fred Herzog emigrated from Germany to Canada after WWII and supported himself as a medical photographer.
The Herzog collection is wonderful. Here’s a great shot of Granville Street in Vancouver about 1960. A lot of the neon signage in the city was gone by the late 70’s. More at http://www.equinoxgallery.com/artists/portfolio/fred-herzog
I live in Fairview. A 30’X60′ lot would be C$1.5m, with no house on it.
Oh, good lord – that’d get you a huge house with oceanfrontage here with some to spare!!!
I know that’s a 67 valiant in the discount food store photo behind the olds cutlass as my dad had a 67 valiant signet. the emblem on the one in the photo doesn’t look right to me
That Stanfields duo look like they could’ve been doing it in the back of the clamshell.
I am wearing a Stanfield’s T-shirt as I write this. Great Canadian brand!
I thought it was a brand of cigarettes until you prompted a goggle search.
Nice pictures – the colours of film photography add their own charm.
This was around the time I came to Vancouver from the east coast after university. It’s always a shock to be reminded how different the city was back then. Even for someone from a much smaller place, Vancouver felt like a big, isolated, somewhat sleepy town, visually dominated by lumber yards, car lots, and strip commercial development. All in a spectacular setting that took a newcomer’s breath away.
Not all change has been for the better of course – traffic and ‘the third least affordable housing market in the world’ (down from #2 last year – woo hoo!) come to mind – but much of it has.
I have been living in and out of Vancouver since 1976. In those days, it was indeed a sleepy hippy town. Then came Expo ’86, which changed everything.
Now Vancouver is a bustling international city, absolutely dripping in wealth. Business is booming all over, all the shops have help wanted signs and everything is shiny and beautiful. The downside? Well, if you want to make your living bolting the same thing all day, you’ll never survive.
But if you are creative, and willing to go outside the box, the opportunities are fantastic. If you are not willing to be creative and think outside the box, other places are better for you.
Expo meant bars had to be open on Sundays and then stayed open due to public insistence. Gas Town was a run down dirty area with strip joints. Look to day now its full of hipster bars and boutique stores.
Now a 2 bed apartment in North Vancouver cost you $1000000+ .
As you probably know, when Hong Kong was scheduled to revert to PRC sovereignty, quite a few pregnant women from Hong Kong came to Vancouver to give birth so their children would be Canadian citizens and would be able to send for their parents if necessary.
You put me in mind of the Harold Hedd underground comics, which were explicitly set in Vancouver:
For a while ca. 1970 there was also a Vancouver-based rock music magazine, Poppin’, which I found a copy of in St. Louis, of all places. It was actually quite good. No doubt I’m dating myself, but so be it.
Right after Expo ’86 there was a piece in the Seattle Weekly by a Vancouver writer whose name escapes me. He took quite a jaundiced view of the proceedings—the subhead on the article was, “Vancouver gambles and loses, again.”
I spent a weekend in Vancouver in December in the ‘80s, and I saw a store display of Santa’s sleigh being pulled by a team of pink plastic lawn flamingos. Granted, a window designer in any top-tier city could have thought it up, but it was still pretty cool!
A couple of books by the humorist Eric Nicol, Twice Over Lightly and Vancouver, have passed through my hands. In the latter book, there’s a passage about how an employee is transferred from Toronto/Hamilton/Winnipeg/Calgary/wherever to Vancouver, and then transferred again a few years later: “You never heard such wailing and breast-beating in the vicinity of a $70K house.” (Note: this book is (c) 1970.)
I hope that if I’m good in this life (big if), I can live in Vancouver in the next one.
Did I mention that I’m very fond of Vancouver?
Speaking of Vancouver, I once mentionned on Hemmings blog a clip posted on Youtube where a guy filmed with a super-8 camera a bicycle ride around Vancouver circa 1974-75.
A grand day out on a trusty ten speed – you can almost feel the pleasant buzz of exhaustion arriving back home.
More trees (and buildings) everywhere except for Stanley Park, where the huge blowdown of 2006 (10 000 trees gone) is evident at 6:50. It’s still hard to get used to the relative desolation in that part of the park.
I remember going to the B in. in Stanley park. well some of it. I was there from 1972 till 2015. then moved to acreage in Alberta Ahh space and more sunshine. made out like a bandit.
Love these period photos!
I dig the random, base model cars that get captured in these old street pictures. I can’t help but notice in modern period movies how the cars are mostly high option, collector type cars which are definitely not what you would see on a typical street at the time. Of course I understand it is easer to find those type of vehicles to put in movies, but I notice when a production goes the extra mile to get more typical cars.
The Pontiac cabs are interesting. My grandparents had a 77 Catalina that looked just like that cab, same color even (the back half at least).
Great pictures, I lived in Vancouver (well, North Burnaby) just a few years after these shots would have been taken. In those days a regular guy could afford to live there, and I spent a few afternoons in Seymour Billiards with their 36 tables.
The Vancouver in these photos really was just an overgrown small town. As note above it all changed after Expo ’86. We invited the world, and they came back and bought the place! I have one of Fred Herzog’s books and every shot in is a masterpiece to my eyes.
Seymour Billiards, The Luv-A-Fair, the Dufferin Hotel – a thrillingly shady part of town on weekend nights, back in the day.
The same view today, all cleaned up…
I’ve never been to Vancouver but can tell from these pics and things I’ve heard that I would love it. There is supposed to be a pretty strong classic car culture up there, because of the mild climate that is kind to old cars. I thought the lead pic was new because that’s how a lot of modern building look in LA these days and we frequently have 70s stuff parked at the curb. Thanks for posting.
I’ve looked at these pics more than once these past few days recalling different memories from each visit I made to the city over the years.
I had an opportunity while working at a TV and radio station in Prince George to get a reporting job at two different radio stations in Vancouver. This was in early 1978. I would have been making the same wage but faced with much, much higher rent. Even in the late seventies Vancouver was notorious for a high cost of living. Buying a house was still possible for the average person at the time. Not so now. Thank God I used common sense and stayed where I was.
It is a beautiful area of British Columbia and the drive there from the east is worth the road time.
Thanks for the pics.
K-te recordsl! Darryl B from CFUN! CKLG! That little video took me back.
The irony is that Vancouver is only a livable city today if you commit to living in the central core and get by without a car at all. It is gridlock now on every major street 24 hours a day.
I visited Vancouver for the first time in 1977, on a brief road trip post-graduation, pre-work. Somewhere I have a snapshot of my ’73 Vega parked in front of a big prison outside town … not sure why we stopped there. I seem to recall that gas was pushing $1 a gallon in more rural parts of BC then and some pumps had been recalibrated to show cost per quart, since the couldn’t be set to more than $0.99 per gallon.
Oakalla Prison or B.C. Penitentiary?
I remember Japanese cars being ubiquitous at the time in Vancouver. Most domestic vehicles that I can remember were from the 1960s. However, these photos show that late model domestic cars were still common.
During late 1970s, there was fast food restaurant, which I think was in Richmond, BC, that had photos on the wall of early 20th-century Vancouver street scenes. As a small child, the pictures appeared to be from an incomprehensible past, far removed from the present. These photos from the late 1970s now have the same feel.
Also, I think the some of the photos showing sparse traffic may have been taken on Sunday. Stores were prohibited from opening because of the Lords Day Act in most provinces. I believe this was struck down by the courts in the 1980s.
If it was a sit down restaurant. Perhaps a White Spot? Seem to recall they used to post local photos. Then again I might be wrong.
It was a McDonalds that had just opened. The 1920s decor was popular back then. I do not know exactly where it was. Richmond is almost unrecognizable today.
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