29 thoughts on “Anyone in Vancouver remember M…”

  1. I worked for Gagle’s(?) photo starting in 1980 near 1st and Fir St. A few years later Kurt Gagle sold it to Mortifee Munshaw (or was it the other way around?) I worked for MM for a few years, then it was rebranded to Western Professional Film Labs in which I worked part-time until the late 80’s. Then it bought William’s Photo and moved into their building on Boundary Road. I don’t remember the exact year, but it finally it went out of business in the 90’s.

    1. I worked at Western at 1st and Fir from ‘83 until they moved to Boundary Rd, I was there until the company went belly-up in ‘97, destroying lots of lives in the process.

    2. I worked at Mortifee Munshaw in 1964. Got fired when we wanted a union.

  2. Yes, I remember Mortifee Munshaw very well….I worked there from 1966 to about 1970 when I moved to Ontario….I was the Chemical mixer to start off..It was Dave MacPhail and myself that put the hole in the wall under the desk in the mixing room to give us some fresh air….Always wondered how long it lasted.after we were caught relaxing on the roof of the adjacent building…..I ended up as lead-hand in charge of print production and Dave the same in negative production…I opened the building at 5:30am and serviced all the printers (filter packs etc.) as well as prepping all the processing (PAKO) machines for the days work….They moved my shift to 6:00am when they found that by law I only had to work 7 of an 8 hour shift if the start was before 6:00am….Some folks I remember and had a lot of fun with were Dave MacPhail, Warren Brekke, Fred Philipson, Tom Hinch(blind),Pat Boren, Al Wong, Ken Dong, Mike Forrester..and more ….Spent many Sundays on overtime doing maintenance on the machines….Great days,for sure,- but they were short numbered when the first 1 hour photo opened on Pender….We all took our turns walking down to check it out….I guess things changed a lot through the 70’s but I was back east working shooting/processing film for tv and lost touch….I do remember stopping in and visiting with Bob Kirkpatrick when I was on an assignment in Vancouver (73?) and the whole city was changing….regards, John btw It’s the same Dave MacPhail,-the drummer for Jason Hoover and the Epics

    1. I used to walk home with Tom Hinch. Walked down Davie, and he used to stop at the liquor store, to by his whisky there. I lived on Comox street at the time. 1964. Great guy. I was known as Steve Haywood at the time. (that is another story).

  3. My mother, Jean Matthews worked for about 25 years at Mortifee Munshaw during the 60s and 70s until she retired in the early 80s. She was blind also, but worked the dark room.

    1. My first job after high school I worked at Munshaw from July 1965 to August, 1966. The first few months at ‘Sales & Service’, which was the complaint dept.
      That was near the film loading where Jean worked. I only knew her first name.
      She was quiet, but fun. I wish you both well.

    2. I worked part time for two years while going to high school. I remember your mother. There was also two men (both blind) who also worked in the dark room. I’m guessing one was Tom . There was also a third fellow (also blind) who worked part time while attending university. He was taking or hoping to get into law. Would you know any of there names?

    3. I remember Jean, used to chat with her a while. I worked at MM in 1964. Got fired when we wanted to start a union. I was earning $1. 25 and hour at the time. Steve Haywood was my name at the time.

  4. I remember Jean…….funny story,- Dave and I were sort of into “muscle” cars and he’d ask me to “light it up” when I left work at 2 in the afternoon……so I would, and the smell of burning rubber was ‘inhaled’ by the buildings air conditioning system……Tom Hinch would exit his darkroom and call to Dave that “something’s burning!”………I didn’t know this until old man Mortifee told me not to leave like that any more….(actually, there was so much smoke it stopped traffic…..) Great days they were, John

    1. John,
      I worked in Sales & Service, then print processing, from July /65 to Aug. /66.
      I’d love to find a friend from that time named Mike McConnelly. The last name may be wrong. His wife worked there also.
      Hard times, no union. I remember Dave MacPhail, but I was a shy guy then. If you know more, could you email me? Full name, lower case at gmail.

      Somehow we all survived. Thanks for the memories.

      1. Wow, brain kicked in!
        Looking for Mike McConnell. I remember Ken Dong & Al Wong.

        I was so shy in those days. Mainly I stayed in print processing.
        Worked under George Fursten wall. Where are you, Mike?

  5. I worked for Werner Williams for two years when my wife and I first moved to Vancouver from Calgary. In 1972, I went to work for Kurt Gagel at Gagel Photo…interesting times. I left for a couple of years and returned to Gagel’s in 1978. Mortifee Munshaw was sold to a Vancouver investment firm and soon after that they had taken over Gagel Photo as well and moved the lab to the Gagel Photo building near Granville Island. All of the line workers in Gagel Photo were inducted into the Teamsters Union after the sale. Kurt Gagel and Henry Kwok stayed on as managers. I investment firm bought out Williams Photo in the early 80s. We moved the lab to the Williams location on Boundary Road. Lots of drama there because many of the Williams crew hated the union and the company forced a vote among us which the union won. The company was sold a number of times….can’t even remember the number of name changes….most of them analogs of Western Photo….I think it was WestPro Photo when I left around 1990. I was in charge of chemical mixing and shipping and receiving at the time and was the only first aid attendant for the whole lab. The company had hired a Mexican hitman type named Keith G. to run the company (into the ground?). Anyway a few years later it had closed and I think moved to Alberta (Edmonton, King Size?)…union-less (or at least all the accounts moved to Alberta). I believe if the company had stayed with Kurt Gagel and Henry or even Werner’s daughter Bonnie, it might have morphed into a viable family concern in this digital age. I do know Kurt Gagel was remorseful at the outcome of his sale of Gagel Photo.

  6. I worked at Mortifee Munshaw from 1960 to 1963 in Quality Control, with Bob Reed and had friends like Marie and Herman, and Julius. I moved to Trans Canada Films 916 Davie St as head of Quality Control.

    1. I got some slides from that my dad left us that were processed at Mortifee Munshaw in 1960. He was an advanced amateur photographer and I remember helping him process B&W prints.

  7. I worked at Gagel photo starting in 1972. Kurt Gagel was a great employer.Went threw all the company merges and sales between Mortifee Munshaw and Williams Colour that Ron Davis has previously explained up to 1997 when Keith G.yes ran Western Professional Labs it into the ground.There was many great people and great memories of those 25 years.

  8. My mother Margaret Scott worked there in the early 60’s. I think she would have been a shorthand typist. I’m currently scanning some photos that were taken of her at work. We are having her 90th birthday this weekend. She loved working there. On one of the photographs Wayne is marked. She lives in Ashburton New Zealand now.

  9. I worked there for a few months in 1972 until I took ship to sail to Australia.

    Two things I remember well and still think they were great. One was that the company hired visually impaired folks for the dark room and two that the quality was far superior to anything that has come since. All finished images were checked for quality and if the customer had any colour issues they could bring in a sample of the colour and the photos would be reprinted until they were correct!

    Great service.

    1. I remember when i worked at Gagel photo, they made a vidéo, Grouse mountain, helicopters, promotionel video.
      The link does not work 🙁

  10. Crap, the video has been cut off at 3 mins (it is about 20 mins long). That appears to be the length limit imposed by Flickr. Bummer.

  11. I have a few slides with their markings in front of me right now and took to the internet to find out anything. That my dad is from Burnaby explains it all. Neat.

  12. I was working at MM, in 1964. I met Michael De Courcy at the time. I remember a 16 hour shift on a long weekend. Worked in receiving. After a long weekend there was a massive number of order that we had to sort and process.
    My name was Steve Haywood at the time. (long story on that one)

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