Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Present

I remember this like it was yesterday, and not mumble mumble mumble years ago. After Christmas dinner, my grandfather pulled a big box from under the tree. What? For me? Golly, it's as big as I am! IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMG_0005 IMG_0006 IMG_0007

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

You're Catching My Bad Side!

Dad took this shot in the back yard, probably in the 1980s. Clearly someone didn't want to have his picture taken! IMG_0101

Two years ago, I saw a raccoon in the same back yard. Mine was a little more friendly looking. IMG_3888

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Then and Now: Fountain

Here's a couple of pictures my father took of the lighted fountain at Centennial Square in Victoria in 1974. I assume they were taken at the same time as the set-ups look identical.

IMG_0039 IMG_0038

Here's a picture I took of the fountain tonight during the Great Freeze of 2013. IMG_3328

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I can't honestly say that my dad was a particularly artistic photographer, but I really like this shot.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


The handsome guys of Platis Electric pose for Dad. Dad was not a professional photographer, but occasionally he must have taken some pictures as a favour for friends, or as a commission, as there are a number of pictures of the Platis trucks and offices in the collection, as well as other businesses. This would have most likely been a favour, as Tommy Platis, second from the right, was a friend of Dad's. IMG_0156

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fire Aftermath

My father worked as an electrician for the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. Sometime in the 1960s (probably 1965) there was a fire in one of the schools and Dad documented the damage. This is an interesting shot, as he arrived while firemen were finishing up. This is the only shot he got of them in action. 1965 - Montreal West High School Fire

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Black and White Cat

This undated photo is of our family cat, Tussy, taken probably sometime in the late 1970s. IMG_0056

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Double Your Money

Dad did a few trick shots in his day, these being two examples. I don't know exactly how he did this, I assume a double exposure. Dad had a little spot in the house where he could rig up a small shooting area with black cloth and a couple of lights, then he'd turn the bathroom into a darkroom. The subject of these photos is my maternal grandmother, my mother's mother. My mom's family lived in England, and this was taken in 1962 during Granny's only trip to Canada. The odd thing is that these are the only pictures I've found of her visit. 1962 Granny Willcox 1 1962 Granny Willcox 2

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Autumn in Cottage Country

Our family owned a cottage at Lake Wentworth, Quebec, for a few years in the 1960s. At the end of summer, the trees would change from green to a luscious panorama of reds and yellows. That's the family car; a 1962 Valiant. And yes, it has the latest in modern automotive technology; a push-button automatic transmission. That's a feature that really caught on, eh? 1968 Lake Wentworth (5)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Traditionally, the Victoria transit system makes changes to its service on Labour Day, and 1974 was no exception as the new 26 Crosstown route was introduced, and service to the Gordon Head area was revamped. While much adjusted since then, the basic routing on the Crosstown and Gordon Head service remains to this day. This shot was taken on Shelbourne Street at McKenzie Avenue in front of the University Heights Mall. The greenhouses you can see on the other side of the street through the buses windows are long gone now, replaced by condos. Serving the then-new 28 Majestic route in Gordon Head was venerable bus #794, a 1973 GM "New Look" diesel bus (also known as a GM Fishbowl). It only served Victoria streets 2 years before being transferred to the Vancouver fleet where it served out its days.

1974 28 Majestic

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

1974 Long Beach

So far, I've been mostly going through my father's slides. He liked shooting slides back in the day, because he found a place that would not only develop his slides, but also make a negative out of them, something that was pretty rare. He liked this because he had a dark room in the basement, and would make his own prints, but he could have the slides handy to show to family and friends. Many of the slides are 40 years old, some even 50. Amazingly, many are still in great shape. However, a few look like this 1974 photo of a surfer at Long Beach: IMG_0002
A little on the pinkish side. But with a few clicks of Photoshop, it looks like it was taken yesterday. IMG_0002 copy

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's Bugging You?

Dad took this picture of a mosquito on his arm while we camping at Schoen Lake in 1977. IMG_0091 How do you get a shot like that? Well, apart from a whole lot of patience, you need a whole bunch of gear. Here's a shot I took of Dad getting that shot. IMG_0096

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


This picture represents a bit of a mystery. This is a street in Charlottetown in early 1971. I think City Hall is on the left. The mystery is, what was Dad doing there in the middle of Winter? We think he was looking for work. My parents had decided that it was time to leave Montreal as a result of the October Crisis, and he applied to a number of places across the country. We made a trip to Calgary around this time to check things out, but he went to Charlottetown by himself. 1971 Charlottetown

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Today would have been Dad's 90th birthday, so it's time for another one of his self-portraits. It's 1964, and dad has set up the camera on a timer for a family portrait. Note his unerring sense of timing as he blinks just as the shutter goes off. Also, this is clearly where my fascination with dolls action figures began. This is probably the earliest photo of the five of us: my parents, my two sisters and myself. scan0001 copy
And this one, not taken by my father, is probably the last one taken of the five of us, from Christmas 1998, a couple of years before he passed away.
scan0002 (2)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Redcoats Are Coming

In 1971, my cousin Rob graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston. Mom, Dad and I drove own from Montreal for the graduation ceremony. Dad took the opportunity to take his camera along. 1971 Royal Military College Kingston (4)
I remember that at one point in the ceremony, probably depicted in the picture below, the graduates were asked to step forward. Not understanding that the rest of the group were continuing on in their studies, I blurted out, "Hey, look at all the guys who flunked!" The fellow sitting beside us roared with laughter. 1971 Royal Military College Kingston (2)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1969 Montreal West Station

This might be a picture that I took with my Dad's camera. I have two reasons for thinking this: a) I've always been drawn to receding angles and lines in my photos, and I'm always looking for that when I'm shooting buildings and objects; and b) whoever took this shot was low to the ground. I may have been tall for my age, but not as tall as my Dad, at least not at that age. Or I just made him kneel. That's not out of the question, either. 1969 Montreal West Station

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Snakes On A Plane...Actually, It's a Fence. And There's Only One Snake

When I was a kid, we used to see these small snakes in the yard all the time. We don't anymore. We usually only saw then in the garden or lawn, but I remember this one. It slithered along the fence, and Dad ran for his camera. He was quite proud of the shot with the tongue sticking out. And rightly so. IMG_0057 IMG_0059

Thursday, June 27, 2013


My sister Ann passed away late last year. This week would have been her 68th birthday. This image was taken in our home in Montréal fifty years ago in 1963, meaning that, if my math is correct, she'd be 18. I love that carpet! img198

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Puffins are rare in these parts, so rare that I've never seen one in the wild. But obviously, there were a few hanging around Willows Beach in 1971 where Dad took this photo. Or perhaps not. A reader believes these puffins are from the old Sealand of the Pacific marine attraction, and I think she might be right. I found some other pictures from the same period from Sealand, and they will appear here one day in the future. 1971 Oak Bay

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nap Time

From our back yard in Montreal in 1970, a sleeping caterpillar. IMG_0067

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Dad loved taking pictures of bugs and flowers, especially after our move to Victoria in the early seventies and he was able to indulge his passion in our back yard. But this bug shot dates back to our house in Montreal in 1970. IMG_0069

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Funky Phone Booth

Who ya gonna call? In 1971 along Government Street in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, if you were going to call someone, you'd plunk your dime (yes, only a dime) into this nifty looking pay phone. And look, kids! It has one of them old-timey rotary dials!
1971 Government St Victoria

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Peddle Car

Why yes, Officer. I did get my driver's license from a CrackerJack box. Why do you ask? 1967 John peddle car

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Then and Now: Centennial Ledge

Anyone want to guess when this picture was taken? Why, yes. 1971. How could you tell? 1971 was the 100th anniversary of British Columbia's entry into Confederation and Victoria was all decked out in Anniversary decorations. Dad took this pic of the Ledge in the fall of 1971. 1971 The Ledg Compared to the picture below that I took of the Ledge last summer, not much has changed. The trees are bigger, of course. But the other change I see is that vehicle traffic is no longer allowed along the walkway right in front of the main stairs. P7234532