The Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection contains 1,483 paintings, illustrations, engravings, advertisements, photographs and other ephemera depicting the game of croquet, dating from the 1760s to the 1950s. Tremaine Arkley, formerly a U.S. National Croquet Team player, donated the collection to UBC Library in 2011, with a second accrual in 2013. Funding for digitization was provided by Tremaine and Gail Arkley. The collection went online in early 2014, and a second phase of digitization was completed in August 2014.

Here are some of our favourite images from the collection. And if you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter @DigitizeUBC, where we frequently feature images from the Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection on Fridays!

The collection contains many advertisements illustrating croquet – including these ads for croquet equipment, lawnmowers, and self-adjusting buckles:

Fuller, Edmond. Jacques croquet mallets and requisites, 1915.

Excelsior lawn mower, [between 1890 and 1899?].

Self adjusting buckles, 1876.

 

One strength of the collection is its depiction of 19th and early 20th century gender roles, because croquet was one of the first sports men and women played together.

Seidman Photo Service. [Photograph depicting a man and a woman playing croquet], 1896.

The momentous question, 1872.

E.H.S. Adversaries, 1929.

 

There are nearly 500 postcards in the collection, mainly showing games of croquet at various locations – from croquet grounds to beaches to hotels:

The croquet grounds, [between 1910 and 1919?].

Sur la plage, [between 1910 and 1919?].

Avondene Private Hotel, 1913.

 

The collection also contains 41 stereographs. If you’re curious about why there are two nearly-identical images side by side, you can check out our previous blog post about how stereographs work here.

[Stereograph depicts two women playing croquet], 1906.

 

Finally, we love these depictions of animals playing croquet:

[Illustration depicting bears playing croquet], 1912.

[Painting depicting cats playing croquet], 1919.

Do you have any favourite images from the Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection? Let us know in the comments!

References

Have you ever wondered about what library catalogues used to look like – or what books were in your local library’s collection many decades ago?

We’ve come across a handful of historical library catalogues in Open Collections, which we’ve gathered here for your perusal. You can click on the title or cover of any of the catalogues below to explore the full list of titles from each library.

Catalogue of books in the Free Public Library of Victoria City (Victoria, B.C., 1890)

 

The Free Public Library of Victoria City library catalogue demonstrates the library’s unique classification system. The library had the following classifications:

  • Arts and Science – Class A
  • Travels and Voyages – Class B
  • Biography – Class M
  • Religious – Class R
  • Poetry – Class P
  • Juveniles – Class J
  • History – Class H
  • English Literature – Class L
  • Cassell’s National Library
  • Magazines in Volumes – Class G
  • Miscellaneous – Class Z
  • Books for References – Class D
  • Parliamentary Books
  • Curios and Fine Arts – Class C
  • Novels – Class B

 

Within each classification, books were listed alphabetically by title. To supplement this, there were two additional indices listing titles alphabetically by author in the back of the catalogue. Each entry had a shelf number and an accession number.

 

Catalogue of library books : Royal York Hotel (Toronto, [between 1920 and 1929?])

The Royal York Hotel catalogue also features a unique classification system. The classifications are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Adventure
  • Amusements
  • Art, Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
  • Business, etc.
  • Books for Young People
  • Biographies and Memoirs
  • Drama
  • Fiction
  • Foreign Fiction in English
  • General Literature, Essays, etc.
  • General Extra Suggestions
  • History
  • Makers of Canada, The (12 Vols.)
  • Poetry
  • Popular Science
  • Reference Books
  • Religion
  • Travel and Description
  • Travel (General)
  • Authors Indexed Alphabetically

 

The “General Extra Suggestions” category appears to list the equivalent of today’s self-help or how-to books. It includes titles such as “Dame Courtsey’s Art of Entertaining,” “Eating and Health” and “Inside the House Beautiful”:

Each book has a unique item number, starting from one at the beginning of the catalogue and ending with 1418. Because books are listed alphabetically by title within each category, this catalogue also includes an index in alphabetical order by author. However, the index still separates out books by classification, so you have to know generally where to look!

 

Library catalogue from Canadian Pacific Steamships, Empress of Japan [1919?]

This catalogue is shorter than the previous two; with only five pages of listings, this perhaps reflects limited shelf space within the steamship library.

 

The catalogue contains one listing in alphabetical order by author (as in, “Dickens’ Dombrey and son”) unless only the title was listed (e.g., “Cream of Leicestershire”):

Can you find any interesting titles in these library catalogues? Let us know in the comments!

Many images in Open Collections show places that, while once centers of railway or mining activity, are no longer as populous as they once were. This post explores historic towns in British Columbia. Some resources describe these as “ghost towns” – towns that were abandoned, have a very small population today, and/or primarily exist as tourist attractions.


Field, BC

Located within Yoho National Park, the town of Field was founded in the 1880s, with construction workers for the Canadian Pacific Railway as its first inhabitants. The town was named after Cyrus West Field, an American businessman. Soon after the railway was completed in 1885, Field became a popular tourist destination for hiking.

Cochrane, Fredrick E. C.P.R. railroad locomotive, The Dominion at Field, BC, September 1954.

The CPR selected Field as the site of Mount Stephen House, their first hotel in British Columbia:

[Field, BC and Mount Stephen], [1888?].

Today, Field has fewer than 200 inhabitants; according to the Field website, they are “people from all corners of Canada, many of whom arrived in the area with skis in tow and couldn’t bring themselves to leave.”


Craigellachie, BC

Craigellachie is best known as the location of the “last spike” of the CPR. The name has a fascinating origin story. According to the BC Geographical Names database:

Craigellachie is the name of a high rock in the valley of the Spey, in Morayshire, Scotland. In the days of the clansmen, a sentinel kept watch here against all enemies; the lighting of a beaconfire summoned the Clan Grant to battle. The battle cry of the Grants’ was “Stand fast, Craigellachie”. Elsewhere, Craigellachie, from the Gaelic creag-eagalach, can be translated as “rock of dread/terror/alarm.”

The story goes that George Stephen, the CPR’s first president, sent a telegraph message quoting “Stand fast, Craigellachie” when he successfully secured additional funding for the railway in 1884.

One year later, on November 7, 1885, the last spike of the CPR was driven into the ground by Donald Smith. This completed the CPR from the east coast to the west coast of Canada:

[Donald Smith drives the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway], Nov 7, 1885

Today, this marker is located at the site of the last spike in Craigellachie:

[Last Spike marker at Craigellachie, BC], 1985


North Bend, BC 

Located just across the Fraser River from Boston Bar, North Bend was founded in the early 1880s as a CPR town. In addition to being a stop on the railway, North Bend was known as the location of Fraser Canyon House, another early CPR hotel.

Fraser River near North Bend, BC, [not after 1909].

North Bend, [between 1930 and 1950?]. From Clara Wilson’s photo album, [Ten Annual Cycling Trips, 1938-1947].

[North Bend Roundhouse C.P.R. railroad roundhouse], [1955?].

Today, there are still fewer than 100 residents of North Bend. According to the Boston Bar-North Bend website, “Affordable housing prices and close proximity to stunning nature have resulted in an influx of retirees and summer residents” in recent years.


Bennett, BC

In the late 1890s, Bennett was founded during the Klondike Gold Rush. Bennett is located along the Chilkoot Trail, close to the Alaska and Yukon borders. During the town’s boom years, Fred Trump and Ernest Levin opened the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel, which became a popular destination for prospectors.

Scene at Bennett, En Route to Klondyke Gold Fields, 1898, From the photo album, [En Route to the Klondike 1898-1901].

Craig, M.H. Scene from Lake Bennett during rush of 1898, En Route to Klondyke Gold Fields, 1898. From the photo album, [En Route to the Klondike 1898-1901].

Currently, there are no roads leading to Bennett. If you want to visit, you must arrive by train, taking a boat from Carcross, a charter floatplane, or hiking the Chilkoot Trail. However, there has been recent interest in renewing the town as a tourist destination; the Carcross Tagish First Nation and Parks Canada are collaborating to offer “high end camping trips” in Bennett during summers.


Britannia Beach, BC 

Several years after copper ore was discovered in Britannia Beach in 1888, the Britannia Mining and Smelting Company began mining operations there. Located just south of Squamish, the Britannia Mines were one of the largest mining operations in Canada in the 1920s and 1930s.

Timms, Philip T. Britannia Beach, B.C., Sec.1, [1907].

Timms, Philip T. Britannia Mines, B.C., [1908].

In 1923, the iconic concentrator shown below was built. After the mines closed in 1974, the Britannia Mines Concentrator was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1987, due to its technological innovations.

Britannia Beach, October 1936.

Today, you can visit the Britannia Mine Museum at Britannia Beach, and learn more about the mine on the museum website.


Barkerville, BC

Barkerville is British Columbia’s best-known Cariboo Gold Rush town. Named after William ‘Billy’ Barker, who struck gold there in 1862, the town’s population was as large as 5,800 at its peak.

Tait, Preston L. Barkerville, B.C., [between 1920 and 1930?].

Barkerville B.C., [not after 1950].

[View of storefronts in Barkerville]

Barkerville was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924 for two reasons: its role as “centre of the Cariboo gold fields which were the catalyst for the economic and political development in British Colombia”, and as “the terminus of the great wagon road from Yale, completed in 1865.”

Today, Barkerville is home to a living-history museum; you can learn more about the town on their website.


References

Did you know that CiTR briefly published a hip-hop magazine? In addition to publishing Discorder, CiTR released Elements from May 1995 to December 1996. The magazine was edited by Vancouver DJs Jay Swing and Flipout.

Although CiTR only published eight issues of Elements, the editors featured interviews with well-known artists such as The Pharcyde (issue 4), Busta Rhymes (issue 5), De La Soul (issue 6), OutKast (issue 7), and Ghostface Killah (issue 8). Each issue also included interviews with DJs (“Vinyl Konflict”), album reviews (“re:views”), and mix tapes.

Elements, Issue 2, July 1995, page 11

 

Intended as a bi-monthly magazine, publication was often late, which the editors commented on candidly in issue 6: “One year has passed since we started Elements and we still can’t get this piece out on time. Don’t really care no more.”

Although we can’t post the text on the blog, their disclaimer on page 3 of issue 7 (under “elementary?”)  is also worth a read. If you’re interested in Elements’ publication history, you can read more about the magazine in this 2011 article by Jennesia Pedri on the CiTR website, which includes recent reflections from the editors of Elements.

We digitized Elements magazine alongside Discorder back in 2014, and the eight issues reside in the Discorder collection. You can view them here in Open Collections, or click any of the covers below to open the issue.

Elements, Issue 1, May 1995

Elements, Issue 2, July 1995

Elements, Issue 3, Sept/Oct 1995

Elements, Issue 4, Nov/Dec 1995

Elements, Issue 5, March 1996

Elements, Issue 6, May/June 1996

Elements, Issue 7, July/Aug 1996

Elements, Issue 8, Winter 1996

Microforms are reduced-size copies of documents used for access and preservation. There are a few different formats of microforms, the most popular being microfilm (film reels) and microfiche (flat film sheets). This post focuses on how we digitize microfilm.

Microfilm reel

 

At the Digitization Centre, we have digitized newspaper microfilms using our flexScan equipment. Although microfilm is a relatively stable format for preservation purposes, digitization increases access to those materials. Thanks to microfilm digitization, the BC Historical Newspapers collection is fully accessible (and searchable) online, without the need for specialized equipment like a microfilm reader.

flexScan equipment and workstation

 

To digitize a roll of microfilm, it must first be installed on the flexScan machine. The film has to be woven through precisely, as shown here:

Then, the digitizer adjusts several settings on a computer connected to the flexScan. These include the width of the film (16 or 35 mm) and polarity (negative or positive). Most of the microfilms we have digitized are 35 mm negatives.

One tricky setting to get right is the “reduction ratio”. The reduction ration is the ratio of the original newspaper size to the size of the newspaper on the film. So, if the original newspaper was 430 mm high, and the image on the film is 30 mm high, the reduction ratio would be 430 mm / 30 mm ≈ 14.5. This means the original newspaper was shrunk by a factor of 14.5 on the microfilm.

The reduction ratio is important because it helps us approximate the “true DPI” of the image. DPI stands for “dots per inch”.  To calculate out the “true DPI” of the microfilm (how many dots per inch on the film itself), we multiply the approximate DPI of the newspaper (300 DPI) by the reduction ratio. Therefore, in this example, the “true DPI” is 300 DPI x 14.5 = 4350 DPI. This number tells the digitizer how to set the height of the scanner’s sensor.

After configuring these settings and adjusting the sensor height, it’s time to focus! Pressing a button on the computer interface begins slow, incremental movements of the film reel.

In between each advancement of the reel, the digitizer adjusts the camera lens, monitoring the image on the screen until it looks crisp.

Focusing the image

 

After focusing, there are a couple more settings to be adjusted related to lighting and exposure. Then, it’s time to scan!

Once scanning has started, the digitizer can monitor the images produced as they scroll by, pausing to adjust settings as needed:

Monitoring the scanning process

 

After scanning is complete, the digitizer opens a program called the “Auditor”. This program automatically detects the boundaries of each page; however, it requires some manual adjustment on the part of the digitizer. The screen looks like this:

Adjusting the boundaries of each page

 

In the image above, the blue boxes represent confirmed pages, and the yellow and red boxes show issues that need to be manually adjusted. Once everything has been adjusted, the portions inside the boxes can be output into TIFF files.

Interested in our digitization processes and equipment? Check out these previous blog posts on our other scanning equipment, as well as many more behind-the-scenes posts under the How We Digitize tag:

This February 24 marks the 77th anniversary of Order-in-Council P.C. 1486, issued by Prime Minister Mackenzie King in 1942 to officially begin Japanese Canadian internment. All Japanese Canadians within 100 miles of the British Columbia coast – designated as a “protected area” – were forced to relocate east to the BC interior and other provinces, sometimes with only 24 hours to do so. In early March 1942, the British Columbia Security Commission was established to carry out the forced removal of Japanese Canadians. Vancouver’s Hastings Park was established as a temporary detainment center – detainees were housed in the Livestock Building – through which Japanese Canadians were routed before being moved to internment camps.

Tashme internment camp was located 14 miles southeast of Hope, BC. The 1200-acre site was originally named Fourteen Mile Ranch; the name “Tashme” was created from the names of three officers of the BC Security Commission. By May 1942, people were beginning to arrive at Tashme to begin housing construction:

Tashme Camp under construction, 1942

Construction at Tashme camp

 

In September 1942, families from Hastings Park began to arrive at Tashme, and the camp officially opened.

Japanese Canadians arriving at Tashme Camp

 

The forced removal was completed by the end of October 1942, and Hastings Park was closed. Construction at Tashme continued, including housing, bath houses, and a hospital. Farm buildings from the ranch were also renovated and repurposed. By January 1943, the camp had reached its peak population of over 2,600 residents. It was the largest BC internment camp.

Tashme Camp in winter

The hospital in winter [Tashme Camp], 1946

 

Over the next few years, Tashme functioned as a self-sufficient community. Photos in the Japanese Canadian Photograph Collection provide a glimpse of everyday life at Tashme:

View of Tashme camp

Group photograph of men at Tashme camp

Tashme Secondary School teachers, October 13 1943

Family picnics at Tashme Camp

Japanese boy with pet at Tashme Camp

 

The UBC Archives Photograph Collection also contains several photos of Tashme from the Margaret Sage fonds. Margaret Sage served as a social worker at Tashme from September 1945 to August 1946 and created a scrapbook of 97 photographs from that time.

 

Group photograph including Margaret Sage, [1946]

 

In 1945, the Canadian government gave Japanese Canadians the choice to either move east of the Rocky Mountains within Canada, or move to Japan – where many Japanese Canadians had never lived. Many Tashme residents chose “repatriation” to Japan. During this time, Japanese Canadians from other camps who opted for repatriation were also moved to Tashme. Margaret Sage’s scrapbook documents life in Tashme from 1945-1946, including photos of the repatriation process:

Loading the busses [Tashme camp], May 31 1946

Repatriation – Good bye – See you in Japan [Tashme Camp] , May 31 1946

[Japanese Canadians from Tashme Camp boarding train at Hope?], January 1 1946

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Tashme and Japanese internment, the Tashme Historical Project is an excellent resource. In addition, you can check out our previous blog posts featuring photos from the Japanese Canadian Photograph collection here. 

References

 

With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, we’ve gathered together Valentine’s Day content from our collections.

From the Chung Collection, check out these “Saint Valentine Dinner” menus and concert programs from 1927-1930. Click any cover below to view the full menu in Open Collections:

Menu from the Saint Valentine dinner on the Empress of France from 1928

Menu from the Valentine dinner on the Empress of Scotland’s 1926-1927 world cruise

St. Valentine dinner menu from the Empress of Australia’s 1929-1930 world cruise, from Feb. 13, 1930

 

Not sure what to say to your valentine on Thursday? Although we’ve featured this item before, these “specially prepared” Valentine’s Day telegram messages are still gems:

 

Of course, a personalized message is more heartfelt. Check out these valentine cards from the Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection:

[Valentine depicting a girl playing croquet], 1898.

Valentine, [191-].

 

We’ve previously established on the blog that Victorian-era croquet was super flirty. This cartoon proposes a creative response:

New and ingenious idea for croquet, 1867.

With midterms underway and the dreary February weather setting in, it can be a stressful time of year. If you’re looking for a colorful way to de-stress, look no further than UBC Library’s newest digital colouring book.

#ColorOurCollections week, which was launched as a social media festival by the New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016, takes place this year from February 4-8. To celebrate, UBC Library has put together a new digital colouring book, Mythical Creatures, which draws on images from the William C. Gibson History of Medicine and Science Collection at Woodward Library. Download the colouring book for free on the Library website.

You can also learn more about the Library’s first colouring book, which used digitized images from the Kelmscott Press’ Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, a treasured addition to UBC Library’s Open Collections. The Kelmscott Chaucer presented some unique digitization challenges, due to the construction and design of the book. Read more on the Library blog.

Have you found any images in Open Collections that you’d like to turn into coloring pages? Let us know what you would like to see in our future colouring book volumes.

This two-part series features some of the earliest Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) hotels in British Columbia. Many of these hotels have since closed down but formed an important part of early Canadian railway history. You can view Part 1 here. In previous blog posts, we profiled the two largest surviving CPR hotels in B.C.: Hotel Vancouver and the Empress Hotel.


Hotel Revelstoke and Hotel Sicamous

Located in central B.C., Hotel Revelstoke and Hotel Sicamous were popular stops for hunting and fishing. Hotel Revelstoke opened in 1897 in Revelstoke. Just a few years later, Hotel Sicamous opened in 1900 in nearby Sicamous, overlooking Shuswap Lake.

Here is a map showing the route between the two locations:

Across Canada by Canadian Pacific Railway, 1913, p. 81.

 

These images from the Chung Collection show Revelstoke, B.C. and the train station:

Revelstoke, B.C., [between 1930 and 1939?].

[Revelstoke C.P.R. railroad station], [1975?].

 

These photographs from the Uno Langmann Collection and the Doug and Joyce Cox Research Collection show Sicamous Hotel and Shuswap Lake:

Depot & C.P.R. Hotel, Sicamous, B.C., [between 1920 and 1935?].

Photo from A series of views illustrating points of interest between Golden and Ashcroft, B.C., including Revelstoke, Kamloops, and Nicola, [1900?].

Meeres, George. A. [Sicamous Hotel & Shuswap Lake], [between 1940 and 1949?].

 

Through the 1930s and 1940s, CPR hotels leased Sicamous Hotel to another operator. The building was destroyed in 1964. Hotel Revelstoke closed earlier, in 1928.


Emerald Lake Chalet

Located by Emerald Lake near Field, B.C., the Emerald Lake Chalet opened in 1902. According to brochures in the Chung Collection, the hotel only operated during the summer months.

Here is an exterior photo of the hotel:

Suggestions for your summer vacation to and through the Canadian Rockies, 1937, p. 2.

 

This pamphlet features a painting of the lake:

Resorts in the Canadian Rockies, 1929, p. 26.

 

This image shows the view from the deck of the chalet:

Emerald Lake Chalet : Canadian Pacific Railway, 1900.

 

This pamphlet from 1926 summarizes nearby attractions:

What to do at Emerald Lake in the Canadian Pacific Rockies, 1928.
(Click to view the full pamphlet.)

 

And this brochure from the 1950s includes interior views of the hotel, as well as views of the surrounding nature:

Emerald Lake Chalet in the Canadian Rockies, [not before 1950].


Hotel Incola

Located in Penticton, B.C., the Hotel Incola (also known as the Incola Hotel) opened in 1912. Shortly after opening, this description appeared in CPR pamphlets:

Hotel Incola – Penticton, B.C.: A new first-class tourist hotel at the foot of navigation on Okanagan Lake reached by the C.P.R. Steamers. An ideal resort for any time of the year, owing to the sunny, dry climate of the Okanagan Valley. Rates, $3.00 per day and upward. American plan. Managed by H. Vince, for the Kettle Valley Railway.

Great Britain to Canada and the United States also Japan, China, the far east and Australasia, 1913, p. 6.

Below are some photographs and an illustration of the Hotel Incola from our collections:

Across Canada by Canadian Pacific Railway, 1913, p. 85.

Resorts in the Canadian Rockies, [between 1910 and 1919?], p. 23.

Stocks, Lumb. Incola Hotel, Penticton, B.C., [between 1912 and 1935?].

 

The Incola Hotel closed in 1979, and the building was demolished in 1981. For more details on this hotel, check out Elizabeth Pryce’s 1999 essay, which is available through our Okanagan Historical Society Reports collection.


Kootenay Lake Hotel

The Kootenay Lake Hotel in Balfour, B.C. was only open for a short time. After opening in 1911, it closed during World War I, then reopened in 1917 as a “sanatorium for convalescing soldiers.” The building was eventually destroyed in 1929.

A CPR pamphlet from the 1910s provides this description of the hotel and the surrounding area:

This, the most modern of the Canadian Pacific mountain hotels, is situated to the south of the Main Line at the end of the Crow’s Nest branch. It is essentially a hotel where the tourist can profitably spend a real holiday. Situated amongst scenery, not so rugged as that of the Rockies in the north, but which has a softer fascination, all its own, it stands high on the shores of a lake and among mountains, which have been favorably compared with the Italian Alps. The climate, too, is that of the Italian lakes—deliciously warm in the daytime and cool at night.

But it is as a fishing, hunting and boating resort, that the Kootenay Lake Hotel has its greatest claim to favor. The lake abounds in rainbow trout and salmon, for the capture of which every facility in the way of boats, guides and equipment, is offered by the hotel. The wooded sides of the mountain in the near vicinity, contain bear, caribou, white-tail deer, partridges, etc., all of which can be successfully hunted in their proper season. There are good trails for many miles over the mountains, and a wagon road of twenty-one miles has just been completed to the town of Nelson.

– Resorts in the Canadian Rockies, [between 1910 and 1919?], p. 19-20.

Here are some images of the hotel and the Kootenay Landing train station from the Chung Collection:

The challenge of the mountains, [between 1910 and 1919?], p. 43.

Kootenay Lake Hotel, Balfour, BC, [1910?].

Kootenay Landing, BC, [1910?].


Cameron Lake Chalet

The ten-bedroom Cameron Lake Chalet opened in 1912 by Cameron Lake, B.C., on Vancouver Island.

Here’s a description and image of the hotel from a CPR pamphlet:

Cameron Lake Chalet—Snugly located  at  the  southern  end of the Lake. Excellent fishing at the proper season of the year, and a delightful resort for tourists in limited numbers, Cameron Lake Chalet being owned by the Company, and operated privately. A trail to the timber line of Mount Arrowsmith makes a delightful day or two’s outing for mountain climbers. From Cameron Lake the line skirts the foothills of Mount Arrowsmith (6000 feet high), of which a magnificent view can be had as the train passes along the high cliffs on Cameron Lake.

– Across Canada : Western Lines, west bound, 1923, p. 86.

Across Canada : Western Lines, west bound, 1923, p. 86.

 

The hotel was open during summers and remained in business until 1966, shortly after the closing of the Port Alberni line passenger service.

 

References

 

This two-part series features some of the earliest Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) hotels in British Columbia. Many of these hotels have since closed down but formed an important part of early Canadian railway history. In previous blog posts, we profiled the two largest surviving CPR hotels in B.C.: Hotel Vancouver and the Empress Hotel.

Mount Stephen House, Glacier House, and Fraser Canyon were the first three hotels developed by Canadian Pacific Railways in BC. Because it was difficult to bring dining cars through mountainous areas, the hotels were initially intended as “dining stations”. These three “chalet” style hotels were designed by the architect Thomas Sorby and had very similar designs, each with six or seven bedrooms.


Mount Stephen House

Mount Stephen House was a small hotel located in Field, British Columbia. Shortly after opening in the fall of 1886, it was described in a Canadian Pacific Railway pamphlet:

The Mount Stephen house, a pretty chalet-like hotel, is situated fifty miles west of Banff, in Kicking Horse Canon, at the base of Mount Stephen — the chief peak of the Rockies in this latitude, whose stupendous mass is lifted abruptly 8,000 feet above. This is a favorite stopping-place for tourists and mountain climbers, and there is good fly fishing for trout in a pretty lake nearby, and “big horns” and mountain goats are found in the vicinity…This is a favorite region for artists, the lights and shadows on the near and distant mountains giving especially interesting subjects for the brush.

The Canadian Pacific : the new highway to the east across the mountains, prairies & rivers of Canada, 1888, p. 51.

The nearby Mount Stephen was named after George Stephen, the Canadian Pacific Railway’s first president.

Here are some images of the hotel from our collections:

“Mount Stephen” house field, [between 1880 and 1891?], from photograph album.

C.P.R. Hotel and Mt. Stephen, Field, [between 1886 and 1906], from photograph album.

Banff and the lakes in the clouds reached by the Canadian Pacific Railway, [1886?], p. 20.

 

Mount Stephen House was expanded in 1901-1902 to accommodate more guests, as shown in this illustration:

Yoho Valley in the Canadian Rockies and the glaciers of the Selkirks, 1903, p. 4.

 

This excerpt from a 1903 pamphlet describes the reconstruction, designed by Francis Rattenbury—the same architect who designed the Empress Hotel:

The increasing popularity of Field, as its attractions have become better known, necessitated greater accommodation than the old Mt. Stephen House afforded. The result has been the erection of a new chalet hotel of the same name with much greater accommodation, suites of rooms with private baths, billiard room and the same admirable service which is characteristic of the Canadian Pacific Mountain hotels. It has a livery in connection where carriages, pack and saddle horses can be secured at moderate rates, and outfits of cooks and porters are also available. There is also a dark room at the disposal of guests for development of photographs. The rates range from $3.00 to $5.50 per day, with special arrangements for those making prolonged visits.

– Yoho Valley in the Canadian Rockies and the glaciers of the Selkirk, 1903, p. 4.

The hotel closed in 1918 and was converted into a YMCA, which was demolished in 1963.


Glacier House

Glacier House opened in summer 1887 in Glacier National Park. Pamphlets in the Chung Collection list the hotel as open seasonally, during the summer months.

Here are some photographs of the hotel:

Glacier House among the Selkirks, [between 1890 and 1899?].

Canadian Pacific Railway bulletin, 1919, p. 6.

 

The hotel was surrounded by the beautiful Selkirk Mountains:

Prior, Melton. The Selkirk Mountain Range, near the Glacier House and the Loop, British Columbia, 1888.

 

In the 1890s, the hotel hired Swiss guides to show tourists safely through the mountains, pictured here:

Banff in the Canadian Rockies and the glaciers of the Selkirks, 1890, p. 4.

 

Guests could participate in “splendid Alpine climbing and glacier exploring, driving, riding, and hiking.” This pamphlet shows some of the activities and sites at Glacier that were advertised to tourists:

Resorts in the Canadian Pacific Rockies, 1922, p. 19-20.

 

Due to its popularity, Glacier House had to be expanded twice—in 1892 and 1904—to accommodate demand. However, before they could expand the hotel, overflow guests slept in a sleeper car parked outside!

After rail service to the hotel was terminated in 1917, Glacier House closed in 1926, and the building was demolished in 1929.


Fraser Canyon House

The western-most of the first three CPR hotels in British Columbia, Fraser Canyon House, opened in summer 1887 in North Bend.

Here is an image of the hotel from a 1904 pamphlet:

The challenge of the mountains, 1904, p. 82.

 

Note that in CPR pamphlets, the hotel’s name sometimes appeared as “Fraser Cañon House” or “Fraser Canon House”; it was later renamed the “North Bend Hotel”.

When researching this blog post, we could find little information on what happened to the Fraser Canyon House, but according to Wikipedia, the original structure burned down in 1927.

 

References

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