As previously mentioned in our blog posts on British Columbia place names, many rooms in the Irving K Barber Learning Centre are named after rivers in British Columbia.

This week, we are exploring the history of the Nicola River, after which room 322, a group study room, is named after. According to BC Geographical Names , the Nicola River, one of the major tributaries of the Thompson River, was named after a Nlaka’pamux (Thompson River Salish) chief named Hwistesmexe’quen, or “walking grizzly bear.” According to the third edition of British Columbia Place Names, Hwistesmexe’quen (1785?-1865) was recognized by the fur traders as “the most powerful and influential chief in the Southern Interior of British Columbia” (pg. 190). The French-speaking fur traders nicknamed him “Nicolas” which Hwistesmexe’quen’s people pronounced “Nicolas” first as Nkwala, and eventually as Nicola.

Located in the South-Central Interior of British Columbia, the Nicola River was first mapped by Alexander Caulfield Anderson (1814-1884), on his manuscript map of 1849. On the map, the Nicola Lake and Nicola River are shown as “Lac de Nicolas” and “R.Nicolas.” The British Columbia (B.C.) Archives holds a copy of this map, in the archives of Anderson, a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trader. Many unique items, such as Anderson’s manuscript map, are held by the B.C. Archives. The B.C. Archives is an important place to visit if you are planning on doing research into the history of British Columbia; since 1894, the archivists in the BC Archives have collected and provided access to the records of the Provincial government. In addition to visiting the Archives, you may wish to plan a visit to the Research Library, which holds over 70,000 rare and unique items documenting the exploration and development of British Columbia.

If you are interested in learning more about Anderson, and his mapping of the province, including the area that that the Nicola River runs through, you may wish to attend the next meeting of the Historical Map Society of British Columbia. On February 6, 2012, Nancy Maguerite Anderson, the great-grandaughter of A.C. Anderson, will be speaking about her book, The Pathfinder: A.C Anderson’s Journeys in the West (Heritage House Publishers, 2011). The Historical Map Society of British Columbia meets at 7:00 p.m. in the Chilcotin Board Room (room 256), in the Irving K Barber Learning Centre.

Nancy’s blog, Fur Trade Family History, is a rich resource of information relating to the history of British Columbia. For example, see her entry on the mapping of the Nicola River and Valley; in addition to providing an overview of Anderson’s mapping of the area, she provides many photographs of the Nicola Valley today.  

Dec 22

Featured photograph: Christmas on board the Empress of Australia

Where are you spending the holidays this year? Would you spend them on a cruise ship? This is exactly what passengers of the C.P.R. steamship Empress of Australia did in 1929:

read more

Dec. 9, 2011

VICTORIA – Overall school district operating grants and average per-pupil funding have increased again this year as B.C. continues to provide record funding levels for K-12 education.

Operating Funding

· Total operating funding to school districts in 2011-12 is $4.721 billion, a $58-million increase over 2010-11.
· Average per-pupil funding as of the fall enrolment count is estimated at $8,491, a $98 increase over 2010-11.
· $61.7 million is now being released to districts, including $57.4 million that had been held for anticipated enrolment increases.
· $63 million ($1,160 per student) is being provided in supplemental funding for Aboriginal education in 2011-12.
· $385.2 million is being provided in supplemental funding for students with special needs in 2011-12.
· Since 2000-01, the Province has increased funding to B.C. public schools by nearly $1.4 billion: $977 million in operating funds and $407 million in one-time grants.


· Public school enrolment for 2011-12 is 556,045 FTE students, 973 more than last September.
· This includes 6,117 FTE students enrolled in courses during summer 2011 and a combined 10,709 FTE students projected by school districts for February and May 2012.
· The overall enrolment increase is a result of the final year of full-day kindergarten expansion. However, enrolment in grades 1-12 has declined by 7,046 FTE students.
· Actual September enrolment is 1,237 FTE students fewer than districts had projected in the spring.
· Since 2000-01, September enrolment has declined by nearly 59,000 students.

NewsRoom: BC’s Online News Source; Province of British Columbia,  Dec. 9, 2011

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:

Learn More:

See the new enrolment and funding information for your district in 2011-12 at:

See all provincewide enrolment and funding information for 2011-12 at:

Media contact:

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963

The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) has reached a tentative two-year collective agreement with unions representing 30,000 support staff in K-12 public schools.

The deal, involving the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and some smaller union locals, adheres to the provincial government’s public-sector wage freeze but includes provisions that will boost earnings in some cases. For example, educational assistants will receive an extra 46 minutes of pay per week, for a total cost of $7.5 million annually.

The agreement was negotiated quietly at a time when attention was focused on a bitter contract feud between the BCPSEA and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). Those contract talks have been unproductive, and teachers have been protesting since September by refusing to write report cards, supervise students outside of instructional hours, attend staff meetings and perform certain administrative functions.

The two sides have been negotiating since March 1, but both report no progress.

In contrast, the parties involved in support-staff negotiations described those talks as collaborative and respectful. The framework agreement, which was announced today but still needs to be ratified by union locals, also includes $550,000 in new funding for a support staff education and adjustment committee.

The deal is from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012. It includes a clause allowing re-negotiation if the government alters its net-zero mandate and accedes, for example, to the BCTF’s request for a significant salary increase.

Click here to access the Vancouver Sun article, written by Janet Steffenhagen

Most UBC Library branches, including Rare Books and Special Collections, University Archives and the Chung Collection will be closed from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 for the holiday season. For full details on holiday hours, please click here.

Olive Allen Biller painting

Olive Allen Biller painting

The painting above is from the Olive Allen Biller fonds, and is captioned by the first two lines of an old English Christmas ryhme:

Bounce buckram velvet’s dear
Christmas comes but once a year
And when it comes it brings good cheer
And when it’s gone it’s never the near

Olive Allen Biller was an English illustrator, who eventually settled in British Columbia after World War I. While in B.C. she turned her attention toward landscape painting, but the above illustration is of her earlier period in England, when she illustrated for children’s annuals such as Blackie’s and Girl’s Realm.

For more information regarding archival material related to B.C. artists, check out our research guide for B.C. art and artists.

Happy holidays!



ChristmasThanks for another year of problems.

…no, seriously! It’s your challenging questions that keep us on our toes and make this job interesting. But we do need a break now and then. So, E-Resources & Access (we’re the folks behind this Help Form and is going to curl up with some ‘Nog for a few days. We will CLOSE DEC. 23 in the afternoon and re-OPEN January 3rd.

Do send us any problems you encounter, and we’ll look into them in the new year.

Enjoy the holidays!

The Society of Automotive Engineers’ database, SAE Digital Library, has some new features. Records now include a complete list of references cited in each article, and citations can be easily exported in BibTex, EndNote or RefWorks formats. You can also search by publisher to find biomechanics reports by AAAM, IRCOBI, and STAPP; many of these […]

Photo by bionicteaching Tuesday, December 20, 2011   8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – Friday, December 23, 2011   9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Saturday, December 24, 2011 – Monday, January 2, 2012   C L O S E D Tuesday, January 3, 2012   9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Regular [...]

Since their establishment in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Awards have served as Canada’s premier literary honour. Yet over the years, the awards often have been noted as much for their controversy as for the writing they’ve sought to recognize.

From January 4 – January 31, 2012, UBC Library will host a display highlighting some of the more contentious episodes that have taken place during the awards’ first 75 years.

75 Years of Controversy will be held in the Rare Books and Special Collections division, located on level one of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on UBC’s Vancouver campus. The exhibition is free and open to all.


British Columbia is consulting education partners while planning tougher anti-bullying policies to improve school safety for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

Action was promised recently by Premier Christy Clark, who gained a reputation as an anti-bullying advocate while working as a talk-show host at CKNW radio, but details have not been released.

“My government is going to … do more to make sure that every child, as much as is possible, is protected from bullying in their school,” she told the legislature recently. “No matter what the cause or reason [for] that bullying, it is unacceptable.”

Clark described the issue as urgent, but the opposition NDP says she favours talk over action. It has challenged her to follow the lead of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who recently reached out to gay teens with his own It Gets Better video and introduced a bill requiring boards of education to develop anti-bullying policies, promote tolerance and sup-port students who want gay-straight clubs – student-led alliances that sup-port LGBT kids – in their schools.

McGuinty has been hit with a storm of protest from religious groups, and some say Clark should expect the same if she proposes an anti-bullying policy that pays special attention to LGBT students or requires gay-straight alliances in faith-based schools.

“We would be 100-per-cent behind a policy or legislation that was against all forms of bullying,” said Doug Lau-son, president of the Federation of Independent School Associations of B.C., in an interview Wednesday. “But to emphasize one form of bullying would be problematic.”

Lauson, who is also superintendent of Catholic independent schools, said none of his schools has a gay-straight alliance and he doesn’t believe they are necessary because Catholic schools have student councils to protect students’ rights.

On the other side of the debate is the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), which has been demanding better protection for LGBT student for years. Vice-president Glen Hansman said the union met with government officials recently to press for an anti-bullying policy in all schools that would pay particular attention to homophobic and racist bullying.

Read more:

By Janet Steffenhagen,  December 18, 2011

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet