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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Video Vancouver: Granville Bridge (1954)

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Video Vancouver

The City of Vancouver presents. Cinematography: Jack McCallum. Story and Narration: Dorwin Baird. Produced by: Lew Perry. 1951-1954.

Item consists of a motion picture film developed for the Engineering Department of the City of Vancouver detailing the construction of the new Granville Street Bridge over False Creek. The film makes use of stock footage, original footage, and a voice over narration to tell the story of the problems the new bridge was built to solve, and how it solved them.

The film begins with a discussion of downtown traffic congestion and includes street scenes, the Woodward’s building, and the Marine Building, and dramatized depictions of impatient people in cars and stock footage of the old swing span in action. Staged shots of engineers and bridge models are used to support a discussion of the planning process before construction. The film includes footage of the ground-breaking ceremony with Mayor Frederick Hume and members of council, demolition of buildings to make room for the bridge and ramps, sinking foundation piles, foundation pouring for the main bridge piers.

The film discusses the advantages the new bridge would bring to the city, with scenes of families playing in Stanley Park, at the zoo, on a miniature train, and at the beaches. More construction details are included: piers are sunk into False Creek and pre-fabricated steel beams, are moved into place. The narration discusses the pneumatic rivet delivery system developed for the bridge; the remained of construction to completion is depicted. The film includes the opening ceremony, attended by Mayor Hume and councillors, and the completed bridge is shown from several angles.

Via Vancouver Archives (Public Domain)