Category Archives: General

Your favourite Archives now on Facebook! What’s not to “like”?

At the Archives we are continually working on our social media outreach initiatives. It is something we do off the sides of our desks that has great value in reaching beyond the walls of the Archives and sharing our holdings with a wider audience often in new ways. This past summer the Archives was pleased to have a Communications intern from Concordia University helping us improve and expand our social media activities, Jesse Cumming. Jesse worked on many projects during the two months he was in Vancouver and you will see many of the fruits of his labour featured in blog posts this fall. Continue reading

Where are the Royal Columbian Hospital records?

The records known as the Royal Columbian Hospital fonds (formerly AM284), have moved to New Westminster.

In 1973, the records were given to us as a long-term loan. We don’t accept records as a loan now—we prefer to put our resources into records that we own—but in the 1970s it was a common practice.

[Job no. 876] : Construction site at Royal Columbian Hospital. AM1399, Townley, Matheson and Partners fonds. Reference code: AM1399-S3-: CVA 1399-263

The current owner of the records, the Fraser Health Authority, wanted them to be held at an archives closer to the hospital. The 1973 agreement was terminated and the records are now held by the New Westminster Museum and Archives. They are searchable online at the New Westminster Archives site.

Even though the fonds has moved, we still hold some records related to the Hospital, such as the photograph above. 2012 is the Royal Columbian Hospital’s 150th year, a great time for the records to move closer to home.

National Archival Development Program Elimination

We were dismayed to learn of the federal government’s April 30th decision to severely cut the budget of Library and Archives Canada and to eliminate the National Archival Development Program and the body that administers it, the Canadian Council of Archives.

NADP funding has helped the Archives describe and digitize many photographs like this one from the Jack Lindsay Photographers Ltd fonds. Reference Code AM1184-S1-: CVA 1184-3225

The CCA supports a network of archival institutions and advisory services across the country and has played an integral part in the development of Canadian archival standards and in the support of the development of all the provincial and territorial online archival databases across the country (BC’s is MemoryBC). It brings the latter together under Archives Canada, the national database of archival descriptions. These databases were built on and are supported by NADP funding, as are numerous archival and preservation advisory services in the provinces and territories. Continue reading

The Royal Cigarette Butt

Not officially part of our holdings—you won’t find it in our database—the Royal Cigarette Butt was acquired by the first City Archivist, Major Matthews, and we cannot part with it.

Continue reading

Historypin update

We’ve written about our partnership with Historypin before, and the work of many of our volunteers to prepare images for pinning.

Masthead for our Historypin channel

Historypin has just rolled out customized channels. We’ve created a channel where you can find all our pinned content as well as a story feed. In the lower left corner you can find Historypin repeats, which are modern replicas of our images taken using the Historypin Smartphone App and overlaid on the older image. This one was contributed by jkeller – thanks!

We now have 523 images pinned to the Historypin map. We’d love to have you contribute stories about our images, or use them to create a Historypin Tour or Collection.

Spotlight on volunteers – Racan Souiedan

Racan Souiedan volunteered with the Archives for several months in 2011. He left us to focus on writing his masters thesis, titled, “‘The Duties of Neutrality’: The Impact of the American Civil War on British Columbia and Vancouver Island, 1861-1865.” In addition Racan is kept busy with his duties as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Victoria and teaching history and English literature at a private school. Canadian social history has been a constant theme in Racan’s academic career. As a student at SFU, where he completed a BA in history with a minor in political science, he enjoyed researching in archives for his own research and that of the professors he was working with.

Racan with catalogue card drawer ‘A’

The career of archivist has drawn many historians over the years. Racan chose to explore this potential career path through volunteering at the Archives. Several projects benefited from his help and we hope they have helped him decide if archival work is in his future. Continue reading

Spotlight on volunteers – Kira Baker

Kira Baker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University, where she completed a Joint Major in Arts and Social Sciences in History and Women’s Studies.

In addition to her academic interests, Kira has dedicated many hours to volunteering with many different organizations and causes that interest her. From the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC to the Dogwood Initiative and the Environmental Youth Alliance, Kira has given her time to do all sort of things: from getting up early in order to band bird’s legs, to participating in and organizing public relations initiatives.

Over the years these volunteer positions have lead to paid work experiences, but Kira has continued to find time to give back to her community. The Archives has been privileged to have had Kira one day a week since July 2011. Before pursuing another degree or two or making other big career decisions, she decided to volunteer in a place that is in line with her love of history and at the same time gain some experience somewhat related to her degree from SFU.

Kira rehoused and numbered many photographs in the B.C. Sugar fonds; this image depicts the women who worked in the company’s Cube Department over the years. Item # 2011-092.476

Continue reading

Black History Month: What’s in the Archives?

People of African descent have been part of Vancouver history since before the City was established. It has been a challenge, however, for the Archives to acquire records which document the activities of individuals and the groups in the Black community. In recognition of Black History Month, we thought we would feature a few of the records we do have and, by doing so, encourage the donation of other records.

Sir James Douglas (1803-1877). Item # Port P1593.

Governor Sir James Douglas, born in Guyana to Creole and Scottish parents, was not a resident of Vancouver but he encouraged the settlement of Blacks, who were fleeing from persecution in California, on Vancouver Island. Some 800 left for Victoria between 1858 and 1860 and descendants of these immigrants eventually settled in the Lower Mainland.

One of Vancouver’s best-known and earliest Black residents was Seraphim “Joe” Fortes (1865?-1922). Originally from the Caribbean, Joe arrived as a crewman aboard the Robert Kerr in December 1885. Joe worked in various jobs, including as a bartender, but it is his legacy as a swimming instructor and Vancouver’s first official lifeguard at English Bay for which he is best remembered. Continue reading

New photography exhibition – Vancouver’s Village 2008-2011 by Leslie Hossack

On exhibit from January 12 to April 13 will be Vancouver’s Village 2008-2011: constructing a village, creating a community, a collection of photographs by Leslie Hossack documenting the construction of the Olympic Village on Southeast False Creek.

Eleven Cranes, Olympic Village Site Looking East, Vancouver 2008 by Leslie Hossack.

The village in Leslie Hossack’s photographs has evolved, over the four years she has photographed it, from a flock of construction cranes to an avenue of shiny buildings. Continue reading

Happy Holidays

The Archives will be closed from noon, Friday December 23 to 9 am Tuesday, January 3.

Card from Mayor Telford and the Board of Aldermen of the City of Vancouver, Christmas 1939. Item # PDS 50

See you in the new year!