Leonard Guy McCann (1927-2015)

Leonard Guy McCann (1927-2015)

This past spring, Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library lost a dear friend, and Vancouver’s museum, historical, and archival communities lost a leader. Leonard Guy McCann, who was curator of the Vancouver Maritime Museum for 45 years, and a contributor to our own collections, passed away in late March at the age of 88. We would like to share Stephen Hume’s lovely farewell in the Vancouver Sun in celebration of Len’s life and legacy.



The University of British Columbia Point Grey campus is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking Musqueam people. We thank Musqueam for its hospitality and support of our work.


In celebration of Aboriginal History Month, a new collaborative exhibit at the Library highlights the history of the Musqueam people before and since Vancouver.

c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city is an unprecedented series of exhibitions about Musqueam’s ancient landscape and living culture, at three distinct locations. As part of Aboriginal History Month at UBC Library, the curators of c̓əsnaʔəm have developed a satellite exhibit at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC) featuring belongings, replicas, images, maps  and video.

The IKBLC exhibit looks at Musqueam ways of knowing, especially the ways they know and connect to their territory, and their ancestors’ ancient belongings. The exhibit uses the term “belonging” instead of item or artifact to show the ongoing connections to the belongings of ancestors. For example, one case features actual belongings recovered from the ancient site, while a neighboring case includes replicas made by present day Musqueam community members.

“Making belongings based on oral histories and stories in my community is really interesting and fun,” says Morgan Guerin, a Musqueam community member and Councillor who made harpoon points and antler tools to be used in the exhibit. Guerin also created a Sturgeon harpoon, the first made at Musqueam in nearly 100 years.


Casts of belongings used in for the exhibit at MOA.


Belonging created by Morgan Guerin.

Located in the area now commonly known as the neighbourhood of Marpole in Vancouver, c̓əsnaʔəm was first occupied almost five thousand years ago. It became one of the largest of the Musqueam people’s ancient village sites – at what was then the mouth of the Fraser River. Over the past 125 years, archaeologists, collectors and treasure hunters have mined the c̓əsnaʔəm village and burial ground for artifacts and ancestral remains.

Designated as a National Historic Site in 1933, the site is obscured by an intersection of railway lines, roads and bridges to Richmond and the YVR Airport. However, c̓əsnaʔəm has continued to be an important cultural site for the Musqueam community.


The exhibition is open to the public daily from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., on Level 2 of the IKLBC, and will be on display until August 26.



About c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city

Musqueam First Nation, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC, and the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) partnered on a groundbreaking exploration of an ancient landscape and living culture. c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city — a series of three distinct exhibitions, opened in January 2015. The unified exhibits connect visitors with c̓əsnaʔəm — one of the largest ancient village and burial sites upon which Vancouver was built — sharing its powerful 5,000-year history and continuing significance.

Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre
4000 Musqueam Ave.

Museum of Anthropology
6393 NW Marine Dr.

Museum of Vancouver
1100 Chestnut Street


About Aboriginal History Month at UBC Library

Every year the Library coordinates an exhibit for Aboriginal History Month in collaboration with the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Xwi7xwa Library and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.

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