Tag Archives: BC Sugar

First wave of BC Sugar records now available

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

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.

Fire insurance plan of the British Columbia Sugar Refining Co. Ld. Vancouver B.C., May 1899, Chas E. Goad. Reference code: AM1572-S8-: 2011-092.0113

Fire insurance plan of the British Columbia Sugar Refining Co. Ld. Vancouver B.C., May 1899, Chas E. Goad. Reference code: AM1572-S8-: 2011-092.0113.

This first release (of three) focuses on the core business records of the company and its subsidiaries, and includes records that cover a wide variety of BC Sugar’s activities, such as: Continue reading

Science – how sweet it is! From sunshine to sugar, growing it right

Fifth in a series about the BC Sugar records

In an earlier post we showcased the work of BC Sugar chemists and the records they created and used. Company agriculturists and plant geneticists also contributed to sugar beet production research. The first PhD hired by BC Sugar was Dr. Frank Peto, an agriculturalist with a doctorate in cytogenetics from the University of Wales.

Dr. Frank Peto in a sugarcane field in the Dominican Republic at the BC Sugar-owned Ozama Sugar Refining Company, ca.1945. Reference code: 2011-092.4388

Dr. Frank Peto in a sugarcane field in the Dominican Republic at the BC Sugar-owned Ozama Sugar Refining Company, ca.1945. Reference code: 2011-092.4388.

Dr. Peto was head of BC Sugar’s agricultural research department. His career started as a National Research Council plant researcher and his specialized knowledge led to working with beet seeds at Buckerfields Ltd. In 1944 the portion of Buckerfields dealing with sugar beet seeds was purchased by BC Sugar. Continue reading

Science – how sweet it is! Chemistry at BC Sugar

Fourth in a series about the BC Sugar records

Pictured here are three of the BC Sugar laboratory staff members in 1916: Maggie McKenzie, Ernie Abbott, and R.B. This photograph was taken on second floor office building at BC sugar. Reference code: 2011-092.1854.

Three laboratory staff members in 1916: Maggie McKenzie, Ernie Abbott and R.B.  Reference code: 2011-092.1854.

The science of sugar! The refining of sugarcane or sugar beets to make the sugar products that we all know and love requires expertise and scientific precision. The science carried out at BC Sugar is well reflected in the records that were donated to the City of Vancouver Archives. I would like to share with you some of the records that show the science and scientists that worked at the company. Continue reading

Correspondence through the decades at BC Sugar

Third in a series about the BC Sugar records

Office work has changed dramatically over the last few decades. This fact is driven home daily as I process 100 years of BC Sugar records. This is especially true with regard to the company’s correspondence, and I’d like to share my archivist’s observations on the way these records were produced and organized over the years. 

BC Sugar office interior circa 1920s. Reference code: AM1592-1-S2-F2: 2011-092.0400.

The vast majority of the correspondence created in most offices today is email. Most of us create new email threads every day without a thought to the medium’s rather short history and the convenience of this form of communication. Emails are sent around the world and between people who sit within a few steps of each other with the same ease and amount of thought. Not that long ago, office technology was very different. Continue reading

Something’s cooking in the Archivist’s kitchen

Second in a series about the BC Sugar records

While continuing to process our BC Sugar fonds, I had the pleasure of finding some cookbooks and they inspired me to try some historical recipes. Read on to see how they turned out.

“Great dessert ideas…try Rogers on ice cream!” Reference code: AM1592-S7-F1-: 2011-092.1557

Cookbooks are a favourite resource for social and cultural historians as well as scholars of gender studies and women’s studies. But the list of academics that use cookbooks as sources does not end there. Studying literature can be enriched by knowing what people were eating and cooking at various times. Continue reading

Spotlight on volunteers: Kristine Aguilar

Kristine Aguilar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University as well as a Fine Arts Diploma from Langara College. While taking a break between degrees and considering her career options she has been volunteering at the Archives. One of the careers that she has considered is Audio Archivist. Preserving, organizing and making available audio materials is a specialized career which many people arrive at through an MLIS degree – this is one of several options that she has been researching. In the 100+ hours Kristine has contributed, she has worked on many projects for us.

Here is Kristine in the Archives reading room with a small selection of different video formats from the Mary Anne McEwen fonds, AM1599.

 No audio projects have come her way at the Archives yet, but she did work on our Mary Anne McEwen donation of close to 400 video materials including video reels, Betacam, Umatic and VHS tapes. The content of these tapes feature footage of various Gay Games, including the 1990 Gay Games held in Vancouver, and episodes of Gayblevision, also known as Gay TV, a local weekly half-hour television program for gay people and by gay people. Continue reading

Something sweet in the Archives

First in a series about the B.C. Sugar records

Panorama of Vancouver’s Port showing the B.C. Sugar Refinery in 1927. Item # 2011-092.806, Reference Code pending

We are pleased to announce the donation of the B.C. Sugar fonds! The records of B.C. Sugar are a valuable contribution to our holdings and one of our most significant acquisitions. Founded in 1890 and still operating today, the company is only four years younger than the City of Vancouver itself. Over 300 boxes of records (including roughly 5500 photographs and 500 architectural plans and drawings, as well as moving images and artworks) document the beginnings of the business, follow it through two world wars, and provide insight into social and economic changes both locally and globally. For a brief history of sugar companies in Canada check out the Canadian Sugar Institute.

The Archives would like to thank Lantic Inc. for donating the records and for generously providing some financial support for processing them. As the records are processed in stages over the next couple of years, we will let you know when they are made available for research, and will share highlights from the fonds as exciting discoveries are made. We are starting with the core business records. Continue reading