The history of the Arrow Lakes comes alive in living colour

On Saturday, January 25, Kyle Kusch of the Arrow Lakes Historical Society will be presenting Our Coloured Past.

On Saturday, January 25, Kyle Kusch of the Arrow Lakes Historical Society will be presenting Our Coloured Past: The Arrow Lakes in Colour, 1940-1980. The 90-minute presentation combines over 150 colour photos from the society’s collection with rare colour Super-8 film footage of Nakusp taken during the 1950s and 1960s.

“When most people think about archival footage, they tend to think about old black-and-white photos, but we’re now at the point where commercial colour film has been around for almost 90 years,” remarked Kusch. “It’s absolutely stunning to see Nakusp in full colour in imagery that’s over 70 years old. If you’ve never seen what Broadway Street looked like in 1940, how narrow the lake really was at Burton before the dam, or what the old St. Leon Hot Springs looked like, or even if you’re too young to remember when the arena burned down in 1978, now you’ll be able to see it for yourself.’’

An ever-increasing portion of the historical society’s archives are colour images. While many locals are familiar with older images of Nakusp thanks to the society’s numerous books, the trove of rare colour photos and films remain unseen by many.

“These images were archived by the late, great, Milt Parent, but only he knew how he organised them, and when he passed on, he took that knowledge with him,” said Kusch. “Recently, we found an old laptop of Milt’s sitting behind a filing cabinet with thousands of images loaded onto it that probably hadn’t been touched in four or five years. The only personal files on the computer were three PowerPoint slideshows labelled ‘Our Coloured Past’ that he had complied strictly from colour photos and intended to show publicly, we guess. A large number of digital copies of these images were donated to him by families such as the Spicers, the Allans, and the Maxfields, and some of them represent the oldest colour photos of Nakusp in existence.”

Kusch has expanded on these slideshows and combined them with rare Super-8 film footage of the Arrow Lakes taken by Ichiro Shiino during the 1950s and 1960s.

“Ichi’s colour films capture everything from the final run of the Minto to July first parades to old Celgar log drives along the Arrow Lakes. It’s stunning stuff that maybe a few dozen people have ever seen.”

The presentation begins at 7 p.m. at the Nakusp Public Library. Free tickets to event available starting January 4 at the library, but donations will be graciously accepted at the door.


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