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. 



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.




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.



The Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs contains postcards, family photo albums, and ephemera from the 1850s through the 1970s. The collection of over 18,000 photographs was donated to UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections by Uno and Dianne Langmann. A portion of these photographs have been digitized and are accessible through Open Collections.

In addition to 79 photograph albums (containing 8,893 photographs), the digital collection contains 1,527 postcards. These postcards depict a range of subjects including landscapes, buildings and streets, parks, and bodies of water. Many of the postcards feature images taken by important photographers, including George Alfred Barrowclough, Leonard Frank, and Philip T. Timms. To provide a starting point for exploring the Uno Langmann postcards, we have compiled a brief profile for each of these three photographers, along with some representative postcards from the collection.

George Alfred Barrowclough

Born in England in 1872, George Alfred Barrowclough immigrated to Canada as a child with his family. In 1906, he moved from Winnipeg to the Lower Mainland, where he lived with his brother in Burnaby before moving to Vancouver in 1909.

The majority of Barrowclough’s postcards are from 1908-1912. The photographs focus on typical scenes, buildings, and popular destinations in and around Vancouver:

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Carnegie Library, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Tally ho, Vancouver here, [between 1900 and 1910?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Post Office, Vancouver, B.C., [not after 1910].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Big Tree Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Capilano Bridge, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].


Notably, Barrowclough also took pictures of news events, like these photos of a streetcar crash and rubble from a fire:

Barrowclough, George Alfred. A bad smash between a drug store window and a st. car, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Ruins by Fire, Vancouver, 1907.


And sometimes, his captions sometimes featured a bit of humor:

Barrowclough, George Alfred. On Strike for a Wider Road in Stanley Park, B.C., [between 1900 and 1910?]

Leonard Frank

Born in 1870 in Germany, Leonard Frank immigrated to San Francisco in 1892 during the gold rush. Although he never found gold, he won a camera in a raffle, and then moved north to Alberni, B.C. in 1894. He ran a general store and started a small studio there, then relocated to Vancouver in 1917, where he became a prominent commercial photographer.

The Uno Langmann collection contains 84 postcards featuring Leonard Frank photographs. Several of the photographs in the collection are landscapes, featuring locations across B.C.:

Frank, Leonard. Canadian Rockies, 1927.

Frank, Leonard. Capilano River and Lions, 1927.


This photograph was taken in Alberni, B.C., before Leonard Frank moved to Vancouver:

Frank, Leonard. Sproat Lake, V.I., [between 1905 and 1916?]


Like most postcard photographers, Leonard Frank also photographed buildings and attractions in Vancouver:

Frank, Leonard. Hotel Vancouver, 1927.

Frank, Leonard. Corner of Hastings & Granville Streets, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Frank, Leonard. English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Frank, Leonard. Vancouver, B.C., 1927.

Philip T. Timms

Philip Timms had a long and impressive career: born in 1874 in Toronto, he finally retired in 1968, after a 70-year career as a photographer. His photographs feature scenes from both the Lower Mainland and northern British Columbia. In addition to his independent work, he was the official photographer for the Vancouver Museum.

Timms, Philip T. Some retail shops, Granville St., Vancouver, B.C., [between 1903 and 1912?].

Timms, Philip T. Keep Left – Stanley Park, [1905].

Timms, Philip T. S.S. Princess Victoria, leaving dock, Vancouver, B.C., [1906].

Timms, Philip T. Choose ye, the farm or the city, Vancouver, B.C., [1906].

Timms, Philip T. Popular Stopping Place : Meals, Rooms, Cabins, Rest. Fraser Canyon, B.C., [1945].

Timms, Philip T. [Taking photographs of Bowen Island].


You can check out the rest of the Uno Langmann postcards here, or visit the Uno Langmann Collection page to browse by subject or date.


In the early 19th century, the Scottish naturalist and explorer John Richardson traveled with Sir William Franklin in search of the Northwest Passage. He recorded the scientific findings of these expeditions in two works: Flora boreali-americana (1833-1840) and Fauna boreali-americana (1829-1837). The latter is a four-volume text about the animals of North America and the Arctic. Although John Richardson was the primary author, the ornithologist William John Swainson assisted with part two (The Birds), and the entomologist William Kirkby assisted with part four (The Insects).

UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections holds copies of the four volumes of Flora boreali-Americana. Both texts have been digitized as part of the BC Historical Books collection. For this post, we have selected a few of our favorite images and descriptions from each volume. You can click on each image to jump to the page in Open Collections, where you can read the authors’ descriptions of the animals.

Part I: Mammalia

Grisly Bear


Rocky-Mountain Neotoma

“It is very destructive. In the course of a single night, the fur traders who have encamped in a place frequented by these animals have sustained much loss, by their packs of furs being gnawed, their blankets cut in pieces, and many small articles carried entirely” away. Mr. Drummond placed a pair of stout English shoes on the shelf of a rock, and, as he thought, in perfect security, but on his return, after an absence of a few days, he found them gnawed into fragments as fine as saw-dust.”

Rocky-Mountain Goat


Part Second: The Birds

Great Cinereous Owl

“It is common on the borders of Great Bear Lake; and there and in the higher parallels of latitude it must pursue its prey, during the summer months, by daylight. It keeps, however, within the woods, and does not frequent the barren grounds, like the Snowy Owl, nor is it so often met with in broad daylight as the Hawk-Owl, but hunts principally when the sun is low; indeed, it is only at such times, when the recesses of the woods are deeply shadowed, that the American hare and the murine animals, on which the Cinereous Owl chiefly preys, come forth to feed.”

The Arctic Blue-bird

The Common Golden Eye


Part Third: The Fish

American Perch

 “This fish has a close resemblance to the river Perch of Europe. Our specimen was taken in Lake Huron, where it frequents steep banks and affords much sport to the angler from the eagerness with which it snaps at the bait. In the month of May it spawns and then resorts in great numbers to the mouths of rivulets. It does not, as far as I could learn, exist in any of the streams that flow into Hudson’s Bay or the Arctic sea, and most probably it does not range farther north than the 49th or 50th parallels of latitude, between which the rivers that fall into the chain of Great Canadian Lakes originate.”

Ross’s Arctic Salmon

Back’s Grayling

This volume also includes some exceptionally creepy illustrations – while not included in this blog post, you can view them in Open Collections if you are curious!


Part the Fourth and Last: Insects

Each of these plates contains multiple numbered figures showing different species:


Established in 1959 and published quarterly, PRISM international is the oldest literary magazine in Western Canada. 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. All issues are available with a one-year embargo ­– so, consider subscribing to read the most recent issues!

To get a sense of the content published in PRISM international, you can peruse the 25-year (Winter 1984) and 50-year (Winter 2010) retrospective issues by clicking on the covers below:


Authors featured in the 25-year retrospective issue include prominent writers such as Margaret Laurence, Robert Kroetsch, A.K. Ramanujan, Margaret Atwood, and Jorge Luis Borges. The editors also opted to feature “unexpected writers”, “represent[ing] the growth, directions, and trends of the magazine since its inception” (Introduction). The 50th anniversary issue includes a few of the same pieces and authors as the 25-year retrospective issue, as well as featuring writing by Michael Ondaatje, Ken Babstock, Carol Shields, and others.

PRISM also published a Cumulative Index Volume for their 25th anniversary, which lists all writings (through 1984) in alphabetical order by author. For example, this shows all of Margaret Atwood’s publications in PRISM to date:

If you are curious about a specific author’s work in PRISM after 1984, you can search Open Collections to pull up issues including that author’s name.

Do you have a favourite issue of PRISM, or a favourite poem, fiction, or non-fiction piece from a past issue? Let us know in the comments!


In the spirit of the holiday season, enjoy these wintery images from Open Collections.

Check out these beautiful photographs of a snowy UBC campus, from the UBC Archives Photograph collection:

Photograph by Leonard Frank, UBC 1.1/1299 Sundial in Botanical gardens in the snow, 1926.

UBC 23.1/67. UBC Library in the snow, [1948?].

UBC 1.1/2047. UBC campus snow scene, 1969.


From the Chung Collection, this 1928 Canadian Pacific Railway Company menu advertises various winter sports in Banff:

Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Winter sports at Banff, 1928.


Also, check out this ski holidays poster from 1941:

Ewart, Peter. Banff-Lake Louise region Canadian Rockies via Canadian Pacific, 1941.


The Tremaine Arkley Croquet collection features retro Christmas cards:

[Christmas card depicting children playing croquet], [between 1910 and 1919?].

Bright and happy be your Christmas, [between 1890 and 1899?].


These photos from the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs show Vancouver and North Vancouver covered in snow:

Granville St., Vancouver, B.C., Jan 13 ’09, 1909.

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C. after fall of snow, [not before 1910].

Suspension Bridge, First Capilano Canyon, Vancouver, B.C., Length 450 Feet, [between 1924 and 1949?].

Wardlaw, John. Winter sports, Grouse Mountain Park, North Vancouver, B.C., [between 1922 and 1941?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. A Winter Sunset on English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].


Finally, we hope you’re a bit warmer than these two today:

Bullock-Webster, Harry. 45° below zero–and he’s lost the matches, 1880.

The iconic Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, is prominently featured in the Chung Collection. The Empress Hotel was designed by architect Francis Rattenbury in the “Chateau style” (also known as the Châteauesque style). This was an architectural style based on French Renaissance architecture common to many of the grand railway hotels.

Because the Empress Hotel is architecturally significant, it was named a National Historic Site of Canada in 1981. According to the Parks Canada Directory of Federal Heritage Designations:

The architect, Francis M. Rattenbury, followed the practice of the Canadian Pacific Railway in employing the Chateau style, identifiable by the steep slate roof and the Gothic Revival gables. Rattenbury modified this style using a symmetrical plan and flanking pavilions which give a strong vertical emphasis to the design. These elements make the Empress Hotel an important transitional building in the development of the Chateau style, which emerged as a distinctively Canadian approach to railway hotel building.

The hotel was initially built during 1904-1908. This photograph shows the site before the hotel was constructed:

[Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC], [1905?].

CPR published a short description of Victoria, just before the hotel was completed, in their 1907 “Challenge of the Mountains” pamphlet. Note the city’s population:

The challenge of the mountains, 1907, p. 75-76.

A few hours steam from Vancouver is Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Across the Straits of Georgia daily plies the fast new Canadian Pacific Railway steamer ” Princess Victoria,” passing through a world of small islands, comparable to the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence, though with infinitely finer timber. Victoria itself is acity of lovely homes and the seat of the Provincial Government, its Parliament buildings being one of the handsomest piles on the continent. This city is of singular beauty and has a population of over 30,000. There is now nearing completion a palatial hotel by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which will be completed during the coming summer. Beacon Hill Park, 300 acres in extent, is no less beautiful than Stanley Park.

Additional photographs can be found in other CPR publications from around the same time:

The challenge of the mountains, 1908, p. 76.

Shortly after opening, the hotel underwent two major expansions – first in 1910-1912 by W.S. Painter, and again in 1928 by J.W. Orrock.

Travelers could reach Victoria by using Canadian Pacific Steamships’ Triangle Service, which connected Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle. This pamphlet includes deck plans for the steamships, a map of the route, and other details:

Triangle service, 1922.
(Click to view the full pamphlet.)

The Triangle Service operated until the early 1960s, when BC Ferries became the transportation mode of choice for Victoria-Vancouver travel.

After arriving at the Empress Hotel, guests could take advantage of the hotel’s many amenities and Victoria’s ample activities, including “motoring, yachting, sea and stream fishing, shooting and all-year golf”. The nearby Crystal Garden – an indoor conservatory and swimming pool – was also a popular destination.

Pamphlet cover: Crystal Garden, Victoria, B.C., 1927.
(Click to view the full pamphlet.)

Lantern slide: [Crystal Garden at Victoria], [between 1910 and 1929?].

The Crystal Garden still exists today as an event space within the Victoria Conference Centre.

If you’re curious to know what visiting the Empress Hotel was like in the past, you can explore menus, pamphlets, and other ephemera produced by the hotel. Here are a few of our favorites.

This 1929 pamphlet includes photographs of the interior, floor plans of the hotel, and more:

Empress Hotel, Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C., 1929. 
(Click to view the full pamphlet.)


Wondering what it used to cost to stay at the Empress? This 1939 pamphlet shows rates for the different rooms:

Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada’s evergreen playground, 1939.
(Click to view the full pamphlet.)


Here’s the hotel coffee shop menu from sometime after 1940:

Trifold menu from the Empress Hotel Coffee Shop, [not before 1940].


This room service menu and directory includes this fun listing, “The ABC’s of the Empress”:

The Empress room service menu & directory, [not before 1960], p. 4.


Finally, this Canadian Pacific Hotels pamphlet from 1962 includes a colour photograph of the Empress:

Canadian Pacific Hotels from sea to sea, [1962], p. 24.

You can explore many more Empress Hotel materials by searching within the Chung Collection.  Find something exciting? Let us know in the comments!


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