Author Archives: Sue Bigelow

Pacific National Exhibition photographs are now online

Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program, we’ve recently completed a project to digitize over eight thousand images from the Pacific National Exhibition fonds that you can easily view and re-use. In addition, we’ve digitized another 874 images that are under copyright to other parties, but which can be viewed at the Archives. The dates range from 1914 to 1980.

2 people sharing a hot dog

Man and woman eating foot-long hotdogs from P.N.E. Gayway concession stand, 1953. Photographer unknown. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-2219.

These photographs were either created for the P.N.E. or collected by the P.N.E. staff. They document a wide variety of activities at the fair, including rides, displays, competitions and performances.

Colour photo of chair lift over grounds

Women on Sky Glider chair lift, 1971. Photographer Bob Tipple. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6891.

Many buildings on the site are shown, including: Continue reading

November 2014 Vancity Theatre show now on YouTube

As we have before, we’ve put the video portion of last year’s Vancity screening on our YouTube channel. This does not include projected snipes, pre-screening presentations, Michael Kluckner’s commentary or Wayne Stewart’s keyboard accompaniment.

Here are the three sections of the show, and the films featured:

Vancouver at Work

First Narrows Bridge Construction (1938), excerpts
AM1487-: 2012-091.01

Jersey Farms milk delivery (c. 1940), excerpts
AM1275-S1-: MI-10

Use of milk products (c. 1940), excerpts
AM1275-S1-: MI-12

Reservoirs in the Sky (c. 1956), excerpts
AM1466-: MI-21

One Lump or Two (c. 1961), excerpts
AM1592-1-S3: 2011-092.0535

On the spot zoo story (1953), excerpts
VPK-S652-: MI-113

The Morning Show (1963), excerpts
VPK-S652-: MI-114

Stratford Hotel Fire (c. 1968), excerpts
COV-S667-: MI-176


Shriners parade (1951)
AM1443-: MI-15

Grey Cup parade (1955)
AM1443-: MI-18

Start of PNE Parade (1958), excerpt
AM1487-: MI-219

A City Celebrates (1961), excerpts
AM1487-: 2013-020.09

Vancouver Promoted

Vancouver Marches On (1936-39), excerpts
AM1487-: 2013-020.02 to 2013-020.05

Most Lovely Country – British Columbia (1958)
AM1487-: 2013-020.06

We hope to see you at our 2015 show!

Happy Holidays

The Archives will be closed from noon December 24 to 9am Monday, January 5.

Card from Charles Marega fonds, AM1416.

Card from Charles Marega fonds, AM1416.

This Christmas card was created by the sculptor Charles Marega, who created many sculptures and memorials in Vancouver including the lions at the Lions Gate Bridge. The card is part of a file called “sketches and drawings” in the Charles Marega fonds.

Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference 2014

In October, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Savannah, Georgia. Here are a few of the highlights.

One view of the vendor's area of the conference. Photograph by Lindy Leong for AMIA

One view of the vendor’s area of the conference. Photograph by Lindy Leong for AMIA

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Fusion workshops at the 2014 PHOTOgraphie festival

PHOTOgraphie, British Columbia’s only professional photography festival, is coming September 26-29. Amateur photographers are welcome to participate.

PHOTOgraphie logo






Fusion is a separate event that is being presented as part of PHOTOgraphie for the first time.

Fusion 2014 logo






Organized by Beau Photo Supplies and Vancouver Photo Workshops on September 28, participants can register for one or more speakers and workshops presented throughout the day. Workshop registration includes admission to the trade show.

We’ll be presenting “The Ins and Outs of Donating to an Archives” at  9 am at the Roundhouse, discussing the process of acquisition and what we do with archival materials once they have been acquired.

We look forward to meeting new people at this event and showing them what we do!


Archival Images at the 2014 Pacific National Exhibition

Archival images from our holdings will be on display in a big way at this year’s PNE!

Couple on amusement park ride in P.N.E. Gayway, 1948. Item CVA 180-1520

Couple on amusement park ride in P.N.E. Gayway, 1948. Item CVA 180-1520

Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC, we are currently digitizing thousands of archival images from the Pacific National Exhibition fonds.

Loopo plane ride in midway carnival, 1940. Item CVA 180-0798.

Loopo plane ride in midway carnival, 1940. Item CVA 180-0798.

PNE staff have curated a looping show of about 300 images that can be seen on the jumbo screens in Celebration Plaza, where the BBQ Competition is held.

Acrobatic performance in midway carnival sideshow, 1940. Item CVA 180-0799.

Acrobatic performance in midway carnival sideshow, 1940. Item CVA 180-0799.

Be sure to look up when you’re there to see the PNE as it used to be!

Here Come the 70’s!

Christmas trees were burned at the beach. The Champlain Heights neighbourhood was developed. Vancouver submitted a bid for the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. Civic elections were held every two years. The Georgia Viaduct was replaced. Habitat I was held here. The federal Local Initiatives Program funded many labour-intensive projects.

Broadway and MacDonald intersection

North side of intersection of Broadway and MacDonald Street, looking east, April, 1976. Reference code COV-S663-4—: CVA 800-286. Photographer Al Ingram.

Now you can easily explore all the issues discussed by City Council in the 1970s. We’ve made the minutes of Vancouver City Council meetings, along with the accompanying reports, searchable online. Continue reading

“Through the Lens” is back at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

Last year, we told you about Through the Lens: Building Vancouver’s History, two different shows featuring huge panoramic images from our holdings projected on the dome of the Star Theatre.

view of false creek

View of the C.N.R. Station under construction and the completed G.N.R. (Union) Station, March 1918. Reference code AM54-S4-3-: PAN N178

The Space Centre is bringing back these very popular history shows in May due to popular demand.  The first show is curated and presented by John Atkin and the second by Michael Kluckner.

More information is available here.

The Yip Sang Correspondence Project 葉生信件翻譯工程

The Project

This project sought to make available Chinese-language documents which are held in a predominantly English-language archives. A selection of correspondence from the Yip family and Yip Sang Ltd. fonds (AM1108) was used. One of the difficulties with making these materials available is that there are so few local people who can read the old-style Chinese writing. We decided to digitize the letters so that they are available to readers of the old script throughout the world, and to invite them to contribute their translations and interpretations.

This work, completed in 2008, was done in cooperation with the Department of History at the University of British Columbia. W. Wang translated some of the letters under the supervision of Dr. Henry Yu. We are grateful for the financial assistance of the Government of Canada for the digitization of photographs and letters.

See the result of the joint digitization project with UBC Library:

Search the Yip Sang materials:











這個翻譯工作,目的在協助一個以英語為主的檔案館 ;例如温哥華檔案館; 找出最可行的方法,令公眾能夠使用館內的中文資料。工作主要是將部份葉氏家族及其公司的信件(館蔵編號: AM1108),翻譯成英文。 其中最困難的地方,是書信的手寫字體較難辨認,以及解讀信中的舊式文體。為求得到世界各地人仕的幫助, 温哥華檔案館決定將信件製成數碼影像,然後將影像透過互聯網發放到世界各地,好讓有識之士,協助完成翻譯工作。




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Improved online search: faster and with new features

We’ve updated our online search and we think you’ll like the changes in both function and design. Here are some of the main ones.

It’s much faster. The search engine is completely new and the difference in search times is noticeable.

Simple search gives suggestions as you type a search term. This gives you another way to find holdings.simple-search-suggestions






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