Vernon historian shares footage of Fort St. John, Jasper

A look at 1967 BC, Alberta

Contributed Francois Arseneault

Today’s trip down memory lane begins in Fort St John during Canada’s centennial year, 1967.

Vernon-based historian and videographer Francois Arseneault has unearthed footage of a parade and family vacation to Alberta along the rockies.

Arseneault noted the exact reason for the parade is unknown, saying “it may possibly be the annual oilman’s parade, after all Fort St John is home to Northeast BC’s oil and gas industry that grew significantly after the second world war, it’s a big part of the identity of the region and helped create jobs and wealth for all of BC.”

He added the North Pine A pool in the Fort St. John Oil Field is one of the earliest oil discoveries in BC. As with most oil discoveries in the province, exploration was facilitated by proximity to the Alaska Highway, built in the 1940s to improve access to Alaska during World War II.

“I find it charming how folks decorated their cars and trucks for the event,” said Arsenault. “A real sign of pride and community spirit. Nearly everyone got into the spirit of it. Heavy equipment mixed with cowboys on horseback. What great times especially for the children participating.”

Footage then takes viewers on trip to the pulp and paper mill in Hinton before heading south to Jasper.

“In 1948, Canadian artist James Simpkins created the character of Jasper the Bear to recognize the importance of environmental stewardship and cartoons about Jasper became a regular feature in Maclean’s magazine,” notes Arseneault. “ In 1962 the character was officially adopted by Jasper National Park and a statue was erected at the townsite.”

Jasper is well known as one of the two railway routes into the Canadian Rockies

Arseneault is always looking for more information on the vintage footage he digs up, and he encourages people to add their input in the comments section on his YouTube page.

Arseneault has an extensive collection of vintage footage, and he is looking for more.

Anyone who may have old 16 mm or 8 mm film footage of the Vernon and Okanagan area is invited to email Arseneault at [email protected].

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