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iN VIDEO: Film footage shows Vernon from 90 years ago

Image Credit: YOUTUBE: Greater Vernon Museum & Archives
December 23, 2020 - 7:00 AM

A recently unearthed film of the opening of the Vernon airport offers a rare but very clear glimpse of the town almost 90 years ago.

The 14-minute film showcases the opening of the Vernon Airport at the army base in 1931, and is far superior in quality than many films of the era.

Vernon historian and videographer Francois Arsenault describes the quality of the film as "nothing short of amazing" and is hoping viewers may recognize some of the faces in the footage.

"That's the beauty (of the film) we never know, somebody out there will say, 'that's my great grandfather or that's my grandfather or mother', someone will recognize someone in here," Arsenault said. "The quality is so distinctive, so sharp, it's inevitable that this will occur."

The film is not just remarkable for its quality, but also for the event itself. It appears the entire city of Vernon came out to the airport's opening.

Arsenault said at the time the Vernon airstrip was positioned to be the connecting point between Vancouver and the prairie provinces. And while that never happened, the planes that flew that day along with the crowds of people and the dignitaries involved implies there was great hope for the new airport and what it might mean to the city.

The quality and professionalism of the film, made by Roger Bourne and Charles Lambly who were pioneers in the Vancouver movie industry, highlights how important this event was.

"Somebody was bankrolling this, but again it's lost to history," he said.

He thinks the film would be played before a feature movie at the cinema.

Arsenault, who has been volunteering at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives for three decades, said how the film made its way to the archives is also unknown. He estimates it had been there for at least 50 years.

Together with Ken Ellison, who spearheaded the project, the 35-millimetre film was sent to Ontario to be digitalized several years ago. It was recently posted on Youtube and has garnered plenty of interest.

Along with multiple airplanes, including a 12-passenger Ford Tri-Motor, one of the biggest planes in the world at the time, the footage shows plenty of close-ups of the crowds all dressed in their Sunday best.

While the probability of anyone in the film still being alive is slim, Arsenault hopes someone may recognize some of the faces and help answer many of the unanswered questions the film has posed.

Do you recognize anyone in the footage?


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2020

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