Fancy a trip down memory lane?
That’s exactly what Chris Thompson was feeling when he fired up his dash cam to replicate some vintage footage shot by B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation.
The amateur video producer then cut the two videos side-by-side to illustrate the difference between a drive from West Vancouver to Burnaby in 1966 and 2018.
“I actually saw on Global a few years ago a side-by-side of the SkyTrain run. Someone had filmed on the SkyTrain, I think it was in ’84 or ’86, and someone else had filmed it 30 years later,” Thompson said.
“And so I saw a little while ago the Ministry of Transportation put out a film video going from Horseshoe Bay to Vancouver and I thought it would be really interesting to do the same thing.”
The video begins on Taylor Way in West Vancouver, and the major differences aren’t immediately obvious. The Lions Gate Bridge and Stanley Park causeway, for example, are virtually unchanged except for the signage.
But once the vehicles emerge into downtown, the videos are like night and day.
“You don’t notice the difference until you actually see it side-by-side,” said Thompson.
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“Downtown was a really striking difference because there are maybe two or three buildings that are still there, the rest of it has sort of sprung up into this gleaming skyscraper village.”
There are more big changes as the vehicle approaches the Georgia viaduct, with the hulking presence of BC Place on one side in the modern video, and a single bridge feeding the downtown core in the 1966 video.
As the vehicles proceed along Main Street, there are a few similarities, with the Cobalt Hotel and Thornton Park (the green space in front of Pacific Central Station) appearing in both videos.
Thompson said the toughest part of the video was the stretch of Kingsway from Vancouver to Burnaby, where he said few landmarks remained to allow him to sync the videos together.
Iconic neon signs like those belonging to the El Dorado Motor Hotel, Safeway and Dragon Inn Chop Suey are nowhere to be seen in the 2018 video, replaced by low-rise apartments, condos and of course, the forest of towers that is Metrotown Centre.
You can see more videos from the vault in the Ministry of Transportation’s BC Road Trip Time Machine playlist.