On This Spot photo app brings Vancouver history to life

Jun 2 2016, 11:55 pm

An innovative new free app will offer users a guided tour of Vancouver’s historic photo spots and allow them to create their own then and now photo mash-up.

On This Spot, created by Andrew Farris and Chris Reid, comes from the team behind the popular travel and photography blog onthisspot.ca, which featured then and now photo essays from around the world. 

Farris said he originally got the idea for a Then and Now photo series when he travelled to Nagasaki, Japan and realized the series made experiencing the history of the atomic bombing much more real.

“I believe there is also something to be said for the profound experience of peeling back the mists of time and gazing directly into the past from the same vantage as a photographer from a bygone era,” says Farris in an overview of the app.

The app will work by taking users on a variety of themed or neighbourhood walking tours of Vancouver; at each stop on their journey users will find themselves standing on the spot a historic photo was taken.

You’ll then be able to rephotograph old photos to build your own then and now photos, see the app’s own now photos and read historic information about the area.

The app will also feature downloadable map packs so you can use it offline and will be available in multiple languages including English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and French.

In the app overview, Farris says he believes the app will appeal to locals and tourists alike, serving as a public good to bring people together.

“To be able to see the people who once walked the same streets you are walking, to read of the great events and long-vanished daily routines that once occurred where you are standing, is a uniquely humbling and contemplative experience that I believe many people will come to love.”

The On This Spot app launches June 27. Here’s a look at the type of photos you’ll be able to see there:

Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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