As a part of the digitization project for Association of University and College Employees (AUCE) fonds, we digitized an audio cassette tape entitled “The Steward”, which is a speech recording about being a union steward. Today, we will show how we digitize an audio cassette tape.



To digitize a cassette, we use the following equipment:

  • Cassette tape deck: An ION Tape 2 PC USB cassette deck
  • Audio capture and editing software: We use Audacity, a free, open-source application
  • Computer: A Mac Pro running macOS 10.14.5


Damage repair

Before starting the digitization, we had to repair the tape as it was broken (this is common with older cassette tapes), and we took this opportunity to put the tape in a new housing (the original housing is shown above). It is important to have the tape in optimal condition before digitization and preservation.


Digitization Process

We followed the sample workflow for tape digitization in the Audacity wiki.

  1. First, the cassette deck (Tape 2 PC) is connected to the Mac to export the audio for digitization. We connected the USB cable directly to a free USB port on the Mac, and turned it on.

USB port is on the left. The Tape 2 PC also has an RCA output.


  1. Since we are using a Mac, we needed to set up an audio input to ensure that the Tape 2 PC signal could be picked up by the Audacity software. We set a sample rate of 44100 Hz and 16-bit format which is the standard for CD burning. For more information, please follow the instructions in the Audacity wiki, Mac and USB input devices.
  2. Once all the settings were made, we did a test recording and made sure the levels were correct (i.e. no clipping, a form of sound distortion). We aimed for a maximum peak of -6 dB.

The green bar should not reach more than -6 dB.


  1. Then we started the digitization. We played the cassette in the deck first and clicked the recording button in Audacity immediately after. Since we recorded both sides of the tape, we paused the recording after the first side and resumed after switching to the second side.

Cassette is played for digitization.

Audacity interface on the Mac.


Exporting a file for access and preservation

Once the tape is digitized, we exported the file in WAV format. WAV with linear (uncompressed) PCM is a preferred and recommended format for long-term preservation. Once we upload it to our content management system, we will digitally preserve it with Archivematica.

For access purposes, we converted the WAV file to MP3 format. MP3 is a compressed audio file which is widely supported and playable on nearly all devices with a more manageable file size.

Once metadata is created for the exported file, the audio will be ready to upload.

Please find the recording on UBC Rare Books and Special Collections’ Access to Memory (AtoM) database. The audio will soon be available in Open Collections!


See also

Did you know that mountains cover 75 per cent of British Columbia[i]? Like the beaches we introduced in April, mountains offer beautiful scenery in summer. Today, we will focus on the Canadian Rockies depicted and described in our digitized photographs, illustrations, and books in Open Collections.


Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs

In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, you can find postcards of the Rockies:

Mt. Robson

This is a postcard of Mt. Robson, the highest peak (3,954 m; 12,972 ft) in British Columbia and of all the Canadian Rockies mountains:

Frank, Leonard. Mt. Robson, highest peak, Canadian Rockies, 1927


Mt. Field

Another postcard depicts Mt. Field (2,643 m; 8,671 ft), located within the Yoho National Park.

Mt. Field, Rockies, 1920


Mt. Stephen

The Langmann Collection has a photograph album titled, “20 real photographs of Canadian Rocky Mountains”. This is the photo of Field, BC and Mt. Stephen (3,199 m; 10,496 ft), which is also located within Yoho National Park. Mt. Stephen is the tallest of the mountains surrounding the town:

Field and Mount Stephen, [between 1920 and 1925?].

Chung Collection

Castle Mountain (Miistsukskoowa)

The Chung Collection also has numerous photographs of the Canadian Rockies mountains. Castle Mountain (Miistsukskoowa), a traditional territory of Siksika First Nation[ii], is located within Banff National park. It has numerous rock-climbing routes:

R. H. Trueman & Company. [Castle Mountain, Banff, Alberta], [between 1890 and 1899?].

The Three Sisters mountains

William Notman & Sons photography. [Three Sisters mountain range at Canmore, Alberta], 1899.

Mt. Assiniboine

Mt. Assiniboine (3,618 m; 11,870 ft) is located on the British Columbia/Alberta border.

Mt. Assiniboine, [between 1930 and 1939?].

Canadian Pacific Railway’s Advertisements

In the Chung Collection, we have digitized many advertising pamphlets of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s hotels and train tours which have beautiful illustrations on their front pages.

This 100-page booklet includes the detailed descriptions of each sightseeing spot in the Canadian Rockies:

The challenge of the mountains, 1904.

This five-page pamphlet also summarizes the resorts in the Rockies:

Through the Canadian Rockies, 1931.


BC Historical Books collection

BC Historical Books collection has books from the late 19th century and the early 19th century about the Canadian Rockies:

Outram, James, Sir. In the heart of the Canadian Rockies, 1905.

Coleman, A. P. The Canadian Rockies : new and old trails. With 3 maps and 41 illustrations, 1911.


We hope you have a chance to enjoy the mountain views this summer. If you want to explore more mountains in Open Collections, here are some items and keywords you can access:

[i] Geography of B.C. (Welcome BC)

[ii] Siksika Nation, federal government to honour Blackhoot traditions with Castle Mountain Settlement (Jan 25, 2017 in CBC News)

Next Monday is BC Day! To celebrate, this post will introduce our BC Historical Documents collection and explore the early history of BC.

Rare Books and Special Collections in the UBC Library houses an abundance of original documents related to the development of British Columbia and its economic, social, political and cultural history. We have digitized more than 1,500 items from 9 archival and special collections dated from 1789 to 1970, including the following fonds and collections:

Columbia (Ship) fonds

The fonds consists of two bound copies of the logs of the Columbia Rediviva (commonly known as Columbia), a privately-owned ship operated around 1800. It was known as the first non-Indigenous vessel to enter the Columbia River.

[Copy of a part of Haswell’s Log of the Columbia covering his trips of the Washington to the vicinity of Fuca Strait between March 16th and April 23rd 1789.], 1789.

This handwritten transcribed copy is Robert Haswell (1768-1801)’s log of the Columbia. Haswell was an American maritime fur trader to the Pacific Northwest of North America and enrolled as the third mate on the Columbia.


[Photostatic copy of Captain Robert Gray’s log for the Columbia in 1791. It records voyages along the northwest coast of Washington State and British Columbia.]

This is the photostatic copy of Captain Robert Gray (1755-1806)’s log for the Columbia. Gray was an American explorer who named the Columbia River after his ship.


Henry Doyle fonds

Henry Doyle (1874-1961) was the manager of Doyle Fishing Company (Canadian Division) and the first manager of the British Columbia Packers’ Association. The fonds consists of 666 items pertaining to the Pacific fishery industry.

Doyle, Henry. Original cannery fish wharf, Mill Bay, [between 1905 and 1915].

[Doyle, H., Manager, Kincolith Packing Co. Ltd., to G. J. Desbarats, Deputy Minister Naval Service, regarding establishing a closed season for halibut fishing], 1915.

Proposed Fish and Shellfish Cannery Inspection Act, [between 1895 and 1915].

Hastings Saw Mill Company fonds

Hastings Saw Mill Company was launched in 1867 by the B.C. and Vancouver Island Spar Lumber and Saw Mill Company (Stamps Mill) on Burrard Inlet. The previous owner was Heatley & Company of London until 1928. The fonds includes around 90 items such as correspondence, memos, maps, photographs, plans, and articles of association.

British Columbia Mills, Timber and Trading [Company’s], Hastings Sawmills, Vancouver, B.C.

[Turnour, J.B. to A.N. Birch, regarding : Spare at Burrard Inlet], [1865].

[Map: traced from map of Vancouver Island, showing the position of the timber lands surveyed and sought to be acquired by the Hastings Saw Mill Company Limited. Oct. 1871. by E. Stephens], 1871.

John Keenlyside Legal Research Collection

The collection was collected by John S. Keenlyside, a Vancouver-born UBC alumni and the founder of the investment counselling firm John S, Keenlyside & Co. The fonds have more than 300 items consisting of legal documents in the 19th century and documents related to the British Columbia Provincial Police force and various Japanese-Canadian and civil rights groups.

British Columbia Small Debts Act, 1859

Rules and Regulation for the Working of Gold Mines. Issued in conformity with the Gold Fields Act, 1859. Whereas, it is provided by the Gold Fields Act, 1859, that the Governor, for the time being, of British Columbia, may, by writing under his hand and the Public Seal of the Colony, make Rules and Regulations in the nature of by-laws, for all matters relating to Mining. …, 1859-09-07.

B.C. Provincial Police Port Essington Office fonds

The fonds consists of incoming letters to Constable Alexander Forsythe regarding fishing licenses and other matters as well as his report on the spawning grounds at Babine Lake and other locations.

Wallace Brothers Packing Company Limited. [Wallace Fisheries to A. Forsyth, regarding : 1911 licences], 1911-05-12.

Gay, Herbert L. [Handwritten list of unknown person’s effects], 1911-06-14.

R.L. Reid fonds

Robie Lewis Reid (1866-1945), a lawyer and historian, donated his Canadian collection to UBC, where he served as a member of the Board of Governors and the solicitor. Open Collections published around 15 items including correspondences, legislative proceedings, essays and contracts, legal works, and advertisements.

McLeary, J. D. [Commission prepared by McLeary, J. D., British Columbia Provincial Secretary, for A. Henderson, appointed under the Public Inquiries Act to conduct inquiries into the coal mining industry], [1921-03-02].

Smith, John F. Province of British Columbia : Indian Agencies, 1923-05-19.

Charles Semlin fonds

Charles Augustus Semlin (1836-1927) was the Premier of British Columbia between 1898 and 1900. The fonds includes his outgoing letters as the Premier, financial records, correspondence and other material relating to the Dominion Ranch, Semlin and Stuart and the Interior Stock Raisers’ Association, and we have digitized more than 50 items.

Correspondence between Lieutenant Governor McInnes and Honourable C. Semlin, Premier, in respect to the Dismissal of the Semlin Government, 1900-02.

Semlin, C.A. [Dominion Ranch : Financial records, receipts and purchase orders], 1881-1917.

G. Vernon Wellburn British Columbia History Collection

The collection was donated by G. Vernon Wellburn in 2011. He was a former lecturer in forest harvesting in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. His collection consists of four items: a letter, telegram, a document, and an invitation.

British Columbia Legislative Assembly. [Invitation to the Mr. R. E. Barkley family to attend the opening of the New Parliament Buildings in Victoria, British Columbia, February 10, 1898], 1898.

Education Library Historical Textbooks

Education Library houses historical textbooks used in Canada, and we have digitized 20 of them between 1895 and 1930.

Clement, W. H. P. History of Canada, [1895].

Spilhaus, Margaret Whiting. South African nursery rhymes, [1924].

If you enjoyed this post, please visit BC Historical Documents Collection and explore the history of BC. Happy British Columbia Day!



In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we have historic photographs depicting street scenery in Vancouver in the early 1900s. This post will explore some of our favourite photographs, showing the major streets in Vancouver. We hope you can identify where the pictures were taken and how the streets have changed since then!

Granville street

Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. [between 1904 and 1907?]

Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C. [between 1920 and 1930?].

Granville St., Vancouver. [between 1924 and 1949?]


Hastings Street

Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C., [not after 1910]

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Hasting St., Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?]

Hastings Street Looking East, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1940 and 1960?]


Georgia Street

Georgia Street, Vancouver, [between 1914 and 1939].

United Fishers and Allied Workers May Day parade on Georgia Street, Vancouver, 1947.

Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C., [between 1924 and 1949?].

Robson Street

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Manhattan Apartments, Robson St., Vancouver, B.C., 1907.

Davie Street

[View of a trolley car on Davie Street, Vancouver], [between 1900 and 1910?].

Burrard Street

Aero Surveys Photo. Burrard Street, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1940 and 1950?]

Cambie Street

B.C. Photo Card Co. Cambie St, Vancouver, 1915.


In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we also have photographs and postcards of streets from other cities (e.g., New Westminster, Fernie, and Chilliwack). The following is useful subject headings to search:


We hope you enjoyed this post. To view more historic photographs, please visit our Open Collections.


[July 29th update: We removed one photo which was not from Downtown Vancouver.]

Historical newspapers are good resources for researching the political, social and cultural trends in local areas during specific historical periods. One of the interesting components are advertisements, which contain information about local businesses, and popular industries around the time. Like today, the papers had designed their advertisements to catch readers’ eyes and attract new customers. From more than 60,000 digitized newspaper issues in Open Collections, this post will introduce our favourite advertisements.

BC Historical Newspapers collection

BC Historical Newspapers collection contains 167 historical newspapers with more than 40,000 issues dated from 1859 to 1995. All of the titles were published in British Columbia.

June 14, 1894: “Horse Sense in a Few Words”

The Advance (Midway Dispatch) was a weekly newspaper published in Midway, BC (Fairview, BC for the first four months) between 1894 and 1904 (The Advance: 1898-1902; The Midway Dispatch: 1902-1904).

This advertisement by Riley & Donald, an agent company in Kelowna, BC for the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in Chicago, IL, depicts a letter from a horse that complains about how heavy the mower is to pull and suggests that farmers buy McCormick’s lighter product.

The Advance, 1894-06-14.


June 10, 1916: “The telephone makes everyone your neighbor.”

The Cumberland Islander (1910-1931) was a weekly newspaper published in Cumberland, BC. We have digitized all 1,094 issues.

British Columbia Telephone Company (BC Tel) advertised its telephone service, which was relatively new at the time, 40 years following Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone near Brantford, ON in 1876.

Today we have the Internet that makes us feel like “neighbors”, 100 years after the publication of this advertisement!

The Islander, 1916-06-10.


September 14, 1911: “Let Mooney Do It”

Chilliwack Free Press was published from September 1911 to October 1912 in Chilliwack, BC.

Mooney Biscuit & Candy Company, based in Stratford, ON, advertises its biscuits. Using the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada running beside its factory, it exported its biscuits and chocolates to other areas of Canada. The advertisement emphasizes its freshness as a ready-made biscuit and appeal to those who do not have spare time for baking biscuits in their kitchen.

Chilliwack Free Press, 1911-09-14.


September 27, 1930: “Fall Steamship and Train Services”

The Alice Arm and Anyox Herald was published weekly in Alice Arm, BC between June 1921 and March 1935. We have 707 digitized issues.

The Canadian National Railways and Canadian National Steamship Company advertises both trains and steamship services by effectively using the vertically long rectangle area. Since the bird was flying at the top and ship is sailing at the bottom, the ad area itself looks like a scene in the ocean.

Herald, 1930-09-27.


Tairiku Nippo (The Continental News) collection

Tairiku Nippo (The Continental News) was published from 1907 until the day before Pearl Harbor in 1941 for Japanese Canadian communities in BC.

September 24, 1930: Hudson’s Bay Company

The following is the ad of Hudson’s Bay Company written in Japanese and announces its sales items for the upcoming Saturday.

Tairiku Nippo, 1930-09-30.


The Ubyssey

The Ubyssey is UBC’s student newspaper that started in October 1918. Until today, it has published the largest student paper in Western Canada, once a week during the school year. Open Collections have digitized more than 5,000 issues with a significant contribution from the Graduating Class 2002/03 as well as additional funding received from the President’s Office, The Ubyssey Publications Society and the UBC Library.

January 30, 1919: “Keep the happy memories of College days for all time.”

Bridgman’s Studio Limited (1915-1948) was a photo shooting studio located in Granville street owned by Archibald Thomas Reed Bridgman. This advertisement from January has a warm message to its audience and advertises its photo shooting services to UBC students.

The Ubyssey, 1919-01-30.


If you want to explore more newspaper advertisements, please visit our Open Collections and search our newspaper collections.




See also

The BC Historical Books collection contains the digitized bibliographies of British Columbia. In the collection, there are 35 dictionaries related to BC History. Here, we will introduce some of our favourite ones!

City Directories

Do you have the White or Yellow Pages at home? UBC Rare Books and Special Collections has a collection of city directories for British Columbia and Greater Vancouver area. For various reasons, the directories cannot be photocopied in RBSC. UBC Library has published microforms for the directories, which are available in the Koerner Library Microforms area.

In Open Collections, you can find 19 digitized directories that are used as the White or Yellow Pages by residents between 1877 and 1923.

Henderson Publishing. Henderson’s city of Vancouver directory. Comprising an improved street and avenue guide, showing a complete index to system of house numbering and a complete street directory of the city, an alphabetically arranged list of business firms and companies, professional men and private citizens. And a classified business directory. Vol. XII, 1905.


The Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and the West Indies by Antonio de Alcedo (1735-1812)

We have digitized volume 2 to 5 of The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies written by Antonio de Alcedo (1735-1812) in Spanish and translated by George Alexander Thompson (1797-1828) in 1812. The Spanish soldier, who resided in Panama for part of his childhood while his father was the provincial governor, was interested in American geography and history, and wrote about his observation of “New World” into the 5-volume books. He called the reference books “a dictionary”.

In volume 3 from pp.214 to 223, you can find Antonio’s observation of Vancouver Island:

Alcedo, Antonio de & Thompson, George Alexander. The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies. Containing an entire translation of the Spanish work of Colonel Don Antonio de Alcedo, captain of the Royal Spanish Guards, and member of the Royal Academy of History: with large additions and compilations from modern voyages and travels, and from original and authentic information. In five volumes. Vol. III, 1812.


Dictionaries for Indigenous languages

You can find dictionaries for three Indigenous languages: Chinook, Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) and Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language).


Chinook language is spoken by Chinookan peoples who reside in the Pacific Northwest in the United States, present-day Oregon and Washington State. Open Collections has 8 language dictionaries:

Lindley, Jo. Three years in Cariboo: being the experience and observations of a packer, what I saw and know of the country; its traveled routes, distances, villages, mines, trade and prospects. With distances, notes and facts, relative to the Salmon River and Nez Perces gold fields, 1862.


Thomas, Edward Harper. Chinook: a history and dictionary of the Northwest coast trade jargon. The centuries-old trade language of the Indians of the pacific. A history of its origin and its adoption and use by the traders, trappers, pioneers and early settlers of the northwest coast, 1935.


Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) language

Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) language is spoken by 13 Indigenous nations residing in western Vancouver Island. Open Collections contains a digitized Tahkaht-English/English-Tahkaht dictionary published in 1868:

Kripe, C. Some account of the Tahkaht language, as spoken by several tribes on the western coast of Vancouver Island, 1868.

Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language)

Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language) is spoken by Secwépemc (Shuswap) people, Indigenous people residing in the south central part of present-day British Columbia. We have one dictionary known to be written in 1925 by Jean-Marie-Raphaël Le Jeune, a Canadian Roman Catholic priest who traveled the Kamloops region.

[Le Jeune, J. M. R.]. Studies on Shuswap, 1925.

About Canada

Who’s who in western Canada (volume 1-2) by Charles Wallace Parker (1864-1932)

Charles Wallace Parker (1864-1932) was a great showman, and famous for the C. W. Parker Carousel operating in the Burnaby Village Museum. He compiled portraits and biographies of people who had contributed to Western Canada, such as politicians, railroaders, litterateurs, and merchants.

Parker, C. W. Who’s who in western Canada: a biographical dictionary of notable living men and women in Western Canada Volume 1, 1911.


Volume 2, 1912.


The makers of Canada by Sir Arthur George Doughty (1860-1936) and Lawrence Johnstone Burpee (1873-1946)

The dictionary about Canada before confederation consists of three sections: Index and dictionary, Manuscript sources in the Dominion Archives, and A partial list of scarce maps and plans relating to Canada. One of the authors, Sir Arthur George Doughty (1860-1936) was a Dominion Archivist (the head of Canada’s national archives, the present Library and Archives Canada). Another author, Lawrence Johnstone Burpee (1873-1946) was a historian, a civil servant, a librarian and a writer, and specialized in Canadian bibliography, geography and history.

Doughty, Arthur G. & Burpee, Lawrence J. The makers of Canada. Index and dictionary of Canadian history, 1911.


If you want to get historical references to Greater Vancouver/BC/Canada, please find our digitized dictionaries in the BC Historical Books collection!





Open Collections has several collections related to fishing. Today, we will introduce a few of these collections and our favourite digitized items!

Fisherman Publishing Society Collection

In the Fisherman Publishing Society Collection, we have digitized around 4,000 photographs taken from 1862 to 1989. The Fisherman Publishing Society formed in 1937 and had published a bi-weekly newspaper, The Fisherman, for the Salmon Purse Seiners Union and its successor, the United Fisherman and Allied Workers’ Union. The paper was about the fishing industry and union events to promote unity among West Coast fishermen. The photographs depict labour and union activity, fish and fishing vessels, and the men and women who worked in the fishing industry. The archival collections are housed in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections, with other correspondence, a scrapbook, meeting minutes, ships’ logs and the Harry Allison papers.


View of Dave Carlson’s boat the Spirit of B.C. at launching June, 1968.


Herring sale by Fishers Union at New Westminster to aid CKNW orphans fund December, 1968.


Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection

UBC Library has more than 2,200 books on angling and fly-fishing, known as the Harry Hawthorn Collection. The collection started when a group of UBC professors went fishing for a holiday in 1953. They decided to launch a foundation with the accumulated money from various bets and fines for alleged illegal or non-ethical fishing methods. The current members of the Foundation are continuing this tradition to go fly-fishing in early August, and the increased funding has gone towards developing the collection.

In Open Collections, we have digitized around 50 representative titles as Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection with generous support by the Harry Hawthorn Foundation.


Sparrow, Walter Shaw. Angling in British art through five centuries: prints, pictures, books, 1923.


[Lang, Cecil]. The mighty mahseer and other fish : or hints to beginners on Indian fishing, 1906.


Traité général des pesches

Traité général des pesches consists of a digitized book with two volumes, Traité général des pesches, et histoire des poissons qu’elles fournissent, tant pour la subsistance des hommes, que pour plusieurs autres usages qui on rapport aux arts et au commerce, [between 1769-1782]. These volumes, written by a French physician and botanist, Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1700-1782) and Jean-Louis De La Marre between 1769 and 1782, were considered one of the finest works on fishing and fisheries.

Duhamel du Monceau, M. Traité général des pesches, et histoire des poissons qu’elles fournissent, tant pour la subsistance des hommes, que pour plusieurs autres usages qui on rapport aux arts et au commerce, [between 1769-1782].

Duhamel du Monceau, M. Traité général des pesches, et histoire des poissons qu’elles fournissent, tant pour la subsistance des hommes, que pour plusieurs autres usages qui on rapport aux arts et au commerce. Seconde partie, [between 1769-1782].

Along with the entire volumes, we also separately digitized all of the illustrated plates in the books:


Duhamel du Monceau, M. Part 1, Section 1, Plate 2, [between 1769-1782].

Duhamel du Monceau, M. Part 2, Section 1, Plate 10, [between 1769-1782].

UBC Institute of Fisheries Field Records

UBC Institute of Fisheries Field Records have more than 10,000 digitized records on fish specimens in the UBC Fish Collection housed in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, which is the third-largest fish collection in Canada.

The fish records include information about where and what kinds of fish were caught. This data has been used in environmental assessments, conservation efforts and research projects in an aquatic ecosystem.

The oldest record in 1877, for instance, shows the record of Hyperoplus lanceolatus (Greater sand eel) caught in Estonia:

UBC Institute of Fisheries Field Record B.C. 63-943, 1877.


The latest record in 1991 have 13 different types of fishes caught near Helby Island, BC:

UBC Institute of Fisheries Filed Record B.C. 90-191, 1991.


If you want to explore more about these collections, please visit our past blog posts:



According to the 2016 Census, 1.6% of the Vancouver metropolitan population identify as having Japanese ethnic origin.[i] The first wave of immigrants from Japan arrived in Canada in late 19th century, and the majority of them resided in British Columbia. As their primary information resource, a Japanese-Canadian newspaper, Tairiku Nippō (大陸日報, Continental Daily News) was published in Vancouver from 1907 until 1941. With generous support from Mr. Naomichi Nishimura, a Director of the Hikone Public Library in Japan, UBC Library created the microform edition in 1987[ii].

With the kind permission from the family of Yasushi Yamazaki (山崎寧), a publisher of the paper, and the metadata provided by Professor Norifumi Kawahara’s research team at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, we have published more than 10,000 issues in Open Collections.


Launch of Vancouver’s Japanese-Canadian Newspaper

Tairiku Nippo was founded on June 22, 1907, in Vancouver by Dosa Iida (飯田道左).[iii] However, it faced financial difficulties within a year[iv], and Iida transferred the publication and management rights to Yamazaki in February 8, 1908.[v] With the exception of the issues published in 1907, UBC Library houses almost all of the original printed papers from 1908 until 1941.

The oldest paper in our collection, published in January 1, 1908, celebrated the new year with:

  • Japanese poetry (the second row from the top in pp.1, the fourth row in pp.3)
  • Opinion columns (from 3rd-7th rows in pp.1, 1st-3rd rows in pp.3),
  • Japan-related news (from 1st-3rd rows in pp.2)
  • Advertisements of local Japanese-Canadian companies (4th-7th rows in pp.2, 5th-7th rows in pp.3, pp.4).

The Continental News, 1908-01-01.


Contents of Tairiku Nippō

The newspaper is an important resource that captures the social lives of Japanese immigrants during this time period. It included news about social and political trends in Japan and the Japanese-Canadian community in British Columbia.

For instance, page 5 from March 18, 1922 has mixed information about:

  • Canada (e.g., Resignation of the prime minister in Manitoba),
  • the US (e.g., Funding support for Japanese female students at the University of Michigan),
  • Japan (e.g., An election in Shizuoka), and
  • Vancouver (e.g., An accident in interurban lines):

Tairku Nippo, 1922-03-18.


Japanese-Canadian Business Advertisements

You can also find out how Japanese-Canadian businesses had developed in Vancouver area from the advertisements. The following page from July 15, 1909, for instance, has an advertisement section from the third row to the eighth row. It includes hotels, restaurants, fisheries, apparels, laundry, import stores, bookstores, funeral services, detectives, and more:

The Continental News, 1909-07-15.


Reports of Wars

You can find articles and photographs about the World Wars in the paper. War reporting included not only Japanese and Canadian involvement, but also other countries. In July 15, 1940, page 5 reports the possibility of conscription for Japanese Canadians (right) with a photograph of a German tank (left).

Tairiku Nippo, 1940-07-15.


Page 3 from November 13, 1941 has a photo of Japanese Marine:

Tairiku Nippo, 1941-11-13.


English section for Nisei (second-generation)

In 1935, Tairiku Nippō started to include English sections targeting young Nisei (second-generation Japanese-Canadians, 二世) whose primary language was English. The first English column, Oh So!, by Frank Watanabe appeared in November 1935:

Tairiku Nippo, 1935-11-18.


In the next month, a regular news summary started to appear twice a week, and increased its frequency to three times a week in 1936. The quotes from March 2, 1939 said:

Tairiku Nippo, 1939-03-02.


The Tairiku Nippo English section published try-weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, serves the second generation Japanese in Canada. Its columns are open to every second generation person or organization and it welcomes contributions at all times. (pp.8)

As the following page shows, the paper included its English section in the last page of the entire paper:

Tairiku Nippo, 1937-11-06.


Pearl Harbor and the End of Publishing

The newspaper was continuously published until December 6, 1941, the day before the Second World War started. Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the British Columbia Security Commission suspended the operation of the paper[vi]. All Japanese Canadians were sent to internment camps, road camps and sugar beet farms[vii] (Images from the internment period can be found in the Japanese Canadian Photograph Collection).

The last issue of Tairiku Nippō, published in December 6, 1941, consisted of seven pages in Japanese and one page in English. It was mostly about the Second World War and US-Japan relationships,and discussed the need for US-Japan talks on its first page. While there were many peace-related terms, such as reconciliation (和解, Wakai) and peacekeeping (平和維持, Heiwa Iji), there was no foreshadowing of the imminent US-Japan war.

Tairiku Nippo, 1941-12-06.


After WWII ended, the paper was re-established on December 3, 1948, in Toronto as Tairiku Jihō (The Continental Times) by Yoriki and Midori Iwasaki, a niece of Yamazaki, and was superseded by Kanada Taimusu (The Canada Times) from April 1982 until May 1998 by Harry Kunio Taba.

See also

[i] “Census Profile, 2016 Census, Vancouver, British Columbia” Retrieved from:

[ii] Gonnami, T. (1989). Tairiku Nippo (The Continental Daily News), 1908-1941 on microfilm. Microform & Digitization Review, 18(1), 38-40. doi: 10.1515/mfir.1989.18.1.38

[iii] Gonnami, T. (1940). Buritisshu Koronbia Daigaku Toshokan shozo Nikkei Kanadajin shi kenkyu korekushon: kaiko to tenbo. [The Japanese Canadian research collection at UBC Library: Retrospect and prospect]. doi: 10.14288/1.0041728

[iv] Fujiwara, A. (2010). The myth of the Emperor and the Yamato race: The role of the Tairiku nippô in the promotion of Japanese-Canadian transnational ethnic identity in the 1920s and the 1930s. Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 21(1), 37–58. doi: 10.7202/1003042ar

[v] Page 5 of February 11, 1908

[vi] Gonnami, T. (2001). Preservation projects of Japanese-Canadian materials at UBC Library. Journal of East Asian Libraries, 2001 (124:3), 1-18. Retrieved from

[vii] Japanese Canadians: From immigration to deportation (Library and Archives Canada)


Buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and the West Coast Express are the main transit options in the Greater Vancouver area today. However, Open Collections has many images of the railroads and streetcars that used to line our streets. From 1897 until 1958, the British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) operated streetcars and interurbans, which were the major transportation options for people at that time.

Granville St., Vancouver, B.C., Post office, bank commerce & depot, [between 1908 and 1911?].

Brief History of Streetcars and Interurbans in BC

The first streetcar services in BC began in Victoria, operated by the National Electric Tramway and Lighting Company Ltd., in February 1890. Four months later, the first regular streetcar service was started in Vancouver by Vancouver Electric Railway and Light Company Ltd. By October 1891, the service area was expanded to New Westminster by the Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company. The company also launched Canada’s longest interurban line between Vancouver and New Westminster. Eventually, the three companies merged as the British Columbia Electric Railway Company Limited (BCER) on April 3, 1897, and started to manage all of the transportation services.

Map and guide to Vancouver street car and interurban lines, 1923.

British Columbia Electric Railway Company. Tips for tourists: interurban trips over B.C. Electric Railway system, in vicinity of Vancouver, British Columbia, [1913?].

The following are photographs depicting streetcars in BC from the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs:

Park Drive, Grand View, [between 1903 and 1908?].

[View of a trolley car on Davie Street, Vancouver], [between 1900 and 1910?].

[Sketch of interior of Main Street streetcar, Vancouver, B.C.], [not after 1914].


You can also find interurban lines in the BC Historical Books Collection:

British Columbia Electric Railway Company. British Columbia Electric Railway Co. Ltd. : N.E.L.A. Convention, Seattle, June 10-14, 1912, [1912].

British Columbia Electric Railway Company. B.C. Electric Handbook and Directory, 1929.

British Columbia Electric Railway Company. Tips for tourists: interurban trips over B.C. Electric Railway system, in vicinity of Vancouver, British Columbia, [1913?].

Observation Streetcars

Around 1909, BCER purchased the designs of open-air sightseeing cars from the Montreal Tramways Company and constructed the cars in New Westminster. Thadeous (Teddy) Sylvester Lyons was a popular tour conductor, known for his wit and jokes while operating this service until it stopped running in 1950.

[B.C. Electric Railway Co. tour conducted by Ted Lyons, Vancouver, B.C.], [between 1923 and 1949?].

UBC Motor Buses

Motor buses were the main transit option for students and employees heading to UBC. In Carrying the People ([1929]) by British Columbia Electric Railway Company, UBC was considered the busiest route:

The U.B.C. Rush

Consider the problem of the University. Between 8 o’clock and 9.15 in the morning, transportation is required for more than fifteen hundred students and no sooner is this accomplished than the traffic falls off to nothing. In the afternoon the same surge occurs in the opposite direction and then zero in traffic again. […] There is no busier spot in Vancouver than this transfer point as the University rush is at its height each morning. (pp.7-8)

UBC 93.1/18. University bus, 1926.

British Columbia Electric Railway Company. Carrying the People, [1929].

The End of Streetcars/Interurbans Services

Around the time of the Second World War, the BCER streetcar and interurban services were approaching their end due to the high cost of maintaining the train tracks. The BCER decided to do “Rails-to-Rubbers” conversion throughout the entire transit system, changing from streetcars using tracks to buses with rubber tires.

The final run of Vancouver’s streetcar was in 1955. The last interurban car ran between Marpole and Steveston on February 28, 1958, and the rail passenger service by BCER ended.

Ever since the BC government took over the BCER in 1961, we have used “rubber” buses and automated trains as our primary transportation tools in BC. At UBC Vancouver campus, there are 15 bus routes to Metro Vancouver and two routes serving on-campus areas today.

UBC 1.1/15762. Students boarding bus in front of Home Economics Building, 1971.


If you want to explore more materials about BC transportation history, please visit our Open Collections.


Today, UBC Library has 15 branches in 12 locations that provide a variety of programs and services. The Digitization Centre is located in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC) on UBC’s Vancouver campus. A previous post explored how IKBLC has changed since the first Main Library was built, so we will delve into the history of UBC Library buildings from UBC Archives Photograph Collection.

Asian Library

The Asian Library provides services relevant to Asian language materials and is currently located in the Asian Centre. Prior to the Asian Library being officially designated a UBC Library branch in 1975, all the Asian language materials were stored in the Main Library.

UBC 1.1/9121. Asian studies desk in Main Library. 1971.

Banham, Jim. UBC 41.1/981-2. Move of Asian Studies Library to Asian Centre, 1981.

Biomedical Branch Library

The Biomedical Branch Library is located in the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre, which includes UBC Faculty of Medicine facilities. It was opened at Vancouver General Hospital in 1952 as the first official branch of the Main Library, and moved to the present location in 1957.

UBC 81.1/5. Faculty of Medicine building (Vancouver General Hospital) entrance, 1958.

David Lam Management Research Library

The David Lam Management Research Library provides library programs and services for the areas of business administration and commerce and is located in UBC Sauder School of Business at Vancouver campus. The library opened in 1985 with a donation from Dr. David See-Chai Lam, British Columbia’s former Lieutenant-Governor. It officially became a branch of UBC Library in 1993.

UBC 8.1/108. David Lam Research Library plaque, 1986.

UBC 44.1/3103. David Lam pours concrete for construction of David Lam Management Research Centre, 1991.

UBC 44.1/2828b. David Lam Management Research Centre, 1996.

Walter C. Koerner Library

We can trace the history of the Walter C. Koerner Library back to 1960, when the Main Library was the only building UBC Library managed. In 1960, the College Library was established inside the Main Library to provide library services for first- and second-year students. It changed its name to Sedgewick Library in 1964, in honour of Dr. Garnett Sedgewick, a former professor and head of the Department of English. As its collection grew, UBC Library opened a new building for Sedgewick in the current location of Koerner Library in 1973.

UBC 1.1/2327. Entrance to Sedgewick Library, [between 1960 and 1969].

Banham, Jim. UBC 41.1/2306. Sedgewick Library, 1973.

UBC 41.1/2247-2. Sedgewick Library stairwell, 1975.

Construction of Koerner Library began in 1995 by adding 7,000 square metres to 10,200 square metres of the renovated space from Sedgewick Library. The current library name is in honour of Walter Charles Koerner, a Canadian businessman who generously supported the construction of the library in addition to other philanthropic contributions to the University overall.

UBC 44.1/3082. Construction of Koerner Library, 1995.

UBC 44.1/3152. View of area for W. C. Koerner Library opening ceremonies, 1997.


Law Library

The Law Library is located in Peter A. Allard School of Law at Vancouver campus. It was formed in 1945, and initially housed in a World War II army hut. As a result of contributions from donors, the library moved to a new law building in 1951, and redesigned its space in 1975, concurrently with the renovation of the George F. Curtis Faculty of Law building.

UBC 3.1/613. Huts behind library.

UBC 1.1/5748-2. Students in Law Library, 1952.


Woodward Library

Woodward Library is accessed from the inside the Instructional Resources Centre (IRC), and its physical collection covers all medicine, sciences, and engineering areas, except for Math and Computer Science. The initial division started from the Medical Reading Room in the Main Library in 1950. The Woodward Library was opened in 1964 with a generaous gift of fundings from Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation. After expanding its space in 1970, the Library absorbed the collections of MacMillan Library, which included the area of Land and Food Systems and Forestry in 2006, and Science and Engineering collections from the Main Library in 2013.

UBC 1.1/11465-1. MacMillan Library showing the bookshelves, 1967.

UBC 3.1/1234-2. Woodward Biomedical architectural sketches, 1963.

UBC 3.1/1240. Sign announcing the building of Woodward Library, [between 1960 and 1969].

UBC 3.1/1451-1. View of Woodward Library, 1964.

Holborne, Peter. UBC 1.1/12478. Woodward Biomedical Library, 1971.

Xwi7xwa Library

Xwi7xwa Library is the only Indigenous branch of an academic library in Canada, and officially became a branch of UBC Library in 2005. It is located at the eastern end of the Longhouse, built in 1993. The building’s design is modeled after structures built by Interior Salish nations, called Kekuli in the chinook language, a pit house in English, and S7ístken in Ucwalmícwts (Lil’wat nation).

UBC 106.1/22. Construction of Xwi7xwa Library, 1993.


We hope you will visit each branch and experience the history and evolution of UBC Library. Visit UBC Archives Photograph Collection to find more library photographs.


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