Category Archives: Public Programming

The Archives at Vancity Theatre – A Distant Mirror & Reflecting the City

The Archives returns to the Vancity Theatre this November with Vancouver – A Distant Mirror. Over the summer, we worked with local historian and artist Michael Kluckner to program this year’s archival screening. This year’s roster will premiere newly digitized films not yet available in our online database. We will be showing home movies, and industrial and promotional films from the 1920s to 1960s that focus on the city’s landmarks, transportation, industry and domestic spheres. Here is the trailer for this year’s screening.

As with previous screenings, this showing will feature two live elements. Continue reading

Putting the Goad’s 1912 Plan into Open Historical Map

We’ve had great response to making Goad’s 1912 Fire Insurance map available as a Vanmap layer and as downloadable open data. We received a request to make it available in a different type of service so that the information can be used a variety of ways. As a result of all the feedback, we plan to contribute the information through Open Historical Map and the Province of British Columbia’s innovative BC Developers’ Exchange is collaborating with us to help make it happen.BCDev-home



The BC Developers’ Exchange is an experiment to find ways that help the public and private tech sectors innovate and collaborate. They are helping share code created by BC’s public sector and collaborating with vendors to make that code better. The Exchange is also supporting the sharing and re-use of other digital resources. Continue reading

Save the date: #HeritageReboot May 23

The City of Vancouver, Vancouver Heritage Foundation, City of Vancouver Archives and Heritage Vancouver will host #HeritageReboot, a fun, hands-on free public event that combines modern technology with heritage conservation.

When: Saturday, May 23, 2015 from 1pm to 4:30pm

Where: Roundhouse Community Centre, Engine 374 Pavilion, 181 Roundhouse Mews (Corner of Davie and Pacific)five-logos-1

#HeritageReboot schedule:
1 pm – Event launch followed by cake-cutting
1 pm – 4:30 pm – City of Vancouver Heritage Action Plan Open House
1:30 – 4:30 pm – Public welcome to experience and use the technology
2:45 pm – 4:15pm – Tours of Yaletown and Engine 374

The event will officially launch four initiatives that use digital technology to open up Vancouver’s heritage in new ways for everyone:

  • The City of Vancouver’s new online platform for public nominations to Vancouver’s Heritage Register
  • Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Site Finder, an interactive map showing over 2,200 sites listed on the Heritage Register. The tool is searchable, filterable and full of images and information about the sites
  • The City of Vancouver Archives’ digital rendering of the important Goad’s 1912 Fire Insurance Plan.  Newly added as a layer on VanMap, construction materials, building footprint, street names and addresses of the time are now easily discoverable.
  • Heritage Vancouver’s Historic Building Permits Database, a searchable online database of over 32,000 transcribed pre-1929 Vancouver building permits

Everyone is encouraged to unearth the past with these newly created digital tools and use the information to nominate a site to the Vancouver Heritage Register using the new online platform.

The City of Vancouver will also be having its open house on the next phase of the Heritage Action Plan there throughout the afternoon.

Free tours will also be available in the afternoon, including:

  • The Canadian Pacific Railway’s Two Yaletowns 1886-1887 and 1910-1914.  Led by historian and author of the award winning book Vancouver: A Visual HistoryBruce MacDonald.
  • City Building: Yaletown and its Neighbours in the Nineties.  Led by former City Councillor and the current Director of The City Program at Simon Fraser University Gordon Price.
  • A historic tour of Yaletown in French.  Led by the President of the Société historique francophone de la Colombie-Britannique Maurice Guibord.
  • Tours of the Engine 374 Pavilion and the engine to mark the 128th anniversary of Engine 374 pulling the first transcontinental train into Vancouver.  Led by The West Coast Railway Association.

We’ll have a detailed post about our initiative on May 21 to coincide with its public release. We hope to see you at the event on May 23.

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!

Merging Time returns to the City of Vancouver Archives’ gallery

The newest Merging Time exhibit is now on display in the City of Vancouver Archives’ gallery. Since its initial showing at the Archives three years ago, this annual photography exhibit has become an attraction for both historians and photographers alike. This year, the exhibit features 16 new digital interpretations of our scanned archival photographs.

The creators of this year’s Merging Time show: Langara’s Professional Photo-Imaging Class of 2015.

The creators of this year’s Merging Time show: Langara’s Professional Photo-Imaging Class of 2015.

Every year, students in Darren Bernaerdt’s Principles of Imaging Processing course (PHOTO 1248) are assigned to visit the Archives to find historical photographs of Vancouver. After determining the exact location and perspective of each selected photograph, they travel to the original site to replicate the photographs with Continue reading

A new “Through the Lens” at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

John Atkin and Michael Kluckner have curated two new “Through the Lens” shows for the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s digital Planetarium Star Theatre. Using historic photographs from the early 20th century paired with contemporary shots of the same locations, these “indoor” digital walking tours allow you to experience the changes that have occurred in our city over the past 100 years.

The Canadian Fishing Co. Ltd. and New England Fish Co. building on the Gore Avenue Wharf, 1920. Reference Code: AM54-S4-3-: PAN N163

The Canadian Fishing Co. Ltd. and New England Fish Co. building on the Gore Avenue Wharf, 1920. Reference Code: AM54-S4-3-: PAN N163

The historic images come primarily from the Archives’ W. J. Moore panorama negatives, which we’ve featured here before. Remarkably, the Space Centre uses the same high-resolution JPG images that you can download from our online search and projects them to fill the dome of the Star Theatre. They are matched with stunning modern panoramas and other audiovisual elements to produce two unique shows. This year, there will also be some historic aerial views which, on the planetarium dome, promise to provide a unique, if dizzying, perspective on the city.

Aerial view of Kitsilano Beach and Park, 1945 Reference code AM54-S4-: Air P28

Aerial view of Kitsilano Beach and Park, 1945 Reference code AM54-S4-: Air P28

Last year, Through the Lens: Building Vancouver’s History, was so popular it sold out and was repeated earlier this year. Don’t miss your chance to see this year’s shows!

7:00pm Thursday, November 13 (Michael Kluckner)
7:00pm Thursday, November 20 (John Atkin)

Tickets available at the door

There will be more than one archival screening at the Vancity Theatre this November!

This fall, the City of Vancouver Archives will present its fifth annual screening “Vancouver – A Progressive City!” at the Vancity Theatre. In recent years, our screenings have been very popular. So, for the first time this November, we will be showing multiple screenings.

In collaboration with local historian Michael Kluckner, we will be presenting new material that focuses on Vancouver from the 1930s-1960s. There will be selections from a wide range of newsreels, home movies, industrial and promotional films.

Flight attendant passing a film to a man at the airport. 1946.  Reference code: AM1184-S1-: CVA 1184-2349. Note: This photograph has been altered for promotional purposes.

Flight attendant passing a film to a man at the airport. 1946. Reference code: AM1184-S1-: CVA 1184-2349. (Note: This photograph has been altered for promotional purposes.)

Michael Kluckner will also provide historical commentary with emphasis on Vancouver’s workforce, celebrations, and the city’s commerce, heritage and culture. Some of this year’s archival highlights will include the construction of the Lions Gate Bridge, early milk delivery service, the Grey Cup and Shriners parades, and television spots reporting on the community. The screening will also feature a special cameo appearance of Vancouver’s first city archivist, Major J.S. Matthews. Continue reading

Bring out your film and video! It’s Home Movie Day 2014

Join amateur-film enthusiasts, film and video archivists, and your neighbours for Home Movie Day 2014, this Saturday, October 18 at the Hangar at the Centre for Digital Media. Home Movie Day is a free public event celebrating amateur film and video and honouring the unique contribution of home movies to our understanding of social and cultural history. Home Movie Day is a volunteer-driven international initiative, and this year, events will be held in Japan, Wales, Indonesia, and Austria, among many other countries. The Vancouver edition will be hosted by the Audio-Visual Heritage Association of British Columbia (AVBC) and the Centre for Digital Media (CDM). Check out the Facebook page!

Fun for one and all! Source: Home Movie Day, Center for Home Movies.

Fun for one and all! Source: Home Movie Day, Center for Home Movies.

Home Movie Day is a chance to find out what’s on those old reels or cassettes in your attic, chat with an archivist about care and preservation of your movies, discuss a transfer with a vendor, and share your discoveries and memories with the community, if you wish. Last year, 22 people brought in films on 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm. Among the highlights: Continue reading

Friends’ Fall Fundraiser: Vancouver—An Ever-changing City

Please join us on October 22nd at 7:00 pm at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre for “Vancouver—An Ever-changing City,” a fascinating virtual walking tour of Vancouver then and now, and a chance to support the work of the Archives.

Andy Coupland and John Atkin will explore the changing nature of the city through before-and-after images selected from the blog Changing Vancouver and the Archives’ holdings. Set against the background of selected historic panoramas, they will take you through a hundred or so years of development, displayed on the dome of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s Star Theatre.


West Cordova Street – east from Cambie. From “Changing Vancouver”

Sponsored by the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives, the event is the Friends’ annual fall fundraiser. Founded in 1993, the Friends have played a key role in promoting the Archives and raising funds for various projects. Among their most notable purchases:

  • The first web publishing software that allowed the Archives to make its database searchable on the Web
  • The dye-sublimation printer that for years produced 8×10 photo reproductions of images in the Archives’ holdings
  • A portion of the cost of the Archives’ cold storage facility (for preservation of deteriorating photographic negatives)
  • The lease of an early public-use photocopier for the Reading Room
  • Indexing of Major Matthew’s’ 7-volume Early Vancouver
  • Reproduction of damaged Vancouver City Directories

Most importantly, since 1999, the Friends have received over $98,000 in provincial gaming grants to allow the Archives to describe and digitize images in its holdings. They have contributed over $90,000 of their own funds to the program, as matches on the applications. Tens of thousands of the images you see on the Archives’ website are there due to the generosity and fundraising efforts of the Friends. These include photographs by Williams Bros. Photographers Ltd., Stuart Thomson, James Crookall, John Davidson, and over 18,000 of the images collected by Major Matthews.

Net proceeds of ticket sales and all donations will go toward the Friends’ support of the Archives. We hope to see you at the event, and we sincerely thank you for your support.

Herstory Café: Women and Rodeo

October is Women’s History Month and we’re celebrating by hosting a Herstory Café on October 2nd from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Bring your Stetson and enjoy Mary-Ellen Kelm’s illustrated talk on “Frontier Femininity: rodeo cowgirls in B.C.” Dr. Kelm is the author of A Wilder West, Rodeo in Western Canada and teaches history at Simon Fraser University.


UBC Press, 2011

The event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives and Simon Fraser University’s Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

Herstory Café has been presenting accessible and thought-provoking public events on women’s history topics since 2007. We hope to see you here for an evening of cowgirl culture and great conversation.