One man’s time-trip through Whalley shown in then-and-now video

Pro camera operator retraced his 1975 drive for a fascinating look at how the area of Surrey has changed.

Randy Mennie’s 26-minute video takes viewers along the same streets of Whalley in 1975 and 2016.

SURREY — Randy Mennie has driven the same route around Whalley a couple of times, and he has the film to prove it.

As a high-schooler back in 1975, he and a buddy decided to drive through their neighbourhood and film the 26-minute trip on a Super 8 camera.

“I was in the passenger seat and he was driving his mom’s Impala,” recalled Mennie (pictured).

“To the best of my recollection, I think we skipped out of school that day and shot it in November of that year. I was 16.”

A couple years ago, Mennie posted the old film on Facebook and it drew lots of responses from people who grew up in Surrey.

“People told me I should drive the exact route again, film it and merge the two together,” Mennie said.

And that’s exactly what he’s done.

The resulting Youtube post, called “Whalley Drive 1975 and 2016,” shows Mennie’s original film on the left of the screen, and his 2016 trip on the right.

The side-by-side clips offer a fascinating look at how much Whalley has changed in 41 years.

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Not surprisingly, some of the trees today are taller, roads wider, houses larger and traffic more congested. Some old landmarks are gone, and large new ones, including condo and office towers, have emerged.

“The beginning and end of both videos are at the house I grew up in, near 132nd (Street) and a lane on 99A Avenue,” Mennie explained.

The two videos take viewers along 100th Avenue westbound, 128th Street southbound, 96th Avenue westbound, into the Scott Town Plaza parking lot, then eastbound on 96th, northbound on King George, through the Dell Shopping Centre parking lot and back to Mennie’s old house along 102nd Avenue.

“I was working at K-Mart there at the time, which is now a Canadian Tire, I think, and I bought a Super 8 camera, which I still have,” Mennie recalled. “I wanted to do a time-lapse film, to make it look like I was flying through Whalley.

“I had a tripod that I wedged into the front seat of the car,” Mennie continued. “I had a little shutter release that I clicked every second or so as we were driving around. And thinking back on it, and Super 8 (film) was so expensive. I was in high school, right, and it was something like $8 for three and a half minutes, plus developing. And I did that whole thing on one reel, if I remember correctly, and to drive it and just film it at regular speed, it would have cost me hundreds of dollars. It was kind of serendipity to do it as a time-lapse film.”

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PICTURED: Mennie and his friend drove in this Impala car to shoot the 1975 film.

In a full-circle journey, Mennie today works as a camera operator with Global TV.

“On a recent shift when I wasn’t doing much out in Surrey, I mounted a GoPro on the dash and re-drove the route,” he said.

“It took me about two days to edit that clip, the new one. It probably took me about 40 minutes to re-drive it but with editing, there was a lot of working adjusting it to keep it in sync with the old film.”

But he’s glad he got the work done for all to see.

“A lot of times people film stuff and video it, and it ends up in a drawer somewhere, right, but if you’re going to shoot it, you might as well let people have a look at it.”

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

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