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What Vancouver looked like in the 1980s Through These Fascinating Photos

During the 1980s, Vancouver grew and developed rapidly. The construction of B.C. Place Stadium was started in 1981. In addition to hosting major sporting events and concerts, the venue is a popular location for consumer shows and special events. Stadium’s roof was inflated in 1983, making it the world’s largest air-supported dome, holding 60,000 people. A retractable roof was installed after the inflatable roof was used to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

SkyTrain, Vancouver’s automated, high-speed transit system, began operating in December 1985. Initially, the route from Vancouver to New Westminster retraces part of one of Vancouver’s original interurban lines. Three lines now connect downtown Vancouver with the suburbs. The same year, Vancouver Sun Run was held, a 10-kilometer run through downtown streets and Stanley Park. Additionally, a commuter rail line connects downtown Vancouver with Mission.

In 1986, Vancouver celebrated its centennial with the highly successful, six-month fair Expo 86, held on the north shore of False Creek. This was the largest exposition of its kind ever staged in North America. The Vancouver Police Museum opened in 1986, and Vancouver Place was constructed. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden was also constructed in 1986.

Some stunning photos will take you back to the 1980s in Vancouver, Canada.

#1 Free Long John Baldry concert on Water Street in Gastown, Vancouver, 1986

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#2 Looking east from 1200 block of West Broadway in Vancouver, 1982

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#3 Entrance to Granville Island, under the Granville Street Bridge, Vancouver, 1984

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#4 Ferguson Point Teahouse in Stanley Park, Vancouver, 1984

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#5 The white wall of Eaton’s Department Store is seen behind the Vancouver Art Gallery / Courthouse Plaza from West Georgia Street.

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#6 Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver, 1986

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#7 Peace March gathered at Sunset Beach in Vancouver, 1987

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#8 View north from Little Mountain in Queen Elizabeth Park looking toward downtown and the North Shore mountains, Vancouver, 1984

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#9 PR railway trestle and the Burrard Street bridge as seen from Granville Street Bridge, Vancouver, 1980

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#10 The Dominion Building on east side of downtown Vancouver as seen from VVI/VCC college in early 1986. Victory Square and Hastings Street are in the foreground

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#11 Bill Reid’s Haida killer whale bronze statue in front of entrance to the Vancouver Public Aquarium, Vancouver, 1987

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#12 View west from apartment on Barclay Street, Vancouver, 1983

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#13 Wreck Beach at mouth of Fraser River in Vancouver, 1986

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#14 Truck with Christian religious signs parked near the entrance to Stanley Park at Denman and Georgia Streets, Vancouver, 1987

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#15 Wooden Roller Coaster, Vancouver, 1986

Wooden Roller Coaster, Vancouver, 1986

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#16 View of downtown Vancouver during Expo86..

View of downtown Vancouver during Expo86..

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#17 Granville Island Market & Bridges, Vancouver 1980

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#18 Peace March, Sunset Beach, Vancouver, 1982.

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#19 A J Convenience grocery store on southeast corner of Main Street and East 49th Avenue, Vancouver, 1984

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#20 Italian grocery and Main Ford Grocery store on Main Street (just south of Keefer Street), Vancouver, 1984

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#21 New condos on Pacific Avenue in Vancouver, 1986

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#22 Broadway & Heather, Vancouver, 1983

Broadway & Heather, Vancouver, 1983

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#23 Park Theatre, Cambie Street, Vancouver, 1986

Park Theatre, Cambie Street, Vancouver, 1986

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#24 Robson & Thurlow

Robson & Thurlow

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#25 Expo in Vancouver, 1986.

Expo in Vancouver, 1986.

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#26 New Years Day annual Polar Bear Swim, Vancouver 1982

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#27 Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles visit the Expo 86 World’s Fair in Vancouver during a visit to Canada, May 1986.

Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles visit the Expo 86 World's Fair in Vancouver during a visit to Canada, May 1986.

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#28 Flying Karamazov Brothers at Vancouver Folk Festival in Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver, 1982

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#29 Toor Spices & Foods Ltd., a grocery store on Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#30 B&A Grocery store at 4172 Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#31 Fortune Grocery store on Main Street near 49th, Vancouver, 1984

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  1. This photo is at Main between 29th and 30 ave. Collectors records eventually became Cottage Bistro. Fortune Grocery became a Pharmasave for a while and now it is some medical place. I lived in that area many years and haunted Collectors frequently back in the early 80s scouring each record bin.

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#32 Wreck Beach at mouth of Fraser River in Vancouver, 1984

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#33 Dunsmuir Street at Seymour Street looking west, Vancouver, 1986

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#34 Georgia Street entrance to Stanley Park, Vancouver, 1986

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#35 Vancouver Nissan shipload car sale at Ballantyne Pier in Vancouver, 1987

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#36 Captain Cook Tug Passes Granville Island, Vancouver, 1985

Captain Cook Tug Passes Granville Island, Vancouver, 1985

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#37 Peace Under Burrard Bridge, Vancouver, 1985

Peace Under Burrard Bridge, Vancouver, 1985

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#38 Granville Bridge.

Granville Bridge.

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#39 View of downtown Vancouver during Expo86..

View of downtown Vancouver during Expo86..

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#40 Vancouver Aquarium Orca Pool, 1980

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#41 Bayshore Inn Kitchen Staff, Vancouver, 1980

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#42 Downtown Vancouver as seen in the morning from First Avenue looking across Clark Drive and Grandview Viaduct in East Vancouver, 1982

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#43 Grocery store at 8105 Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#44 Below the seawall at low-tide east of Lions Gate Bridge in Stanley Park, Vancouver, 1986

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#45 CPR railway grain cars on the waterfront in East Vancouver as seen in early morning from Second Narrows Bridge. They are waiting besides the grain terminals in Vancouver, 1986

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#46 Looking east on Hastings Street at Cambie in downtown Vancouver, 1986

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#47 Sunset Beach and Burrard Street Bridge over False Creek in Vancouver, 1986

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#48 Vancouver’s Robson Public Market on Robson Street on snowy day, 1986

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#49 Construction of New Cambie Bridge, Vancouver, 1986

Construction of New Cambie Bridge, Vancouver, 1986

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#50 Frank Ney at Vancouver end of Bathtub Race, Kits Beach 1981

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#51 Kits Point Marina, Coast Guard & Park, Vancouver, 1982

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#52 Vancouver marathon on Beach Avenue and the south end of English Bay Beach are seen in this view from a Burnaby Street apartment, Vancouver, 1982.

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#53 Whitecaps NASL Soccer, BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, 1983

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#54 India Super Market grocery store on Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#55 Windsor Packing Company at 4110 Main Street near King Edward, Vancouver, 1984

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#56 View east on Dunsmuir Street in downtown Vancouver, 1986

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#57 Workman putting up banners on Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver for the city’s 100th Birthday, 1986

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#58 500 Block Beatty Street (rear view), Vancouver, 1983

500 Block Beatty Street (rear view), Vancouver, 1983

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#59 Under Burrard Bridge, Vancouver, 1985

Under Burrard Bridge, Vancouver, 1985

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#60 Condemned Orillia Building, Robson & Seymour, 1985

Condemned Orillia Building, Robson & Seymour, 1985

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#61 Hostel, Jericho, Vancouver, 1985

Hostel, Jericho, Vancouver, 1985

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#62 Cherry Tree Jesus, Vancouver, 1983

Cherry Tree Jesus, Vancouver, 1983

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#63 Robson & Bute, Vancouver, 1984

Robson & Bute, Vancouver, 1984

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#64 Granville.

Granville.

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#65 Hamilton at Davie in Yaletown.

Hamilton at Davie in Yaletown.

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#66 Granville Island Bridges View, Vancouver, 1980.

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#67 Vancouver arrival of Nanaimo Bathtub Race, Kitsilano, 1981

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#68 Main Market grocery store on Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#69 Inside the Robson Public Market on Robson Street in Vancouver, 1986

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#70 The Lovers, Vancouver City Hall, 1983

The Lovers, Vancouver City Hall, 1983

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#71 Law Courts (rear) & Nelson Square Tower, Vancouver, 1983

Law Courts (rear) & Nelson Square Tower, Vancouver, 1983

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#72 Western view of Terminal Ave, before the SkyTrain line. 3011.

Western view of Terminal Ave, before the SkyTrain line. 3011.

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#73 View of marathon run on Beach Avenue seen from a Burnaby Street apartment, Vancouver 1982.

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#74 Looking east from 1200 block of West Broadway in Vancouver, 1982.

Scene includes my Yahaha 400 motorcycle, Plimley Dodge Chrysler Plymouth New & Used Cars and the big BowMac sign. That BowMac sign was famous as being the biggest neon sign in Canada. It is now used to advertise a Toys 'R Us store.

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#75 Coal Harbour view of Vancouver’s West End 1983.

Coal Harbour with marinas, boats, a seaplane and some apartment, office and hotel buildings. Seen from Stanley Park looking south towards Jervis Street in Vancouver, BC in 1983.At that time the CPR railway freight tracks still ran all the way to Cardero Street.In the early seventies, the area from here to Stanley Park was mainly old boat workshops and storage yards.

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#76 Chinese grocery stores on Main Street (just south of Keefer Street), Vancouver, 1984

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#77 KenMart grocery store on Main Street at 29th Avenue, Vancouver, 1984

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#78 Eaton’s “Marshmallow” Building, Vancouver, 1984

Eaton’s “Marshmallow” Building, Vancouver, 1984

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#79 Robson Square, 1984

Robson Square, 1984

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#80 Ambassador Hotel, Robson & Seymour, Vancouver, 1983

Ambassador Hotel, Robson & Seymour, Vancouver, 1983

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#81 Industry, False Creek, 1984

Industry, False Creek, 1984

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#82 GM Pavilion, Expo 86 Site, Vancouver, 1985

GM Pavilion, Expo 86 Site, Vancouver, 1985

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#83 Granville Dunsmuir north

Granville Dunsmuir north

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#84 Robson at Hamilton.

Robson at Hamilton.

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#85 Shirley’s Bakery on Main Street about 48th Avenue, Vancouver, 1984

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#86 The Gray Block, Homer & Davie, 1985

The Gray Block, Homer & Davie, 1985

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#87 Pacific Hotel, Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

Pacific Hotel, Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#88 Construction of New Cambie Bridge, Vancouver, 1986

Construction of New Cambie Bridge, Vancouver, 1986

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#89 Georgia at Granville.

Georgia at Granville.

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#90 Main Street SkyTrain station under construction.

Main Street SkyTrain station under construction.

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#91 View south from walkway at north end of Granville Street Bridge, looking across False Creek to Granville Island and Kitsilano.

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#92 Lord Roberts Elementary school in Vancouver, 1982

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#93 Sweet Cherubim Natural Food Bakery on Main Street, Vancouver in 1984.

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#94 View of back laneway parking and apartment building lawn as seen from Burnaby Street apartment, Vancouver, 1982

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#95 All India Food Centre grocery store on 6622 Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#96 Fearn’s Food Market, a Lucky Dollar Foods grocery store on Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#97 Grocery stores on Main Street near 33rd Avenue, Vancouver, 1984

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#98 Robin Hood Farms Ltd Freezer Meats store at 2710 Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

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#99 Bank of Montreal Building, Main and Prior, Vancouver, 1984

Bank of Montreal Building, Main and Prior, Vancouver, 1984

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#100 Passing Trolley Bus, W. 10th Avenue, Vancouver, 1985

Passing Trolley Bus, W. 10th Avenue, Vancouver, 1985

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#101 Cambie Bridge under construction.

Cambie Bridge under construction.

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#102 Bowen Island Coast, Howe Sound, 1980

Beach at Bowen Island, BC in 1980 with view across Howe Sound to the entrance to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. The Bowen Island ferry is coming across the channel and there is a heron fishing along the low-tide shoreline

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#103 Vancouver from Second Narrows Bridge, 1981.

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#104 Wong’s Market on Main Street, Vancouver 1984.

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#105 Shirley’s Bakery, Vancouver, 48th & Main in 1984.

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#106 India Super Market, Vancouver, Main Street in 1984

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#107 Fortune Grocery and RPM Records on Main Street, Vancouver 1984.

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#108 Bing Grocery, 17th and Main Street, Vancouver 1984

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#109 Main Street Overpass Construction, Vancouver 1984.

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#110 Vancouver entrance to Granville Island 1984

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#111 Dominion Building and Harbour Snow, Vancouver, 1986

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#112 East on Hastings Street, Downtown Vancouver, 1986

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#113 Peace March, Cambie Street Bridge, Vancouver, 1986

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#114 Granville Street Bridge, False Creek, Vancouver, 1989

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#115 Hornby Street view of Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, 1984.

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#116 Stanley Park, Vancouver, 1987

Stanley Park, Vancouver, 1987

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#117 Illuminated buildings at night reflecting off the surface of the Fraser River

Illuminated buildings at night reflecting off the surface of the Fraser River

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#118 Vancouver’s magnificent Stanley Park, 1980s

Vancouver's magnificent Stanley Park, 1980s

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#119 Suburban Market at 7295 Main Street, Vancouver, 1984

The streets were wet with summer rain.I also photographed this same location in 2006 and 2014. This location is now Michael's Discount Foods.

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