20 vintage aerial photos of Vancouver

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AV-16

Any which way you look at Vancouver, things look very different than they did in the last century.

We’ve explored the beautiful sweeping views from aerial photos of Vancouver from this day and age, but how about what was seen from above back several decades ago? Before Google Street View and satellites there were photographers hovering in small planes taking survey images of the land below–and, yes, you can spot some of the aircraft pieces in some photo perimeters! Can you spot your neighbourhood or favourite landmarks…or where those landmarks would end up being? Check out these vintage aerial views of Vancouver.

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Aerial view looking east towards the Second Narrows (now the Iron Workers Memorial) Bridge, 1926 (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view looking north from False Creek, 1926 (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force via Vancouver Archives)

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B.C.E.R. Bridge Marpole, circa 1926 (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of the CPR Piers “A”, “B”, & “C,” 1928. This later became Canada Place. (Photo by Pacific Airways Ltd. via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of J.F. Malkin’s residence at 1950 Southwest Marine Drive. Oblique view from an “autogiro” aircraft looking north over Kerrisdale, c. 1930 (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of the piers on the waterfront of Vancouver, 1931 (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of Ballantyne Pier looking south, 1940 (Photo by Canadian Airways Limited via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of West Coast Shipyards at False Creek, December 2, 1942 (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of Vancouver and Burnaby, between 1942 and 1945 (Royal Canadian Air Force Official Photograph via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of North Vancouver, First Narrows, Stanley Park, West End, Coal Harbour, Burrard Inlet, Vancouver Waterfront and Downtown. Photograph shows Lions Gate Bridge, Beaver Lake, Lost Lagoon, Prospect Point, Brockton Point, Deadman’s Island, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, H.M.C.S. Discovery, Brockton Oval and English Bay, between 1942-45. (Royal Canadian Air Force official photograph via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of Kitsilano Beach and Park. Photograph shows Kitsilano swimming pool, Kits Point and the R.C.A.F. Equipment Depot, September 1945. (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of Sea Island airport and Vancouver, 1946. This ultimately became YVR. (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of Vancouver looking north on Cambie St. Photograph shows Little Mountain Reservoir, Hillcrest Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Riley Park and South Cambie neighbourhoods and False Creek. Mar. 6, 1946 (Photo via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of Vancouver. Oblique view showing the Burrard and Kitsilano Trestle Bridges, Kitsilano, Kitsilano Point, Fairview, Granville Island and the West End and Downtown in the background, May 1946 (Photo by Steffens-Colmer Studios via Vancouver Archives)

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Oblique view showing Downtown including St. Paul’s Hospital, Sir William Dawson School, the second and third Hotel Vancouver, the Marine Building, Pier A-B (now Canada Place) and the eastern waterfront, May 1946 (Photo by Steffens-Colmer Studios via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of the Lower Mainland, 1947 (Photo by Aero Surveys Limited Vancouver, Canada via Vancouver Archives)

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Oblique view of Vancouver, Fraser River and Richmond looking north, June 5, 1948 (B.C. Government Air Photograph via Vancouver Archives)

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Oblique view of Vancouver and Fraser River looking north. Photograph shows Kerrisdale, Marpole, Oakridge and Sunset community areas. June 5, 1948 (B.C. Government Air Photograph via Vancouver Archives)

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Aerial view of Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park and waterfront industries, 1953 (Photo by Vancouver Park Board via Vancouver Archives)

Featured image: Vancouver from the air looking east from West End, 1931 (Photo by Royal Canadian Air Force via Vancouver Archives)

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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