Magic lantern images offer larger-than-life exhibit

Step into a vintage Canadian landscape at a new exhibit at Surrey's Stewart Farm.

A magic lantern slide image of a farm in Alberta.

For more than fifty years the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) made magic lantern slides –photographs or illustrations on glass plates.

The public will have a chance to see these artistic creations from Sept. 10 to Nov. 6 in the Stewart Hall at the Historic Stewart Farm, 13723 Crescent Rd.

The glass plates were placed in a slide projector and were used for lectures presented around the world to promote immigration and tourism to Canada.

The beautiful imagery depicts a Canada full of promise, a bountiful land providing opportunities for grain, cattle, hog, sheep, vegetable, fruit, berry, and hops farming.

They reflect the changes in labor, mechanization and technology during this time period. These colour-tinted black and white images reflect a significant historical era gone by. Photographer, artist and collector Michael Lawlor has digitized and enlarged the images to a scale that gives the viewer a rare opportunity to “walk in” fields, farms, processing plants, towns and villages to get an extraordinary feel for the landscape.

The exhibit will also feature a unique collection of magic lantern projectors and slide sets used for children’s stories, Sunday church sermons, in town halls, for entertainment and as a visual instructional tool.

Among the events are:

• The Exhibit Opening:  On Sept. 10, from 12-4 p.m. drop, in for a tour the new exhibit and learn about this photographic technology and significance of the images on display. Refreshments will be served. Admission by donation.

• The Transcontinental Magic Lantern Show:  Trip the light fantastic with photographer and collector, Michael Lawlor on Sept. 22 from 7-8:30 p.m. as he presents a show and talk on the history of magic lantern imagery from 1885-1930. The fee is $10 (all ages). Pre-register at 604-592-6956.

• Zany Zoetropes: On, Oct. 1 from 1:30-3 p.m., kids will learn more about this early animation, cartoon-in-motion device and make their own to take home. The fee is $10/child 7-11 years. Pre-register at 604-592-6956.

The exhibit is open Saturdays and Sundays until Nov. 6 from 12-4. Tours can be booked for Fridays or by appointment. Entrance is by donation.

For more information call 604-592-6956 or visit www.surrey.ca/heritage

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