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.


The first photographic technologies were invented and developed during the 1830s and 1840s. Among more than 56,000 available photographs in UBC Open Collections, many of our oldest photographs were taken in the early periods of photographic history.

1854: Early timber cruisers beside their makeshift accommodation

MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds contain the records of the MacMillan Bloedel Ltd and are housed in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. The collection has more than 2,500 images documenting the history of the forestry company and its predecessors. The oldest pictures of the timber cruisers and makeshift accommodations were known to be taken in 1854, prior to when the original company, Powell River Power Company, was launched in 1909 by two entrepreneurs.


Early timber cruisers beside their makeshift accommodation, [1854?].

Early timber cruisers beside their makeshift accommodation, [1854?].


1859: Florence Nightingale

In the Florence Nightingale Letters Collection, you can find 188 letters written from and to Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) and 15 photographs relevant to her. Our oldest photographic portrait of her was taken in 1850s, before she started the first professional nurses training school, the Nightingale Training School (Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery at Kins College London) in 1860.


Florence Nightingale, [between 1850 to 1859].


1835: View of the Beaver (grounded) in Burrard Inlet, B. C.

You can find the oldest photographs we have in the UBC Library Framed Works Collection, which include two pictures of the Beaver, the first wooden paddle steamer on the Northwest Coast. The steamship started its sailing on May 2, 1835, near London, England and arrived at Vancouver on April 10, 1836. In 1888, the steamer was wrecked in the First Narrows in Vancouver Harbour.


[View of the Beaver (grounded) in Burrard Inlet, B. C.].

[View of the Beaver in Burrard Inlet, B.C.].

How can you find our oldest photographs in Open Collections?

If you would like to explore more vintage photographs, you can search them in Open Collections as follows:

1. Go to Open Collections ( and click a search button without any keywords.

2. Select “Photographs” in Genre.

3. Select “Sort oldest to newest”.

4. Filter by “Date Range” from 1835. (If you don’t set the date range, you will see the materials whose dates are unknown.)



See also

Correction (June 21, 2019): In the original post, we introduced the Beaver’s photos as the oldest photographs in the Open Collections. After we posted, we figured out that the first photo was known to be taken between 1888 and 1892, and the second photo was between 1839 and 1888. We edited this blog post, and will change the items’ metadata.


This year, UBC spring graduation ceremonies take place on May 22-24 and 27-30 at our Vancouver campus, and June 6-7 at our Okanagan campus. Congratulations to all of the new graduates!

In Open Collections, you can find photographs of past graduation ceremonies in the UBC Archives Photograph Collection:


UBC 1.1/13351. First Congregation program cover, 1912.


UBC 156.1/200. Congregation procession, 1924.


UBC 1.1/12136-2. View of students at spring congregation, 1938.











UBC 3.1/177-6. View of Congregation ceremony, 1946.


UBC 1.1/12155-3. View of congregation, 1966.


UBC 35.1/86-7. Conferring degrees at Congregation, 1981.


UBC 35.1/195-5. View of audience at Congregation, 1991.


UBC 35.1/508. Honorary degree recipient Irving Barber speaking at Congregation, 2002.


Also, in the UBC Congregation Video Collection, you can find video recordings of graduation or congregation ceremonies from 1986 to 2018.


Watch video!

University of British Columbia Ceremonies and Events Office. UBC Congregation Ceremony [1986_05_28_am], 1986.


You can find more resources in our Open Collections. Have a wonderful graduation ceremony this year!


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 S.F.U. (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).


Association of University and College Employees. Communications (2 of 2), 1980.


AUCE 1 was the first union in Canada to negotiate maternity leave benefits, a historic win for Canadians across the country and still a leave provision that is envied by many countries around the world. Over the next decade AUCE also fought for fair wages, transparent job classifications, child care, and a discrimination-free workplace for people of all genders, sexualities, races, and ethnicities.


Association of University and College Employees. [Provincial Bargaining Strategies conference records], 1982.


The recently launched AUCE Fonds digital collection is a project that was undertaken with the support of CUPE 2950 – Clerical, Library and Theatre Workers at the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia History Digitization Program. With the project having finished its first year, the AUCE Fonds project has made available 13,000 pages of more than 3,100 digital objects and digitization is continuing into the second year of the project.


Association of University and College Employees. Cap Communicator (vol. 2, no. 3), 1977.


In 1987, AUCE members voted to become a chartered local union of the CUPE, CUPE Local 2950. They are an operating local chapter today and is one of the first trade unions in the province to make its records freely available. The digitized materials include newsletters, meeting minutes, correspondence, collective agreements, and ephemera and will appeal to researchers in labour studies, women’s studies, political science, economics, and sociology.


Association of University and College Employees. [Organizing new locals], 1981.


Explore the collection through the following themes:

Materials are still being digitized and added to the collection.

For more information on the project and to view the growing collection, please visit 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.


Charles Darwin (1809-1882), a world-famous naturalist who introduced the concept of natural selection, was known to have exchanged letters with colleagues to discuss their shared interests in nature and animals. In one of our Open Collections, Charles Darwin Letters, you can browse 52 digitized letters written to and from Darwin. This post will explore two sub-collections acquired by UBC Woodward Library.

Darwin-Burdon-Sanderson Letters – 1873-1881

Darwin-Burdon-Sanderson Letters collection has about 40 handwritten letters corresponded between Charles Darwin and John Scott Burdon-Sanderson (1828-1905), an English physiologist and the first Superintendent of the Brown Animal Sanatory Institution. Woodward Library purchased the letters as a part of a collection from Dr. Hugh M. Sinclair (1910-1990), a lecturer in physiology and biochemistry at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1966.

In 1873, Darwin and Burdon-Sanderson started their collaborative research on insect-eating plants, particularly Drosera and Dionaea. Their letters in our collection, exchanged during 1873-1881, discussed their experiments on the plants’ digestive powers and leaf movements. Eventually, Darwin published the results of their research as part of his book, Insectivorous Plants (1875).

Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882.  [Letter, Charles R. Darwin to John Burdon-Sanderson, June 24, 1873], 1873-06-24.

Fox/Pearce (Darwin) Collection – 1821-1884

Fox/Pearce (Darwin) Collection consists of family records of the Fox branch of Darwin’s family, such as letters, observations, photographs and newspaper clips. Woodward Library purchased the collection from Captain Christopher Pearce, a descendant of the Fox family residing in Vancouver Island in 1970.

One important figure in the collection is Charles Darwin’s second cousin, William Darwin Fox (1805-1880). Like Charles, William was also a naturalist and an entomologist interested in collecting beetles. He was credited as the person who invited Charles to the world of entomology. As close friends, Charles and William maintained their relationship by writing letters to each other and sharing their interests in their fields.

Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882. [Letter, Charles R. Darwin to William Darwin Fox, June 8, 1856], 1856-06-08.

We hope you can find Darwin’s passion and enthusiasm for nature and animals through his handwritten letters. To see all of the physical materials in their entirety, please visit UBC Rare Books and Special Collections.




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