Vancouver in May 1907
|In this scene, the camera is traveling east along Hastings St. at Hamilton St. approaching the intersection of Cambie Street.|
This is a film from May 1907 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
|Aside from the "Scenes of the World" sign on the left, the "Cascade Beer" sign on the right also is interesting. It reads "Cascade - The Beer without a Peer." on the wall.|
Harbeck was a veteran filmmaker - to the extent that was possible at the dawn of the film age - who had earned his reputation filming the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. I have posted a film of San Francisco right before the earthquake, but that was taken by one of Harbeck's competitors. Harbeck just happened to be in San Francisco with his film equipment right after the equipment, which is why he was able to film the city's ruins from a cable car being pushed down the street.
Harbeck had worked for the Selig Polyscope Company and was a member of the Moving Picture and Projecting Machine Operators Union. The Canadian Pacific Railway's Department of Colonisation then hired Harbeck to "put Western Canada on the motion picture screen in a scenic, industrial, and comic form."
This is one of Harbeck's 13 single-reeler films for the railway. It's perhaps ironic in a sense that there aren't any railroad tracks in this film, but that wasn't the point of the series - it was to attract people (primarily rich Europeans) to buy railroad tickets to see western Canada.
The railway sent Harbeck to Paris to study with filmmaker Leon Gaumont. He sailed for Europe in February 1912. Harbeck was returning to Canada on the Titanic, having boarded at Southampton. In fact, it is rumored that Harbeck was going to film the Titanic during his passage. He had two motion picture cameras with him on the Titanic and had 100,000 feet of motion picture films. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Harbeck did some filming on the Titanic, and there are rumors that some films were screened on the ship before it went down.
Harbeck's wife, Catherine, was on the Titanic. She claimed Harbeck's body - one of the few that were found and retrieved - and buried it in Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo. Mrs. Harbeck passed away in 1940.
As for this film, it speaks for itself, but I will make a few personal observations. Obviously, Vancouver is a fairly well-developed city in 1906. It is full of trolleys and is very built-up. There aren't any cars, unlike in San Francisco and New York at the time, which is due to the fact that those cities were unusual for the time, not Vancouver. Thus, there are many horses and wagons and lots of manure in the streets.
|Elephant White lead paint is popular.|
I hope you find this as interesting as I do!