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Autobiography of Walter David (Pew) West

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Location: Prince George, British Columbiamap
Surnames/tags: Canada Notables West
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Autobiography: Wally West's History of Photography (Written in 2004) by Walter David (Pew) West

My first contact with a Professional Photographer was as a Relief Manager of A.F. Wilbee grocery store on 41st & West Blvd. in Vancouver when I was 16 in 1932. This grocery store was next door to R.J. Hughes Photo Studio. RJ. Hughes, the photographer, was the founding President of Professional Photographers Association of British Columbia (P.P.A.B.C.). Having the occasion to go out the back door of my store, I was in sight of a whole row of photographic frames being exposed to the day light. I later found out that they were P.O.P. (Printing Out Papers) proofs. Mr. Hughes was making his proofs by sunlight. This excited my interest in Photography.

A year or two later I met up with Helmeth Geortz, a photographer for Alf Blight in Edmonton. Helmeth and I boarded at the same rooming house and we formed a real friendship.

While in Edmonton I tried to sell Beaty washing machines and vacuum cleaners with little success. While at this rooming house a group of music sales people arrived and I was invited to join them to go to Vancouver to sell music courses. I left Edmonton and was off to Vancouver with the group of sales people. I did not know anything about Music, but was given training in selling these courses. Dr. Berisford who was a super salesman guided the crew. He used photographs of his large groups of new students to promote sales.

The next encounter with another professional photographer was meeting Fred Sunday, who specialized in large group photography. Mr. Sunday was photographing several hundred new music students on the stage of the Orpheum Theatre, parents and grand parents were in the audience watching. Mr. Sunday was using an 8 × 20 camera, lighting the group with flash powder.

I was 19 and had made up my mind that I was going to be a photographer and seized the first opportunity to approach Mr. Sunday for a job as his assistant. We photographed a banquet in the Vancouver Hotel, rushed back to his Lab and developed and printed a proof photograph and returned to the hotel to make our sales. What an experience for a novice.

The next day, Mr. Sunday said that we were sailing to Victoria. He had an assignment to photograph the Graduating Class of Nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Arriving in Victoria he rented a room on Bardett Street with twin beds and bathroom that could be closed off for developing and printing these large photographs. Now the proprietor was a bachelor who was a professional artist and an architect. Later he became one of my best friends. Mr. Sunday and I photographed the hospital group of Nurses and made the rush print for selling.

Anxious to shoot something on my own, I saw a notice in the Colonist Paper that a Bowling Tournament was on in Victoria. I contacted the President of the tournament and arranged to photograph this group. I was on my own and didn’t know how much Victor flash powder to use, so made a guess, shot the photograph and returned to our room to develop and print a proof following Mr. Sunday’s instructions. Within the hour I had the proof back to the bowling alley and made my sales.

Mr. Sunday informed me that he was returning to Vancouver and that he was leaving me on my own for a few days. Remember that this was an 8 × 20 Camera and a 20 inch focal lens. One had to use the tilts and swings of a view camera to get for depth of field. We had run out of film for the 8 × 20 and had to resort to cut 20 inches of orthochromatic film from a roll of 8" circuit camera film.

My next photograph was a group in the ballroom upstairs in David Spencers store. It was the Bruce Huron and Grey Old Timers annual banquet. This was a large group and having to use orthochromatic film, how many ounces of flash powder to use. I took another wild guess, made certain that I had the group in focus and made the shot. Rushed back to our room for developing and returned within the hour to make sales or it would be a waste of time and no further opportunity to contact the group.

Mr. Sunday returned the next day with more 8 × 20 film and advised me that I was now on my own. I received no wages other than 25 cents for each print sold and money collected. The negatives were mailed to Vancouver for Titling and printing and mailed to customers from there. I had only an 8 × 20 camera and didn’t own any other camera so had to find work for the larger format. I’d watch the newspapers for an opportunity to photograph large groups. All this time I had been in touch with my fiance in Vancouver. We chose December 25th to get married. The clergyman, Rev. Reynolds was willing to perform the service as this was quite a custom in England. My future mother in law had a Christmas Dinner all organized and all was set.

On Boxing Day my bride and I sailed for Victoria to our new home in the Stobart Building on Douglas Street. I had a New Years Ball to photograph at the Empress Hotel. While Billy Tickle and his band took a break, I made the photograph and rushed home. This apartment had been a former Law office and a large walk in safe made a very good dark room. I made my print and went back to the Empress Hotel to make my sales. While I made sales for the photograph May washed my accumulation of soiled clothing.

Watching the papers, The Colonist and the Times we were able to find groups that could be photographed, either in Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo or other communities that advertized their social functions. We managed to keep our heads above water. Money was very short at times and we went without any extras. Shortly after we were married we had a surprise, May was expecting. This required another move to a Rooming house on Burdette Street. We met up with another couple who were in the same situation as we were, they were expecting too. The only difference was that he was a lino type operator for the Provincial Government, a good paying job in those days.

All was not work, this friend had a Ford, Model A. On one occasion we attended the Sooke Annual Fair. The babies were getting hungry and we had no milk for them until we could get home. Now as luck would have it, a truck stopped to see if he could help. We said that we needed milk for the babies. Well it just happened that he was the milk man — what luck!

Keeping the 8 × 20 camera busy was very difficult. I constructed a tilt head on top of a large step ladder which I carried on top of my Model A Ford which I purchased for $250.00. This ladder enabled me to photograph large picnics. New Castle Island was ideal. The Princess ships from Vancouver, were carrying Army, Navy, Legion and various groups who were anxious to have a picnic and a boat ride. I was able to use the Stock Judging stand for my group photographs. The Princess ships were docked, waiting for their passengers to return home. They gave me the use of the lower cabins, water and light and a room to darken for developing and printing my proofs.

The Elks Club was having an Anniversary at Duncan, BC. I arranged to photograph that occasion, many years later they used this photograph in advertising their Reunion in Prince George. This Elks photo was in the afternoon and my friend Reg Dove noticed that their was a dance at Yubo that evening. With one film left in our plate holder, we decided to photograph this dance to make the trip worth while. Arriving at Yubo around 10 pm, I arranged to photograph the dance. We set up on the stage and stopped the dance to take the photograph. Our trigger wire in the flash pan was too heavy and blew the fuses in the hall. All the lights went out and the patrons took advantage of the darkness to do a little smooching. I changed the fuse (I always had spares on hand for such problems), now the flash powder went off and we got our exposure. The problem to develop and print the photograph still remained. If one did not get to show the proofs, all would be lost as this group may never meet again. We spotted a shed next to the dance hall and inside a large cardboard box, ideal for putting the 8 × 10 developer trays in — all was set. After warming the developer with my hands, I started to develop the negative. The dance had declared an intermission and the couples went to their cars for a little refreshment. Their car lights turned on and caused light to come through the cracks in the shed and I was afraid that this would fog the film. Timing for the developing was my watch and a flash light covered with red cellophane. Developing and making my wet negative ready for exposure. No lights to turn on in the shed, so I resorted to using the head lights of my car to expose the print. Then returned to the dance hall to make my sales. This was a great day!

Note: All of my work was from Wet Negatives using a sheet of transparent material covering the negative and squeegeeing the bubbles and excess water beforelaying the sensitized paper on the negative in a large printing frame.

I made frequent trips to Nanaimo to photograph various banquets. My friend in Nanaimo would let me use their bathroom as a dark room for processing my film. At one time I arrived at their home to process a film. I rushed in and asked to use their bathroom, no problem. When I left I explained to the host that I would return and clean up my mess. The couple had been playing cards with friends and had to explain my actions. On another occasion, at the same house, I put my enamel trays in their bath tub, one was chipped and when I took the film from the developing tray, there was no fixer in the other tray. The chip had given way and all my fixer went down the drain. I lost the whole trip by this accident.

Picnics in the summer, the Jubilee Hospital, the General Hospital graduations, group banquets, dances throughout the City and the Empress Hotel functions kept the wolf from the door.

The big turning point in my career came when Ed Savanaugh, one of the leading photographers in Victoria approached me to work for him as his Commercial Photographer. This was an unexpected opportunity to be a real professional. Ed Savanaugh was a professor at the Victoria College and had to tend to his day time duties. I quickly agreed to join the firm. He had a wonderful photographer and technician by the name of Ina Conacher. She was a little Scotch lassie and a stickler for details. She had been a proof passer at the age of 17 for a large firm in Scotland before coming to Canada. Now the way that I had been operating was very different from the way she operated. Everything had to be done to perfection. She did express that I was like a bull in a china shop. It did not take long for me to learn how to handle chemistry and prints under her direction. I had the advantage of a new 8 × 20 with two plate holders plus 8 × 10 and 4 × 5 formats and two wonderful teachers. A new era opened up.

One of the major assignments was made by Mr. Pullen, the public relations person for BC Telephone. We received a call to have photographs taken of the Automatic Telephone Exchange in Victoria. Note, only Edmonton and Victoria had automatic telephone exchanges at that time. Mr. Pullen arrived by boat from Vancouver to tell me what was needed in the way of photographs. He received a telephone call as soon as he arrived to get back to Vancouver right away, so he left me to complete the assignment. When he eventually returned to Victoria I had all the photographs ready for him. He was more than pleased that I had completed the task on my own. Lantern slides were made of these photos that was before the days of 35 mm films. These Lantern slides were shown to the Vancouver Board of Trade to explain what Vancouver could expect with an Automatic Telephone Exchange in their city.

Miss Conacher taught me how to properly develop negatives, how a pro did it. I learned how to control the light in the printing box, note most orders were from 8 × 10, 5 × 7, 4 × 6 contact prints. Once one set up the negatives properly, dozens of the same quality could be made. The enlarger was mainly used for larger photographs of which there were a limited number made. It’s the reverse today.

I had the experience of relieving Mr. Hurst, a man in charge of Savannah’s retail outlet, photo finishing etc. A great change from the Professional Department. We processed the regular black and white film and also printed Granville paper film. Our colour was Dufaycolor made in England. I have a roll of #16 2½ × 4¼ inches. This roll had never been opened, plus a roll of the colour processed slides. The date of the film was December 1942, who said that we did not have colour then.

Ed Savanaugh taught me how to double the speed of my film with mercury vapour. He was willing to help me in any way. I was not on salary, but had the use of all his expertise and equipment. I still had to look after the various events that I had previously booked, the only difference was that I had to do the finishing work and mailing. Up to this time I was still using flash powder to photograph my groups indoors.

The Associated Screen News contacted me through the resident photographer, Art Pollard of the Empress Hotel. He was there to photograph any VIP staying at the Hotel. They wanted me to photograph the banquet of the Royal visit in 1939. They sent me a carton of #2 flash bulbs and included cellophane and elastic bands with which to cover the bulbs. This was a safety measure. I had used flash bulbs and there was no available reflectors for them in Victoria. I managed to get a large sheet of insulating material from a local generator repair firm. I made a frame of wood and formed a reflector in the shape of a miniature bath tub. With this material, I attached four electric sockets, wired the unit so that it could be plugged into 110 volts DC into the Hotel power at that time. There was no time to test my reflector and after reading the power of these bulbs, I just guessed. The cellophane and elastic band had to be placed over the bulbs so that if they should break the King and Queen would not get hurt.

I photographed the banquet room with the available light just prior to the guests arriving. Now for the big shoot, we used Art Pollard’s 8 × 10 camera. The guests arrived and were seated. Note, our camera was about 40 ft. away from the head table. The royal party, The King and Queen followed by Lt. Governor Eric Hamber were seated. Now was the time to take the photograph, open the bulb shutter, press the 110 connection to my bank of lights and then — boom — the bulbs with the cellophane exploded. This relieved the tension and the guests all started talking. The Queen expressed that this started everything off with a bang! Our location was near an alcove where the radio announcer was giving a report on the arrival of the Royal party. The explosion of the bulbs had been heard over the radio and President Roosevelt thought that the royal couple had been hurt. He telephoned to Victoria to inquire about the bang and the condition of the Royal party. I felt very concerned and was relieved when Mr. Hodges, the hotel manager, came to me and wanted a photograph of the Royal Standard flying from the hotel. He had been out of the banquet room and had no knowledge of what had transpired. I was glad to pack up and get out of the banquet room. On the occasion of the Royal visit, none of the press photographers were allowed to process their own film, Bud Kinset of the Times had that assignment.

After security checked the photographs they could be released to their photographers. I was the only one to develop and print my own film and it was a different format. I was prohibited from shooting anything out of the Empress Hotel grounds. The newspapers back East had stories about a photographer whose flash bulbs broke and ruined the King’s crab cocktail.

Now the motion picture camera man could go anywhere because their processing was done in their lab back in Ottawa. I was assigned to the camera man and drove him up to Government House where the Queen was inspecting Her Regiment. She walked over to me and asked me to take some photographs. I could not oblige her because I was forbidden to have a camera outside the Hotel grounds, very embarrassing.

My photographs turned out great, that was an assignment that I will never forget. I still have that reflector that I made and have used it many times over the years.

While at Savanaughs we were asked to use photography to prove that a cheque had been altered after the recipient had received it. All cheques were made out in ink. The alteration was written in after the cheque was originally made. Where the fold was it acted like a blotter and spread the letters out. I believe that this was the first time that photography was used in court, around 1938.

The second World War broke out and there were vast changes in Victoria. One of the last 8 × 20 photographs I made while there was at Workpoint Barracks photographing P.P.C.L.I. in full dress uniform. They wore red tunics and blue trousers. The photograph was taken in black and white, 8 × 20 colour was not available in that format. The shoot was taken from a second story window of the barracks.

Now the war was on and I received a letter from my Dad who was a Station Agent for the C.N.R. The Railway was desperate for Telegraphers. Note I learned American Morse at the early age of 12 spending hours in the evening practicing the code at the station with my Dad.

Our family packed up in Victoria and headed to Dad’s Station just north of Calgary. I did not want to leave photography, so while attending my Grand parents 50th Wedding Anniversary at Legal, just north of Edmonton, I photographed the occasion with the only camera I owned, a 118 Kodak folding camera. A flash bulb in a lamp without a shade, open shutter, flash the bulb and I made a couple of exposures. The next day on my return to Edmonton I approached the photographer for the Edmonton Bulletin paper, Lorne Berkel to have these photographs published. My grandparents were homesteaders in the Legal area having arrived there shortly after the turn of the Century, I figured that this was news. Lorne was receptive, but he had no way of processing the film. I offered to do just that and made the prints. He was impressed and suggested that I contact Jack Housez a commercial artist who desperately needed a photographer. Lorne had been doing this work for Jack, but did not have the time to do this extra work. I never did go back to Telegraphy at that time.

We stayed in Edmonton, set up a dark room in a small office building. It was impossible to buy lights and stands at that time in Canada. I used water pipe, goose necks and reflectors made from large funnels, installed light sockets in sodium sulfite cans to connect with the 110 outlets. Trays for developing large murals was made with 1 × 2 boards — 6 ft. by 1 ft. wide, the bottom was pressed board. Table oilcloth folded into the trays to hold the developer and fixer. The prints were rolled back and forth in the trays. The washing was done in the bath tub at home.

I had the honour of photographing Gracie Fields and some of her family. The Nat Bailey family group, Nat was the founder of the White Spot restaurant chain. Also many of the well known personalities of that day for press release.

One of the most pleasant assignments was to photograph the Jasper-Banff Highway. These photos were the Official Photographs to advertise the opening of this road by the Alberta Government. Dan Campbell was the PR for the Alberta Government which did not have a photographic section in 1942. It took us two trips on this newly constructed road to make a complete record. There was no pavement, a rocky and sometimes hazardous terrain, and no accommodation. We slept in tents and made sure that we had a good gas supply for our car. In 1942 the Columbia Ice Fields was right up to the side of the road, today it has receded about a mile from what it was then. When one travels this beautiful road today one can still see some sections of the original road. Note, occasionally some of the photographs that I made in 1942 are still used in some of the Alberta Provincial Ads.

We kept the studio active by taking Baby photographs, some days as high as twenty. This was promoted by a four column display in the Edmonton Journal, “Beautiful Babies by Housez Studios”. This proved to be very popular and Mothers as far away as other Provinces wanted to see their little darlings in these displays.

Producing portraits and 8 × 20 kept one very busy, working after dinner and most every night. We now had a full time negative retoucher, hand colour artist for the prints, and other staff did the spotting and mounting to make the prints ready for delivery.

We made large murals for the Bay window display. One had to improvise with what was available after the war. Some of the assignments were interesting. We photographed the Gainers Packing Plant for their 25th Anniversary. Everything from live animal to the sausage, all but the squeal. Another very pleasant assignment was photographing ice cream for Mr. E. T. Love, owner of Woodland Dairy. I learned later to use mash potatoes, much nicer with the real product.

One of the last assignments before leaving Edmonton was to photograph the Luscar Coal fields. They elected to do strip mining and take off the overburden and eliminate the underground gas problem. This was a major undertaking and left a lot of slack and overburden to dispose of.

As the crow flies Luscar was not far from Jasper. Luscar Colliery offered to build a road at their own expense to connect Luscar and Jasper through the Park. The road could have been made with slack coal and could have afforded an outlet to Jasper. The Federal Government would not approve this construction.

Housez’s main client was the H.B.C. and required photographs along with his art work for the Press, the Buletin and the Edmonton Journal. We had only a 2¼ by 3¼ speed graphic with a 105 mm and a wide angle lens. We used cut film packs, slow Panatomic X film 120 fine grain developer. I mixed our own prepared chemicals which were hard to come by in the 1940s.

When a vacancy next door to our artists office in the Kresge building became available we moved the small Lab and also had space to photograph. Now was the opportunity to take weddings and larger groups. We borrowed an 8 × 10 camera and with my lens from the Kodak folding camera, we were in business.

I saw the opportunity to photograph the recruits for the Army, Air Force and Navy in our area. We purchased an 8 × 20 camera and two plate holders that gave us four films for a shoot. We contacted the officers in charge and received the assignment to photograph each new group as they arrived for training in Edmonton, Camrose, Red Deer and the Naval recruits. Photographing recruits (flights) at the manning depot in Edmonton Exhibition grounds was easy. Trips to Camrose and Red Deer were more demanding and required a long drive there to take the photographs. Drive back to Edmonton, process the film and return to these two cities with the proofs the following day. The Officers would take the orders and we would have to rush back with the finished prints. The taking of these photographs went on for the duration of the recruiting for the various military services.

I made application to all three branches of the military services, but got turned down. In one of my references it showed that I knew American Land Morse Code, this was from Bill Russell who was at that time instructing new Telegraphers which were mainly ladies.

Station Agents and Telegraph Operators had very little relief since the War started and someone was needed to give them a holiday. I was elected and served as a relief agent and operator for the Alberta division of the C.P.R. until the war ended. Being released from this service I was free to return to my profession of Photography, and was able to be back home in Edmonton with my family again. During all the time on the railroad I could find little time to be home.

In the three and a half years that I was away on the railroad my former firm Housez Studios had changed. The Studio was in one place, the Laboratory and Processing in another. New recruits from the services had taken over and most had little professional experience other than what they had gained in the services, either photos of aircraft wrecks, war casualties etc. I found it very difficult to maintain the quality of photography under these circumstances and made up my mind to go out on my own.

While relieving a station agent at Gadsby, Alberta, which was not far from Edmonton I was introduced to a local general merchant, Alex Bowie. He was selling his general store and moving to Prince George, B.C. Alex suggested that there was a real future in that City and that I should consider the opportunity to start out on my own there. I hadn’t had a holiday in three years, so took two weeks off to visit Prince George. By this time, Alex had established himself and hosted me for my short vacation. He had given me the use of one of his cabins on Tabor Lake, (Six Mile Lake). I went swimming and fishing every day.

I had the opportunity to look over the City of Prince George and made up my mind to establish there. Returning to Edmonton, consulted with my wife and she was all for the new move. Now there was a problem, my wife May was expecting our fourth child in December, which was just three months hence. I returned to Prince George on October the 20th 1946, to establish a new photographic studio. The only available accommodation was a condemned dance hall on the second floor. Ideal space for photography, no heat, no water, sinks and toilet all had to be installed. Fortunately for me the Radio Station CKPG had established their broadcasting station in the alcove of this building. They were very cooperative and accommodated me with the use of their facilities. My first portrait photograph in Prince George was in their studios. I advertised my opening, however I was unable to have everything ready for customers.

The plumber finally finished installing the sinks etc. Most all the material used was from the vacated army drill hall, war assets. The bill for $1,000 was not itemized, a lot of money in 1946. The bank of Nova Scotia manager, Rod McClure advanced the money for this bill. This was a new bank in Prince George, the manager had to do all his own typing with just one young lady assistant to help him. He was very sympathetic to my cause.

1946 was a cold winter. This dance hall was hard to heat, high ceilings, etc. Through Alex Bowie and two of the top men from North West Construction, Nick Midas and his partner Mike, they lowered the ceiling and put in separation walls to enclose the studio. They constructed this on their own time after work and refused to be paid for their labour. Customers started arriving for Christmas portraits and by December 15th. I could finally see that all this trust in me had paid off.

I was able to go to Edmonton for Christmas with my family and see my new daughter. My Mother was a big help to my wife and family. She also contributed a little financial help to get a few more pieces of equipment which I certainly needed. It was like starting over again as I had done in 1940. Light stands made of galvanized pipe, large funnels equipped with goose necks and light sockets to hold the photoflood lamps. Supplies were hard to come by.

To augment my income I introduced photo finishing with no store from which to work, I wholesaled this service to H.H. Douglas, Perry’s Pharmacy and I.B. Guest. Printing on a hand printer, one negative at a time, took a lot of work. Developing and printing at 25¢ per roll wholesale was not very profitable. As time went on the Portrait and Commercial business picked up and we were able to keep the wolf away from the door. I was fortunate to have my little sister, Mae as a receptionist. Her pay was board and room, she slept on the office couch and I made a wall bed for myself in a back room. As there were no cooking facilities we had to go to a restaurant for our meals.

Jackson Barber wanted to put out an advertising paper. He had a multolith offset press and required negatives for reproduction. I made a wooden copy carriage on tracks for a copy board which consisted of a large glass tilting frame to put our copy on for photographing. A rubber baby blanket, a bicycle inner tube, with stem attached to a spick span vacuum cleaner, to suck the air out of the frame and flatten the copy for photographing. I used the enlarger to make various prints and screened them with a 65 screen. Line and half tone could be shot on the same sheet of Kodalith Process film. This saved time and no stripping was necessary. Jackson Barber collected the ads and I would make the negatives. We were able to produce photos the same day. Our competitor, the Citizen, had to wait for a week to receive a photo engraving for their presses. I am fortunate to still have some of the negatives. That was a first for Prince George.

The opportunity came to rent a building where we could have our Lab and retail outlet on ground level. This availed us of the ability to purchase our photograph supplies from Kodak. I was fortunate to meet John Palmer, the Professional representative for Kodak for Canada. When we explained that we were five hundred miles away from the nearest suppliers they arranged my credit and offered me an open account.

The Lumber Mills went on strike. Our landlord, a mill owner, was forced to sell our premises. Another move which proved to be much better. After four moves we finally settled down to one of the main buildings on Third Avenue, which gave us lots of space for retail and a studio on the main floor, the photo labs were in the basement. We automated our photofinishing and were able to start colour negatives and prints. Our operation was a pattern for other photographers to get into the colour, printing and developing business. They no longer had to depend on mail to Vancouver and we were able to give “In By 10 Out By 5” colour service.

The firm grew to sixteen staff, camera retail, photofinishing, portraiture and commercial picture framing.

I was appointed to C.B.C., 16 mm News Photographer (A.S.C.). C.B.C. required two film stories per week at that time. I was fortunate to have my own aircraft and was able to cover a lot of territory.

My family fitted into the picture. My daughter Nancy managed the business. My wife May looked after the accounts payable. Lynne, my number three daughter looked after the picture framing. Son David the commercial photography along with a number of wonderful staff who were very productive. Many of them went off on their own and made real contributions to Photography.

About eight years ago I sold out to one of my long time and very faithful employees, Craig Prudente. After school he would hang around the camera shop, finally my daughter Nancy told him to go to work. After leaving school he was a full time employee and now he owns W. D. West Studios. Craig has the photofinishing and the camera shop and has the Portrait and Commercial business separate. This portion of the operation is run by his partner Bill Harasymchuk. They have the latest equipment and supply nearly all the Professional Photographers in our area.

The Camera shop and Studio still go under the name of W.D. West Studio and have served the community with professional photographic service since 1946, 58 years.

My Collection of over 56,000 Commercial negatives from 1946 to my retirement has been turned over to the Prince George Museum. A collection of scenes and occasions photographed by Jacob (Sime) Simonson, a real professional photographer, who recorded Prince George before my arrival in 1946. He recorded the arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad, the Steamboats and the activities of the early days in Prince George. All these images have been properly recorded and stored for posterity.

Photography is a wonderful profession which leaves lasting records for future generations. I am proud to have been able to record many activities and growth of our City and District since my arrival here. Recording on 16 mm film the first Oil well in B.C. at Charlie Lake, north of Prince George. I also photographed hundreds of feet of 16 mm film of the Trans Canada Highway through the Fraser Canyon when it was under it’s major construction.

I give thanks to my family, my wife May who passed away in 1991. I was fortunate to marry a long time friend who lost her husband in 1990. Iris and I have enjoyed a wonderful life, we work together. I have 57 years as a Rotarian, Charter member of Kinsmen, Senior Past Grand Master of the Odd Fellows of British Columbia, Past President of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Gizeh Shriners of British Columbia and Yukon. I have received all the Honours of our Professional Association of Canada. The Prince George Rotary Club has honoured me in founding a Scholarship in my name of $1,000 a year for 10 years to a student who wishes to persue a career in the Fine Arts.

I give thanks to my wonderful wife, friends and family.

W. D. West

Hon. MPA SPA F/PPABC HLM PPA





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