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Repository
Burnaby Heritage Planning
Civic Address
McPherson Avenue & Irmin Avenue Area
Associated Dates
1948
  1 Image  
Repository
Burnaby Heritage Planning
Civic Address
McPherson Avenue & Irmin Avenue Area
Associated Dates
1948
Heritage Value
Andy Digney built the speedway in South Burnaby in 1948. He was approached by the B.C. Midget Auto Racing Association, who were looking for a good location to race the smaller, racing cars, popular at the time. Digney owned property in the vicinity of present-day Metrotown that was centrally located and easily accessible via the interurban railway. Motorcycles were also raced in the early days of the track. In 1949, when the popularity of midget racing declined, Digney started racing roadsters. However, he struggled to find local drivers, and it was expensive to bring in drivers from elsewhere. In 1951 Digney found a winner: jalopy racing. Local men would buy 1930s cars and strip them down, remove the glass, and weld the doors shut. By early 1952 over forty cars were showing up for jalopy races. By the early 1950s the Speedway was well established, with coverage in the sports pages and on radio. The track closed down in 1958 when Andy retired.
Historic Neighbourhood
Alta Vista (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Clinton-Glenwood Area
Images
Less detail

Building and opening the Digney Speedway

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/archivevideo85334
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1948 and 1949]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (10 min., 47sec.) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Item No.
562-003-16
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized silent film segment identified as Reel 16. The film footage shows land being cleared to make way for the Digney Speedway located near the corner of Irmin Street and MacPherson Avenue, one of the men seen in this footage clearing the land is named Lucky Fordham. The film continue…
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1948 and 1949]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-003-16
Accession Number
2014-04
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Physical Description
1 film clip (10 min., 47sec.) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
No restrictions
Reproduction Restriction
May be restricted by third party rights
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized silent film segment identified as Reel 16. The film footage shows land being cleared to make way for the Digney Speedway located near the corner of Irmin Street and MacPherson Avenue, one of the men seen in this footage clearing the land is named Lucky Fordham. The film continues with footage of a press dinner in the garden of Andy Digney's home on Bonsor Avenue in Burnaby and is followed with footage of the Digney Speedway in operation for the grand opening on July 8, 1948. Midget cars and jalopies (stock cars) can be seen racing on the speedway. Some of the footage of the raceway pit and races switches to black and white.The film closes with colour footage of a truck moving Lucky Fordham's house from Bonsor Ave to the speedway.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Sports - Automobile Racing
Names
Digney, Andy
Digney, Ernest Frank "Dig"
Digney Speedway
Fordham, Lucky
Geographic Access
Burnaby - Bonsor Avenue
Historic Neighbourhood
Alta-Vista (Historic Neighbourhood)
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Clinton-Glenwood Area
Maywood Area
Video Tracks
Less detail

Noise Complaint with Regards to Digney Speedway

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/councilreport48550
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
48453
Meeting Date
23-Aug-1948
Type/Format
Council - Mayor/Councillor/Staff Report
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
  2 Documents  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
48453
Meeting Date
23-Aug-1948
Type/Format
Council - Mayor/Councillor/Staff Report
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
Documents
Less detail

Noise Complaint with Regards to Digney Speedway on MacPherson Avenue

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/councilreport48597
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
48411
Meeting Date
9-Aug-1948
Type/Format
Council - Mayor/Councillor/Staff Report
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
  2 Documents  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
48411
Meeting Date
9-Aug-1948
Type/Format
Council - Mayor/Councillor/Staff Report
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
Documents
Less detail

Through the Lens of Andy Digney

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/museumvideo10099
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Date
[between 1934 and 1964] (date of original film), edited and narrated in 2016
Collection/Fonds
Digney family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 mp4 video file (12 min., 17 sec.) : digital, 23 fps, col., sd., stereo
Scope and Content
Burnaby resident Andy Digney captured footage of Burnaby and beyond from 1934 to 1964. This short, narrated film features a compilation of the Digney footage created and narrated by the Burnaby Village Museum. Highlights include the construction of the Oak Theatre, a Depression-era May Day workers’…
  1 Video  
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Date
[between 1934 and 1964] (date of original film), edited and narrated in 2016
Collection/Fonds
Digney family fonds
Description Level
Item
Accession Code
BV019.18.1
Physical Description
1 mp4 video file (12 min., 17 sec.) : digital, 23 fps, col., sd., stereo
Material Details
278 MB
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
No restrictions
Reproduction Restriction
No known restrictions
Scope and Content
Burnaby resident Andy Digney captured footage of Burnaby and beyond from 1934 to 1964. This short, narrated film features a compilation of the Digney footage created and narrated by the Burnaby Village Museum. Highlights include the construction of the Oak Theatre, a Depression-era May Day workers’ parade, and visits to locations throughout the Lower Mainland, including Grouse Mountain, Burnaby’s Central Park, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
History/Biography
Andy Digney was born in London, England on July 27, 1886. His given names were Andrew Charles and in 1905, he immigrated with his elder brother to Raymore Saskatchewan and worked on a farm. In 1914, he met and married Alice Swan and in 1920 they had their one and only child, Ernest ('Dig'). The young family lived in Beatty Saskatchewan where they ran a small general store with a pool hall over the top. Andy sold the store and they moved to Carberry Manitoba where Andy worked selling lightening rods and hanging wallpaper. At this time he met and formed a partnership with someone who owned a hand cranked move projector and in the evenings, he and his wife, traveled to church halls in neighbouring towns showing movies. Eventually, he purchased his own movie projector and opened a small theatre in Carberry. He worked odd jobs during the daytime and projected movies in his small theatre at night. Eventually he made enough money to move to Brandon, Manitoba where he purchased a restaurant which he turned into a theatre with living quarters above. Andy called the theatre 'The Oak' since the mighty oak was strong and stood forever. After starting the first Oak Theatre in Brandon, Manitoba when talking pictures came along, Andy Digney, his wife Alice and son Ernest ('Dig') moved to Burnaby in 1935 and chose the site of their new theatre and home at the corner of Kingsway and Marlborough. The Oak Theatre - which opened on August 4, 1937 - was hailed as an artistic masterpiece for its ultra modern white stucco exterior, floodlights and pink-and-green neon marquee. The interior featured a mirrored ceiling, fireplace, and aquarium and had a colour scheme of orchid, royal blue, silver and black. Andy was a very involved member of the Burnaby community becoming the founding president of the Lion's club and the chairman of the committee raising money for war bonds during World War II. In 1944, Andy suffered a severe heart attack, forcing him to retire, so in 1945 he sold the theatre to Odeon Theatres of Canada who continued to operate at this location until 1968 when competition forced its closure and demolition. Andy and his family relocated to a home on Bonsor Avenue on 3/4 acres where he spent much of his time cultivating a lovely garden. In about 1946, Andy was approached by the B.C. Midget Auto Racing Association, who were looking for a good location to race the smaller, racing cars, popular at the time. Andy was interested and purchased 10 acres of property located near the corner of Irmin Street and MacPherson Avenue and built a race track. The Digney Speedway opened on July 8, 1948 with stands that had capacity of holding 4500 people. In 1949, when the popularity of midget racing declined, Digney started racing roadsters. However, he struggled to find local drivers, and it was expensive to bring in drivers from elsewhere. In 1951 Digney found a winner: jalopy racing. Local men would buy 1930s cars and strip them down, remove the glass, and weld the doors shut. By early 1952 over forty cars were showing up for jalopy races. By the early 1950s the Speedway was well established, with coverage in the sports pages and on radio. Andy's son Ernest Digney (also known as Dig) worked at the race track but moved away with his wife in 1951 to work in Seattle. Andy and his wife Joyce, along with their two young sons, Paul and Bruce returned to Burnaby in 1953 moving into a 550 square foot apartment located above the Digney Speedway restrooms. In 1954 Simpson Sears built a large store on Kingsway and their parking lot came up to the back garden of the family home on Bonsor Avenue. Andy thought of building small stores on his property but in the end decided to build a bowling alley, clearing out his beautiful garden. The Digney Bowl opened on August 19,1955 and Andy Digney, his wife Alice, son 'Dig' and daughter in law Joyce all worked at both the Speedway and the bowling alley. In 1956 Andy decided to finally retire and sold the bowling alley and home to his son 'Dig' which he paid for over time. 'Dig' and his family moved into the house on Bonsor Avenue and ran the bowling alley until their son Bruce took over in 1980. Andy Digney died in 1964 while travelling with his wife in England. His wife Alice died on June 3, 1982 and their son, Ernest ('Dig') died November 27, 2009.
Notes
Title based on contents
City of Burnaby Archives holds the original Digney film masters (562.003) that this narrated segment was disseminated from
Creator
Andy Digney
Names
Digney, Andy
Digney Bowling Alley
Digney Speedway
Geographic Access
Burnaby - 6521 Bonsor Avenue
Burnaby - Kingsway
Video Tracks
Less detail

Interview with George Hollinger by Eric Damer November 22, 2012 - Track 1

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/oralhistory344
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Summary
This portion of the recording pertains to George Hollinger's memories of how he came to live in Burnaby. He discusses racing at the Digney Speedway and other racetracks in the lower mainland.
Date Range
1952-1975
Length
0:09:04
  1 Audio  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Summary
This portion of the recording pertains to George Hollinger's memories of how he came to live in Burnaby. He discusses racing at the Digney Speedway and other racetracks in the lower mainland.
Date Range
1952-1975
Length
0:09:04
Name
Digney Speedway
Subject
Sports - Automobile Racing
Interviewer
Damer, Eric
Interview Date
November 22, 2012
Scope and Content
Recording is an interview with George Hollinger conducted by Burnaby Village Museum employee Eric Damer, November 22, 2012. Major themes discussed are: car and motorcycle racing.
Biographical Notes
George Hollinger was born in 1930 in Montreal. After serving in the Navy in World War II, George bought his first motorcycle in Montreal. He spent the next seven years travelling by motorcycle throughout Canada, the United States, and the eastern part of Mexico. He built and tuned various engines that won championships in both Western Canada and the United States of America. George came to the Burnaby area for the first time in 1952 to experience Burnaby’s quarter-mile dirt track, Digney Speedway. Years later he got married and bought a house. After retiring from motorsports in 1975, George picked up hockey.
Total Tracks
2
Total Length
0:20:12
Other Tracks
View All Tracks
Interviewee Name
Hollinger, George
Interview Location
Burnaby Village Museum
Interviewer Bio
Eric Damer is a lifelong British Columbian born in Victoria, raised in Kamloops, and currently residing in Burnaby. After studying philosophy at the University of Victoria, he became interested in the educational forces that had shaped his own life. He completed master’s and doctoral degrees in educational studies at the University of British Columbia with a particular interest in the history of adult and higher education in the province. In 2012, Eric worked for the City of Burnaby as a field researcher and writer, conducting interviews for the City Archives and Museum Oral History Program.
Collection/Fonds
Community Heritage Commission Special Projects fonds
Series
Burna-Boom Oral History Project series
Item No.
MSS171-013_Track_1
Transcript Available
None
Media Type
Sound Recording
Audio Tracks

Track one of recording of interview with George Hollinger

Less detail

Burnaby and Digney recreational events

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/archivevideo85208
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1934 and 1938]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (10 min., 30 sec.) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Item No.
562-003-3
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Scope and Content
Item is a silent digitized colour and black and white film segment identified as Reel 3. The film segment opens with footage of Digney family automobile travels and of Pelican Lake, Alberta where the family spent their summer, the footage switches to footage of a parade somewhere in the Rockies (B…
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1934 and 1938]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-003-3
Accession Number
2014-04
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Physical Description
1 film clip (10 min., 30 sec.) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
No restrictions
Reproduction Restriction
May be restricted by third party rights
Scope and Content
Item is a silent digitized colour and black and white film segment identified as Reel 3. The film segment opens with footage of Digney family automobile travels and of Pelican Lake, Alberta where the family spent their summer, the footage switches to footage of a parade somewhere in the Rockies (Banff) which begins in black and white and changes to colour format. This is followed by colour footage of car racing at the Digney Speedway located on 10 acres of property on MacPherson Ave. Jelopy stock car racing is seen taking place with crowds of people looking on.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Sports - Swimming
Events - Parades
Persons - Children
Persons - Crowds
Sports - Automobile Racing
Names
Digney, Ernest Frank "Dig"
Digney Speedway
Geographic Access
Burnaby - MacPherson Avenue
Historic Neighbourhood
Alta-Vista (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Clinton-Glenwood Area
Video Tracks
Less detail

Application for Permission to Operate a Skeet Shooting Range at the Digney Speedway

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/councilreport45384
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
45414
Meeting Date
18-Oct-1954
Type/Format
Council - Mayor/Councillor/Staff Report
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
  2 Documents  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
45414
Meeting Date
18-Oct-1954
Type/Format
Council - Mayor/Councillor/Staff Report
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
Documents
Less detail
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1934 and 1961]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
2 optical discs (approx. 2 hrs, 40 min) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Item No.
562-003
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Scope and Content
Item is a collection of 18 short films on DVD. These films were created by Andy Digney using his 8 mm camera and provide views of the Digney family gatherings, trips, vacations at home and abroad. They also provide glimpses of Burnaby parades, celebrations and the Digney Speedway. The 18 segments h…
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1934 and 1961]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-003
Accession Number
2014-04
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Physical Description
2 optical discs (approx. 2 hrs, 40 min) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
No restrictions
Reproduction Restriction
May be restricted by third party rights
Scope and Content
Item is a collection of 18 short films on DVD. These films were created by Andy Digney using his 8 mm camera and provide views of the Digney family gatherings, trips, vacations at home and abroad. They also provide glimpses of Burnaby parades, celebrations and the Digney Speedway. The 18 segments have all been described at item level.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
The original 8mm film footage was digitized and broken down into 18 segments, reflecting the original order. Items are described as 562-003-1 : 562-003-18
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Animals - Dogs
Recreational Activities - Fishing
Recreational Activities - Camping
Recreational Activities - Picnics
Geographic Features - Rivers
Events - Parades
Sports - Motorcycle Racing
Names
Digney, Andy
Digney, Ernest Frank "Dig"
Geographic Access
Manitoba
Less detail

Interview with George Hollinger by Eric Damer November 22, 2012 - Track 2

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/oralhistory345
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Summary
This portion of the recording pertains to George Hollinger's recreational activities. He discusses the activities that he took part in during his early days in Burnaby, including shooting, hunting and going to taverns. He also mentions playing hockey which he continues to do to this day.
Date Range
1952-2012
Length
0:11:08
  1 Audio  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Summary
This portion of the recording pertains to George Hollinger's recreational activities. He discusses the activities that he took part in during his early days in Burnaby, including shooting, hunting and going to taverns. He also mentions playing hockey which he continues to do to this day.
Date Range
1952-2012
Length
0:11:08
Subject
Recreational Activities
Interviewer
Damer, Eric
Interview Date
November 22, 2012
Scope and Content
Recording is an interview with George Hollinger conducted by Burnaby Village Museum employee Eric Damer, November 22, 2012. Major themes discussed are: car and motorcycle racing.
Biographical Notes
George Hollinger was born in 1930 in Montreal. After serving in the Navy in World War II, George bought his first motorcycle in Montreal. He spent the next seven years travelling by motorcycle throughout Canada, the United States, and the eastern part of Mexico. He built and tuned various engines that won championships in both Western Canada and the United States of America. George came to the Burnaby area for the first time in 1952 to experience Burnaby’s quarter-mile dirt track, Digney Speedway. Years later he got married and bought a house. After retiring from motorsports in 1975, George picked up hockey.
Total Tracks
2
Total Length
0:20:12
Other Tracks
View All Tracks
Interviewee Name
Hollinger, George
Interview Location
Burnaby Village Museum
Interviewer Bio
Eric Damer is a lifelong British Columbian born in Victoria, raised in Kamloops, and currently residing in Burnaby. After studying philosophy at the University of Victoria, he became interested in the educational forces that had shaped his own life. He completed master’s and doctoral degrees in educational studies at the University of British Columbia with a particular interest in the history of adult and higher education in the province. In 2012, Eric worked for the City of Burnaby as a field researcher and writer, conducting interviews for the City Archives and Museum Oral History Program.
Collection/Fonds
Community Heritage Commission Special Projects fonds
Series
Burna-Boom Oral History Project series
Item No.
MSS171-013_Track_2
Transcript Available
None
Media Type
Sound Recording
Audio Tracks

Track two of recording of interview with George Hollinger

Less detail
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1936-1959
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Fonds
Physical Description
1 photograph : b&w + 1 film reel : col. ; 16mm + 7 optical discs (DVDs) + 1 portable drive
Storage Location
Photo/MI catalogue 562
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of a reel of film (digitized into four segments) created by Andy Digney; a panorama photograph of the Digney Pee-Wee Bowling League from 1958 or 1959 and 18 film segments on DVD that were originally created by Andy Digney between 1934-1961 and digitized by his grandson Paul Digney in…
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1936-1959
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Fonds
Storage Location
Photo/MI catalogue 562
Physical Description
1 photograph : b&w + 1 film reel : col. ; 16mm + 7 optical discs (DVDs) + 1 portable drive
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
Open access
Reproduction Restriction
May be restricted by third party rights
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of a reel of film (digitized into four segments) created by Andy Digney; a panorama photograph of the Digney Pee-Wee Bowling League from 1958 or 1959 and 18 film segments on DVD that were originally created by Andy Digney between 1934-1961 and digitized by his grandson Paul Digney in 2012. The 16 mm film is divided into the following segments; the Oak Theatre in 1936 (construction and opening), the Royal Visit ( from the King and Queen in 1939), Burnaby Sports and May Day events (ca. 1937) and the Labour parade ( ca. 1935). The 18 film segments contain footage of the Digney family at their home in Brandon Manitoba and Burnaby, views of the Oak Theatre and Digney Speedway in operation and their travels throughout British Columbia and abroad. The 18 film segments are described at item level and titled; Andy's first film; Brandon,Manitoba; Burnaby and Digney recreational events; Trip to Kamloops; Burnaby; Burnaby, Vancouver and the north shore; Galiano Island, Oak Theatre and Calgary; Travels to Ontario, Quebec and England; Travels to England #2 ; Travels to England #3; Parades; Digney family in Burnaby; Paul Digney and family; Digney family and the Oak Theatre gardens; Digney family at Bonsor Avenue and family outings; Building and opening the Digney Speedway; Digney family travel the praries; San Francisco Trip.
History/Biography
Andy Digney was born in London, England on July 27, 1886. His given names were Andrew Charles and in 1905, he immigrated with his elder brother to Raymore Saskatchewan and worked on a farm. In 1914, he met and married Alice Swan and in 1920 they had their one and only child, Ernest ('Dig'). The young family lived in Beatty Saskatchewan where they ran a small general store with a pool hall over the top. Andy sold the store and they moved to Carberry Manitoba where Andy worked selling lightening rods and hanging wallpaper. At this time he met and formed a partnership with someone who owned a hand cranked move projector and in the evenings, he and his wife, traveled to church halls in neighbouring towns showing movies. Eventually, he purchased his own movie projector and opened a small theatre in Carberry. He worked odd jobs during the daytime and projected movies in his small theatre at night. Eventually he made enough money to move to Brandon, Manitoba where he purchased a restaurant which he turned into a theatre with living quarters above. Andy called the theatre 'The Oak' since the mighty oak was strong and stood forever. After starting the first Oak Theatre in Brandon, Manitoba when talking pictures came along, Andy Digney, his wife Alice and son Ernest ('Dig') moved to Burnaby in 1935 and chose the site of their new theatre and home at the corner of Kingsway and Marlborough. The Oak Theatre - which opened on August 4, 1937 - was hailed as an artistic masterpiece for its ultra modern white stucco exterior, floodlights and pink-and-green neon marquee. The interior featured a mirrored ceiling, fireplace, and aquarium and had a colour scheme of orchid, royal blue, silver and black. Andy was a very involved member of the Burnaby community becoming the founding president of the Lion's club and the chairman of the committee raising money for war bonds during World War II. In 1944, Andy suffered a severe heart attack, forcing him to retire, so in 1945 he sold the theatre to Odeon Theatres of Canada who continued to operate at this location until 1968 when competition forced its closure and demolition. Andy and his family relocated to a home on Bonsor Avenue on 3/4 acres where he spent much of his time cultivating a lovely garden. In about 1946, Andy was approached by the B.C. Midget Auto Racing Association, who were looking for a good location to race the smaller, racing cars, popular at the time. Andy was interested and purchased 10 acres of property located near the corner of Irmin Street and MacPherson Avenue and built a race track. The Digney Speedway opened on July 8, 1948 with stands that had capacity of holding 4500 people. In 1949, when the popularity of midget racing declined, Digney started racing roadsters. However, he struggled to find local drivers, and it was expensive to bring in drivers from elsewhere. In 1951 Digney found a winner: jalopy racing. Local men would buy 1930s cars and strip them down, remove the glass, and weld the doors shut. By early 1952 over forty cars were showing up for jalopy races. By the early 1950s the Speedway was well established, with coverage in the sports pages and on radio. Andy's son Ernest Digney (also known as Dig) worked at the race track but moved away with his wife in 1951 to work in Seattle. Andy and his wife Joyce, along with their two young sons, Paul and Bruce returned to Burnaby in 1953 moving into a 550 square foot apartment located above the Digney Speedway restrooms. In 1954 Simpson Sears built a large store on Kingsway and their parking lot came up to the back garden of the family home on Bonsor Avenue. Andy thought of building small stores on his property but in the end decided to build a bowling alley, clearing out his beautiful garden. The Digney Bowl opened on August 19,1955 and Andy Digney, his wife Alice, son 'Dig' and daughter in law Joyce all worked at both the Speedway and the bowling alley. In 1956 Andy decided to finally retire and sold the bowling alley and home to his son 'Dig' which he paid for over time. 'Dig' and his family moved into the house on Bonsor Avenue and ran the bowling alley until their son Bruce took over in 1980. Andy Digney died in 1964 while travelling with his wife in England. His wife Alice died on June 3, 1982 and their son, Ernest ('Dig') died November 27, 2009.
Notes
Title based on contents of fonds
Less detail
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Date
[between 1934 and 1964] (date of originals), copied in 2016 and 2019
Collection/Fonds
Digney family fonds
Description Level
Fonds
Physical Description
7 mp4 videos (approx. 3hr., 18 min.) : digital, 23 fps
Storage Location
Digital only
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of various short films created by Andy Digney and his son Ernest "Dig" Digney. Films include; a compilation of Burnaby content shot by Andy Digney and narrated by Lisa Codd (Curator of Burnaby Village Museum) along with a collection of six films shot on 8 mm film. Film content inclu…
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Date
[between 1934 and 1964] (date of originals), copied in 2016 and 2019
Collection/Fonds
Digney family fonds
Description Level
Fonds
Accession Code
BV019.18
Storage Location
Digital only
Physical Description
7 mp4 videos (approx. 3hr., 18 min.) : digital, 23 fps
Material Details
Films were digitized in 2019 from original 8 mm format
Formats
mp4
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
No restrictions
Reproduction Restriction
May be restricted by third party rights
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of various short films created by Andy Digney and his son Ernest "Dig" Digney. Films include; a compilation of Burnaby content shot by Andy Digney and narrated by Lisa Codd (Curator of Burnaby Village Museum) along with a collection of six films shot on 8 mm film. Film content includes footage of members of the Digney family and friends in Burnaby; the Digney homes on Bonsor Avenue and Kaymar Drive; construction of the Digney Bowling Alley and the Simpsons-Sears building; Lawn bowling at Central Park as well as various family events, gatherings, vacations and trips. Films are arranged and described at item level.
History/Biography
Andy Digney was born in London, England on July 27, 1886. His given names were Andrew Charles and in 1905, he immigrated with his elder brother to Raymore Saskatchewan and worked on a farm. In 1914, he met and married Alice Swan and in 1920 they had their one and only child, Ernest ('Dig'). The young family lived in Beatty Saskatchewan where they ran a small general store with a pool hall over the top. Andy sold the store and they moved to Carberry Manitoba where Andy worked selling lightening rods and hanging wallpaper. At this time he met and formed a partnership with someone who owned a hand cranked move projector and in the evenings, he and his wife, traveled to church halls in neighbouring towns showing movies. Eventually, he purchased his own movie projector and opened a small theatre in Carberry. He worked odd jobs during the daytime and projected movies in his small theatre at night. Eventually he made enough money to move to Brandon, Manitoba where he purchased a restaurant which he turned into a theatre with living quarters above. Andy called the theatre 'The Oak' since the mighty oak was strong and stood forever. After starting the first Oak Theatre in Brandon, Manitoba when talking pictures came along, Andy Digney, his wife Alice and son Ernest ('Dig') moved to Burnaby in 1936 and chose the site of their new theatre and home at the corner of Kingsway and Marlborough. The Oak Theatre - which opened on August 4, 1937 - was hailed as an artistic masterpiece for its ultra modern white stucco exterior, floodlights and pink-and-green neon marquee. The interior featured a mirrored ceiling, fireplace, and aquarium and had a colour scheme of orchid, royal blue, silver and black. Andy was a very involved member of the Burnaby community becoming the founding president of the Lion's club and the chairman of the committee raising money for war bonds during World War II. In 1944, Andy suffered a severe heart attack, forcing him to retire, so in 1945 he sold the theatre to Odeon Theatres of Canada who continued to operate at this location until 1968 when competition forced its closure and demolition. Andy and his family relocated to a house at 2698 Bonsor Avenue (after 1959-6521 Bonsor Ave.) on 3/4 acres where he spent much of his time cultivating a lovely garden. In about 1946, Andy was approached by the B.C. Midget Auto Racing Association, who were looking for a good location to race the smaller, racing cars, popular at the time. Andy was interested and purchased 10 acres of property located near the corner of Irmin Street and MacPherson Avenue and built a race track. The Digney Speedway opened on July 8, 1948 with stands that had capacity of holding 4500 people. In 1949, when the popularity of midget racing declined, Digney started racing roadsters. However, he struggled to find local drivers, and it was expensive to bring in drivers from elsewhere. In 1951 Digney found a winner: jalopy racing. Local men would buy 1930s cars and strip them down, remove the glass, and weld the doors shut. By early 1952 over forty cars were showing up for jalopy races. By the early 1950s the Speedway was well established, with coverage in the sports pages and on radio. Andy's son Ernest Digney (also known as Dig) worked at the race track but moved away with his wife in 1951 to work in Seattle. Dig and his wife Joyce, along with their two young sons, Paul and Bruce returned to Burnaby in 1953 moving into a 550 square foot apartment located above the Digney Speedway restrooms. In 1954 Simpson Sears built a large store on Kingsway and their parking lot came up to the back garden of the family home on Bonsor Avenue. Andy thought of building small stores on his property but in the end decided to build a bowling alley, clearing out his beautiful garden. The Digney Bowl opened on August 19,1955 and Andy Digney, his wife Alice, son 'Dig' and daughter in law Joyce all worked at both the Speedway and the Bowling Alley. In 1956 Andy decided to finally retire and sold the bowling alley and home to his son 'Dig' which he paid for over time. 'Dig' and his family moved into the house on Bonsor Avenue and ran the bowling alley until their son Bruce took over in 1980. Andy Digney died in England in 1964 while on his world tour. His wife Alice died on June 3, 1982 and their son, Ernest ('Dig') died November 27, 2009.
Notes
Title based on contents of fonds
Subjects
Sports - Bowling
Sports - Badminton
Sports - Swimming
Construction
Names
Digney, Alice
Digney, Andy
Digney, Bruce
Digney, Dorothy
Digney, Ernest Frank "Dig"
Digney, Paul
Digney, Joyce
Geographic Access
Burnaby
Burnaby - 6521 Bonsor Avenue
Burnaby - Kaymar Drive
Less detail

Chapter Nine: Kingsway West School Neighbourhood, McKay District p. 302

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/museumlibrary6023-302
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Book
Burnaby Centennial Anthology
Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
1994
decided to give it a try and wasn’t doing too badly until I went flying off into the trees and nearly killed myself. I decided to give it up right then and there. Mr. Kingston was the Minister of the old West Burnaby United Church. I spent a lot of time at Digney Speedway on McPherson Avenue. They
  1 Digital Chapter  
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Book
Burnaby Centennial Anthology
Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
1994
Original Book
Catalogue record for source book
Digital Book
Less detail

13 records – page 1 of 1.

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