Hub to the North

Michał Kozłowski

Poet Billeh Nickerson found a photo by Victor Post, official photographer for the government of Alberta, for 50 cents in a thrift store.

Victor Post was a professional photographer in St. Albert, Alberta, where, according to the St. Albert Gazette, he operated a successful studio in his parents’ basement from about 1970 until 1984, when he relocated downtown. He is identified by a credit line stamped in red ink on the back of this photograph, which was found by the poet Billeh Nickerson in a thrift store in Chilliwack, BC, in May 2012, and purchased for fifty cents. Victor Post served as official photographer for the government of Alberta, for which he photographed Pope John Paul II, King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, and “many members of the British Royal family.” He even photographed Wayne Gretzky for an advertisement of Pro Stars breakfast cereal, when Gretzky played hockey in Edmonton, a few miles south of St. Albert.

Dog show photographs constitute a genre of their own with its own conventions (the judge holds the trophy and the ribbon, the handler holds the leash, handlers and dogs often resemble each other, etc.). In the example shown here, the judge’s outfit resembles the Full Nanaimo, an ensemble made popular by car salesmen and Rotarians in Nanaimo, BC, in the 1970s: white belt, white shoes, flamboyant sport jacket and shirt. Frank Ney, who launched the Nanaimo Bathtub Race across the Strait of Georgia in 1967 and was elected mayor in 1968, was an ardent wearer of the Full Nanaimo and a great booster of the city of Nanaimo, which, according to Wikipedia, is one of three official Hub Cities in Canada, along with Moncton and Saskatoon.

The Hub City referred to in the placard in the photograph is probably not Nanaimo; St. Albert, Alberta, refers to itself on its website as the “hub to the north,” implying a centre lying on a periphery. The Post family donated the archive of Victor Post, who died more than ten years ago, to the Heritage Museum in St. Albert early in May 2012, a few days before Billeh Nickerson encountered this image in the thrift store.

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Michał Kozłowski

Michał Kozłowski worked at Geist for 15 years. He was born in Krakow, Poland, and has lived in Ottawa, Winnipeg and now Vancouver.



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