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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

VPL #13300, Philip Timms, 190-, Looking West on Powell St. from Dunlevy Ave.  
VPL #13300, Philip Timms, 190-, Looking West on Powell St. from Dunlevy Ave.  

Watari or Passage: a brief history of Japanese Canadians in Vancouver
[January 23, 1991 (HH) Mari-Jane Medenwaldt]
Early 20th century photographs reveal, along with photos of the 1941-42 evacuation, reveal much of the life of the Japanese Canadians in Vancouver. (see Watari dori [video recording], White Pine Pictures c.1997;

History of the Deer Lake Area 1862 to the present
[February 27, 1991 (HH) Jim Wolf]
The early pioneer farmers in the Burnaby area shipped strawberries via tramline for sale in New Westminster. Later a small English-style village grew around Deer Lake. In the early part of the 20th century, following a speculative land boom, large houses were built by a group of friends: Ceperly Mansion (now Burnaby's Art Gallery), Anderson and Mather houses (now Burnaby's Art Centre) and Hart House (now a restaurant). Before Burnaby began to acquire and restore these properties in the early 1960's they were in turn used as a Benedictine Seminary and the headquarters of the Universal Light Foundation headed by the con artist “Archbishop John.” (see

VPL #11960, Leonard Frank, 1929, Home Service Station  
VPL #11960, Leonard Frank, 1929, Home Service Station  

The Roaring Twenties and the Dirty Thirties: Vancouver's Boom and Bust Architecture
[March 27, 1991 (HH) Valda Vidners and Donald Luxton]
The 1920s was a time of exuberance, confidence and freedom for architecture in Vancouver. Anything was possible and Art Deco was in style. A new vocabulary of concrete, glass and settle were the words of the day. During this time two gems, the Marine Building and the Georgia Medical Dental Building were built. Building came to an end in 1929 and the 1930s was a decade of delayed construction. For example, Hotel Vancouver construction started in 1928 but was not completed until 1939. In the 11 years it was left in various stages of completion but completed for the Royal visit. During this time, most construction was limited to small scale projects but the large scale projects were the Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver City Hall and the Burrard Street Bridge. (see Donald Luxton and V. Vidners' Deco and moderne in Vancouver, 1980s)

Ghosts: True Stories from British Columbia
[April 6, 1991 (Incorporation Day Dinner at HH) Robert Belyk]
Ghost stories are abundant throughout the history of British Columbia. (see Robert C. Belyk's Ghosts: true tales of eerie encounters, Horsdal & Schubart, 2002)

Marpole: Easier Than Dredging the River
[April 24, 1991 (HH) Bill Allman]
Marpole's 3000 year history is attested to by the famous Marpole Midden at the end of Granville Street. Europeans first arrived about 1862 to establish new homes. One of the early prominent people was Harry Eburne who left farming for store-keeping in 1881. The first bridge was built in 1889 to Sea Island, a second span going to Lulu Island. Consequently Eburne strategically moved his store and post office to Sea Island. The area, which changed its name from Eburne to Marpole during WWI, grew and, in 1929, Marpole as part of Point Grey municipality along with South Vancouver, amalgamated with the City of Vancouver. (see

Community & Heritage - The Restoration of Roedde House
[May 22, 1991 (HH) Cindy Kravchenko, Janet Bingham]
Many interested individuals from the VHS, the Community Arts Council as well as the formation of the Roedde House Preservation Society helped preserve this West End house as a house-museum. (see Janet Bingham's More than a house: the story of Roedde House and Barclay Heritage Square, Roedde House Preservation Society, 1996, see also

VPL #9373, Leonard Frank, 1929, group of men at Vancouver Airport  
VPL #9373, Leonard Frank, 1929, group of men at Vancouver Airport  

History of the Vancouver Airport
[September 25, 1991 (HH) Chuck Davis]
The Vancouver Airport began in March 1910 and became a focus of interest. The Aero Club was formed in 1913 and a race took place between a plane and a car, the latter winning. In 1919 Boeing make the first commercial and international flight and airmail began in the 1920s. The 1930s saw United Air Lines pioneering a daily service to Seattle and Trans Canada Airlines flew to Montreal in 17½ hours. In 1939 the Federal Government assumed control with the City of Vancouver managing. By 1955 International Flights were a daily event. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 468)

“Incidents” in Stanley Park
[October 23, 1991 (HH) Peggy Imredy]
Relatively unknown facts about Stanley Park are that at one time the CPR tried to secure the southern third of the park. That access to Brockton Point, the early Vancouver graveyard, could be accessed only by Boat. The area of the park changed several times, once when the federal government did a flip-flop on ownership of Deadman's Island. Food services for concessions and playing field management were privatized before World War I. (see Peggy Imredy's Cityscape: a tour of Vancouver's Stanley Park, 1983; also see Mike Steele's Stanley Park, Heritage House, c. 1993)

VPL #8046, Philip Timms, 190-, Great Northern Railway locomotive at White Rock  
VPL #8046, Philip Timms, 190-, Great Northern Railway locomotive at White Rock  

J. J. Hill's Dream Railway
[November 27, 1991 (HH) Henry Ewert]
James Jerome Hill, born in the railroad town of Guelph, Ontario, migrated to St. Paul, Minn., where he once owned a coal and wood yard and a share in a transportation Company. Upon Van Horne's invitation, he joined the CPR but left over differences on how the ongoing CPR would get past the rocky, uninhabited Lake Superior shoreline. He built the Great Northern Railway in stages and was dubbed “The Empire Builder.” (see Albro Martin's James J. Hill and the opening of the Northwest, Oxford University Press, 1976; see also

VPL #2923A, Philip Timms, 189-, wreck of the Beaver  
VPL #2923A, Philip Timms, 189-, wreck of the Beaver  

The Beaver
[January 22, 1992 (HH) James Delgado]
Because two ships of the Hudson's Bay Company had been lost, the Beaver was sent to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River in 1836. In her 52 years in the Pacific Northwest she performed various functions, going through six boilers, one of which ended up in Tacoma but brought to the Vancouver Maritime Museum. In 1888 it grounded at Prospect Point [Stanley Park] where some artifacts still remain. See James P. Delgado's, The Beaver: first steamship on the West Coast, Horsdal & Schubart, 1993; see also

Changing Vancouver
[February 19, 1992 (HH) Jeff Veniot and friend]
The changes in Vancouver skyline can be seen when comparing photographs. (see Vancouver Public Library, photograph collection)

VPL #5039, Leonard Frank, 1943, statue of Captain George Vanocouver  
VPL #5039, Leonard Frank, 1943, statue of Captain George Vanocouver  

On Stormy Seas - Triumphs and Torments of Captain George Vancouver
[March 25, 1992 (HH) Brenda Gillespie]
From when George Vancouver joined Cook's Voyage at the age of 14 to his retirement, there appears to have been some conspiracy afoot headed by Thomas Pitt [Lord Camelford] to deprive him of the recognition he deserved. Vancouver had a passionate perfectionist's enthusiasm for his job but his naval career was hampered by his being "low born" in the 18th century when class was the yardstick of English society. (See Brenda Gillespie's On Stormy Seas: the triumphs and torments of Captain George Vancouver, Horsdal & Schubart, 1992; also W. Kay Lamb's The Voyage of George Vancouver, 1791-95, Hakluyt Society, 1984)

VPL #6887, Philip Timms, 190-, Woodwards at 100 block West Hastings  
VPL #6887, Philip Timms, 190-, Woodwards at 100 block West Hastings  

[April 6, 1992 (Incorporation Dinner at Woodward's Auditorium, Oakridge) Stephanie Massingham-Pierce]
Woodwards retailing store made a difference to Vancouver and the Province as it was the first in many aspects of merchandising, one-price sales, in-house pharmacy, self-serve groceteria, covered parkade, shopping buggies and more. (see Douglas E. Harker's The City and the Store, Evergreen Press, 1958)

VPL #19421, Philip Timms, no date, Musqueam Indian Reserve  
VPL #19421, Philip Timms, no date, Musqueam Indian Reserve  

Musqueam Band History
[April 22, 1992 (HH) Pat Berringer]
The Musqueam people and settlement area experienced challenging consequences of contact during the two colonial periods, the fur trade, and then the settlement period which followed the gold rush with great rapidity.

History of Vancouver Port Authority
[May 20, 1992 (HH) Stephanie Nanadic]
(see see The Greater Vancouver Book, 762)

Vancouver: A Visual History
[September 16, 1992 (VMM) Bruce MacDonald]
A full-colour Atlas of Vancouver from the 1850s has been published tracing the origin and development of the city's land, culture and politics. (See Bruce Macdonald's Vancouver: A Visual History, Talonbooks, 1992)

Archibald Menzies
[October 21, 1992 (VMM) Clive Justice]
Archibald Menzies (1754-1852) came to the Coast as assistant surgeon with James Colnett and spent a month at Nootka Sound in 1787. He returned with George Vancouver and was in the area 1792-94. (see John M. Naish's The interwoven lives of George Vancouver, Archibald Menzies, Joseph Whidbey and Peter Puget: exploring the Pacific Northwest Coast, Edwin Mellen Press, 1996).

Smallpox in Vancouver
[November 18, 1992 (VMM) Dr. Ed McDonnell]
In 1893 in Vancouver there were 32 cases of smallpox; 16 of them at Cedar Cove, and 16 at Deadman's Island. Two died at Cedar Cove, one dying probably from alcohol poisoning. People were so frighted that would not let the Victoria boats land at the CPR wharf, and the passengers had to land at Hastings and walk back. (See H. E. Langis' 1832 interview at the Vancouver City Archives)


H.M.S. Virago in the Pacific, 1851-1855
[January 20, 1993 (VMM) G.P.V. and Helen B. Akrigg]
Although H.M.S. Virago was stationed in Valparaiso, Chile, it was involved in the attack on Petropavlosk in 1854 during the Crimean War. It was involved in many adventures around the Pacific but in BC waters it investigated the pillaging and sinking of the American schooner Susan Sturges by Haidas and was caught in the middle of a battle in Nanaimo when 27 Sechelt natives shot up a little group of sleeping Tsimshians. The Tsimshians took refuge on the Virago. (See the G. P. V. & Helen Akrigg's H.M.S. Virago in the Pacific, 1851-55: to the Queen Charlottes and beyond, Sono Nis, 1992)

VPL #3431, Philip Timms, 1904, City Hall and Carnegie Library  
VPL #3431, Philip Timms, 1904, City Hall and Carnegie Library  

History of the Vancouver Public Library
[February 17, 1993 (VMM) Madeleine Aalto]
The Mechanics Institute Library, which opened in the Hastings Mill in 1869 became part of the first Library/Reading Room at 136 Cordova Street in 1887.
Two years later the city infused some money into the library. Two sites later, Andrew Carnegie's gift of $50,000 saw the opening of the library at Main and Hastings in 1902. A further two locations later the library now sits between Georgia and Robson Streets. The library continues to have the highest per capital reference use of any major city library in Canada. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 749-51)

Heritage & the City of Vancouver
[March 17, 1993 (VMM) Robert Lemon]
A resurgence of interest in old building and constructions, after much Vancouver heritage disappeared, has resulted in the formation of several societies, such as the Heritage Conservation Foundation which are endorsed by the Vancouver Historical Society. (see

Our New Neighbours
[April 6, 1993 (Incorporation Day Dinner at Flamingo Chinese Restaurant) Michael Sung]

The Canadianization of Robert Burnaby
[April 21, 1993 (VMM) Charles Hou and Tim Varro]
In 1858, thirty year old Robert Burnaby came to British Columbia to secure an appointment as private secretary to Colonel Moody. Royal Engineer surveyors named a lake after him and the city took its name from him. He spent 16 years in BC before returning to Britain. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 814)

The Titanic
[May 19, 1993 (VMM) Leonard McCann]

Women Power at City Hall 1937-39
[September 15, 1993 (VMM) Irene Howard and Libby Davies]
A tailor by trade, English-born Helena Gutteridge came to Canada in 1911. She soon became a leader in the fight for women's right to vote which she did as the first woman on the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council. In 1937, she was elected to city council and, while chairing the Building, Civic Planning and Parks Committee, accomplished better housing. During WWII she worked in a Japanese internment camp. (See Irene Howard's The Struggle for Social Justice in British Columbia: Helena Gutteridge, the Unknown Reformer, UBC Press, 1992)

Eminent Guests of New Westminster
[October 20, 1993 (VMM) Alan Woodland]
Pre-WWII eminent visitors to New Westminster not only brought out flag waving crowds as well as natives carrying torches and paddling down the Fraser, but they were remarkably insightful in their comments about the area. (See Alan Woodland's New Westminster - The Early Years: 1858-1898, Nunaga Publishing Co., 1973)


Greater Vancouver Water District
[January 19, 1994 (VMM) John Morse]
The Greater Vancouver Water District supplies hundreds of millions of gallons of water every day to the GVRD's 1.6 million people, an enormous increase over the first year of actual operation, 1926, when the total for the whole year was less than 100 million gallons. The GVWD's facilities include two major dams, Cleveland Dam on the Capilano River and Seymour Dam on the Seymour River. There are other, small dams, and hundreds of kilometers of supply mains and pumping stations. (also see The Greater Vancouver Book, 282)

Sara McLagan: A Woman's World:
[February 17, 1994 (VMM) Linda Orr]
The World, a leading evening paper in the Vancouver's early days, was founded in September 1888 by J. C. McLagan, who had previously launched the Victoria Times. When McLagan died in April, 1901, his widow, Sara McLagan (a sister to Vancouver architect, Samuel McClure) took over the paper. She was the first woman to own, publish and edit a daily newspaper in Canada. (also see John Cherrington's Vancouver at the Dawn: A Turn-of-the-Century Portrait, Harbour Publishing, 1997)

VPL #982, Philip Timms, 1902, Carnegie Library and City Hall  
VPL #982, Philip Timms, 1902, Carnegie Library and City Hall  

Museums in Vancouver
[March 16, 1994 (VMM) Al Bowen]
In 1869 The Mechanic's Institute proposed the establishment of a reading room and museum and, by 1887 private individuals were exhibiting 400 pieces. In the 1890s, institutes and associations were formed to support the museum and the first exhibition of painting and artifacts opened at Hastings and Granville. From 1904 the museum was housed in the top floor or the Carnegie Library but a leak the following year forced the objects to be stored in the basement. The present museum, which opened in 1968 is the largest civic museum in Canada. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 661-65; see also

The 50 Years of CKNW Radio
[April 6, 1994 (Incorporation Dinner at Hellenic Community Centre) Hal Davis]
From 1944, the founder of CKNW played no recorded drama, or comedy, had no network shows. His idea was continuous music, most of which was live, making it the first all-music radio station in Canada. In 1946, NW started the Orphans' Fund and later innovated The Roving Mike, hourly newscasts, 24 hour broadcasting, community involvement, payment for news tips, etc. (see Chuck Davis & Hal Davis' Top dog: a fifty year history of B. C.'s most listened to radio station, Canada Wide Magazines, 1993)

The Royal Hudson
[May 18, 1994 (VMM) Al Broadfoot]
A steam locomotive, the only one of its kind in North America, the Royal Hudson was built in 1940 for the CPR and retired in 1958. Almost scrapped in 1964, it was purchased and restored by the BC government. It ran passengers between North Vancouver and Squamish but, due to unfundable repairs, it is now on display at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish. (see G. David Hall's Impact of the Royal Hudson on Squamish Excursion, Dept. of Travel Industry, 1974)

VPL #2069, F. Dundas Todd, 1913, Imperial Cannery workers at Steveston  
VPL #2069, F. Dundas Todd, 1913, Imperial Cannery workers at Steveston  

Steveston Cannery
[September 21, 1994 (VMM) Don Gordon]
The Steveston Cannery was the busiest on the coast from 1894 to the 1990s employing Chinese, Japanese, First Nations and Euro-Canadian workers. From 1994 it has been the Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. (see Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site management plan, Parks Canada, 1993; see also

VPL #6724, Philip Timms, 1904, British Columbia Telephone Company  
VPL #6724, Philip Timms, 1904, British Columbia Telephone Company  

B.C. Telephone Company
[October 19, 1994 (VMM) Trishia Wunsch]
In 1878 the first telephone was installed on Vancouver Island, followed shortly by the mainland. By 1900, 45 small telephone companies existed. The name British Columbia Telephone Company was established in 1923 under a 1916 federal charter. In 1998 it merged with Telus Corporation. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 531; see also

VPL #5140, Philip Timms, 1902, Lord Roberts School  
VPL #5140, Philip Timms, 1902, Lord Roberts School  

Reflections and anecdotes on the history of Vancouver's Public Schools
[November 1994 (VMM) Chuck Gosbee]
The myth of a high dropout rate in Vancouver schools does not reflect the reality. As well, students are not nearly as violent as the media portrays and schools are generally very safe. (see Chuck Gosbee and Leslie Dyson's Glancing Back: Reflections and anecdotes on the history of Vancouver's public schools, Vancouver School Board, 1988)

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  

Great Fires in the City of Vancouver
[November 17, 1994 (VMM) Alex Matches]
When the Great Fire broke out on June 13, 1886 the entire town, which extended a few blocks from Powell and Carrall Streets, had to flee. Fire fighters had organized two weeks earlier but fire-fighting equipment had not yet arrived in the city. The equipment arrived in August but until horses arrived, firemen had to pull the equipment themselves. (see Alex Matches' It Began With a Ronald, a history of the VFD, Mitchell Press, 1974.)

VPL #5147, Philip Timms, 1905, St. Paul's Hospital  
VPL #5147, Philip Timms, 1905, St. Paul's Hospital  

Health Care in Crisis: Where do we go from here?
[January 18, 1995 (VMM) Dr. John (Jack) Burak]
As Canada's health care system, designed to prevent families from going bankrupt, has grown and become financially squeezed, questions have arisen about funding sick care vs. health care. Possible solutions are user fees, conditions for treatment, private insurance and limiting non-medically necessary services. (see Ake G. Blomquist's Canadian health care in a global context: disanoses and prescriptions, CD Howe Institute, 2002

February 15, 1995 (meeting cancelled)

100 Years of Caring - the SPCA
[March 15, 1995 (VMM) Donna Jean MacKinnon]
Cruelty against animals was made illegal in 1869 in Canada and this was followed by the provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Acts in 1895. From an act in 1898 against the plucking of live chickens to 1994 when the SPCA was allowed on private property when cruelty was suspected, the SPCA has cared for animals for more than a century. (see SPCA brochure Animals, People and the BC SPCA; see also

The Changing Face of Vancouver
[April 6, 1995 (Incorporation Day Dinner at VCC-CC) Michael Kluckner]
The heritage of Vancouver can be seen through photographs as well as paintings. (see Michael Kluckner's Heritage Walks Around Vancouver, Whitecap Books, 1992; Paving Paradise, Whitecap Books, 1991; Vancouver: The Way it Was, Whitecap Books, 1993; Vanishing Vancouver, Steller Press, 2003;

A Capital Controversy - The story of why the capital of British Columbia was moved from New Westminster to Victoria
[April 19, 1995 (VMM) Terry Julian]
From 1866, debates and mud slinging over whether New Westminster or Victoria should be the capital of BC raged on between politicians as well as in newspapers. With Sir James Douglas favouring Victoria and Frederick Seymour New Westminster, Victoria won 13 to 8 and became the capital in 1868. (see Terry Julian's A Capital Controversy - The story of why the capital of British Columbia was moved from New Westminster to Victoria, Signature Publishers, 1994)

The Eternal Forest
[May 17, 1995 (VMM) Robert Thomson]
History can be brought to like through fiction as well as non-fiction. One novel, originally published in the early 20th century, is a case in point. (see George Godwin's The Eternal Forest, Godwin Books, 1994)

VPL #70208, W. J. Moore, 1923, W. J. Moore's photograph of Harry Houdini hanging upside down from the Sun tower  
VPL #70208, W. J. Moore, 1923, W. J. Moore's photograph of Harry Houdini hanging upside down from the Sun tower  

The Panoramic Photography of W. J. Moore
[September 20, 1995 (VM) (exhibition)]
This exhibition comprised over 50 panoramic photographs by W. J. Moore. They captured unique historical views of Greater Vancouver from 1913 to 1939. (see The Greater Vancouver Book, 830; see also

Wild Birds of Vancouver
[October 25, 1995 (JCC) John Morton]
At the time of this lecture, the speaker, a graduate of York University, had operated Wild Birds Unlimited for six years. His columns have appeared regularly in Gardens West.

Becoming Canadians: Pioneer Sikhs in their Own Words
[November 22, 1995 (JCC) Sarjeet Singh Jagpal]
Many Sikhs in Canada today can trace their roots to the pioneers who first came to British Columbia at the beginning of the 20th century. There are many stories that accompany this migration, the Komagata Maru being the most tragic but others are of resilience and success. (see entry for April 29, 1987)

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