The Vancouver Heritage Foundation has come up with a traditional gift – a calendar – that at first glance looks like it’s been done in the traditional way: ‘before’ scenes of Vancouver juxtaposed with what the same place looks like now.  But they’ve done something much more clever.   They’ve chosen to illustrate changes (and similarities) in our way of life – our pastimes in our past times.  For instance, how Vancouverites exercise,  in this marvellous pairing from August:

But if there’s one month that shows how our culture has changed even as it maintains its traditions, then it has to be these comparative images from January:

The first image is taken on New Years Day in 1930.  That’s old English Bay pier in the background, long demolished, with the Englesea Lodge behind – an apartment building that came down in the mid-1980s after a suspicious fire.

The second image, of course, is the Polar Bear Swim.  But take a closer look at the first shot, particularly of the life guards.  They’d look darn good in their own calendar, even today, but I doubt they’d be holding hands.  Nonetheless, an insight into culture appropriateness over the decades – and a great find by the Heritage Foundation.

You can order the calendar directly from the VHF off their web site.  Only $12.


  1. To me it looks more as if they were in the middle of shaking hands – and got distracted in a way that would have been deemed entirely appropriate in the 1930s or 40s.

  2. Yeah, looks like shaking hands – as in “good accomplishment” on the polar bear swim. Now the chilly temps and a wet t-shirt may well be distracting…

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