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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


Early Stamps of BC
[January 28, 1976 (VCM) Gerry Wellburn]
Vancouver Island and British Columbia had their own postal stamps from 1849-1871. However, the best early BC stamps can be found in England, having been sent back by colonists. (see Gerry Wellburn's The postage stamps and postal history of Colonial Vancouver Island and British Columbia, 1849-1871, The Gerald Wellburn Collection, author, 1987; see also

Historic Cape Scott: A Modern Visit
[February 25, 1976 (VCM) Cyril Leonoff]
Named in 1796 for the principle of a Bombay syndicate, Cape Scott is situated at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, where the rocky shoreline and jagged islands have proved the graveyard of countless ships. There was a short-lived Danish settlement in the area but still no roads go directly to it. In 1973, it was established as a provincial park. (see

Historic Trails of BC
[March 24, 1976 (AGM at VCM) Elizabeth Walker]
There is an agreement between the Parks Branch and the Forest Service for the administration of Historic Trails. While it represents a formal recognition of the need for protection of historic trails, the agreement can be unilaterally revoked.
(see Angus M. Gunn's, British Columbia, Landforms and Settlement, UBC Press, 1968; see also

Our Debt to Michael Farraday
[April 6, 1976 (Incorporation Day) Gordon Shrum]

Early Women's Movement in BC
[April 28, 1976 (VCM) Linda Hale]
Early women activists were concerned about public schooling, public health, housing, juvenile delinquency and prevention of prostitution. As part of the Church Community, they organized teas and bazaars, but their efforts for suffrage and “Liberty for the Deserving” did not include Native or Asian women. (see The Encylopedia of British Columbia, 777-79)

Habitat Forum for Non-Governmental Organizations
[May 16, 1976 (Field Trip)]
From May 31-June 11, 1976, Vancouver was host to the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements. Also known as Habitat, it was the largest conference organized by the UN and was attended by delegates from 142 nations.

VPL #4909, Philip Timms, 190-, totem poles  
VPL #4909, Philip Timms, 190-, totem poles  

The Chinook Language as it survives today
[May 19, 1976 (VCM) Charles Lilliard]
Chinook, of which there are between 30 and 40 dialects, was the coastal "lingua franca" of the 19th century traders, both Indian and white. It is still used fragmentarily with slang and other sub-language variations. (see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 127; Dictionary of the Chinook Jargon or Indian Trade Language of the North Pacific Coast; see also

Museum of Anthropology
[June 12, 1976 (Field Trip)]
Housed in several locations at UBC for a number of years, the present site, designed by Arthur Erickson, was opened in 1976. Although it houses primarily native material, it also houses the Koerner Ceramic Gallery. (see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 479; see also

Public Art Walking Tour
[June 26, 1976 (Field Trip)]

VPL #7437, Philp Timms, 1910, B.C. Sugar Refinery  
VPL #7437, Philp Timms, 1910, B.C. Sugar Refinery  

A Museum in the Making
[September 22, 1976 (Field Trip, B.C. Sugar Refinery Museum) Nicholas Dykes]
In 1890, three years after the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed from east to west, Mr. Benjamin Tingley Rogers decided that the terminus of Vancouver could be an excellent place to start another refinery. It was established on its present site, convenient for rail and sea-borne freight. It used sugar from both sugar cane and sugar beets. (The museum is now permanently closed) (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 663; see also

Chinatown: The Living Centre
[October 27, 1976 (VCM) Ron Yuen and Joe Wai]
When the Gold Rushes and work for the CPR construction had dried up, Chinese, mostly men from Kwantung Province, chose to settle in Vancouver. Fear by non-Chinese resulted in the imposition of head taxes in 1885 and 1903 and the outright exclusion of Chinese from 1923-1947. However, the Chinese persisted and a thriving community remains today. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 574-75; see also

Involving Students in B. C.'s Past: The Harrison-Lillooet Gold-Rush Trail
[November 24, 1976 (VCM) Charles Hou and several students]
By involving students directly in historical sites, such as gold rush trails, students imaginations can be fired up and they get sense of immediacy which can last a lifetime.

VPL #7624, Philip Timms, 190-, "Gabriola", B. T. Roger's residence  
VPL #7624, Philip Timms, 190-, "Gabriola", B. T. Roger's residence  

Craftsmanship in Early Vancouver Houses
[January 25, 1977 (VCM) Janet Bingham]
Craftsmanship in early Vancouver houses was superb, especially when one examines the houses designed by Samuel Maclure (1860-1929). Examples of these houses are Gabriola, Aberthau, Cecil Green Park, Brock House and Rosemary. (see Janet Bingham's Samuel Maclure, architect, Horsdal & Schubart, 1985; and More than a house: the story of the Roedde House & Barclay Heritage Square, Roedde House Preservation Society, 1996)

VPL #19162, Philip Timms, 192-, Post Office, Station C, Main Street  
VPL #19162, Philip Timms, 192-, Post Office, Station C, Main Street  

New Life for Old Buildings
[February, 1977 (Vancouver Conference)]
Years of the "bigger-is-better", "tear-it-down" and "pave-it-over" mentality have moved people to actively save and preserve buildings that are in danger. Societies have been formed to advocate on behalf of the endangered sites. (see

Gold Rush Days in early British Columbia
[February 23, 1977 (VCM) G. P. V. Akrigg]
Though the first reported gold find in BC was by botanist, David Douglas in the Okanagan in 1833, and the Hudson's Bay Company had its own private gold rush to the Queen Charlottes in 1851, it wasn't until 1857 that American miners began crossing the border. The natives opposed them, and James Douglas without legal authority insisted that all miners must purchase a license. (see Donald E. Waite's The Cariboo Gold Rush Story, Hancock House, 1988; Lewis J. Swindle's The Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858: as reported by the California newspapers of 1858: was it “humbug?”, Trafford, 2001; see also

VPL #6982, Philip Timms, 1906, Northfield Mine, Nanaimo, B. C.  
VPL #6982, Philip Timms, 1906, Northfield Mine, Nanaimo, B. C.  

Interesting Personalities in the Vancouver Island Coal Industry of the Nineteenth Century
[March 23, 1977 (VCM) Dan Gallacher]
Robert Dunsmuir, after working a short time at the HBC Fort Rupert coal site, managed after a few years, to corral virtually the entire coal business of Vancouver Island for himself. His major sites were Nanaimo and Cumberland. He exploited the miners by importing cheap labour from the US (ex-slaves) and the Orient to keep all wages down and alienated his British miners - formerly his friends. (see Dan Gallacher's Coal management in British Columbia, 1864-1889, author, nd; see also

Architectural History in Vancouver
[April 6, 1977 (Incorporation Day Dinner at VCM) Edmund & Garry M. Colchester]
A heritage building is one that has architectural merit, is typical of its kind or has witnessed an important event. For the city to live without its past is to have a city of two dimensional beings. (see entries for April 6, 1970; February 27, 1974 and March 27, 1991)

The Struggle over Deadman's Island
[April 27, 1977 (VCM) Bill McKee]
Deadman's Island has been involved in a tug of war from Vancouver's earliest days, between development and conservation. In the 1880s, it was proposed that it be used as a dock, a powder magazine and a quarantine station. In 1899, when the city was in need of jobs, it was stripped of its trees by a man named Ludgate who wanted to use it as a millsite. Vancouver rose up and saved the then-naked island. (see William McKee's Portholes and Pilings: a retrospective look at the development of Vancouver harbour up to 1933, Vancouver Archives, 1978; Jean Barman's Stanley Park's Secret: The forgotten families of Whoi Whoi, Kanaka Ranch and Brockton Point, Harbour Publishing, 2005; The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 171; see also

Victoria Revisited
[May 7, 1977 (Field Trip)]
The non-native settlement of Victoria, founded as a fort in 1843 by the Hudson's Bay Company, abounds with early BC history. (see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 745-46; see also

[May 25, 1977 (AGM in VCM) John Adams]
As Clayburn Mountain, just east of Abbotsford, presented the most suitable clay for firebrick, the Vancouver Clay Company opened its first plant at Clayburn in 1905. Surviving on mainly exporting its bricks, the plant closed during the Great Depression. (see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 130-31; The Greater Vancouver Book, 546)

A Walk Along English Bay
[June 25, 1977 (Field Trip)]
From the centuries of native occupation, to the June 1792 meeting of Vancouver and Galiano in English Bay to the now-disappeared grand Edwardian structures to the present tall towers, the West End of Vancouver presents a long history. (see The Encylopedia of British Columbia, 210)

VPL #7159, Philip Timms, 190-, Nelson Street houses  
VPL #7159, Philip Timms, 190-, Nelson Street houses  

The Business Elites in Early Vancouver, 1886-1914
[September 28, 1977 (VCM) Robert A. J. McDonald]
Unlike Victoria's British-derived oceanic society elite, Vancouver's elite was focused on a North American mercantile economy. From the years following the arrival of the CPR, this elite helped to bring Vancouver into the modern age. (see Robert A. J. McDonald's Making Vancouver: class, status, and social boundaries, 1863-1913, UBC Press, 1996; and Business leaders in early Vancouver, 1886-1914, np, 1977)

Early British Columbia films
[October 26, 1977 (VCM) Colin Browne]
The first film brought to Vancouver was in 1898, was a faked film of the "Spanish-American War." The first made in BC was a ride through the Rockies shot from a cowcatcher that same year. One 1907 film of downtown Vancouver and another 1910 documentary of fish processing, were the beginning of British Columbia films. (see Colin Browne's Motion picture production in British Columbia, 1898-1940: a brief historical background and catalogue, British Columbia Provincial Museum, 1979)

Western Architecture and the Canadian Pacific Railroad
[November 23, 1977 (VCM) Martin Segger]


Famous BC Personalities: Sew Moody and Captain Stamp
[January 25, 1978 (VCM) James Morton]
Captain Edward Stamp (1814-72), who arrived in Victoria in 1859, was a cantankerous, litigious promoter and briefly our first "timber baron." Sewell Prescott Moody (1835-75), who arrived around the same time and also went into timber production, was a low-profile, non-pretentious hard worker who got along with everybody. (see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 469, 674; The Greater Vancouver Book, 830, 838; see also

VPL #13442, Associated Screen News, 193-, native carvings at Nootka  
VPL #13442, Associated Screen News, 193-, native carvings at Nootka  

Northwest Coast Indian Artifacts
[February 22, 1978 (VCM) Douglas Cole]
Northwest Coast Indian artifacts were first collected out of curiosity as early as 1778. By the middle of the 19th century, the myth of the dying Indian culture intensified the demand and several collecting expeditions were sent to the Coast. (see Douglas Cole's Captured heritage: the scramble for the Northwest Coast artifacts, University of Oklahoma Press, 1965; and Tricks of the trade: some factors in Northwest Coast artifact collecting, 1875-1925)

The Bartholomew Plan for Vancouver, 1928
[March 29, 1978 (VCM) Dr. John Bottomley]
Shortly after the 1925 provincial Town Planning Act was passed, Vancouver created a Town Planning Commission which hired Harland Bartholomew of St. Louis to come up with a town plan. Bartholomew submitted several plans, based on the concentric city model incorporating major streets, transit, transportation, public recreation, zoning and civic art. Only zoning was implemented. (see

Early Days in Vancouver
[April 7, 1978 (Incorporation Day Dinner at Hycroft) Kenneth Caple]

British Columbia Medical Archives 1807 W. 10th Ave.
[May 17, 1978 (Field Trip)]
(see )

May 18, 1978 (AGM at VCM)
(no speaker

VPL #4920, Philip Timms, 19--, Chilkat blanket  
VPL #4920, Philip Timms, 19--, Chilkat blanket  

The First Years of Contact between Indians and Europeans
[May 24, 1978 (VCM) Robin Fisher]
The first years of contact between the coastal Native people and Europeans were both beneficial to both parties, turbulent and sometimes violent. As time passed, however, contact became less advantageous for the native peoples. (see Robin Fisher's Contact and Conflict, Indian-European relations in British Columbia, 1774-1890, UBC Press, 1977

September & October (no meeting/speaker)

Vancouver City Archives
(November 7, 1998 (Field Trip])
Vancouver's City Archives, unlike any other city archives in Canada, was built for its destined purpose. The collection is varied and Major Matthews' own collection managed to save many papers that would otherwise have been lost. (see

Leonard McClure, Colonial Journalist, Politician and Long-Winded Speaker
[November 22, 1978 (VCM) H. Keith Ralston]
Irish born Leonard McClure (1835-67) is a largely forgotten political reformer of the Colony of Vancouver Island. A printer and journalist who came to Vancouver Island via Australia and California, McClure was a leading voice for responsible government in the colony but his efforts came to an end when Vancouver Island joined British Columbia in 1866. Defeated, he died the following year in San Francisco. (see

VPL #5877, Leonard Frank, 1933, Court House, Rattenbury designed  
VPL #5877, Leonard Frank, 1933, Court House, Rattenbury designed  

[January 24, 1979 (VCM) Terry Reksten]
Leeds born Francis Mawson Rattenbury (1867-1935) had some experience in England before coming to British Columbia in 1892. He designed many buildings, including the provincial Parliament Buildings. He also designed paddle wheelers in the Klondike, the Vancouver Court House, and as C.P.R. western architect, the Empress Hotel. He married his mistress, returned to England and was murdered in 1935. (see Terry Reksten's Rattenbury, Sono Nis Press, 1978; The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 591-92)

VPL #508, H. T. Devine, 1886, First Vancouver City Council meeting after the fire  
VPL #508, H. T. Devine, 1886, First Vancouver City Council meeting after the fire  

Requiem for a Town
[February 28, 1979 (VCM) Charles Broadbridge]
Vancouver's Great fire of June 13, 1886, which destroyed the majority of the city, had many origins. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 49;

Salmon and Tinplate
[March 28, 1979 (VCM) Duncan Stacey]
The first commercial cannery in British Columbia opened on the Fraser River in 1871 and 10 years later fishing and canning was the top manufacturer and employer in the province employing Japanese, Chinese and Indians working in separate sections of industry. Exported tinned sockeye salmon was favoured by the working class rather than the upper class. (see Duncan Stacey's Sockeye and Tinplate: technological change in the Fraser River Canning Industry, 1871-1912, British Columbia Provincial Museum, 1982; and Salmonopolis: the Steveston story, Harbour Publishing, 1994; see also entry for September 21, 1994)

Memories of Vancouver Past
[April 7, 1979 (Incorporation Day luncheon at Brock House) Chuck Bayley]
Vancouver has lost many of its neighbourhood communities which gave it a uniqueness. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 11-108

George Nye, photographer of early North Vancouver
[April 25, 1979 (VCM) Don Bourdon]
Brighton born George Gordon Nye (1885-1958) was North Vancouver's first professional photographer. Brought by his parents to Vancouver in 1890, the family moved to North Vancouver in 1898. Out of his studio between 1905-10, he chronicled the life and times of North Vancouver. He died in his bed in the house he built on St. James St. in North Vancouver. (see

May 23, 1979 (AGM at VCM)
(no speaker)

VPL #9238, Leonard Frank, 191-, survey party for the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway  
VPL #9238, Leonard Frank, 191-, survey party for the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway  

Some Pioneer BC Land Surveyors
[November 28, 1979 (VCM) Col. G. S. Andrews]
Generally, early BC surveyors were well educated in a variety of related fields. Artists, linguists, and writers were among the less than 800 people who have worked as authorized land surveyors throughout our colonial and provincial past. They were part of a uniquely small profession. (see G. S. Andrews' Professional land surveyors of British Columbia: cumulative nominal roll with appended lists for discovery, exploration & primary surveys by sea and land, Corp of Land Surveyors in Prov. Of B. C., 1978; and Surveys and mapping in Bitish Columbia resources development, B. C. Surveys and Mapping Branch, 1954; and The land surveying profession of British Columbia, Colonist printers, 1956)

VPL #19884, Bailey Bros., 189-, Empress of China at CPR dock  
VPL #19884, Bailey Bros., 189-, Empress of China at CPR dock  

C.P.R. Empresses and Princesses
[January 23, 1980 (VCM) Robert Turner]
C.P.R. vessels, such as the Princess Elaine, Princess Marguerite and Princess Patricia, which once plied B.C. waters afforded comfortable accommodation and elegant dining for travelers. This style of travel, (as opposed to cruises) has all but disappeared. (see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 576-77)

Park Site 19 and the Roedde House
[February 27, 1980 (VCM) Graham McGarva]
The VHS has been a prime mover in restoring the Roedde House, built in 1891, and owned by the Gustave Roedde family, prominent in the book binding business. (It has been restored and is a museum supported by its own society). (see

On the Palmer Trail
[March 26, 1980 (VCM) John Spittal]
The Palmer trail, named after Henry Spenser Palmer of the Royal engineers is a trail that was laid out in the Chilcotin in the 1860s.
(see entry for January 27, 1988; see also

VPL #7118, Philip Timms, 190-, Firth family in living room in New Westminster  
VPL #7118, Philip Timms, 190-, Firth family in living room in New Westminster  

A Celebration of New Westminster
[April 23, 1980 (VCM) Alan Woodland and Archie Miller]
(see entry for October 20, 1993, April 19, 1995;,_British_Columbia;

Richard Clement Moody
[September 24, 1980 (VCM) Jacqueline Gresko]
Barbados born Richard Clement Moody (1813-1887) trained at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich before serving in various capacities throughout the British Empire. He came to British Columbia as head of the Royal Engineers, overseeing, amongst other things, the laying out of New Westminster. He left BC in 1863 and retired to England. (see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 468-69)

VPL #2129, Philip Timms, 1908, Fishing Boats at Garry Point  
VPL #2129, Philip Timms, 1908, Fishing Boats at Garry Point  

[September 27, 1980 (Field Trip)]
(see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 678: see entries for March 28, 1979; September 21, 1994)

Cascade Historic Trails Wilderness
[October 22, 1980 (VCM) Harley Hatfield and Victor Wilson]
A Hudson's Bay Brigade Trail, immediately north of Manning park, is an historic trail worth preserving.

North Vancouver
[November 1, 1980 (Field Trip)]
Initially developed in 1900 at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue, the city of North Vancouver was incorporated in 1907. It absorbed the neighbouring Moodyville in 1915 and grew to include one of the largest shipyards in the country. However, it has lost its industrial appearance and is now mostly residential. (see The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, 502)

Vancouver Heritage Affairs
[November 26, 1980 (VCM) Rhonna Fleming]

Vancouver Public Library Historical Photograph Section
[December 6, 1980 (Field Trip)]
The VPL has 250,000 black and white negatives and prints covering all aspects of life in B.C. (fishing, mining, forestry, buildings, streets, towns, ships, railroads & people) from the 1880's to the present. About 10,500 of these images have been digitized and are available from the Historical Photographs database. (see also

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