June 26th, 2015 -- There was no wind but maybe just too much heat for this very large old tree next to the sidewalk on Cypress Street at 6th Avenue so it just slowly fell over, dead, between some parked cars. No damage done at all.
August 7th, 1971 -- The Gastown Riot, also known as "The Battle of Maple Tree Square", happened 43 years ago today. Glenn Baglo of the Vancouver Sun was one of the photographers assigned to cover the event and although none of the pictures he took that evening won awards the one above was probably the best of his career and that's saying something because Glenn took a lot of great photographs including four that won national newspaper awards. When I say the picture above I mean the image that is on the front of the print above which was salvaged from a pile of garbage the day Pacific Press moved downtown from their old building at 6th and Granville. There's a lot to tell from the back of this picture. It ran 6 columns on the front page of the Sun's first edition but must have been removed for the second (home) edition because it was remade 6 columns for the front page of the buff the name given to the final edition of The Sun sold only on the streets and in stores. Or, it could have received some retouching and then resent to engraving for the final edition. At some point the picture ran 44ems, which I think is about 7 inches, on page 6 of the first edition. This could have been a follow story on October 9th. It also ran two columns on the letters page Thursday probably August 12th, 1971. The picture was filed, obviously, under "Gastown Riot", in the oversize file because the print is 11x14 inches, but also under horses. What's interesting about all the above is that with digital photography all this history is lost, especially Glen's pencil written caption scribbled on the back just before he sent his prints out to the photo editor. If you want to see the front of the picture click HERE. The Gastown Riots are commemorated in a two-story-high photo mural called Abbott & Cordova by local artist Stan Douglas, installed in the atrium of the redeveloped Woodward's Complex.
November 7th 1978 -- When the employees of the Vancouver Province and Sun newspapers were locked out in November of 1978 they knew it was to be for a long time. In preparation they rented space at 554 East 15th Avenue near Kingsway in Vancouver and set up a strike newspaper called The Express. The lockout began on a Tuesday and the first edition came out on the Friday. Within weeks it was making a profit, in fact it was making so much money many of the reporters didn't want to return to the Province or Sun when the strike ended 8 months later. The stories about this newspaper are endless. Ros Oberlyn had a front page story in the first edition and she was on the corner of Granville and Broadway the next day as a newsie selling the paper on the street. Towards the end of the strike there was so much advertising and so little newsprint available the Express began stealing it from other newspapers. Above, Lance Secret looks on as the publisher of The Express, Don Brown, types the lead editorial for the first issue of the newspaper. Below is a slide show of pictures from the first day of The Express. The people in the pictures include, Patrick Durrant, Mike Beamish, Bob Ross, Rod Mickleburgh, Wyng Chow, Jake van der Kamp, Sun editor Bruce Smilie, Larry Emrick, Genevieve Westcott, Ashley Ford, Linda Hossie, Kent 'Cookie' Gilchrist, Geoff Wellens, Gerry Bellett, Bob Stahl, Scott Macrae, Ros Oberlyn, John Olding, and Carol Volkart. NOTE: This story was originally posted in 2009 but the pictures somehow vanished and the only way to recover them was to repost everything.
September 1971 -- Just after taking off from Edmonton's city airport a twin otter lost power forcing it to make an emergency landing in a schoolyard where it skidded through a fence ending up on a sidewalk in one of the city's working class neighbourhoods. This would be big deal today but back then it was ho hum. Notice that residents are walking around the airplane, that there are no attempts by police to cordon off the area, and there wasn't a mass evacuation of everyone living nearby. I was in the news room of the Edmonton Journal just about to leave for an advertising assignment when word of the crash came over the police radio. The photo editor said to drive by the crash, grab a picture, and head over to the advertising shoot. For some reason I phoned the office while at the crash probably to get them to send a reporter out. The photo editor was extremely annoyed because I'd been there all of 15 minutes. People were waiting at the advertising shoot and not pleased so I was ordered to leave immediately. However, I did have the last laugh as the picture won Canadian Press Picture of the month and it was the first time the Edmonton Journal had won the award. Because of the circumstances around me getting the picture the photo editor wasn't as happy as he should have been. He may have got back at me by telling CP that while taking the pictures I also rescued some small children from a nearby building and this was included in a story about the award. I'd done no such thing and was very embarrassed having it in the story. Almost forgot, no one was hurt and there was little damage to the plane which is still flying in Isreal.
September and October 1973 -- There is a lot of controversy about pipelines and oil tankers these days. The threat seems remote to some but we forget that oil spills were once common in Vancouver harbour. In 1973 in less than a month there were two. One caused by carelessness on a ship at dock and the other by a collision of two freighters at night in English Bay. The result was a mess on the beaches of West Vancouver and the shore along Stanley Park.