Now that the rainy season is finally ending, we’re ready to enjoy British Columbia’s beautiful beaches. For this post, we gathered together historic photos of B.C. beaches, from right here in the Lower Mainland to Powell River.

Starting locally, we found several photos of beaches at and near UBC in the UBC Archives Photograph collection. This photo of Wreck Beach from the 1980s shows the erosion of the Point Grey cliffs:

UBC 1.1/16555-8. Point Grey cliff erosion, aerial view, showing WWII searchlight tower and close-up of cliff-face, July 1983.

 

This photo of Jericho Beach from 1962 also shows the surrounding area, including West Point Grey and Kitsilano:

Holborne, Peter. UBC 1.1/3303. Aerial view of Jericho beach area, September 6, 1962.

 

Although the exact location of this photo within Vancouver is unknown, we love this beach attire from around 1900:

[Woman on a beach], [1900?].

 

These postcards show Kitsilano Beach in the early 20th century – check out the men’s suits in the first photo!

The Beach, Kitsilano, [between 1905 and 1915?].

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, Canada, [between 1910 and 1935?].

Kitsilano Beach and Swimming Pool, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, [between 1920 and 1930?].

 

We found several photos of English Bay and Second Beach, over by Stanley Park:

Timms, Philip T. A warm day at the beach, Vancouver B.C., [1906].

English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1930 and 1939?].

Bullen, Harry Elder. Stanley Park, Second Beach, [between 1910 and 1920?].

Second Beach, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1920 and 1927?].

 

This photo shows several 1920s businesses near Crescent Beach in Surrey, including an ice cream parlor and a shop selling fish and chips:

Crescent Beach, B.C., [between 1920 and 1930?].

 

This postcard shows a bustling day at Boundary Bay, close to the Canada/U.S. border:

Boundary Bay, [between 1905 and 1915?].

 

In this postcard, swimmers and boaters enjoy the beach at Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver:

Whytecliff, B.C., [between 1920 and 1935?].

 

In Powell River, Willingdon Beach is a serene location for enjoying the beach and camping:

Powell River Studios. Willingdon Beach, 1947.

 

We hope you get the chance this season to visit the nearby beaches and other vacation spots around the province to enjoy what B.C. has to offer.

Today is World Book and Copyright Day, an international event in support of books, reading, and literacy. This year, the focus is on protecting and supporting Indigenous languages, in conjunction with the International Year of Indigenous Languages. You can read more about World Book and Copyright Day on the United Nations and UNESCO websites.

In recognition of World Book and Copyright Day, we’ve gathered together items from our collections that showcase reading over the past century. We hope you can spend some time with a great book today!

 

UBC 1.1/16567. View of Library reading room at Fairview campus, 1919.

 

[Passenger reading on the outer deck of the first C.P. R.M.S. Empress of Scotland], [1927?].

 

UBC 1.1/5852-3. Students studying in Main Library concourse, 1949.

 

UBC 3.1/844-2. People undergoing a reading efficiency test, [1953].

 

Law Library, [between 1960 and 1969].

 

UBC 93.1/809. Judith C. Thiele with braille book and reading equipment in Crane Library, 1970.

 

UBC 44.1/1231. Ker, Charles. Frances Woodward, Library, peers over three miniature books from Special Collections, 1995.

 

UBC 44.1/821. Wilson, Gavin. Graduate student Shirley Sterling reading to grandchild, 1997.

Since this April is National Poetry Month, we’ve gathered together selected poetry and related items from Open Collections for your enjoyment!

Our recently added Historical Children’s Literature Collection includes several poetry chapbooks. This chapbook, The butterfly’s ball, and the grasshopper’s feast, includes beautiful engraved illustrations:

Roscoe, William. The butterfly’s ball, and the grasshopper’s feast, 1807.

 

Roscoe, William. The butterfly’s ball, and the grasshopper’s feast, 1807, p. 7.

 

Our BC Historical Books collection also contains several collections of poetry. Eric Duncan’s Rural rhymes and the sheep thief begins with the following disclaimer:

Duncan, Eric. Rural rhymes and the sheep thief, 1896, p. 7.

 

Here’s the first page of the first poem from the book, “A mosquito song”:

Duncan, Eric. “A mosquito song”. From Rural rhymes and the sheep thief, 1896, p. 11.

 

If you’re interested in Japanese poetry, check out our One Hundred Poets collection. This collection contains 74 books and 20 different card sets relating to the poetry anthology Hyakunin Isshu 百人一首 (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each). You can read more about the collection in this previous blog post.

[Kinoya Hisomaro ; illustrated by Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Kuniyoshi], [Nishikie chūiri hyakunin isshu], [1849].

 

You may also be interested in the utagaruta card sets within this collection. You can find them here, and check out our previous blog post to learn more about how this game is played.

[One hundred poets card sheets], [Meiji period [1868-1912]].

 

This month is a great time to seek out poetry readings. We found this photo of Allen Ginsberg reading at UBC in 1963:

UBC 1.1/11341-2. Holborne, Peter. Allen Ginsberg reading poetry at UBC. August 2nd, 1963. Allen Ginsberg reading poetry at UBC.

 

Finally, check out this adorable poem about a cat interrupting a game of croquet:

Playing croquet, 1875.

The Digitization Centre has digitized several collections of maps, as well as several collections that contain maps among other materials. This post provides a summary of those collections, showcasing some of our favourite maps from Open Collections!


Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department Land Use Maps

This collection contains more than 1,800 maps of the greater Vancouver area from 1965, 1980, and 1983. There are two index maps that help to navigate the collection:

Index – Land Use Series: The numbers on this map correspond to the “Identifier” field for each map. For example, you can search within the collection for Identifier:(V92) to find maps showing the north side of UBC campus.

Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department. Index – Land Use Series.

 

Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department. Land Use : U.E.L., 1979.

 

Index Map: Subdivision and Land Use Maps: This index map includes the Lower Mainland outside of Vancouver. Similarly, you can search by “Identifier” to locate the maps referenced by this index.

For more information on this collection, check out our previous blog post about it!


Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era

This collection contains Japanese maps from the Edo period, or Tokugawa period (1603-1868). The majority of the maps are rare or even unique.

Many of the maps show all or part of Japan:

Okamoto, Chikusō, active 19th century. Shinkoku Dai Nihon zenzu [Newly engraved map of Great Japan], 1865.

Utagawa, Sadahide, 1807-1873. Dai Nihon Fujisan zetchō no zu [Panoramic view of the summit of Mt. Fuji], 1857.

There are also some Japanese world maps included in the collection:

Bankoku enzu [Round map of all nations], 1675.

For a more detailed overview of this collection, see our previous blog post: Explore Open Collections: Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era.


Andrew McCormick Maps and Prints

This collection contains world maps dating from 1503 to 1910, with a focus on European maps and maritime exploration. Here is a selection of maps from the collection:

Moll, Herman, -1732. A map of the North Pole with all the territories that lye near it, known to us &c. according to the latest discoveries, and most exact observations, Agreeable to modern history, [1732].

Pond, Peter, 1740-1807. A map shewing the communication of the lakes and the rivers between Lake Superior and Slave Lake in North America, 1790.

 

You can read more about the collection and view other highlights in this previous blog post: Explore Open Collections: Andrew McCormick Maps and Prints.


Maps in other collections

In addition to the above three collections, there are many digital collections that contain maps along with other items.

The Chung Collection contains several maps of Canada released by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. This “sportsman’s map” of Canada shows the terrain and wildlife for different regions:

Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Sportsman’s map of the Dominion of Canada, 1898.

 

This map from 1943 shows the air routes serviced by Canadian Pacific Air Lines at the time:

Canadian Pacific Air Lines. Map of Canada showing air routes, 1943.

 

In the UBC Library Digitization Centre Special Projects collection, there are over 60 maps that do not belong to other collections, including this map of southeastern Vancouver Island from 1860:

D’Heureuse, Rudolph. Map of the south-eastern districts of Vancouver Island, 1860.

 

The BC Historical Books collection is an excellent source of early British Columbia maps, like this map of the Lower Mainland:

Hill, Albert James, 1836-1918. Map of the municipalities of New Westminster city and district, British Columbia, 1889.

 

Finally, the Western Manuscripts and Early Printed Books collection contains several 16th century maps, like this beautiful map of the Americas from 1588:

Ortelius, Abraham, 1527-1598. Americae sive novi orbis, nova descriptio, [1588].

You can find more maps by searching for the keyword “map” in a given collection, or by perusing the Maps genre in Open Collections.

References

Now that spring is well underway, we’re thinking about ways to enjoy the beautiful sunshine! For this post, we’ve gathered together our favourite images of bicycles from Open Collections.

Recently added to the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, this photograph album documents Clara Wilson’s cycling trips across Canada. Check out the full album for many more photos of her adventures!

Sproat Lake, 1940. From Clara Wilson’s photo album, [Ten Annual Cycling Trips, 1938-1947].

1st Bike Riding Lesson, July 1943. From Clara Wilson’s photo album, [Ten Annual Cycling Trips, 1938-1947].

 

As well as providing transportation, cycling can be a great social activity. Here’s a photograph of a women’s cycling club from 1907:

Cycling club and croquet lawn, 1907.

 

We enjoyed looking at this bicycle route map of Victoria, B.C., from 1897:

The Province pocket road map of Victoria and surroundings: compiled for the use of bicyclists from the government map, 1897.

 

Of course, with bikes, you don’t have to stay on the road. These postcards from the Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection depict cyclists on the beach and in the woods:

La plage à marée basse, 1919.

Le bois, 1906.

 

We found photos featuring tricycles, unicycles, and even a 15-wheel bicycle in Open Collections:

UBC 44.1/510. Dee, Martin. Participants in Science Week tricycle race, 1990.

Kong, Vincent. [Photograph of Stanley Kong].

UBC 44.1/2454. UBC engineering students on 15-seat bicycle built for Manulife Ride for Heart to raise funds for research, May 1991.

 

Finally, we loved finding these photos of bicyclists on and around campus – from the UBC Archives Photograph Collection:

UBC 41.1/1446-2. Lindner, Franz. Bicyclists on University Boulevard, 1978.

UBC 44.1/1886. Woman on bicycle, 2005.

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:

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