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Sutherland, Tom and Cindy Bellamy.

Toronto, Collins, c1986. 208pp, cloth, $49.95, ISBN 0-00-217645-9. CIP

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by Adele Case

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

Vancouverites all feel they live in a city they can be proud of, and in 1986 most have celebrated the city's one hundredth birthday. The city's showcase is the world's fair on the theme of transportation, Expo '86, but there have been countless other special events marking the centenary. Vancouver: A Year in Motion, the offical souvenir book, is dedicated to Rick Hansen (for his contribution to an accompanying documentary), and to Charles Bellamy, Al Graves, and Jesse Claman.

The coffee table-sized book should prove an enduring memento, as it shows varied facets of life in one of the loveliest sea-girt cities in North America. Exuberant Vancouverites joke about their webbed feet, but they are serious and sane when they applaud the proximity of ski slopes, freshwater lakes, and surf and swim sites within the space of a short auto trip from the city centre. Actually, the infant city flared into fame at its outset, when many of the wood frame buildings were gutted by a devastating summer blaze. Since then, change has been continuous. Where pioneers once built elaborate timber homes, we now see multi-storied cement, steel, and glass business high-rises and apartment blocks.

A photograpnic rendition of all aspects of Vancouver life is provided by the fifty photographers who have contributed two hundred mainly full-sized prints for this fine souvenir book. There are portraits of boatmen, shopkeepers, athletes, artists, fishermen, students, the elderly, children, and even "Polar bear" New Year's day swimmers, a somewhat wacky breed who brave the icy waters of English Bay on January 1st to contend that the West Coast is truly Canada's Hawaii. Interspersed with the photographs is a succinct, often pungent commentary giving many details of Vancouver's history. Pictures of the harbour and port facilities, the resource industries that proved the raison d'etre for the city, and the eclectic architecture of British Columbia's largest city show how the lower mainland area now classified as Greater Vancouver has moved forward, upward, and outward from its primitive beginnings. Because the photos have been gathered from the work of many free-lancers and professional photographers and writers, there is an air of liveliness and ebullience through many of the sections of the book. This zest for colour, movement, and shape gives the book a thrust and impetus that perfectly matches Vancouverites' pride in the city's site, climate, and potential. Colour rendition is outstanding and is enhanced by the jet or white background, when pictures are framed on some of the pages.

The co-producers (Tom Sutherland and Cindy Bellamy) have achieved a stunning result with their melange of views and activities that show Vancouver as an exciting place to visit, or to live in. Of the many souvenirs created during Vancouver's Centennial year, this lovely book will surely be the most interesting ten or twenty years hence. As a reminder of this special year, the book more than justifies its hefty size, weight, and cost.

Adele Case, Britannia S.S., Vancouver, B.C.
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