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.

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!


The Paul Yee fonds

The Paul Yee fonds is now available for research. The fonds consists of approximately eight metres of textual records, 4000 photographs and 50 posters that Yee created or accumulated in the course of his work as an activist, historian, curator, archivist, public servant, and writer of fiction for children and adults. The fonds also includes records of Yee’s personal life and family history.

Crew taping on Pender Street for the Saltwater City video.  Photographer:  Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S5-1-F019-: 2008-010.1423.

Crew taping on Pender Street for the Saltwater City video. Photographer: Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S5-1-F019-: 2008-010.1423.

Paul Yee was born in Spalding, Saskatchewan, in 1956. His father, Gordon Yee, emigrated from China to Canada in 1922. In 1951, four years after the Government of Canada repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act, Yee’s mother, Gum May Yee, immigrated to Canada to join Gordon Yee in Naicam, Saskatchewan, where he ran a café. Continue reading

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

Second wave of BC Sugar records now available

The City of Vancouver Archives is pleased to announce the public release of the second batch of records from the British Columbia Sugar Refining Company fonds (BC Sugar), donated to the Archives in 2011 by Lantic Inc.

Refinery construction gang, 1891; Reference code: AM1592-1-S5-F03: 2011-092.1737

Refinery construction gang, 1891; Reference code: AM1592-1-S5-F03: 2011-092.1737

The records of BC Sugar document the activities of Vancouver’s first large-scale industrial operation that was not a sawmill or related to the railways. The company continues to operate its historic refinery on Vancouver’s waterfront to this day. 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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