Like many of you, we are spending a lot more time on virtual meetings here at the Digitization Centre. For this post, we’ve compiled a bunch of backgrounds from Open Collections that will refresh your space and make your next video call, online lecture, or virtual party more fun.

From the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we found images that bring the spectacular BC scenery to your home office.

The Lions, [1919]

Suspension Bridge, Capilano Canyon,1917

Sunset, English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., 1927

If you are looking for something artistic, make sure to check out prints from the Chung Collection and Meiji at 150.

Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s Steamship Fleets, [1910]

Mount Eisenhower, [not before 1940]

Tōkyō nishikie seizō no zu, 東京錦繪製造之図, [1877]

The following images can probably beat most million-dollar-view offices in downtown.

The U.B.C. and Vancouver, [between 1940 and 1950?]

Aerial view showing Brockton Point & city, Vancouver, B.C., [not before 1937]

[View of downtown Vancouver B. C.], 1957

Is your room messy? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out the following images of interiors from hotels and a Canadian Pacific steamship.

Interior of Grouse Mountain Chalet, [between 1920 and 1930?]

Palm Garden, The Empress, Victoria, B.C., [between 1908 and 1910?]

Cabin dining saloon, [Canadian Pacific S.S. Melita], [1918?]

And finally, you can host your meeting here from UBC.

Main Library concourse, 1929

Cows grazing in front of Library, May 31, 1937

This is a composite photograph created from two separate images.

View of Main Library from Koerner Library, 2002

Now that spring is in full bloom, you may miss strolling around UBC Vancouver and soaking up the greenery. So for this post, we’re taking a virtual tour through the campus gardens.

Nitobe Memorial Garden

Designed by Kannosuke Mori, a renowned landscape architect from Chiba University, Japan, Nitobe Memorial Garden highlights a sense of harmony with nature.

Nitobe Garden, [between 1970 and 1979]

Nitobe Garden, [between 1970 and 1979]

Nitobe Garden, 1978

Nitobe Garden, [between 1970 and 1979]

Nitobe Garden, Oct 7, 1993

Rose Garden

Located at the north end of Main Mall, Rose Garden features stunning ocean and mountain views.

Rose garden at Rose Garden Parkade, 2002

Rose garden, [date unknown]

View of rose garden, [between 1970 and 1979]

Botanical Garden

UBC Botanical Garden has a collection of plants from every corner of the world and is beautiful in all seasons.

Alpine Garden, [date unknown]

View of Botanical Garden, 2000

View of Botanical Garden, 2002

To explore more historical photos of UBC Campus, please check out the UBC Archives Photograph Collection.

In this post, we have compiled a few historical images of healthcare workers from the Open Collections. We wanted to take this opportunity to send out our thanks to the tireless nurses, doctors, and all the other healthcare workers who are working hard and saving lives—today and every day.

The following images from the World War I British Press Photograph Collection portray medics working during wartime.

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front in France: At a base hospital – Attending a wounded Tommy, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front in France: At a base hospital – These wounded Tommies were very anxious to show their little mascot, a small black kitten, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front: A sister has been given a souvenir by one of her patients on a hospital barge, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front: Sandbags instead of handbags – Lady ambulance drivers in France, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front in France: In a laboratory of a base hospital, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front in France: In the laboratory of a base hospital, [between 1914 and 1918?]

This photograph from the Chung Collection shows the interior view of the Chinatown clinic with Dr. Yip Kew Ghim and nursing sisters. Dr. Yip Kew Ghim was the first Chinese Canadian doctor (source: Explore Open Collections: Yip Sang Collection).

[Chinese hospital clinic], 1935

These photographs below are from the UBC Archives Photograph Collection.

Senior nurse and nursing student at nursing station at Vancouver General Hospital, ca. early 1900s

Nursing staff on lawn in front of Vancouver City Hospital, 1902

Operating room, Vancouver General Hospital, 1906

Vancouver General Hospital students, VGH Class of 1908

Nurses in anatomy class being taught at Vancouver General Hospital, [1935]

Patient in oxygen tent at Vancouver General Hospital with a student nurse, ca. 1950s

Nursing student Arlene Aish with young patient at Vancouver General Hospital, 1957

Two unidentified UBC Nursing students during extended care experience in UBC Hospital Purdy Pavilion with an elderly female patient, [between 1980 and 1989]

April is National Poetry Month. We’ve gathered some poetry and related items from Open Collections for your enjoyment.

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections has 250 posters concerned with the advocacy for peace, equality and harmony during the Vietnam War era from the University of California’s Berkeley campus and other regions in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Berkeley 1968-1973 Poster Collection contains a series of posters promoting poetry reading events:

[Berkeley writers for peace], [between 1968 and 1973?]

[Berkeley writers for peace], [between 1968 and 1973?]

[Gorilla poetry], [between 1968 and 1973?]

The CiTR Audiotapes collection is a collaboration between UBC Library’s Digitization Centre and CiTR 101.9 FM (the Student Radio Society of UBC). Spanning 1949 to 2000, this collection comprises interviews with independent artists and writers. Here is a recording of an address given by writer Margaret Atwood for the Alma Mater Society’s women’s studies program, including readings from her novel The Edible Woman and several poems:

The BC Historical Books collection also contains a collection of poetry.

How I once felt. Songs of love and travel, 1893

A garden by the sea, and other poems, 1921

Songs of the Cascades. First part, 1894

Here’s a book of prose and poetry related to Stanley Park:

By shore and trail in Stanley Park: legends and reminiscences of Vancouver’s beauty-spot and region of romance, with historical and natural history details, 1929

By shore and trail in Stanley Park, pp. 28-29

Finally, check out this beautiful calligraphy from the UBC Library Framed Works Collection. The note from the verso reads: “Written and illuminated by my father Lionel Haweis Vancouver 1911. He threw the work out as he was not satisfied with the art work & lettering. As a child I rescued it from his waste paper basket. He was surprised and very pleased I had the interest at 8 years.”

The Heritage, 1911


During this challenging time, we’d like to share a bit of comfort with you, so we’ve compiled a list of leisure readings from the Open Collection. Enjoy!


For the time being, most of us should stay at home and help to keep our communities safe. But this is also a good time to gather some travel inspiration. The BC Historical Books Collection features a lot of intricately illustrated travel books, with a focus on Canada and especially British Columbia.

Canadian pictures: drawn with pen and pencil, 1884

With numerous engraving illustrations and several maps, this book covers geography, history, and industry across Canada.

Canadian pictures: drawn with pen and pencil, pp. 118-119

Canadian cities of romance, 1922

Written by Katherine Hale and illustrated by Dorothy Stevens, this book includes descriptions and illustrations of major Canadian cities.

Canadian cities of romance, 1922, pp.40-41

Canadian houses of romance, 1926

This book is a companion volume to Canadian Cities of Romance, describing historic houses across Canada.

Canadian houses of romance, 1926, pp. 160-161


For those who enjoy angling and fly-fishing, the Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection is a treasure trove of rare and valuable books. The following are just two examples from more than 2,200 books.

The Fly maker’s hand-book, [1886?]

Containing nine coloured illustrations, this book presents 50 artificial flies for trout and grayling fishing.

The Fly maker’s hand-book, pp. 62-63

Salmon flies, [between 1890 and 1899?]

This is a fly-fishing book written by Geo. M. Kelson. With plenty of coloured illustrations, it provides details on the components of each fly, as well as the author’s comments.

Salmon flies, [between 1890 and 1899?], pp. 47-48

Children’s books

It can be challenging to work from home with kids. The Historical Children’s Literature Collection may help to distract your kids, so that you can focus on your work for awhile. Below are some chapbooks from the collection.

The two wealthy farmers; or, the history of Mr. Bragwell. Part I, [1795]

The history of Simple Simon, [1820?]

The butterfly’s ball, and the grasshopper’s feast, 1807

With all the stress and uncertainty around us, take the opportunity to dive into one of these books and relax!

BP MUR SL P B696, [date unknown]

The Open Collections cover a wide range of topics and disciplines where you can find materials to support your research, teaching, and even hobbies. In this post, we select some of our collections that are related to Canadian literature.


BC Historical Books

The goal of the BC Historical Books project is to build a single searchable database of the bibliography of British Columbia based on full-text searchable versions of the books contained therein. The result will allow scholars, students and the public unparalleled access to knowledge about our province.

The following is useful subject headings related to Canadian literature:

Pastoral literature

Juvenile literature

Canadian poetry


Related genres include:


Travel literature


Rural rhymes and the sheep thief, 1896

Snap: a legend of the lone mountain: with thirteen illustrations, 1890

Snap: a legend of the lone mountain: with thirteen illustrations, 1890, pp.94-95


UBC Library has a significant collection of small press literary magazines, most of which are held in Rare Books and Special Collections. These magazines published experimental and non-mainstream writings produced by relatively unknown authors. Some of these materials have been digitized and are available in the Open Collections.

PRISM international

PRISM international (1959 -) is a quarterly magazine out of Vancouver, British Columbia, whose mandate is to publish the best in contemporary writing and translation from Canada and around the world. Writing from PRISM has been featured in Best American Stories, Best American Essays and The Journey Prize Stories, amongst other noted publications.

Through a partnership with the UBC Creative Writing Department, UBC Library digitized all back-issues of PRISM in 2015. The full archive is available in Open Collections. To learn more about this collection, please check out this previous post.

PRISM also published a Cumulative Index Volume at their 25th anniversary, which lists all writings (through 1984) in alphabetical order by author.

Prism international, Oct 31, 1960

Prism international Cumulative Index Volume, 1 – 22, 1959 – 1984

The resources mentioned above all support full-text search. You may also be interested in this research guide: Special Collections: Canadian Literature.

The Digitization Centre is currently closed. We are continuing to work remotely, and you can reach us by emailing

Watch this site for more information and for upcoming blog posts. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @DigitizeUBC.

Keep Your Distance, 1904, from Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection

One nice thing about working with Open Collections is that we can learn from our patrons. In a previous tweet, we shared a serigraph print in original frame with a plaque reading Lake Superior, Ontario, Canadian Pacific from the Chung Collection. A patron pointed out that it looks like a painting by the Group of Seven.

Lake Superior, Ontario Canadian Pacific, [1950?]

After librarians in UBC Rare Book and Special Collections removed the frame and consulted with several people, we realized that the original design was likely by Alfred Joseph Casson, part of the Group of Seven.

The Canadian Pacific Railway commissioned a series of serigraphs for display which were produced in small runs. The print above was one of them. These images, designed by Canadian artists and photographers, such as Alfred Crocker Leighton, Peter Ewart, and Alfred Joseph Casson, were distributed to Canadian Pacific Railway agents’ offices to showcase the emerging Canadian national aesthetic and promote the opportunities for tourism and travel within the country.

The Chung Collection includes more than 200 posters, as well as other C.P.R. artwork and supplemental material. In this post, we select a few prints of landscape paintings from this collection. You can click on each image to jump to the page in Open Collections, where you can enlarge the image and read the full descriptions.

Banff Springs Hotel and Bow River Valley, [between 1920 and 1929?]

Cathedral Mountain, [between 1930 and 1939?]

West Coast, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canadian Pacific, [not before 1940]

Mount Eisenhower, [not before 1940]

Moraine Lake, Canadian Rockies, [not before 1940]

Winter in the Laurentians, [1950]

Foothills of Alberta, Canadian Pacific, [1950?]

Lynn Canal, Alaska, [1950?]

The Three Sisters Canadian Rockies, [1955?]

We hope you enjoyed this post! To view the full collection of Artwork and Images of the C.P.R., please click here.

It’s World Wildlife Day today! In this blog post, we’re going to take a look into the former environmental TV series, Westland.

The Westland TV series was broadcasted on the Knowledge Network in British Columbia from 1984 to 2007, hosted by Mike Halleran. The content of the show covers a broad range of environmental issues such as forestry practices, freshwater fisheries, endangered species, natural resource management and ecosystem restoration in British Columbia.

In 2011, both the broadcast tapes and the raw production footage were donated to the UBC Library. We have digitized 195 of the programs broadcasted as part of the Westland series. Here are some episodes about wildlife. Enjoy!

Wild in the City, 1986

Gordon Fish was a cameraman who shot films in some of the most rugged parts of BC. In this episode, he finds and photographs wildlife living in the city, including coyotes, raccoons, and deer.

Bears and Man, 1989

The International Conference on Wild Bears was held in 1989 in Victoria. In this episode, scientists from around the world discuss trade in bear parts, bear habitat, and human/bear interaction problems. Note that the man in the screenshot above is a trained scientist doing research in remote areas where such activity is safe for both the bear and himself. Please do not touch or feed wild animals.

Bear Attacks, Jan 17, 1991

In areas where bear habitat and human settlement overlap, bear attacks on people are on the rise. What to do? Watch the episode below to find out!

Wildlife and Fisheries Inventory, Feb 3, 1997

Good inventory is key to achieving resource sustainability. This episode introduces the biggest fish and wildlife inventory program ever done at that time in Canada with big horn sheep, bald eagles, and fish.

Sustaining BC’s Wildlife Heritage, May 8, 2006

British Columbia is internationally known as having huge wildlife numbers and species diversity. How do we count our wildlife species? This episode looks at the wildlife numbers in BC.

We hope you enjoyed this post. There are more fun episodes in the Westland collection. Click here and explore!

With the support of CUPE 2950 – Clerical, Library and Theatre Workers at the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia History Digitization Program, the Association of University and College Employees (AUCE) fonds is now accessible in the Open Collections.

In 1973, library and clerical workers on university and college campuses across British Columbia began organizing as a union in order to represent their collective interests. Workers at University of British Columbia (Local 1), Simon Fraser University (Local 2), Notre Dame University of Nelson (Local 3), Capilano College (Local 4), College of New Caledonia (Local 5), and the Teaching Support Staff at SFU (Local 6) organized over the next two years to collectively form the provincial wide and independent union, the Association of University and College Employees (AUCE).

The AUCE fonds consists of records related to AUCE’s provincial and local chapters activities, efforts, publications, and ephemera. Records span the Provincial and local unions’ initial accreditation in 1973, to the Provincial union disbanding in 1985, and then follow the Local 1 (UBC) chapter to its merger with CUPE in 1985 and forward into the late 2000’s.

When the union first formed, over 90% of its members were women, and one of their top concerns was equal pay for what was at the time considered “women’s work”. In 1974, AUCE Local 1 (now CUPE 2950, representing library, clerical and theatre workers at UBC) obtained the first fully funded maternity leave in Canada through their union contract. Over the next decade, they fought for wages to match the rising cost of living, transparent job classifications, childcare, and other employee benefits. They also demanded a discrimination free workplace for people of all genders, sexualities, races, and ethnicities.

[Local 1 union contracts, handbook for university staff, and provincial constitution], 1976, the 2nd item

“Workers’ voices are often not reflected in academia. By investing in our local’s history, the voices of our founding members will be preserved and honoured. Our union was organized in the library and now it will live on in the library,” said CUPE 2950 President Karen Ranalletta. (Source: the Winter 2020 issue of CUPE National’s Counterpoint Magazine).

You can explore the collection through the following series:

Executive: contains records relating to the executive functioning of the provincial union and Local 1 union chapters.

Advocacy and Bargaining: comprised of records relating to the unions’ efforts to advocate on behalf of their members and bargain as a collective unit.

Committees: contains records related to the Local 1 and AUCE committees.

AUCE Local Chapters: consists of records related to chapters 2 through 6 of the AUCE.

Correspondence and related material: consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence of AUCE Local 1, as well as related materials interfiled with correspondence.

Publications and Ephemera: features photographs, slides, third party publications, news clippings, scrapbooks, pins, posters, and other ephemera documenting current events, legislation affecting the union and its members, as well as provincial and local union strikes, protests and rallies.

We have compiled some images from the collection. Please visit the AUCE fonds to explore more!

Below you will find a poster and a photocopied diagram of the strike structure from the file [News clippings and other materials 1992 strike] in the Publication and Ephemera series, which reflects the history of the 1992 strike at UBC.

[News clippings and other materials 1992 strike], 1992, the 2nd item

[News clippings and other materials 1992 strike], 1992, the 10th item

In the Committees series, there are AUCE Local 1 newsletters dated from 1973 to 1984, and the newsletters of Canadian University Employees dated from 1986 to 1992.

Here is the AUCE Local 1 newsletter “On Campus”, the April 1981 issue.

[Local 1 Newsletters and minutes of membership meetings], 1981, the 4th element

The following comic strip is from AUCE Local 1 newsletter “Across Campus”, the August 1975 issue.

Communications, 1975, the 7th element

This one is from AUCE Local 1 newsletter “Across Campus”, the March 1980 issue.

Across Campus, March 1980


Due to copyright and privacy concerns, some items have been redacted and others have not been digitized. Please visit the RBSC finding aid to explore the fonds in full. To explore the history of the British Columbia labour movement, please check out the research guide Labour History and Archives.

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