It’s a unique collection of old films shot in Windsor, some of them home movies, that Mike Evans has been posting online in a series called “It Happened in Windsor.”
The local filmmaker has been collecting 16 mm and 8 mm film — often found in people’s basements, tucked away for decades — including some interesting and historical footage.
“Nobody else wanted this stuff, right? I kind of got lucky. Everywhere I went, they were practically giving this stuff away,” Evans told Windsor Morning’s Tony Doucette. He said he began the collection about two years ago when he found a couple of old black and white reels someone shot years ago.
Some of the film he discovered at thrift shops. “I find a reel that said ‘1954 Labor Day parade. Ouellette Avenue.’ To me, it was amazing, and the guy at the store wanted $10 for it, so I’d give him the $10 and take it home, and we actually kind of started a club around this.”
Evans said he and about five others collect and view the footage. He’s been posting the edited versions of these old films on his YouTube page.
Evans made some remarkable finds — like a visiting Queen Elizabeth II who came to Windsor as a princess in 1959 before her coronation. He also has footage of Dieppe Gardens in the ’50s, and other city scenes from that time.
Another special reel comes from 1939, which Evans said is possibly the oldest film he has. It’s of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment preparing to deploy for World War II.
“Just the sights of those guys, what they were about to go to, I don’t think anyone had any idea,” said Evans.
Those soldiers would become part of Operation JUBILEE, the code word for the Dieppe Raid.
“We film everything nowadays but it’s just so rare to find something that looks really good from back in that day,” said Evans about his collection.
Other films show the day-to-day life of people living in Windsor.
“I’m just a huge fan of local history, Windsor history. It just gives me a thrill to put this stuff online and somebody might see themselves in it,” said Evans. “And it’s happened! People have contacted me on YouTube…. that is a real, real treat when that happens.”
Lists | Mike Evans talks about how his collection started and where he got the film: