As my father used to say in his blundering comedy magic act, that’s the first time that’s ever happened again.
Again last week, after re-posting on Facebook the video illustrated story about the manufacture of my vintage Vancouver posters, a conversation around printing ensued.
I love the way my Vancouver photos from the ’80s bring back memories for people and I’m grateful to those who expand the meaning of my work by sharing their stories.
In this case, a reader recounted how his father began working as a printer in the ‘30s at Bullman Brothers, 901 Homer Street. He moved on to various other companies in the Lower Mainland until retirement, only to be “enticed by Smith, Davidson & Leckie to join their Fine Paper division … at the other end of the block.”
The name Smith, Davidson & Leckie rang a bell. Didn’t I have a photograph of that building? I went to my filing cabinet and the envelope containing pictures from a shoot (accompanied fellow photographer Gerry Duncan) done in 1985, along Homer Street. I was fairly sure that the backdrop to a Volkswagen Cabriolet was our building in question.
And indeed it was!
The company was launched by Fred Smith, William E. Davidson, and Francis Wright as Smith, Davidson & Wright, in 1907. And a successful partnership it was; by the ‘30s they had expanded to Victoria, Calgary, Saskatoon and Edmonton. In 1953, the company became Smith, Davidson & Lecky, as seen above the revised terra-cotta doorway, at 1198 Homer. The building was designed by E. E. Blackmore. It has outlived the once-thriving printing company.
The existing sepia-toned silver prints in my archive were produced for a triptych of VW bugs. I hadn’t gotten around to digitizing the image (though there are a couple of others in the Eighties Vancouver gallery made on that foray). I’ve now rectified that oversight and Smith, Davidson & Leckie Building with Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, Vancouver, 1985 can be found in the 80s Vancouver gallery and for sale at the shop.
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