Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 1964

Almost two, here's me taking my new friend for a walk down the hall 50 years ago today. Apparently, I walked him down the hall for hours.

1964 John Christmas Day

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Camera Club Girls IV

Another selection of Dad's photos of models from his camera club in Montréal. It's pretty easy to understand why he was a member.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Peddle Car - The Sequel

Obviously, I must have loved this peddle cat -- I published a previous picture by my dad of me riding in it. In this photo, I seem to be taking it a lot more seriously. Maybe in this one I haven't got my licence yet and I'm still studying the rules of the road. IMG_0171 copy

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lake Memphremagog

Sunset on Lake Memphremagog. Unless it's a sunrise. Or maybe a moonrise. Don't ask me, I wasn't even born yet. 1961 Lake Memphremagog

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Then and Now: Rockies Road

In the summer of 1976, my dad rented a VW camper van and the two of us drove around southern BC and the Rockies. There's a chance that I might have taken this one; I held his camera while he was driving and was taking shots out the window. But we did stop to take shots, so it's hard to know which of us took which shots as that knowledge has passed into the misty murkiness of failing memories. Regardless, it was taken somewhere on the road between Jasper and Banff, somewhere near the Columbia Icefield. What I love about this picture is the curving of the layers of rock. Can you imagine the force needed to bend those layers over time? Wow.
Clearly, this mountain made an impression on me, as in 2013 I took a new picture of the same mountain. IMG_0176

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Then and Now: Mile 0

In 1971, not long after we moved to Victoria, Dad snapped this shot of the Mile 0 marker. 1971 Mile 0 Victoria This marker designates the Pacific terminus of the 8,000 km long Trans-Canada Highway. Sometime between then and now, the maker has been replaced. I took a picture of the new marker this past summer: IMG_5895 And if you're dying to know what the backside of the marker looks like... IMG_5900 Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that something has been added directly behind the Mile 0 marker. IMG_5896

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Then and Now: Victoria Harbour 1971

This is a shot my dad took of Victoria's Inner Harbour in 1971, and below it is a shot of the harbour I took a few weeks ago. My, how things have changed. 1971 Inner Harbour Victoria

In the foreground, the most obvious change is the rearrangement of the docks. Seaplanes still come into the harbour, but they don't dock in this part of it anymore. In the background, well, nothing's the same. All the buildings are gone, and the big piers jutting out into the harbour are gone. The MV Coho that dominates my photo docked on the other side of the harbour in 1971. The only building that remains is the old CPR Steamship Terminal building in the top left corner. In 1971, it was the Victoria Royal London Wax Museum; after recent renovations and seismic upgrading it's now the Robert Bateman Centre. IMG_5939 Missing entirely now is the Undersea Garden (seen behind the seaplane in dad's photo). The Undersea Gardens was a long-time tourist attraction in the harbour. It's a 150-foot purpose built vessel where, according to Wikipedia, visitors "....descended 15 feet (4.6 m) beneath the ocean surface to look through the many viewing windows of the aquariums that surrounded the vessel and see the various marine life of coastal British Columbia, in their natural and protected environment." It was originally opened at the Oak Bay Marina in 1964, then it was towed to the Inner Harbour in 1969, but closed last year. We saw it this past January while kayaking in the harbour. It was towed to a shipyard where it sat waiting to be scrapped or sold. IMG_2064

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Then and Now: Across the Harbour

A 1971 shot looking across Victoria's Inner Harbour taken by my dad. 1971 Victoria Harbour
As we can see from a recent photo that I took below, from this angle the harbour looks like it hasn't changed much with the exception of the addition of the looming Grand Pacific Hotel. But looks can be deceiving; this is probably the one view, towards the Legislature whose blue domes you can see in the trees, that hasn't changed radically through the years.IMG_5960

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Camera Club Girls II

Here's another assortment of pictures that Dad took of a model at a camera club meeting in the late 1960s in Montréal.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


My sister Ann would have turned 69 this week. Here she is at 18. Dig that beehive! img197

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bee Fly

This is a bee fly. Not a bee, but a bee fly. A bombyliidae, if you like big-sounding words. They are not particularly well-known or understood and are often mistaken for, well, bees. Dad snapped this shot in the backyard in Victoria some time in the 1980s. We were stumped as to the identity of this creature for a while, until dad showed the picture to an insect expert at the Royal British Columbia Museum who supplied us with the answer. IMG_0081

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Then and Now: St. Joseph's Oratory

Here's a picture my dad took of St.Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal in Montréal. It began life as a small chapel in 1904, but has grown and been rebuilt throughout the 20th century. The current configuration was completed in 1967. According to Dad's records, this shot would have been taken on Avenue de Somerled looking North-ish towards St. Joseph's in 1970. 1970 St Josephs from Somerled
Or was it? Below is the modern Google Maps view. This is Somerled looking North-ish, just south of Oxford. I'm fairly certain I'm in the correct spot. The cross street ahead is a one-street crossing left-to-right in both pictures, there's a brick house on the right corner that look similar (red brick with white windows, grey at ground level, with a small window in the grey area), and the street ends in just a couple of blocks. The only thing missing in the Google Maps view is, of course, St. Joseph's.
So either Dad got his street wrong, or a super-villain has kidnapped the largest Church in Canada. But Somerled is the only street that points directly at the side of St. Joseph's like that. And it's hard to imagine that the entire hill has disappeared. What is going on here?
There may be another explanation other than the nefarious machinations of Lex Luthor. First, the height of the Google Street View car picture is higher than the height of my Dad, so that may have affected the angle of view of the Google pic. I also wonder if Dad was using a telephoto lens which may have resulted in some foreshortening of the image, making St.Joseph's appear closer than it is. If I've got the right spot, St. Joseph's is still about 2 km away. And the Google folks would have been using a wide angle lens, making St.Joseph's appear even further away. An interesting illustration of how an image can be manipulated by the lens you choose.
On the other hand, that's a lot of missing hill and church to account for. I may just have to go back there one day to solve the mystery!

Reader Stephanie found this Google Map image from a little further up the street where you can see St. Joseph's poking up. The angle is nothing like my father got, but at least one can see the Oratory.

Then reader Blair found this image with a better view of the oratory which when cropped gives a view of the oratory remarkably similar to what dad shot. It is an interesting study of perspective and lenses. All the photos were taken within a couple of blocks of each other, and yet each have different views of the church.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Here's a portrait of me that my day took, late 1960s, so I am probably five or six years old. I don't remember this picture being taken at all, so no story to go with it, but it's a nice, relaxed shot.


Friday, April 11, 2014


Me as a youngling. It's a little know fact that I invented the facepalm. You're welcome. IMG_0001

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Camera Club Girls

My dad was a member of a camera club in Montreal 1960s. I wonder what sort of craziness happened at camera club meetings in the Swinging Sixties. Probably the same thing that happens at most club meetings now: spend five minutes approving the last meeting's minutes, then spend the rest of the time talking about girls. But at least at the camera club, girls actually showed up...and here's the photographic evidence to prove it. Interestingly, all these shots were on a single negative strip, and no other shots seem to have been taken at the meeting. This, of course, highlights the difference between shooting on film then and shooting digitally now, and how every shot on film will cost you money just to see if it worked out. If I was at the meeting with my modern camera, I'd be shooting dozens if not hundreds of shots, and all of them free. IMG_0071 IMG_0070 IMG_0069 IMG_0074 IMG_0073 IMG_0072

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tree in the Snow

Here's a lovely snowscape shot that my dad took somewhere along the Ottawa River in 1965. 1965 Ottawa River

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I have little information other than the obvious that it's a twig in the snow, other than it was taken in 1969. Is this twig the last holdout against a snowy winter onslaught? Or the first sign of an approaching spring thaw? 1969