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Chinatown (Vancouver, B.C.) Video
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1958 : A year to remember

Item is a film containing highlights of British Columbia's centennial year in Vancouver. Includes shots of an antique car parade, a tall ship at dock, naval vessels, street decorations in Vancouver, Chinese Freemasons parade (with drill team, dragon dance, etc.), a powwow, horse racing at Exhibition Park, PNE parade, and the last of the region's interurban streetcars. Film also includes footage showing the aftermath of the Second Narrows Bridge collapse.

1991 - Year of the sheep (ram), Chinese New Year - Parade, Vancouver, B.C.

Item is an amateur home movie of the 1991 Chinese New Year’s parade in Vancouver. It includes footage of the parade from East Pender Street outside the Chinese Cultural Centre and from Keefer Street just outside the entrance to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens. Also included is footage of vendors and tables inside the Chinese Cultural Centre, scenes of families inside the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens, primarily inside the main pavilion, a view of the water and railings, and through the moon doorway.

The parade footage contains a variety of traditional Chinese elements, such as lion dancers, Chinese dragons, firecrackers, flags, dancing, music, and costumes. Some of the identifiable groups in the parade are: Cheerleaders from Steveston Secondary School, Children from J. W. Sexsmith Elementary School, Dancers from Strathcona Chinese Dance Co., the Freddy Fudd[pucker] band, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Canada, St. John’s Ambulance Cadets, Tibet Lama Kung-Fu, and the Western Canada Chinese Martial Arts Association.

Baghead creation myth

Item is an amateur video recording of a theatrical presentation by a grade 5 class from Hastings School, filmed in the courtyard in front of the main hall. The presentation is a creation myth story in which a trickster monkey builds dolls out of mud which are then animated by thunder and lightning. These ‘bagheads’ travel between several worlds and encounter various strange creatures before finding the perfect world and removing their masks to become the first people. Presentation includes footage of the spectators and teachers.

China garden

Item is a short documentary exploration of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens with a meditative, philosophical, and poetic approach. The narrator speaks about some of the essential elements of a classical Chinese garden: Water, Rock (Mountains), and Buildings, followed by recitations of poetry by Ge Gong and Tao-yün. The occasional narration is accompanied by zheng music and a selection of garden scenes that illustrate many of the different ‘views’ of the garden that are relevant to the narration. Special attention is given to the flow of water over the rocks, the railings, screens, and leak windows, and a high vantage point view of the whole garden from the mountaintop pavilion.

Chinese National Conven[tion] 9-7-75

Item is a film showing the Chinese National Convention taking place at the Chinese Freemasons Building at 5 West Pender Street. Film contains footage of people gathered in a room delivering speeches, followed by a banquet.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden - a friendly bridge

Item is a documentary on the construction of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden. The first section discusses the development of the classical garden in Suzhou, its history, and its purposes. This narration is illustrated with footage of morning scenes of streets and parks, the Yangzi River, and several gardens in the city. The second and much longer section covers the construction of the Vancouver garden. Footage of the construction is combined with narration describing the process; with emphasis throughout placed on how little the construction of the garden has changed since the Song Dynasty in the use of hand tools, traditional building methods, and traditional materials.

Specific stages of construction examined are the importing of the materials from China, the construction of the pillars and the assembling of the pavilions, clay tile roofing and roof finishing, the placement of Lake Tai rocks and the thin tall stones, the courtyard paving and internal tiling, the ‘leak window’ construction, and the construction and finishing work of the screens and railings in the carpentry shop. Also included is a short interview with Joe Wai, project architect, in which he discusses the background of the garden project. The documentary concludes with footage of the opening ceremony with a Chinese delegation, and footage of the completed garden.

Exploring Vancouver’s Chinatown

Item is an educational video produced by the Vancouver School Board for use with a textbook entitled ‘Exploring Vancouver’s Chinatown: A Resource Guide’. The film has no narration, but a background score with Chinese instruments, and scene noise in some places. It opens with footage of the sun rising over Chinatown from a rooftop vantage point. It lingers on vendors and storefronts preparing to open, a Tai Chi class in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden’s main pavilion, Tai Chi in a local park, scenes of residential streets, houses, schools, and playgrounds. The film includes footage of a variety of local businesses, such as a barbershop, an apothecary, a school, calligraphy, tailor, fire department, auto repair, and a newspaper printer. It concludes with footage of the musicians playing the background music and street scenes of the sun setting over Chinatown.

Garden of ease

Item is a documentary film about the Taoist meanings of various elements of the design in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden. The film opens with a street scene of Chinese New Year, including lion dances, firecrackers, and a parade. The main film is an interview with James Yu, the maintenance coordinator of the garden. He discusses the contrasting elements (yin and yang), the different kinds of plants (plum, bamboo, and pine), the leak windows, the upturned eves, and the reflections in the water, and then presents a Taoist interpretation of each of them. The narration is supplemented with film footage of the gardens illustrating each point in turn. The film concludes with more footage of garden views and details.

Gong xi fa cai (happy new year)

Item is a photo montage with narration in Cantonese. The photos displayed represent traditional Chinese new year traditions and celebrations. Included are Lion dances, the zodiac, the Chinese calendar, street scenes of shopkeepers, fruit, flowers, family scenes with a holiday meal, and red envelopes.

Harmony in a garden

Item is a short documentary tour of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden with a focus on the philosophical Taoist elements. It discusses how each of the four major garden elements (buildings, rocks, plants, and water) is represented in the garden, and explains some features in the context of Taoist balance and function. This discussion is illustrated with footage of the relevant elements and Chinese style background music.

Immigration Building - flower display - Harbour Tower scenery - night view of Vancouver

Item is a film narrated by Harry Lin Chin in both Chinese and English. Film contains footage showing the demolition of the Immigration Building, magnolia trees, Vancouver Museum and parking lot, Vanier Park, Burrard Street Bridge, views of North Shore and West End from Vanier Park, views of North Shore, Burrard Inlet, Chinatown, and downtown Vancouver from the revolving Harbour Tower restaurant, and scenes aboard the sea bus.

Inside the circle, outside the square

Item is a montage video of photographs of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens with musical accompaniment. The film begins with images of street scenes in Chinatown, focusing on neon lights, nightlife, and shops. The visuals segue into peaceful scenes of the gardens, focusing primarily on the views of the garden through the leak windows and screens, the curved roofs of the pavilions, the water and reflections, and the patterned paving stones.

It's your life

Item is a television program in which Sandra Samartino performs yoga in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The production is accompanied by repeating electronic music, but there is no narration. The yoga poses are set against the rocks, moon gates, lattice work, pavilions, and often presented only reflected in the water.

Jan Walls - storytelling in the garden

Item is an amateur recording of a lecture/performance in the main hall of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden by Dr. Jan Walls on the subject of humorous Chinese folk storytelling. The general theme of the lecture was drawing parallels between the low class ‘vulgar’ folk stories and the high class classicism of the gardens, with emphases on the themes of surprise, perspective, exaggeration and distortion of size and time, and the distinction between fantasy and reality. For each short story he presents it (or a piece of it) in Mandarin first, and then presents a translation in English, often with the accompaniment of kuai ban, traditional bamboo clapping instruments.

The stories presented include a story about a man who lives a whole lifetime in a year, a giant woman with even more giant shoes, a country bumpkin at a birthday celebration, illustrations of beggar storyteller themes, and a ‘dummy’ paying a new year’s visit to his in-laws. Following the lecture there is a question period which covers subjects of self-deprecation, storytelling beggars, poetic elements (e.g. metaphor, rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration), and personal questions about Dr. Walls own experiences. The lecture is bookended with an introduction and thanks by [Nilene Yaas], the education coordinator of the garden.

Jasper National Park - Edmonton - Banff - Lake Louise - Tommy Jang emergency ward - Keefer Wholesale under construction and grand opening

Item is a family film containing scenes of a family vacation throughout Alberta, including Jasper National Park, Edmonton, Calgary, Banff National Park and Lake Louise. The film also documents the construction at Keefer Wholesale Florist at 310 Prior Street. Pre-formed concrete slabs are lifted and tilted to make the walls of a building. The construction process also documents the various companies working on the building: Lift and Tilt Concrete, Delta Masonry, B.C. Conveying Machinery, Viking Automatic Sprinkler. The final section of the film shows the opening ceremony of Keefer Wholesale with people gathering, a band playing, speeches (silent), and dancing.

Linking schools with the community

Item is a promotional film developed to support and promote the Vancouver School Board’s Partners in Education program. The film presents testimonials and success stories from various businesses and schools who have taken advantage of the program, discussing what benefits the partnered schools and businesses were able to bring to each other. The film begins with school administrators and business people talking about the program. The film then presents a number of success stories with various business and schools. The partnerships profiled include: The Port of Vancouver, Chevron Canada, Unisys Canada Inc., University Hospital, the Dr. Sun Yat-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, the Champlain Mall, the Pan Pacific Hotel, and Vancouver Community College.

The film involves testimonials and short interviews with a number of teachers, school administrators, and business: Jim Matkin (President, BC Business Council), Sheila Tripp (School Principal), Ken Haycock (School Principal), Ken Harvey (Director, Vancouver School Board), Dr. Dante Lupini (Superintendent of Schools, Vancouver), Gwen Smith (School Principal), Barbara Duggan (Vancouver Port Corporation), Gary Ryan (Chevron Canada Ltd), Bill Strachan (Chevron Canada Ltd), Neil Prinsen (Teacher), Maris Pavelson (Unisys Canada Inc.), Sheila Tripp (School Principal), Arlene Cook (Teacher), Lesley Bainbridge (University Hospital), Diane Bolton (Champlain Mall), Joyce Anderson (School Principal), Anne Shorthouse (Program Manager, VSB), Gail Smith (Program Manager, VSB), and Darcy Rezak (Vancouver Board of Trade).

Opening of garden

Item is a collection of four news clips about the opening of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens. Each clip includes footage of the newly opened gardens and general narration about the garden. Clip 1: CBC, Evening News, April 24, 1986. Presenter: Bill Good. Clip 2: Ici Radio-Canada Télé (CBC) news program ‘Ce Soir’. Presenter: Mario Hinse (in French). Clip 3: BCTV News Hour. Presenter: Tony Parsons. Camera: Paul Rowan. Reporter: Michael McCardell. This clip includes short interview with Charles McDermott (Project Manager). Clip 4: CBC, Midday with Presenter: Bill Good. Reporter: Karen Webb. This clip includes footage from the opening, including short speeches from Pat Carney (MP – Vancouver Centre) and Yu Zhan (Chinese Ambassador).

Parade on Pender Street and dance performances

Item is a film showing a parade on Pender Street with people dancing and walking with banners, as well as a scene with a group posing for photographs. The second part of the film shows dance performances on an indoor stage. Writing on box suggests the performances are by the Strathcona Folk Dance group and a dance group visiting from China.

People will talk

The item is a recording of a segment of a longer news program called ‘People Will Talk’ hosted by Laurier LaPierre on the subject of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden. The segment is in two main parts, the first part is a report by David Kincaid which includes footage of the construction of the gardens and later footage of the gardens in their completed state. Narration accompanying the footage describes the history of the classical Chinese garden in general, the construction efforts, and the goals of the final project, and some of the theories around the art form of the classical Chinese garden.

The second part is an interview with Sue Yung Li, a landscape architect and filmmaker from San Francisco. They discuss the role of the classical Chinese garden in Chinese culture as a source of artistic inspiration, the difference between a Chinese and a Japanese garden, the importance of rock and water in the garden, the accessibility of these kinds of gardens to the western audience. They also discuss elements of Li’s personal life, footage of the construction of the gardens and later footage of the gardens in their completed state.

Red’s Classic Theatre, Sunday Sept. 29, 1991

Item is a copy of the production elements of the 1991-09-29 episode of Red’s Classic Theatre. This program was a presentation of the classic film ‘Butterfield 8’ with host Red Robinson. Robinson introduced the movie at the beginning, and interleaved trivia and interest segments after the commercial breaks and at the end. This episode was filmed in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, and includes eight segments. The first three segments introduce the garden and present small trivia andgarden footage. The later segments are primarily focused on movie trivia and show related issues, but include the garden as a backdrop. After the eight main segments are additional broadcast pieces which also contain the garden: four bumpers, four long promos, and two teaser length promos for the episode and the feature film.

Refreshment for the Heart

Item is a documentary film about the construction of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens. It is divided into two sections: the first section is a discussion of the classical Chinese gardens in Suzhou while the second, much longer, section discusses the construction of the gardens in Vancouver. It uses footage filmed during the construction process, descriptive narration, and short segments of an interview with Joe Wai, one of the project architects.

The documentary opens with narration about the importance of water to the region and the history of the region, illustrated with footage of boating and agricultural life. The city of Suzhou is introduced with narrated scenes of the city, canals, and tourist destinations. Next the film explores a few of Suzhou’s famous gardens. The gardens discussed are: The Master of Fish Nets Garden, The Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lion Grove Garden, and The Lingering Garden. The film then concludes this section with a discussion of design elements and the Taoist elements of each feature.

The film then moves to Vancouver, beginning with footage of famous city landmarks and city views (e.g. Lions Gate Bridge, Canada Place, the Skytrain) with an emphasis on the modern technological nature of the city. Street scenes of Chinatown are the backdrop to a discussion of the history of Chinese people in Canada, the development of the Chinese Cultural center, and the pre-construction process of getting the approval and funding to build the garden. Discussion of the construction of the garden focuses on the Suzhou artisans who built the garden according to traditional means, emphasising the use of traditional tools, building methods, and materials. This is illustrated with footage of moving the Lake Tai rocks by hand and placing them into position.

Tthe film talks about the artisans, with scenes of the builders socialising at a banquet, singing, and playing table tennis. The documentary then focuses on the finishing touches and role they play in the finished garden. The documentary concludes with the official opening ceremony with dignitaries and the artisans followed by footage of the completed garden.

Romper room and friends, March 6, 1990

Item is a recording of two segments of the Canadian national production of Romper Room and Friends, from March 6, 1990, set in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens. In first of the two segments, storyteller Nan Gregory tells a Chinese folktale about a ‘goose girl’ that wants to fly. The audience consists of four unidentified children and Fran Pappert, and takes place in the Scholar’s courtyard. The second segment is a tour of the garden with guide Donna Chan, program hostess Fran Pappert, the character ‘DoBee’, and the children from the first segment. The tour begins in the China maple pavilion courtyard with a focus on the Taihu natural rock sculptures, the courtyard pavement stones, the trees, rock caves, and waterfalls. It continues up to the observation pavilion, and down to the Jade Water Pavilion, through the moon gate, where the group feeds the koi.

Seens [scenes] of Van[couver], Capilano, Stanley Park

Item is a film showing various scenes around Vancouver. The first half of this film documents a Gray Line Tours bus trip through Vancouver and second half contains scenes showing landmarks of Vancouver and surrounding areas. Film contains footage showing: Empress of Japan Figurehead in Stanley Park, U.B.C., Chinatown, Hotel Georgia, Lion's Gate Bridge, Court House, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Capilano Golf and Country Club, Prospect Point, Stanley Park, views of downtown and North Shore Mountains from Little Mountain, City Hall, sailboats in Burrard Inlet, and Swimmers at Kits Beach.

The Associates

Item is a recording of a segment of a television program called ‘The Associates’. The segment features interviewer Stuart McNish interviewing Janice Clarfield, the Executive Director of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden. Subjects discussed include a brief history of the garden, the building of the garden, where the materials and artisans came from, and the purpose of a garden of this nature. Footage of the garden is used to prompt a discussion of various features, including the use of colour in the garden, the main elements of the garden, specific elements such as the roofing tiles, drip tiles, curved eves, paving stones, Lake Tai stones, the different ways to view the garden, the symbolism of garden elements, and the role of the garden wall. The interview concludes with a discussion about outreach activities and volunteer opportunities.

The bridge of five thousand miles

Item is a video photo montage ‘walking tour’ of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, narrated by Mary White. The film discusses the history of Chinese gardens and the history of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden, including a discussion of the construction materials and techniques, and the artisans who built it. Different architectural elements of the garden are considered, and their function and meaning discussed. The philosophical elements of garden construction as an art form are discussed throughout.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society

The push hands video manual, volume 1

Item is an instructional video teaching the four hands technique of push hands Tai Chi. The introduction and the conclusion of the video are filmed in the courtyard of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, and include footage of the courtyard, paving stones, surrounding rocks, leak windows, and other architectural elements.

Vancouver : a year in motion

Item is a videocassette containing interviews of photographers involved in a Vancouver Centennial comemmoration project.

In anticipation of the centennial year, Tom Sutherland and Cindy Bellamy worked with over fifty photographers to put together a photographic portrait book of Vancouver called “Vancouver: A Year in Motion”, intended to capture the face of the city at teh Centennial. Producer/director Craig Sawchuk followed and interviewed eight of the photographers for a documentary about the project.

The documentary follows Heather Dean, an aerial photographer, in a helicopter over Vancouver showing aerial views of the city including popular landmarks such as Canada Place, the Science Centre, BC Place, and the harbor. Sterling Ward spends some time photographing the development of the Expo 86 sites, a roller coaster, and some of the sculpture installations. Al Harvey takes candid shots at the beach during the polar bear swim and celebration on the first day on 1986. Colin Savage discusses remote control photography and swims with a dolphin and beluga whale at the Vancouver Aquarium with trainer Doug Pemberton. Albert Chin photographs a traditional Chinese lion ceremony for the opening of a new restaurant in Chinatown. Derik Murray was the official photographer of the Vancouver Canucks and the documentary follows him to a hockey game (Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins). Greg Athens does a photo shoot on Grouse Mountain with professional freestyle skier [Darryl Bowie]. Lloyd Sutton spends time on Granville Island photographing the local scenery, shops, and a glass blowing lesson/studio.

The documentary concludes with a scene of the photographers together going through the photos around a large table. The documentary is dedicated to Rick Hansen and concludes with footage of Hansen.

Sawchuk, Craig

Vancouver : city of century

Item is a videocassette containing a documentary about the city of Vancouver and Vancouver life, developed for the centennial celebrations. It includes a short introduction to the history of the city up to the 1920s using historical photographs, some film footage of First Nations peoples, and voiceover narrative.

The next section focuses on transportation, featuring scenes of airplanes, the BC ferry, the Seabus, the SkyTrain, ships in the harbour, steamboats, and cruise ships. The focus shifts towards nature and leisure activities as Stanley Park is explored with a historical photograph montage followed by film footage of park and aquarium scenes, including sea otters and killer whales. Grouse Mountain is illustrated through shots of the gondola, ski lift, and scenes of skiing. Other sport scenes include sailing ships, ocean and river kayaking, car races, bicycle races, horse races, hockey, football, boxing, golf, soccer and tennis. Life on the water is emphasised with a section on the bathtub race and associated celebrations, beach scenes, and a paddle boat tour around various Vancouver landmarks.

The next section contains a presentation of the centennial theme song ‘The Vancouver Song’ or ‘Vancouver (you'll always look like home to me)’ over a montage of scenes of the Expo Centre, the harbour, downtown, and Stanley Park.

The documentary concludes with scenes of the city at night, including Granville Island, Robson Square, neon signs downtown and at Chinese restaurants, the Expo Centre illuminated with Expo 86 lighting and shots of the sunset over the bay.

R.R. Productions

Vancouver on the move

Item is a videocassette containing a documentary about the city of Vancouver.

The main focus of the documentary as a whole is the social and cultural life in the city and the relationship between the people and their surroundings in 1986, the centenary year. The visual elements are a combination of historical photographs, hand drawn illustrations, historical moving image footage, and moving image footage shot by the filmmakers between 1985 and 1986. Music with a narrator speaking in the foreground accompanies the visuals.

The early history of Vancouver is told through stories about George Vancouver naming point Grey and Burrard channel and meeting First Nations people, John Deighton (“Gassy Jack”) opening his saloon, the first city council meeting, and the arrival of the first CPR train from Montreal and ship from Yokohama.

The discussion of modern life in Vancouver that makes up the bulk of the documentary is roughly divided into sections. The first section discusses modern commerce, including shipping, transportation, forestry, fishing, and tourism. The second section discusses cultural life, including the natural beauty of Stanley Park, street scenes in Chinatown, the expo grounds and the SkyTrain, street musicians, children playing at a water park, and a football game at BC Place.

The third section focuses on the immigrant experience and how a diversity of cultures enriches life in the city. This point is illustrated with scenes of new Canadians at a citizenship ceremony, Tai Chi in Queen Elizabeth Park and Chinese dragons in Chinatown, the Nitobe Memorial Garden and the Powell Street Festival, a Sikh Wedding and street scenes of Main Street in South Vancouver. It also explores the dark side of the immigrant experience, discussing the 1907 race riots, the Japanese internment camps, the Komagata Maru incident, and the struggle of First Nations peoples to recover and retain their cultural heritage.

The fourth section deals with Vancouverites' love of being outside, with footage of outdoor aerobics and other fitness activities, relaxing on the beach and ‘being seen’, outdoor cocktail parties and dining, a family picnic in the park, outdoor theatre, and sailing.

Okexnon Films Inc.

[Boundary] Bay - [Tsawwassen] Ferry - Gee How Oak Tin Assn - Nature Bridge of Yoho Park - Lake [Louise] - Rogers Pass - Can Alpine Aqua

Item is a film containing footage of the Chin family collecting driftwood at the beach, views from aboard the ferry and of the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, a gathering of the Gee How Oak Tin association in the Chin Wing Chun building, exterior shots of storefronts on the 500 block of Main street, vacation footage in Yoho Park, Lake Louise and Roger's Pass and scenes in the Alpine Aqua canning factory.