BC Road Trip Time Machine: Highway 99 from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish

Get in and buckle up because this episode of our BC Road Trip Time Machine is set to take you on one curvy highway – Highway 99 from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish to be exact.

The “Sea to Sky” corridor is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful drives in the world, taking motorists on a dramatic route from Vancouver along the Howe Sound, through Squamish, then on to Whistler and beyond. Many improvements have been made to this highway over the years, most significantly those completed in 2010 but, in 1966, the highway was a single lane of traffic in each direction, carved into the dramatic cliffs of the Coast Mountains where they met the sea. Spoiler Alert: In 1966, there was no paved provincial highway connecting Squamish and Whistler (then Alta Lake). Our photolog for this route ends after Squamish, where a narrow gravel road continues on.

What’s a photolog?
We recorded these nostalgic videos (or photologs) from 16mm film footage taken in 1966. The original photologs were collected by rigging a camera onto the dash of a car that took still images every 80 feet or so and then running them all together as a single film. As far as we know, the “Highways Department” (as it was then known) was the first organization in Canada to collect information this way in order to create a visual record of road condition information from across the province, thereby allowing our engineers to study a stretch of road without having to travel there. Pretty cool, eh?

Map of Upper levels
A vintage map of the route circa 1965, from Beautiful British Columbia magazine.

Where have we been so far in the time machine?
If you’ve been riding along with us, you may have already toured the southern stretch of BC Highway 97, from the U.S. Border to Vernon, as well as the northern portion of 97 between Prince George to Dawson Creek as it was in 1966. We have also driven over Vancouver Island’s Malahat Highway and along Highway 1 and the original Port Mann Bridge in our BC Road Trip Time Machine travels.

Stay tuned for more episodes in your special corner of the province as we work our way through the rest of the 1966 photolog footage, and don’t forget to check out our Flickr set of still images taken from this and other reels in our Flickr set.

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