Historic footage of 1930s royal visit to Calgary surfaces

A rare piece of footage from a royal visit to Calgary is stirring interest with staff at the Glenbow Museum.

A rare piece of footage from a royal visit to Calgary is stirring interest with staff at the Glenbow Museum.

The video stems from the 1930s and a Calgary man, now living in California, gave CBC an exclusive look. 

"I saw this film in probably the early 80s," said Mark Foss. "I was downstairs in my grandfather's basement in Lethbridge."

It was May 26, 1939, when his grandfather travelled to Calgary to see the royal visit of King George VI and his wife.  

Foss’s family has managed to preserve the film for the last 72 years.

"My parents put this film onto VHS about 10 or 15 years ago, and then very recently, over the last few weeks, they put it onto MP4," he said.

Glenbow considers adding footage to collection

Doug Cass from the Glenbow Museum calls it a rare find.

"This is the royal couple here — King George and Queen Elizabeth," he says as he points to the footage. "And then another car with Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Mayor Davison and I presume Mrs. Davison."

The trip took place just months before King George delivered his famous speech on the verge of Second World War, which was portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech.

"Other than the war in 1939, this was one of the biggest news stories and all of the news media were covering it," said Cass. "And we have quite substantial collections of black and white photos from all the photographers in Calgary, all the professionals and lots of amateur ones, ... but it's all in black and white and it's also all stills."

After being considered for years as just a small piece of film among hours of family footage, the video from Foss’s grandfather could become part of the Glenbow’s collection.

"I think if he knew that 72, almost 73 years later, after this film was taken if this was going to be put at the Glenbow Museum where other people can enjoy it this far along I think he would be super excited about it," said Foss.