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.
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
On January 1st, the copyright expired for some of our holdings: they are now in the public domain in Canada. These digital materials may now be legally re-used for any purpose. Here’s a quick look at some of the images, maps, moving images and audio that have become easier to re-use.
Black Sunday in Gastown is a recording of a June 13, 1966 CBC radio program which describes the events of the Great Vancouver Fire of 1886. It features interviews with five Vancouver seniors who remember the fire. Major J.S. Matthews, first City Archivist of Vancouver, is heard paying tribute to all the survivors of the fire. Note the audio starts about 18 seconds in to the recording. Here’s our full description.
This post was written by Marek Bula.
The Archives has a long history. Here’s a look at how we grew.
J.S. Matthews’ home, where the archives were kept before being moved to the Holden Building in 1931. Reference code AM54-S4-: Str P90.01
In 1931, Major J.S. Matthews’ extensive personal collection of photos and documents relating to Vancouver was moved to the Holden Building, Vancouver’s temporary City Hall at 16 East Hastings. This included thousands of documents and photographs—such as interviews with early pioneers and aboriginal people—relating to the history and development of the City of Vancouver. Continue reading
Did you enjoy the recent Khatsahlano Music and Arts Festival and want to know more about the origin of the name? Conversations with Khahtsahlano 1932-1954 is now online at the Internet Archive.
We uploaded it a while ago but there was a glitch that sent it to our film collection. That’s been fixed, and it’s now available in several text formats and in the online reader.
Published in 1955, it contains transcriptions of conversations between Vancouver’s first City Archivist, Major J.S. Matthews, and August Jack Khahtsahlano, a Squamish chief born in 1877 near the site of the Burrard Bridge. Over the course of 22 years Chief Khahtsahlano recounted details of his family and their lives as well as stories about local events. Matthews in turn transcribed the visits and augmented them with maps, drawings and photographs.
Thank you to everybody for dropping by the City of Vancouver Archives’ table during this past weekend’s Summer Live event. Gosh, were we ever popular!
If you missed us, one of the highlights was our free copy prints! If you’re feeling you missed out, do not worry. There will be more events this year where you will have the opportunity to take home a piece of Vancouver’s history.
What are these copy prints? Continue reading
Main entrance to Stanley Park showing bridge and arch over Coal Harbour - 1890s
This weekend, July 8th-10th, is the Summer Live event at Stanley Park’s Brockton Point. In celebration of Vancouver’s 125th birthday, Summer Live will exhibit the city’s diverse arts and culture, showcasing artistic workshops, dances, performances and art installations. It will be a celebration of what Vancouver has become in all its 125 years, including:
- stories and drum songs by members of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations,
- Coast Salish canoe races in Coal Harbour,
- free performances by internationally-renowned musical acts, and
- recreational and family activities on the Brockton Point fields.
Looking south across Coal Harbour towards Downtown from Brockton Point
An Untouched Landscape Despite Be-Ins, Murder and Banks Heists
While Vancouver’s skyline has changed somewhat over 125 years, Stanley Park’s natural landscape – with the exception of the odd wind storm – has remained relatively unscathed since the city’s beginning in 1886. The park continues to be the city’s natural fixture. When you are at Brockton Point this weekend, stroll along the seawall or through the trails and appreciate the park’s history.
Many events have taken place in Stanley Park since its beginnings, and thanks to Major Matthews and his habit of collecting, numerous newspaper clippings documenting these events have been kept. They can be a very valuable resource when the Archives does not have a record of these events in any other form.
Vancouver newspaper clipping from April 15, 1968
Traffic has always been heavy on the Stanley Park causeway during rush hour. If you’re attending this weekend’s festivities, hopefully you can avoid this. During the late 60s, though, traffic jams could have been due to factors other than vehicle volume. Continue reading
It was my great pleasure to join the City of Vancouver Archives as a work experience student from Fall 2010 until Spring 2011. This was a UBC-SLAIS professional experience project that focused on the creation of a web presence for the Archives’ Major Matthews Early Vancouver Online project.
Lisa Snider with Major Matthews and Jack the Cat
First, I developed a design and layout for a template that was used for the Major Matthews section of the Archives’ website. Using the Matthews template as a guide, I created the individual pages that formed this section. Some of the pages focused on the project itself, while others focused on the Major and his work.
I then created and organized the Volume One web page so that viewers have three options. You can
- search the entire volume by keyword
- download Volume One in its entirety, in either PDF-A or ODF format, or
- download/view any of the 254 individual chapters of Volume One in PDF-A format
The template created for Volume One will be used by Archives staff for Volumes Two to Seven. Continue reading