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Repository
Burnaby Heritage Planning
Civic Address
5000 Kingsway
Associated Dates
1937
  1 Image  
Repository
Burnaby Heritage Planning
Civic Address
5000 Kingsway
Associated Dates
1937
Heritage Value
After starting the first Oak Theatre in Brandon, Manitoba when talking pictures came along, Andy Digney and his family moved to Burnaby in 1936 and chose the site of their new theatre at the corner of Kingsway and Marlborough. In 1945, Digney sold the theatre but it remained in operation until 1968 when competition forced its closure and demolition. The Oak Theatre - which had 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.
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Marlborough Area
Geographic Access
Burnaby - 5000 Kingsway
Images
Less detail
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1937 (date of original), copied 1991
Collection/Fonds
SFU/Burnaby Centennial Committee fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 photograph : b&w ; 4.6 x 3.3 cm print on contact sheet 20.2 x 25.3 cm
Item No.
370-051
Storage Location
AV Storage
Scope and Content
Photograph of the Oak Theatre at 3506 Kingsway at night. This was the first commercial use of neon lighting in Burnaby. This photograph may have been taken opening night, August 4, 1937.
  1 Image  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1937 (date of original), copied 1991
Collection/Fonds
SFU/Burnaby Centennial Committee fonds
Series
Burnaby Image Bank series
Description Level
Item
Item No.
370-051
Accession Number
BHS999-03
Storage Location
AV Storage
Physical Description
1 photograph : b&w ; 4.6 x 3.3 cm print on contact sheet 20.2 x 25.3 cm
Media Type
Photograph
Access Restriction
No restrictions
Reproduction Restriction
No known restrictions
Scope and Content
Photograph of the Oak Theatre at 3506 Kingsway at night. This was the first commercial use of neon lighting in Burnaby. This photograph may have been taken opening night, August 4, 1937.
Photographer
Bellinger, Bernard
Subjects
Advertising Medium - Signs and Signboards
Buildings - Commercial - Theatres
Names
Oak Theatre
Notes
Title based on contents of photograph
1 b&w copy negative accompanying
Geographic Access
Burnaby - Kingsway
Burnaby - 5000 Block Kingsway
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Marlborough Area
Images
Less detail
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1937 and 1936]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (9 min., 26 sec.) : digital, col., si.
Item No.
562-002-1
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized copy of a silent colour film segment with footage of the construction of the Oak Theatre in 1936, the opening of the theatre held on August 4, 1937, the theatre with snow in the winter and the Digney family home and neighborhood . Andy Digney moved with his family from Manitoba …
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1937 and 1936]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-002-1
Accession Number
2012-15
Physical Description
1 film clip (9 min., 26 sec.) : digital, 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 copy of a silent colour film segment with footage of the construction of the Oak Theatre in 1936, the opening of the theatre held on August 4, 1937, the theatre with snow in the winter and the Digney family home and neighborhood . Andy Digney moved with his family from Manitoba to Burnaby in 1936 and purchased 2 acres of land where he settled with his family and built the Oak Theatre which was located at 5000 Kingsway (Marlborough & Kingsway). The theatre was located on a 2 acre parcel of land and had a 350 seat capacity and offered valet parking. Construction crews with men and horses can be seen laying the foundation and erecting the walls of the theatre and crowds of people and cars are seen arriving outside the theatre on opening day.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Film clip originates from digitized version of original 16 mm film footage (item 562-001). This segment was part of digitized portion titled 'Oak Theatre'
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Events - Openings
Buildings - Commercial - Theatres
Recreational Activities - Theatre
Animals - Horses
Names
Oak Theatre
Digney, Andy
Geographic Access
Burnaby - 5000 Block Kingsway
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Sussex-Nelson Area
Video Tracks
Less detail

Children's theatrical performance at the Oak Theatre

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/archivevideo85469
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1939
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (1 min., 36 sec.) : digital, b&w ; si.
Item No.
562-002-5
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized copy of a black and white film segment of an unidentified theatrical production at the Oak Theatre with children as the performers. Children appear in costume with some dressed as mice or rats and cats dancing and performing on the stage while others are dressed as townsfolk. Th…
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1939
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-002-5
Accession Number
2012-15
Physical Description
1 film clip (1 min., 36 sec.) : digital, b&w ; 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 copy of a black and white film segment of an unidentified theatrical production at the Oak Theatre with children as the performers. Children appear in costume with some dressed as mice or rats and cats dancing and performing on the stage while others are dressed as townsfolk. The play closely resembles the folk tale 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin' (also known as The Pan Piper, the Rat Catcher of Hamelin).
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Film clip originates from digitized version of original 16 mm film footage (item 562-001). This segment was part of digitized portion titled 'Royal Visit'
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Buildings - Commercial - Theatres
Recreational Activities - Theatre
Persons - Children
Names
Oak Theatre
Geographic Access
Burnaby - 5000 Block Kingsway
Burnaby - Central Park
Burnaby - Kingsway
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Sussex-Nelson Area
Video Tracks
Less detail
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Accession Code
HV976.13.1
Description
The trophy is a tall slim silver cup with a handle either side. It is mounted on a round wooden base. There are a number of small shields around base in two rows. They indicate the winners from 1938 to 1957. One of the shields is loose. The cup is tarnished. It was presented by the Oak Theatre for…
Object History
Object was presented by the Oak Theatre for the best plant at the Burnaby Amateur Chrysanthemum Association (B.A.C.A.) flower show. It was won by the donor, Alfred Preston, in 1948 and 1957. The B.A.C.A. started in 1937.
  1 Image  
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Accession Code
HV976.13.1
Description
The trophy is a tall slim silver cup with a handle either side. It is mounted on a round wooden base. There are a number of small shields around base in two rows. They indicate the winners from 1938 to 1957. One of the shields is loose. The cup is tarnished. It was presented by the Oak Theatre for the best plant at the B.A.C.A. flower show.
Object History
Object was presented by the Oak Theatre for the best plant at the Burnaby Amateur Chrysanthemum Association (B.A.C.A.) flower show. It was won by the donor, Alfred Preston, in 1948 and 1957. The B.A.C.A. started in 1937.
Marks/Labels
"OAK THEATRE TROPHY" "FOR BEST PLANT IN THE B.A.C.A. ANNUAL SHOW", engraved on front of cup. "1958 D.ELLIOTT" "1959 V.STEERS" "1960 C.GREEN" "1961 V.E. STEERS" "1962 V.E.STEERS" "1963 J.KAMIYA", engraved on reverse side of cup. "WON BY", engraved on each shield around base. The names are not readable until the shields are cleaned.
Name Access
Oak Theatre
Record Type
Artifact
Images
Less detail
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
34836
Meeting Date
15-Jan-1962
Type/Format
Council - Manager's Report
Manager's Report No.
1
Item No.
17
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
  2 Documents  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
34836
Meeting Date
15-Jan-1962
Type/Format
Council - Manager's Report
Manager's Report No.
1
Item No.
17
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
Documents
Less detail

Oak Theatre Souvenir Programme

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/archivetextualrecord64867
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
Aug. 1937 (date of original)
Collection/Fonds
Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives Collection
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 programme
Item No.
42037
Storage Location
68-1-1-5
Scope and Content
Item is a photocopied souvenir programme from the opening of the Oak Theatre at 3506 Kingsway, August 4, 1937. The theatre is described as "British Columbia's Ultra Modern Playhouse."
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
Aug. 1937 (date of original)
Collection/Fonds
Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives Collection
Physical Description
1 programme
Description Level
Item
Series
Burnaby Historical Society Ephemera collection
Item No.
42037
Storage Location
68-1-1-5
Accession Number
BHS992-47
Scope and Content
Item is a photocopied souvenir programme from the opening of the Oak Theatre at 3506 Kingsway, August 4, 1937. The theatre is described as "British Columbia's Ultra Modern Playhouse."
Media Type
Textual Record
Notes
Title based on contents of item
Less detail

Go-Cart Track - Oak Theatre

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/councilreport38326
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
34301
Meeting Date
27-May-1963
Type/Format
Council - Manager's Report
Manager's Report No.
29
Item No.
1
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
  2 Documents  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
34301
Meeting Date
27-May-1963
Type/Format
Council - Manager's Report
Manager's Report No.
29
Item No.
1
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
Documents
Less detail
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Accession Code
BV004.44.1
Description
Postcard, black and white photo; horizontal; white Art Deco building with corner entrance, car under canopy at left; in white at lower left, "THE OAK THEATRE" "ROYAL OAK, BURNABY," "NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C."; clock at front of canopy shows 6:43; glossy, white border; ca.1940s; on reverse in grey, "POS…
  1 Image  
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Accession Code
BV004.44.1
Description
Postcard, black and white photo; horizontal; white Art Deco building with corner entrance, car under canopy at left; in white at lower left, "THE OAK THEATRE" "ROYAL OAK, BURNABY," "NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C."; clock at front of canopy shows 6:43; glossy, white border; ca.1940s; on reverse in grey, "POST CARD" "MADE IN CANADA" "CORRESPONDENCE" "ADDRESS"; at upper right, outline of rectangle formed by "AZO" printed four times, squares at corners; finger? smudge, brownish marks at right; gloss worn? at some places along edges on front; unused
Marks/Labels
The Oak Theatre / Royal Oak / Burnaby / New Westminster, B.C.
Colour
black and white
Country Made
Canada
Title
The Oak Theatre Royal Oak, Burnaby, New Westminster, B.C.
Subjects
Documentary Artifacts
Documentary Artifacts - Postcards
Documentary Artifacts - Photographs
Buildings
Buildings - Commercial
Buildings - Commercial - Theatres
Record Type
Artifact
Images
Less detail

Galiano Island, Oak Theatre and Calgary

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/archivevideo85241
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1939 and 1941]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (9 min., 51 sec.) : digital, col., si.
Item No.
562-003-7
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Scope and Content
Item is a silent digitized colour film segment identified as Reel 7. The film segment opens with footage of the shores of Galiano Island and soon switches to a game of table tennis and a boat ride up Burrard Inlet with Grannie Swan and company. The boat ride continues to the marina at Horseshoe Bay…
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1939 and 1941]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-003-7
Accession Number
2014-04
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Physical Description
1 film clip (9 min., 51 sec.) : digital, 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 film segment identified as Reel 7. The film segment opens with footage of the shores of Galiano Island and soon switches to a game of table tennis and a boat ride up Burrard Inlet with Grannie Swan and company. The boat ride continues to the marina at Horseshoe Bay where the family goes ashore. This footage is followed with a dark segment of footage of a paegant at the Oak Theatre in 1941 and the gardens of the Oak Theatre. The film has a break and continues with footage of the Digney family travels to the Calgary Breweries, Calgary Zoo, and the Calgary Stampede parade and fairgrounds, Alberta, closing with footage of the Rockies and Rogers Pass.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Animals - Birds
Events - Parades
Names
Digney, Andy
Digney, Ernest Frank "Dig"
Digney, Alice
Geographic Access
Burnaby - Burrard Inlet
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Kingsway-Beresford Area
Video Tracks
Less detail

Digney family and the Oak Theatre gardens

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/archivevideo85251
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1940 and 1944]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (10 min., 12 sec.) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Item No.
562-003-14
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized silent film segment identified as Reel 14. The film opens in with the Digney family in their yard and garden and Grandma Swan's funeral (Royal Oak Cemetary). The remainder of the footage provides views of the gardens surrounding the Oak Theatre and includes footage of a wedding,…
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1940 and 1944]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-003-14
Accession Number
2014-04
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Physical Description
1 film clip (10 min., 12 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 digitized silent film segment identified as Reel 14. The film opens in with the Digney family in their yard and garden and Grandma Swan's funeral (Royal Oak Cemetary). The remainder of the footage provides views of the gardens surrounding the Oak Theatre and includes footage of a wedding, family pets at play, men and women playing badminton, views of both the interior and exterior of the Oak Theatre including female ushers. The film then moves on to a War Bond Drive and parade along Kingsway followed by more views of the Oak Theatre gardens.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Geographic Features - Gardens
Ceremonies - Funerals
Ceremonies - Weddings
Names
Digney, Andy
Digney, Ernest Frank "Dig"
Oak Theatre
Digney, Alice
Geographic Access
Burnaby - 5000 Block Kingsway
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Marlborough Area
Video Tracks
Less detail

Ploughing snow at the Oak Theatre

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/archivevideo85471
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1939
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (45 sec.) : digital, col. ; si.
Item No.
562-002-7
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized copy of a silent colour film segment of a snow plough ploughing snow in the parking lot outside the Oak Theatre.
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1939
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-002-7
Accession Number
2012-15
Physical Description
1 film clip (45 sec.) : digital, col. ; si.
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
No restrictions
Reproduction Restriction
No known restrictions
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized copy of a silent colour film segment of a snow plough ploughing snow in the parking lot outside the Oak Theatre.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Film clip originates from digitized version of original 16 mm film footage (item 562-001). This segment was part of digitized portion titled 'Royal Visit'
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Natural Phenomena - Snow
Geographic Access
Burnaby - Central Park
Burnaby - Kingsway
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Sussex-Nelson Area
Video Tracks
Less detail

Application for a Go-Cart Track on the Former "Oak Theatre" Property

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/councilreport37085
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
33688
Meeting Date
6-Oct-1964
Type/Format
Council - Manager's Report
Manager's Report No.
62
Item No.
6
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
  2 Documents  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
33688
Meeting Date
6-Oct-1964
Type/Format
Council - Manager's Report
Manager's Report No.
62
Item No.
6
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
Documents
Less detail

Oak Theatre Site - 5000 Kingsway (Lot "A", Block 27, DL 152, Map 5847)

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/councilreport41683
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
37409
Meeting Date
16-Feb-1959
Type/Format
Council - Manager's Report
Manager's Report No.
7
Item No.
16
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
  2 Documents  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
37409
Meeting Date
16-Feb-1959
Type/Format
Council - Manager's Report
Manager's Report No.
7
Item No.
16
Collection/Fonds
City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds
Documents
Less detail

Agreement Between A. Digney and Burnaby Respecting Connection for Fire Fighting Purposes (Water) at Oak Theatre, Block 27, DL 152

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/councilreport55010
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Report ID
71115
Meeting Date
14-Apr-1937
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
71115
Meeting Date
14-Apr-1937
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
1939
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (1 min., 52 sec.) : digital, col., si.
Item No.
562-002-2
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized copy of a silent colour film segment with footage of the Royal Visit from King George VI and Queen consort, Elizabeth. Boy Scouts and members of the community can be seen preparing for a roadside view of the motorcade and Mr. Digney can be seen pacing in his gardens at the Oak T…
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1939
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-002-2
Accession Number
2012-15
Physical Description
1 film clip (1 min., 52 sec.) : digital, col., si.
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
No restrictions
Reproduction Restriction
No known restrictions
Scope and Content
Item is a digitized copy of a silent colour film segment with footage of the Royal Visit from King George VI and Queen consort, Elizabeth. Boy Scouts and members of the community can be seen preparing for a roadside view of the motorcade and Mr. Digney can be seen pacing in his gardens at the Oak Theatre. As the royal couple (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) drive by the crowd on Kingsway, they can be seen in a automobile identified as a McLaughlin model 45 Extra Special series, with Queen Elizabeth holding a white umbrella. RCMP officers are seen on a motorcycle with a side car, while dignitaries and officials in automobiles accompany the royal couple as the crowd waves red flags and looks on as the cars drive off.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Film clip originates from digitized version of original 16 mm film footage (item 562-001). This segment was part of digitized portion titled 'Royal Visit'
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Events - May Day
Events - Royal Visits
Buildings - Commercial - Theatres
Recreational Activities - Theatre
Names
Oak Theatre
Digney, Andy
Elizabeth, Queen, consort of George VI, King of Great Britain, 1900-2002
George VI, King of Great Britain, 1895-1952
Geographic Access
Burnaby - 5000 Block Kingsway
Burnaby - Central Park
Burnaby - Kingsway
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Sussex-Nelson Area
Video Tracks
Less detail
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Accession Code
BV985.5149.4
Description
pass card; Student Pass Card [195-?]. Student pass card for the Odeon Theatres of Canada Limited at the Oak Theatre. The pass is filled out to John Perry of 1912 Frederick Ave. There is a spot for a photograph of the student but the photograph has been removed.
Object History
Student pass belonging to John Edward Perry, son of George Douglas Perry (1891-1979) and Katie Rist (1893-1979), who lived on Frederick Avenue in Burnaby.
  1 Image  
Repository
Burnaby Village Museum
Accession Code
BV985.5149.4
Description
pass card; Student Pass Card [195-?]. Student pass card for the Odeon Theatres of Canada Limited at the Oak Theatre. The pass is filled out to John Perry of 1912 Frederick Ave. There is a spot for a photograph of the student but the photograph has been removed.
Object History
Student pass belonging to John Edward Perry, son of George Douglas Perry (1891-1979) and Katie Rist (1893-1979), who lived on Frederick Avenue in Burnaby.
Measurements
9 cm x 5.5 cm
Record Type
Artifact
Images
Less detail
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1934
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (14 min., 12 sec.) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Item No.
562-003-2
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Scope and Content
Item is a silent digitized (DVD) film segment with footage identified as 'Reel 2' . Film footage flucuates between black and white and colour opening with a glimpse of a dog show in the winter outside the Oak Theatre in Brandon, Manitoba. Andy Digney appears in a hat in front of a poster. He sol…
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1934
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-003-2
Accession Number
2014-04
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Physical Description
1 film clip (14 min., 12 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 (DVD) film segment with footage identified as 'Reel 2' . Film footage flucuates between black and white and colour opening with a glimpse of a dog show in the winter outside the Oak Theatre in Brandon, Manitoba. Andy Digney appears in a hat in front of a poster. He sold the Oak Theatre in 1935 when the family moved to British Columbia. Other glimpses provide a view of an ice jam on the Assinboine River,Brandon floods, the Sandhills animal farm, the North Hill Motorcycle hill climb and an RCMP show in Regina.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Animals - Dogs
Geographic Features - Rivers
Sports - Motorcycle Racing
Names
Digney, Andy
Digney, Ernest Frank "Dig"
Geographic Access
Manitoba
Video Tracks
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
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
Physical Description
1 photograph : b&w + 1 film reel : col. ; 16mm + 7 optical discs (DVDs) + 1 portable drive
Media Type
Moving Images
Access Restriction
No restrictions
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
Photo/MI catalogue 562
Less detail
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1937 and 1938]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Physical Description
1 film clip (9 min., 26 sec.) : digital, b&w, col., si.
Item No.
562-003-5
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Scope and Content
Item is a silent digitized film segment identified as Reel 5. The film segment opens with black and white footage of a Burnaby May Day Parade. Children are seen in costumes pushing carriages and bicycles along with pets as they come to gather at Central Park for judging. This event is followed with…
  1 Video  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
[between 1937 and 1938]
Collection/Fonds
Digney Family fonds
Description Level
Item
Item No.
562-003-5
Accession Number
2014-04
Storage Location
56-5-1-3
Physical Description
1 film clip (9 min., 26 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 film segment identified as Reel 5. The film segment opens with black and white footage of a Burnaby May Day Parade. Children are seen in costumes pushing carriages and bicycles along with pets as they come to gather at Central Park for judging. This event is followed with colour footage of a gymkhana event with people riding horses at the Lubbock farm in Burnaby and closes with Victory Bond fundraising outside the Oak Theatre, a parade on Kingsway and contrails from an airplane. Many of the men can be seen marching in the parade with their A.R.P. (Air Raid Precautions) uniforms and arm bands.
Notes
Title based on contents of film
Creator
Andy Digney
Subjects
Events - Parades
Events - May Day
Animals - Horses
Names
Digney, Andy
Digney, Ernest Frank "Dig"
Geographic Access
Burnaby - Kingsway
Burnaby - 5000 Block Kingsway
Historic Neighbourhood
Central Park (Historic Neighbourhood)
Planning Study Area
Sussex-Nelson Area
Video Tracks
Less detail

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