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Ko Bong family fonds

  • Fundos
  • 1904 - 1971

The amateur films of Mathew Ko date from the late 1930s to early 1950s and are examples of the popular home movie genre. As historical documents, Ko’s films are exceptional: in their record of family and community life in Victoria and the region during this time, for the number of events represented in each film, and for the use of colour film stock. Aside from a small amount of footage in black and white, Mathew Ko shot in 16mm Kodachrome (introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1935), as well as Kodak and Ansco 16mm stock. Though they contain no sound tracks, his films vividly document significant social, cultural and political events in Chinatown and other areas of downtown Victoria and surrounding neighborhoods, Vancouver Island, the City of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

Scenes from the films include: Beacon Hill Park; the Chinese Public School; the Empress Hotel, the Parliament Buildings and Inner Harbour; family scenes, outings and trips; a protest against the sale of scrap iron to Japan (August 1939); pageants and celebrations in Victoria’s Chinatown, including the Rice Bowl Festival, Lion Dance and martial arts demonstrations; Royal Athletic Park pageant and drill team events; the Royal Visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Victoria (May 1939); trains and steamships; World War II patriotic and post-War parades in Victoria and Vancouver; and youth activities including Scouts and YMCA outings.

Ko Bong family

Mathew Ko Films

The accrual consists of Mathew Ko colour films of Victoria's Chinatown and surrounding region.

Ko, Mathew


One of a series of amateur motion picture films by Mathew Ko. Two girls using tools to help in the garden, baby with a shovel, close shots of white and pale purple croci in bloom, girl poses with flowers, joined by elderly people [grandparents?]. Family on ferry, ship “Isbrandtsen” sails past, ferry docks in Port of Seattle, view of bridge across the water. Three children posing on ferry, cherry blossoms, children playing in front of flowers. Family playing with ball and bat in yard, large picnic in park. Parade, drill teams and pageant in stadium [Royal Athletic Park?], including cars, dancing, gymnastics, and other performances. Parade on street with Victoria Public Market in background, with military vehicles and personnel, marching bands including a Victoria College band, and floats including the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. Children playing in yard, young girls dancing formally in park, baby crying. Peacocks with full plumage, ferry ride with American flag on boat, street scene with “Angeles Furniture” and “Western Union,” signs. Clallam County building and clock tower, children walking down steps, views from boat, posing for family portraits. The family at Butchart Gardens, people leaving on a boat [Princess?] Patricia. March in front of Canadian Legion Britannia Branch No 7, people walking through rose gardens at legislature. These clips were initially intended for home, personal use.

1950 Youth

One of a series of amateur motion picture films by Mathew Ko. Children eating chocolate covered ice cream bars near parked cars with totem poles to the left. Family at a lookout with water view and mountains in the background. Children playing in the beach with logs and a boat. Driving along a forest lined road, in front of a copper-coloured bridge. People visiting interior and exterior of Empress Hotel, Legislature lawn and Beacon Hill Park rose garden. Stone bridge over a duck pond surrounded by trees as people in the park beside it. Family scenes outside residential home. Golden Dragon restaurant, children playing outside in the evening and walking into house. Christmas tree and lights inside home. Woodward's Department Store, young boy in cowboy costume, people leaving a house. Church procession, family in the city, waving at the camera, children playing with yo-yos, shots of yellow croci and other flowers. These clips were initially intended for home, personal use.

Family moments

One of a series of amateur motion picture films by Mathew Ko. Shots of cherry blossoms, people walking down a street and standing in front of a car. A man working in the garden and washing a black and white dog with a wooden house and old carriage in the background. Dog running around in yard with leash, man hanging from a tree. People sitting in a tree with lake and ducks in the background. Close shots of trees, flowers, and lake, with a polar bear in an enclosed cage [likely Beacon Hill Park]. People walking through park, picking flowers, exiting a residence, and tending to the garden. Scene change to parade on Fisgard street/Chinatown. Lion dance with “Victoria Public Market” painted on building in background. Parade scene of group in traditional dress, with gongs and flags. Scene change to people walking out of large building, entering Mansion Rio Vista Annex 2155 [possibly S.W. Marine Drive, Vancouver], walking through gardens. Expansive farmland with mountains in background and lake surrounding the property. Ferry ride to hot springs [Harrison Hot Springs?], crossing over a wooden trestle bridge. Shots of young baby. Street scene with Bank of Canada and Riverside Hotel in background. Parade in James Bay. Woman in white with tiara waving from car, followed by military and other people marching behind. Handing off of tiara on stage. Scene change to family scenes of children walking and eating watermelon with wood houses behind them. Family picnic in park, children being bathed, children on swings. Scene change to lookout point with totems, man in military uniform sitting on steps with child, and children playing in park with flowers behind them. Scene change to Legislature steps with woman in military uniform. Parade with military personnel, and Joseph Stalin’s face on a poster. Ceremony on Legislature steps, motorcycle display, marching bands, and floats, including the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. Scene change to children on swings, posing at lookout, feeding ducks in park. Walking through Empress Hotel gardens. Shots of construction of a large dam. Crossing a small footbridge on lake with mountains in background. Picnic at the beach, shot of a Good Year blimp in the sky, rainbows from waterfalls and dams. Shot of children dancing and posing next to a decorated Christmas tree. These clips were initially intended for home, personal use.


One of a series of amateur motion picture films by Mathew Ko. Family at residential house [number 60?]. Decorated Memorial Arena entrance, people seated with programs for concert, rear view of band on platform, brass instruments seen left. Scene change: children playing in snow with broom, walking down steps, making snow piles. Ship at dock, front view. Family walks in snow on Government Street, rear view of ‘Unknown Soldier’ statue with Empress Hotel seen right. Ship sails, children playing in snow, young boy with mittens hanging from coat sleeves poses with vehicle. View of downtown Victoria from residential street, cars driving in snow, young boy eats snow, girl builds snowman, snowplough comes through street. Children feeding ducks in snow, frozen duck pond. Change scene: yellow and red tulips, bluebells in bloom, bees getting nectar in flowers, children take turns posing with tulips. Children in fancy dresses pose for pictures, some with bouquets. Parade of cars, marching women in traditional dress. Signage: “sweet Caporal Cigarettes.” Chinese Public School stairs lined with people, presentation with crowd on street. Girls pose for pictures. Parade through Government Street of cars, floats, CCBA members, women in traditional Chinese dress, baton twirlers, marching bands with legislature in background. Girls in shiny dresses, twirling in yard, celebration in park with Shriners, dance performances, martial arts demonstration. Family looking down from a view on a cement platform of rushing water from a hydroelectric dam and a forested area. Family picnic. These clips were initially intended for home, personal use.

1939 Victoria welcomes the King and Queen

One of a series of amateur motion picture films by Mathew Ko. Shot during the royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Victoria, B.C., May 1939. Shots of decorated legislative fountain, Statue of Queen Victoria reading “This stone was lai[d] September 24th 191[9] by his Royal Highnes[s] the Prince of Wale[s],” close view of crest reading “Long may they reign, May 1939,” Queen Victoria statue, distant view of harbour and Store street buildings, front view of decorated Empress Hotel from the harbour, cars driving on street in front of Empress Hotel, close view of City Hall clock tower and flag. Two men shown standing on steps of Empress Hotel, three women sitting on grass with a camera, people getting onto a boat in Inner Harbour, two elderly people leaving a house and walking down stairs. Two boys holding an American flag and banner reading “Victoria Encampment 1939” with letters B A (Boy Scouts of America) on a green and yellow crest, later cooking in metal pots. Parade of military men down Douglas Street by City Hall, with some RCMP on horseback, men’s choir, entourage of officers in red uniforms on motorcycle as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrive in a convertible, waving to crowd. Banner reads “Chinese community greet their Majesties” along one side of the street. Shots of HBC advertising billboard sign in the background of parade route, Imperial Oil building tower. Faded text on screen reads “Victoria welcomes the King and Queen.” Close shots of soldiers in uniform, military and non-military ships. These clips were initially intended for home, personal use.


One of a series of amateur motion picture films by Mathew Ko. Shot during a YMCA Camera Club outing at the beach on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo regatta, airshow, and RCAF parade, Victoria, B.C., 1939-1942. Teenage members of YMCA and male leaders climbing up logs on the shore side and into a wooded area with backpacks and machetes. Night scenes of the campers eating by a campfire and going for another hike. Day scenes of man pointing at mountain range across the water, teenage boy taking photographs, boating and playing on the beach. Two women, one holding binoculars, join the boys. Two boys drink soda, opening a watermelon, beach bonfire in the night. Scene changes to Nanaimo regatta. Two men rowing competition, small boats in harbour, women dressed in formal dress attire with bouquets in back of a convertible. Sign reads “good-bye : come again,” as Steamships Princess Louise and Princess Victoria depart. Scene changes to airshow with planes flying in V formation and straight line. Scene changes to parade with military marching band and soldiers in uniform, some with guns. This rally and march is from City Hall to Cenotaph. Storefront sign in background reads “Cross & Co Farming & Fruit,” banner on car drives by saying “support Victoria’s air supremacy campaign: July 15th to July 27th: silver trail for silver wings’ July 20th Headquarters 1205 Douglas,” crowd looking at a biplane displayed on the street. Bank of Toronto behind Greek and Canadian flags, close view of sign reading “We the Greeks by the side of Britain will fight barbarism to the bitter end, as our glorious history commands,” marching band with Greek flag in front of City Hall. Men marching down street with “Down with Fascism” signs. Cenotaph at Parliament Buildings surrounded by crowds at end of the rally. Man holding sign reading “you serve by saving: buy war savings certificates,” Government street signpost on a corner with Yates Street and the Imperial Bank of Canada, watching more marching bands and military personnel with vehicles and weaponry pass over tram lines. Women involved in the war effort as nurses and other professionals are also included in the march. These clips were initially intended for home, personal use.

1940 Youth Group

One of a series of amateur motion picture films by Mathew Ko. The events depicted are of a Youth Group trip in 1940 from Victoria, B.C. to Vancouver, B.C. Docked ship [possibly Charlotte?], view of dockyard, signage reads “Island Tug.” View of Empress Hotel and legislature building from CPR Steamship Terminal Building. Two women feeding mallards and swans in a pond. Dallas Road view of ocean, Ogden Point breakwater being built as a steamship is leaving. Johnson Street bridge viewed from across the water. Close view of Captain George Vancouver statue on cupola of Parliament Buildings. CPR Steamship Terminal Building with ship docked, viewed from legislature lawns. HBC sign on Douglas Street building, with Fairfield Hotel to the right. Close view of City Hall clock tower, steam train engineer on #461. Train riding over Johnson Street bridge, small boats along dock, Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, B.C. Crowds leaving building, lettering “O.B. Allan” over clock, crowds and band at Beach Avenue and Burnaby Street. Crossing the Lions Gate bridge by car, man pointing across the water, climbing around a stream in a wooded area, shots of a golf course, meeting and document signing. These clips were initially intended for home, personal use.

1946 1st July in Vancouver Parade

One of a series of amateur motion picture films by Mathew Ko. Parade and crowds, downtown Vancouver, BC: motorcycle groups, marching bands, cars, RCMP, horse and carriage, military weaponry and personnel, people on bicycles, flower floats, local businesses in background and Hotel Vancouver in distance. Signs read “1899 Veterans of Boer War 1902: No 1 Legion African Campaigners,” “Vancouver Pioneers,” “Native Sons of British Columbia: Post No2 Honors: the Annual Award,” “twin 4’ anti-aircraft gun: used in Canadian warships,” “NO.XI. district depot,” “here comes the Fighting Dukes,” “Irish Fusiliers,” “Seaforth Highlanders,” “RCAF battle honors.” Floats say: “Vancouver’s Diamond Jubilee,” “Greetings from Victoria,” “City of New Westminster,” “Nanaimo,” “Burnaby,” “City of Port Moody,” “congratulations Vancouver, side by side we prosper,” “B.C Telephone Co,” “Steveston Canaries,” “Fraser Farms,” “made by B.C. Welders,” “Johnston National Storage,” “Caterpillar Diesel Engines,” “John Deer Tractors and Implements,” "Lumber Carrier Service,” “Chinese Flying Club hero club,” “Howe Sound Ferries Ltd,” “Crystal Dairy Ltd,” “Canadian Jewelers Association, for gifts that last consult your jeweler,” “this modern earth mover,” “Valley Riding Academy,” “Baker Catering,” “Pro-Rec Centres,” First nations group with drummers and dancers on flatbed truck, “The University of British Columbia: Canada’s second largest: back to shacks - on to the future,” “Cavalier Boys’ Club,” “Western Sports Centre: building athletic Canadians,” “future citizens of Vancouver,” “1st A.R.P mobile unit in Canada built by Steveston volunteers,” “grape festival in Hungary,” “Sons of Norway,” “Ukrainian Canadian Assoc,” “Sons of Scotland,” “always there when help is needed,” “Deep Cove,” “Steveston Community Association,” “peace international goodwill,” “RAOB,” “greetings from the federation of Russian Canadians.” Crowd disperses, people on rooves, two men pose on Motor Princess Ferry. These clips were initially intended for home, personal use.

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