Famous New West war photo highlighted in Sun’s coverage of B.C.’s 150th birthday

B.C. celebrates its 150th birthday this year, and as part of the Vancouver Sun’s coverage , it put together a list of the top 10 photos in our province’s history.

Somewhat surprisingly to me, only one is taken in New Westminster (but I suppose they had to spread it around a bit). It is the iconic image of a little boy running after his father , who is marching off to war. The photo was taken on Columbia Street by photographer Claude Detloff for The Province newspaper, and the man in the photo is Pte. Jack Bernard, a member of the B.C. Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles).

From the newspaper’s description:

This photograph by Dettloff, who was honoured by his peers for this candid street portrait of a tender moment, was hung in every B.C. school and became one of the most widely recognized Canadian images from the Second World War. Whitey Barnard, who was enlisted to help sell war bonds with this photograph as a backdrop, later settled in Tofino.

I’ve always loved the photograph, and I’m glad it was included in the top 10 list. Given that next year is New Westminster’s 150th birthday, maybe our local historian Archie Miller and the New Westminster Historical Society will compile a similar list from the city’s archives. The city will be doling out grants for the coming year for projects celebrating our 150th, and I hope one of the winning ideas will show off our rich photographic archive.

Update: Amazingly, the Sun’s slideshow of Royal visits doesn’t appear to include any to The Royal City! And no mention is made of Royal visits to New Westminster (named after the Queen’s favourite part of England)! Here’s one from my husband’s family’s archives:

New West history online

New Westminster is one of B.C.’s oldest cities. Despite the ravages of fire and flood, many of New West’s historical buildings still stand. Our history is one of the things that differentiates us from the newer municipalities that have since eclipsed New West in size and renown. 
Most of our residents know we were once British Columbia’s capital city (until dastardly Victoria, Jacob to our Esau, stole this birthright), but you may not know what it was like in the ‘olden days’ here. Our resident historian Archie Miller does his part, leading the New West Historical Society, writing columns for the local papers and offering historical walking tours of the city, but today I discovered some digital fodder for the imagination in the New Westminster Heritage Database
I love old photographs. Looking at the faces in black and white always gets me daydreaming about how it might have been back in those days. There are some spectacular shots in this collection online. If only it was more browsable and bloggable! Put it on Flickr!