Vancouver Elections: New Video Wall Show

With the 2018 civic election set for October 20, and advance polls October 10-17, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to search through our holdings to see what election-related material would make an interesting and new video wall show. As the official repository for the City’s records of archival value, our holdings are rich in election-related material. These records give insight into how Vancouver and its electoral system has developed and changed throughout the years. The changes range from who could run for election, and who could vote, to frequency of elections, to the abolishment of the ward system, to what topics ruled the various plebiscites in a particular election year. A sampling of these records–photographs, posters, maps, and other visually interesting textual records–has been captured in the latest addition to our video wall shows: Vancouver Elections.

Council room at City Hall, ca. 1910. Reference code: AM336-S3-2-: CVA 677-82

The invention of photography preceded the incorporation of Vancouver in 1886, which means that there are photographs of the first elected city officials, including the first mayor, and the first City Hall in our holdings. Later photographs capture significant milestones in Vancouver’s political arena. A photograph showing Helena Gutteridge, the first woman elected to City Council, taking her oath of office in 1937 represents one of these milestones. Continue reading

Our First City Archivist – Major J.S. Matthews

There is never a day that passes at the Archives when we don’t mention Major Matthews’ name or appreciate his legacy. While he was very much a man of his time, the fruits of his efforts to document and collect the historical records of Vancouver’s development form the cornerstone of our private-sector holdings, and the importance of his role as advocate for their continued care and preservation cannot be overstated.

The Archivist at Work – Major Matthews, 1941. Reference code: AM54-S4-: Port P567

Born in Wales, September 7, 1878 and educated in Auckland, New Zealand, Matthews headed for North America at the age of 20 to make his fortune, landing in San Francisco. Moving up the coast he made brief stays in Tacoma, Seattle and Victoria, before making Vancouver his permanent home. Continue reading

Strathcona redevelopment files easier to find in the Archives

The Archives’ on-going inventory project has revealed some gems, including records that would be well served with enriched metadata in our AtoM database. This blog post focuses on one such body of records: appropriation and demolition files from the City’s Strathcona redevelopment projects of the 1960s. These records form part of the Property Division series COV-S305 Redevelopment files subsequent to the 1957 Vancouver Redevelopment Study.

City of Vancouver redevelopment : project 2, part of area “A”. Reference code: COV-S305: LEG1353.03

The above key plan shows the various redevelopment sub-areas in Project 2 and Project 1, which were spread across Strathcona. The bounded and numbered areas on the map above denote the various sub-areas for Project 2; the shaded areas are the sub-areas for Project 1. The detail below shows the pre-demolition land configuration of Project 2, sub-area 6, and Project 1 sub-area 3 as of August 1963. These properties were purchased or appropriated, and the buildings demolished, in order to construct the Maclean Park housing project. Continue reading

Tea, Talk and Treats: An Exclusive Summer Evening in Vancouver’s Chinese Garden

The City of Vancouver Archives is the repository for the early records of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society and on July 5, at 6pm, the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives is hosting an evening entitled “Tea, Talk and Treats: An Exclusive Summer Evening in Vancouver’s Chinese Garden” at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

Friends of the Vancouver City Archives invitation for the July 5th event

The event will support the Archives’ digitization work and will offer Chinese tea and pastries, a presentation given by Professor Alison Bailey regarding the traditional concepts and artistic and poetic representations of the Chinese garden, and a tour of the Garden led by docents that will highlight the Garden’s architectural and horticultural elements.

The records held by the Archives were donated by the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society in 1991, 1992, and 2011. They span from 1981-2009, with the majority from 1981-1991, and consist of approximately 1700 photographs, 22 videocassettes, 139 architectural drawings, 1 technical drawing and 2 maps. Continue reading

BC Gay and Lesbian Archives donated to the City of Vancouver Archives!

We are thrilled to announce that the BC Gay and Lesbian Archives, a collection established and maintained privately from 1976-2018, has been donated in its entirety to the City of Vancouver Archives.

Anti-violence rally, 1979. BCGLA Photographs series

The BC Gay and Lesbian Archives was established in 1976 by Ron Dutton, an active, longtime member of the Vancouver LGBTQ2+ community who is also trained as a librarian. For over forty years, Dutton acquired and described records, photographs, periodicals, ephemera, and audiovisual materials of significance to the LGBTQ2+ community in Vancouver and British Columbia, and provided access to these materials from his home to hundreds of researchers. Concerned with the future of the BCGLA as he ages, Dutton donated the entire collection to the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA) in February 2018. Continue reading

More Legacy Open Data Sets Now Available

We’re delighted to announce that even more legacy versions of the City’s open data sets are now available for download through our online database.

Back in November 2017 we released the first batch of sets, spanning October 2014 to April 2016. For basic information on how to access and download the data sets, please take a look at our post from November 2017.

The most recently added sets include the earliest versions we have, grabbed in November 2010.

Description of Bikeways data from November 2010 snapshot

Continue reading

On the hunt for 2116 Maple Street: A house history expedition – Part 3: City Directories

The final part of hunting for information about 2116 Maple Street, after looking at fire insurance maps, water records, building permit registers, and photographs, involves looking up the names of the residents in the city directories.

The Archives’ city directories available in the Reading Room. Photo by Bronwyn Smyth

The city directories are one of our most well-used resources, as many researchers look for the history of a building’s occupants, or where a relative lived over time. It is time consuming to go through the publications year-by-year and trace the occupants of a house, but, I would argue it is time well spent. Often an underlying narrative emerges about the residents, about the house, and about the neighbourhood. Continue reading

Food and Drink: New Video Wall Show

Over the past several years, five video wall shows centering on various themes have been created at the Archives. Titles include Vancouver Vignettes, Games in the City, Edifice, Forces Shaping a City, and Parks. The video wall shows highlight the diverse nature of our photograph, video, and textual holdings.

One of the photographs included in the video wall show. Fishing on Greer’s (now Kitsilano) Beach, 1890s. Reference code: AM54-S4-: Be P142

It has been a few years since the last video wall show, Parks, was created, so we felt it was time to add another one to our rotating shows. We are happy to announce the latest show: Food and Drink: Growing, making, buying and consuming.

The inspiration for this latest installation was two-fold. As an undergraduate, I studied horticulture and agriculture, and therefore the production and consumption of food and beverages are never far from my mind. Secondly, in my daily work at the Archives, I constantly come across a wealth of materials relating to the production and consumption of food and beverages in and around Vancouver throughout the last 150 or so years. Continue reading

On the hunt for 2116 Maple Street–A house history expedition – Part 2: Photographs

The second phase of hunting for information on 2116 Maple Street, after locating it on fire insurance maps, getting the water service records, and getting the building permit register information, involves delving into the Archives’ photographic holdings.

Houses in Kitsilano. Reference code: AM1535-: CVA 99-1347

The ideal for every house history researcher is to find an old photograph of his or her house in the Archives’ holdings. I hate to burst their bubble, but this often doesn’t happen. However, it is feasible to find photographs of the neighbourhood, which often give a sense of what the area was like throughout the years.

A concerted effort has been made to scan and describe much of our street and neighbourhood photographs. These digitized images can be found from the comfort of your home through our online database. Knowing how to search for these photographs, however, does take a bit of creative thinking and practice. Simply typing in an address or street name into the search bar won’t bring up the masses of results one might have been expecting or in most cases, any results. This is where I recommend a pause from the computer, grabbing some scrap paper and a pencil and brainstorming different search terms. Continue reading

Winter Wander in Vanier Park – 2018

This past Saturday, February 3, the sky was its typical overcast winter self, perfect for the seventh annual edition of Winter Wander in Vanier Park.

Winter Wander, a fun family event, is a chance for people to explore the institutions that call Vanier Park home, including Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Maritime Museum, HR MacMillan Space Centre, City of Vancouver Archives, Vancouver Academy of Music, and Bard on the Beach. Continue reading