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Each August, as the days slowly get shorter and we enjoy the last days of summer, Prince Rupert enjoys an annual tradition: the selection of next year’s phone book cover.
CityWest has published a phone book ever since it was a municipal utility way back in 1911, and in the 1960s, the cover displayed a photograph that was representative of the city in that time and place. Looking at all the covers together, you can see the things that changes, and the things that stayed the same, as we made our way through the late 20th century and early 21st.
The photographs were submitted by the public and the winners were selected by the staff of CityWest. Then, in 2014, things changed slightly – using the power of social media, CityWest asked the public to decide which of the pictures belonged on the cover of the phone book.
And, in a few weeks, that contest will start up once again. As we once again celebrate this annual tradition, we thought we could take a look back at some of our favourite phone book covers over the past 57 years.
1964: City Hall and the red convertible
One of the first photographs that would grace the cover of the phone book, this image shows that, despite all the changes since 1964, not much has really changed in some parts of 3rd Avenue West. The white-box art-deco city hall still looks much the same, as does the Besner Block in the background. The cars have changed, however, as indicated by the red convertible that adds a touch of colour to the picture.
1991: The Golden Chalice
There have been a few commercial fishing vessels from the Prince Rupert Harbour on the cover of the phone book, but this might be our favourite. She’s a beauty, a golden-hulled wooden vessel that seems to be cutting effortlessly through the calm harbour waters. There’s an unknown sailor at the bow of the boat, who adds a bit of mystery to the photo. And that brilliant blue sky takes up most of the shot, as it should.
Photographer: Robin Knox
Wildlife and seascapes also feature prominently in the back-catalogue of the phone book, and this cover combines them both. The starfish is on some unknown beach, and seems to be saying “c’mere!” with its arm.
2013: Moon Rising over Mount Hays
Photographer: Robb Rydde
Robb Rydde owned the cover image for the better part of the last decade: his photos landed on the cover in 2013, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Of all of them, this image is our favourite. Taken on one of those nights when the moon seems bigger than ever, silhouetting the evergreens atop Mount Hays, it is otherworldly and beautiful.
Photographer: Guy Carignan
This striking close-up image of a seaplane’s stationary propellor on calm waters in Seal Cove is highlighted by the dark-blue and brushstroke-clouds in the sky. Is the day just beginning, or is it ending? And where is this seaplane heading to?
2021: Dancing Feet
Photographer: Nathan Combs
The striking tones of black and red dominate this cover shot, which somehow shows motion in the feet of a First Nations’ dancer. The feet and the art are the main focus of the shot, but there is something going on in the background that we can’t quite make out. During the long year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was good to see that some people were dancing.
Honourable mention: Mr. Crab
Photographer: Mike Ambach
A staff favourite, this one didn’t win over the public, losing out to a Robb Rydde photo. But we still like this guy, an extreme closeup of a crab that seems to be flexing, or getting ready to party. Or perhaps both. Crabs have been called the cockroaches of the harbour, but this guy has personality, and as Jules Winnfield once said, “personality goes a long way.”
We’re looking forward to seeing your submissions to our phone book contest! Keep an eye on our website and our Facebook page in the coming weeks for details.