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Photos: Here's what Easter used to look like in Vancouver

"Easter Week is Ham Week"

Easter has been celebrated in Vancouver since the city was founded, both as a religious event and springtime holiday.

The oldest photos the City of Vancouver archive has of Easter focus on its Christian nature; the oldest, over 120 years old, shows the decorations at St. Michael's Anglican Church. Founded in 1889, it's one of the oldest churches in the city. The next oldest photo, from 1909, shows a similar scene with plenty of flowers filling the chancel at the Christ Church Cathedral.

While religion played a big role in early Vancouver's Easter days, the arrival of spring also meant adventures. In a series of photos from William Orson Banfield, he and a group of friends ventured over to Vancouver Island to visit Goldstream in 1927. The group pose on a bridge, stop for a quick banana and explore the popular camping area.

In the 30s outdoor services were held for Easter. A series of photos captures the scene as hundreds, if not more, gathered not far from the Seawall in their Sunday best. It's probably not a surprise to see all the umbrellas in use.

Two other photos show the scene at other area churches; one is at St. James Church (the second version; a new church St. James was built just after the photo was taken). The other shows a Ukrainian group holding a religious ceremony.

A commercial aspect to Easter has existed for decades; for example, the Hudson's Bay comapny dressed up its windows with displays advertising the trends of the day.

"Wear Navy for Easter and After!" exclaims one sign, with mannequins adorned with different dresses behind. Another window encourages people to shop at the Bay to get new Easter parade duds.

And who can forget Easter dinner?

"Easter Week is Ham Week," states a sign at a Spencers (a now-defunct department store). 

Below the sign are an overwhelming number of hams running about $0.49 per pound.

And since Easter is a long weekend there's also a chance for a trip to the movies. A pair of photos advertise an "Easter Gala" at the Strand Theatre. The movies showing are 'This Time for Keeps' and 'Tenth Avenue Angel.'