Westward Independent

Colourized Memories – Nigel Robertson

by Westward Independent
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1910- An early morning in Duncan’s Crossing- The Train just rolled in, The Tzouhalem Hotel is bustling with patrons, the restaurant busy and the town is waking up….Credit to Royal BC Museum Archives, Item E-00433.

Nigel Robertson has gained recognition on Facebook for his unique talent of colourizing vintage black and white pictures, bringing joy to the community.

Nigel’s roots trace back to Lake Cowichan, as a third generation local, he spent his childhood in the 80s being raised by a school teacher mother, and a mechanic father who also happened to be a computer enthusiast. Lake Cowichan, a charming small town, holds fond memories for him, characterized by a tight-knit community where children could safely explore, and by trains that would carry logs from the logging town to be processed on the coast.

When speaking with Nigel a couple things became clear; he knows a lot about the history of the area, and feels close to his family roots in the Valley and Lake Cowichan. He could tell you the dates the trains started to roll out of Lake Cowichan to the month they stopped rolling forever, stories about the Hillcrest company bringing their Engine and a few open air cars to Lake Cowichan in the 60’s to bring locals on “amusement rides” where folks would clamber on and take a ride to Mesachie Lake, and more when prodded.

Nigel’s nostalgic connection to the town, people, and bustle of the trains in Lake Cowichan, inspired him to embark on his colourization journey, starting with a picture of a train on a trestle in Lake Cowichan. Nurtured by his father’s passion for computers, Nigel became proficient in various computer-related and multimedia endeavors at a young age. Fourteen years ago, he founded “Recapture Your Memories,” (recaptureyourmemories.ca) a company specializing in converting various media formats, such as VHS, MiniDV, 8mm, super 8, Hi8, Beta, and more, into preferred digital mediums for incredibly reasonable rates. While this business thrives on converting media, Nigel’s love for colourizing photos transcends commercial motives and is done as a side hobby, and a labor of love. He meticulously selects from multiple software programs, each excelling in specific aspects like sharpening or ease of use for colourization.

Initially, he shared his colourized pictures on community Facebook pages, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback. Some locals however held a preference for the nostalgia of Black and White, so on occasion, Nigel will spend time on these pictures, using his skills and software to enhance and sharpen them while retaining their classic charm.

Nigel is a small town boy with a big heart, and the Valley is lucky to have him and his appreciation for the memories of days long gone. Though he shares his work on some FB pages like ‘Old Vancouver Island’, and ‘ Cowichan, My Valley, Do You Remember’, he states that FB lowers the resolution, so he places his work on Fliker.

Nigel’s work can be viewed by requesting a link to his Flicker account by messaging him on FB (Nigel Robertson), or if you are interested in converting some of your old analog memories to a medium you can view and share, he can be reached at

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