Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Eighties Entertainment

During the 1980s, school enrolment dropped quite a bit. However, the density of residential areas increased in population by 9% to 451,000 in 1989. The increase in density was helped by the construction of the Sktrain. Before the train, it was difficult for people living in communities such as New Westminster or Surrey or Coquitlam to come to Vancouver. It could be done but there is no freeway system in the city.

Port Vancouver saw real growth in the 1980s, becoming the largest in North America in terms of tonnage of imports and exports by the end of the decade. For the first time, the Port of Vancouver shipped almost as many goods to Asia as to the United States. About 30% of all exports went to Japan. The port handled more lumber, grain and coal than any other port in Canada. Over 3,000 foreign vessels docked here in 1989.

The 80s was the decade when the entertainment industry discovered Vancouver. The television industry filmed such classics as 21 Jump Street, the last season of Airwolf, Good Rockin' Tonite (one of my favourite shows, featuring music videos) and MacGyver here in Vancouver. And that is just to name a few. The Wikipedia page I consulted had over 200 pages for shows filmed in Vancouver.

And the movie industry found Vancouver as well.  Wikipedia has 386 pages for movies filmed in Vancouver. Of course, not all listed were filmed in the 80s but some from that decade include Cousins with Ted Danson, Rocky IV with Sylvestor Stallone and Shoot to Kill with Tom Beringer and Sidney Poitier.

Vancouver's pop/rock music scene also exploded. Artists such as Headpins, Bryan Adams, Loverboy, The Payolas, Sweeney Todd gained international success and showed the world talent does exist here. (A funny thing. I did an interview with the online radio show, Debra's Roundtable and was talking about Vancouver's 80s music scene)

Tourism in Vancouver got quite a boost, thanks to the success of Expo 86 and the West Coast became the fourth most popular destination in the world for cruise ships.

The suburbs otherwise known as part of Greater Vancouver, also benefited in the 80s. The Westminster Quay redevelopment along the New Westminster waterfront was a $330 million mega-project. This was a huge mega project. It turned out quite nice too.

By the time the new decade started, the Lower Mainland had boomed. The following number of businesses called this area home:

2,200 restaurants;1,200 real estate firms; 1,000 auto-repair shops;800 beauty shops; 800 insurance businesses; 700 travel agencies; 600 construction firms; 600 women's clothing and speciality stores; 600 computer and data processing businesses; 600 furniture stores and 500 drug stores. Wow!

Thanks to the book, Vancouver, A Visual History by Bruce Macdonald for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. I can remember when 21 Jump Street came out. It was and still is one of my favorite shows. Canada has had a great deal to offer the world with its artists, movies, and music. I can agree with Vancouver being a hot spot for cruise ships. Some of your pictures of peoples art work are intriguing and so artistic. I love to see the craftsmanship in the yards. We here in Nevada, USA can't have anything like them in our yards.

    1. There are so many shows and movies filmed here. I love 21 Jump Street as well.