WATCH: A new documentary is shedding light on a dark day in B.C. history. It features never before seen footage from 60 years ago, shot both before and the collapse of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge. It’s still Canada’s deadliest industrial accident and the documentary has a Vancouver Island connection. Kendall Hanson reports.
It’s film footage that’s never been seen before.
It documents the building of Vancouver’s Second Narrows Bridge 60 years ago.
But the project gained a dubious distinction. On June 17, 1958 it became Canada’s largest industrial accident when the bridge, still under construction, collapsed.
“The importance is that we don’t forget the men that died. 19 of them,” said Peter Hall, who is now a Parksville resident.
Hall was working as an engineer on the bridge and was regularly filming construction.
He was there the day the bridge fell into Burrard Inlet.
“Had I completed the work earlier in the day I would’ve actually been on the bridge when it collapsed,” said Hall.
After the collapse, which delayed the bridge’s completion date by nearly two years, the company he worked for lost interest in the footage Hall took.
But he kept the film hoping one day it would be made into a documentary.
Last year he got the call he was looking for from filmmaker George Orr.
“And he thought he had found the treasure trove of historic film and from then on we put the film together,” said Hall.
Through the never before seen footage the documentary highlights the tragedy, examines what caused the bridge to fail and honours those who were the victims.
“It paid tribute to the men that died in building the bridge. We paid tribute to the men who actually built the bridge and we’ve brought it out of the closet for people of British Columbia to see.
The documentary, titled ‘The Bridge’, will see it’s debut Vancouver Island screening in Parksville Thursday afternoon.