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Program Summaries

Glimpses of the Past through description, related books and internet connections

Select a year from the drop-down menu below to view summaries of talks


Vancouver's Early Newspapers
[1961 (AGM) D. A. McGregor]
Early Vancouver newspapers like the Moodyville Tickler (1878) as well as the News-Advertiser and the Vancouver World are no longer with us. The Province began to publish in Vancouver in 1898 as a daily and the Vancouver Sun in 1912. Many newspapers have since come and gone. (see D. A. McGregor's Vancouver's early newspapers: an address to the B.C. Historical Association, Vancouver Branch, n.p. 1961; The Greater Vancouver Book, 420-21

Early days in Prince Rupert
[October 26, 1961 (VMM) Mr. Justice A. M. Manson]
Mr. Justice A. M. Manson was Prince Rupert's first lawyer, arriving there in 1908. In 1916 he was elected to the B.C. Legislature as Liberal member of the newly created Omineca riding. He had a long career both in the provincial legislature and on the bench. (see W. B. M. Hicks' Hay's Orphan: the story of the Port of Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert Port Authority, c.2003)

The landscape of Old Quebec
[November 23, 1961 (VMM) G. Tomkins]
Settlement patterns in Quebec have evolved over the past three centuries. This can be seen in its divisions of land and its architecture.
(see R. Cole Harris' Historical Atlas of Canada, University of Toronto Press, 1987; and The seigneurial system in early Canada: a geographical study, McGill Queen's University Press, 1984)

VPL #1766, unknown, 1929, old CPR Surprise Creek Bridge demolished by dynamite  
VPL #1766, unknown, 1929, old CPR Surprise Creek Bridge demolished by dynamite  

Powder Plants in British Columbia
[January 25, 1962 (VMM) Morley Shier]
British Columbia had many early dynamite plants, each leaving a history of anecdotes, both humorous and tragic. One such company, the Giant Powder Company later became part of Canadian Industries Ltd. (see Morley's Shier's Fireside mining: a compendium of mining stories, Western Miner, 1958)

The Union Steamship Company
[February 22, 1962 (VMM) Gerald Rushton]
The Union steamships ran from 1889 in British Columbia waters servicing canneries and logging camps. Coastal residents were familiar with its many vessels. In 1959 it sold out to Northland Navigation. (see Gerald Rushton's Whistle up the Inlet: the Union Steamship story, J. J. Douglas, 1974; Tom Henry's The Good Company: An affectionate history of the Union Steamships, Harbour Publishing, 1994; Arthur M. Twigg's Union Steamships Remembered, 1920-1958, author, c.1997; see also

The Development of Social Legislation in British Columbia
[March 22, 1962 (VMM) Wallace Lane]
(See Irene Howard's The Struggle for Social Justice in British Columbia: Helena Gutteridge, the Unknown Reformer, UBC Press, 1992)

F. Heinze and the beginnings of Consolidated Mining and Smelting
[April 26, 1962 (VMM) John Church]
New York born Frederick Augustus Heinze (1869-1914) invested in the Rossland boom in 1895. He built a smelter and railroad linking the mines to the smelter, and sold his interests to the CPR in 1898. In 1906, several area interests were combined to form the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, now Cominco. (see John Church's M. A. thesis on “Capital formation of mining companies in the Kootenays, 1890-1914.”; Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 325)

VPL #14833, Leonard Frank, 1937, Britannia Mine  
VPL #14833, Leonard Frank, 1937, Britannia Mine  

The Howe Sound Company and Britannia Beach
[May 24, 1962 (VMM) A. T. Smith]
The Britannia Mining and Smelting Co, a branch of the Howe Sound Company, mined at Britannia from 1905 to the late 1950s when it faltered. Once the largest copper operation in the British Commonwealth, the company provided a townsite and concentrator on the beach which prepared the ore before shipping. Operations were taken over by Anaconda Mining from 1963-74 and is now a national historic site. (see Howe Sound Company Britannia Division fonds, 1913-1972, UBC Library; Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 93)

British Columbia, the emerging province
[September 24, 1962 (VMM) Willard Ireland]

VPL #13440, Associated Screen News, 193-, Jessie Wilson at Nootka  
VPL #13440, Associated Screen News, 193-, Jessie Wilson at Nootka  

Nootka, the beginning of B. C.'s recorded history
[October 22, 1962 (VMM) Tomas Bartroli]
Nootka, an island off the west coast of Vancouver Island and home to the Nuu-chah-nuuth people, was the major location of activity and initial contact between non-natives and the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. From 1778 it became the site of the intertwining of social, political and economic interests of the native people, Spain, England and the United States of America. (see September 28, 1988 and September 27, 1989 reports; Tomas Bartrolis' Brief presence; Spain's activity on America's northwest coast, 1774-1796, author, c. 1991)

Early cartography of the Northwest Pacific coast
[November 26, 1962 (VMM) Dr. A. L. Farley]
(see Derek Hayes' Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest: maps of exploration: British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Yukon, Cavendish Books, 2000; Historical Atlas of the North Pacific Ocean: maps of discovery and scientific exploration, 1500-2000, Douglas & McIntyre, c.2001)


Some recollections
[January 28, 1963 (VMM) The Hon H. H. Stevens]
Bristol born Henry Herbert Stevens (1878-1973) settled in Vancouver in 1902 and became an ardent moral reformer guided by his Methodist principles. As an alderman and Conservative MP, he exposed unethical big business practices as well as opposed immigration from Asia. He left politics in 1942. (see Gary H. J. Cwitoo's H. H. Stevens and the Reconstruction Party: a conservative revolt [microfilm], Public Archives of Canada, 1973; H. H. Stevens Report by British Columbia Liquor Inquiry Commission (1952), Victoria, 1953; J. R. H. Wilburg's H. H. Stevens, 1878-1973, University of Toronto Press, 1977; see also

The Doukhobors - an historical sketch
[February 25, 1963 (VMM) Peter G. Makaroff & Koozma J. Tarasoff]
(see October 28, 1952 entry; see also Koozma J. Tarasoff's A pictorial story of the Doukhobors, Prairie Book Dept, 1969; Plakun Trava: The Doukhobors, Mir Publication Society, c. 1982)

The Beginnings of the Vancouver Public Library from Reading Room to Carnegie Building
[March 25, 1963 (VMM) Elizabeth Walker]
(see February 17, 1993 entry; and VPL's History of the Vancouver Public Library, The Library, 1975; see also

VPL #10902, Leonard Frank, 1920, CNR & GTP Railway ticket office, 527 Granville Street  
VPL #10902, Leonard Frank, 1920, CNR & GTP Railway ticket office, 527 Granville Street  

Memories of the Bulkley Valley and construction days of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
[April 22, 1963 (VMM) Beatrice Williscroft]
(see January 24, 1996 entry; Frank Leonard's A thousand blunders: the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and northern British Columbia, UBC Press, c.1996; see also

Pioneers' night
[May 27, 1963 (VMM) reminiscences of several pioneers]

The 1933 provincial election
[September 23, 1963 (VMM) Dorothy Steeves, Judge A. M. Manson]
The 1933 election is of interest as it was the one in which the C.C.F. first gained representation in BC. Netherlands born Dorothy [Biersteker] Steves (1891-1978) was a radical CCF reformer and pacifist, sat as an MLA for 10 years after her election in 1934. (see Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 677;

From loggers' special to roll-on - roll-off: the revolution in coastal transportation
[October 28, 1963 (VMM) Walter Hardwick]

Two Sheffield Devils: Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwicke
[November 25, 1963 (VMM) Gordon Batho]
(see Alison Plowden's Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stewart; - two queens on one isle, Barnes & Noble Books, 1984)


The Seigniorial System in French Canada before the Conquest
[January 27, 1964 (VMM) R. Cole Harris]
(see November 23, 1964 entry)

VPL #2598, unknown, 19--, John S. Helmcken at dinner party  
VPL #2598, unknown, 19--, John S. Helmcken at dinner party  

Dr. John Helmcken, the good doctor
[February 24, 1964 (VMM) Joseph Pearce]
London born John Sebastian Helmcken (1824-1920), the HBC doctor from 1850, was also a politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly and help to negotiate B.C.'s entry into Confederation. He married a daughter of James Douglas and was the first president of the BC Medical Society. His house is now a museum. (see Dorothy Blakey Smith's The Reminiscences Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, UBC Press, 1975)

VPL #12465, Leonard Frank, no date, men in field at harvest time in Peace River area  
VPL #12465, Leonard Frank, no date, men in field at harvest time in Peace River area  

British Columbia's Peace River Country, past and present development
[March 23, 1964 (VMM) Gordon E. Bowes]
(see March 4, 1940 entry; and Gordon Bowes' Peace River Chronicles)

Camel hunting in British Columbia
[April 27, 1964 (Vancouver Maritime Museum) Bruce Ramsey]
In 1862-63, two dozen camels were imported from San Francisco as pack animals during the gold rush. However, they proved impractical as their feet were too soft for the local terrain and they spooked other animals, causing many accidents. They were let loose and the last one died in 1905. (see Bruce Ramsey's Ghost Towns of B. C., LDC, 1975; Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 105)

An Englishman discovers the Cariboo Wagon Road
[May 25, 1964 (VMM) Gordon Batho]
(see October 3, 1938 entry and Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 114)

Living Memory and the tape recorder
[September 28, 1964 (VMM) Robert Orchard]
The tape recorder can be very useful in collecting pioneer reminiscences. (This is for a program, “Living Memory”)

William Duncan of Metlakatla
[October 26, 1964 (VMM) John Must]
England born William Duncan (1832-1918) was a leather salesman and lay Anglican minister who founded the model Christian settlement of Metlakatla in 1862 after almost five years of trying to win converts nearby Fort Simpson. However, doctrinal differences in 1887 drove him to move his settlement to Annette Island in Alaska. Personality differences, however, left him nearly friendless and isolated by the time of his death. (see Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 188; also Jean Usher's William Duncan of Metlakatla, a Victorian missionary in British Columbia, National Museums of Canada, 1974; Peter Murray's The Devil and Mr. Duncan, A History of the Two Metlakatlas, Sono Nis Press, 1985; see also

Two views on British Columbia's entry into Confederation
[November 23, 1964 (VMM) K. Waites and Keith Ralston]
British Columbia legal joining Canada in 1871 was not an easy task. Even though it had a debt and faced annexation threats from the US, it was reluctant but was eventually convinced with the offer of a road to Manitoba, followed by a railway, and a payment of the debt. Failure of a railway to appear in the 1870s, however, led many to believe that joining Confederation was a wrong move. (see Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 142-43; Margaret Ormsby's British Columbia: a history, Macmillan, 1958; see also )

VPL #10926, Leonard Frank, 1931, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1145 West Georgia  
VPL #10926, Leonard Frank, 1931, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1145 West Georgia  

Art in Vancouver: ancient, medieval and modern
[January 25, 1965 (VMM) Gerald Tyler and Jack Shadbolt]
(see Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 27-35; see also

[February 22, 1965 (VMM) teachers and High School student demonstrations]

The Artist as Historian
[March 22, 1965 (VMM) Frank Hardwick]
Paintings can be used as a source for social history.

Retracing Mackenzie's route to the Arctic
[April 26, 1965 (VMM) John Stager]
A canoe trip can be made down the Mackenzie River using Sr. Alexander Mackenzie's journal as a guide.
(see W. Kaye Lamb's The Journals and Letters of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Cambridge University Press, 1970)

Keeping the Past Up-To-Date
[June 12, 1965 (1st Annual VHS Banquet at Hycoft) W. Kaye Lamb]

Pattullo as a Political Leader
[September 27, 1965 (VMM) Neil Sutherland]
Ontario born Thomas Dufferin “Duff” Pattulo (1873-1956) was Liberal premier of British Columbia from 1933 to 1941. (see September 25, 1985 entry)

Two Thousand Years of London's History in Words and Pictures
[October 25, 1965 (VMM) John Raybould]

VPL #11023, Stuart Thomson, 192-, Pantages Theatre and Army and Navy Department Store  
VPL #11023, Stuart Thomson, 192-, Pantages Theatre and Army and Navy Department Store  

Theatre in Vancouver
[November 22, 1965 (VMM) Yvonne Firkins]
Theatre has long played a role in the life of Vancouver. In fact, the first structure built after the fire of 1886 was Keefer Hall, which served as a theatre. Today, it continues to thrive. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 688-93)

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