Greg Evans might be British Columbia’s best-known beer lover; when he’s not fulfilling his duties as municipal archivist for the Township of Esquimault, he is giving public presentations throughout the province on the history of brewing and prohibition.

His passion for beer has led him to his most ambitious project yet, a two-book series documenting the history of commercial brewing in B.C. between 1858 and 1982 for the Royal British Columbia Museum and he’s using UBC Library’s B.C. Digital newspapers archive to do it.

“The digital newspaper archive is an incredible resource,” says Evans “I wish it was around when I was writing my MA thesis years ago, it would have saved me a lot of time — I’d sit for days and days scanning through microfiche.”

Greg Evans

The digital newspaper archive has enabled Evans to tell important stories about brewing in B.C., especially those in smaller communities. “I’ve been able to plug some holes in otherwise incomplete histories. In some cases, I’ve gone from a skeletal history to something that is quite fleshed out.”

Evans’ work involves scouring the 163 newspapers currently available through the archive for any mentions of beer, brewing and pivotal figures within the industry in articles and even advertisements. 

“Prior to World War One, the world was a very different place and the advertisements reflect that, says Evans, “Some are hilarious and contain things the government would never allow you to say now, with taglines like ‘Beer that builds backbone’.”


The archive has also allowed Evans to analyze the enormous impact of prohibition on B.C. brewing’s history. Prohibition was not well-received in B.C.; the province was the last to adopt it in 1917 and first to repeal, and it nearly decimated the industry. “Prohibition was a huge failure in B.C., ” explains Evans, “There was significant confusion and many allegations of corruption. It was a fiasco from start to finish. When troops came home from World War I and realized they couldn’t have a beer, there were riots. The repeal in 1921 was when things really changed.”


The B.C. Historical Newspapers’ project manager Rob Stibravy, who is a Digital Projects Librarian in the UBC Library’s Digital Programs & Services, is thrilled that the BC newspaper archive is making the province’s history more accessible and projects like Evans’ possible. “It’s gratifying to see the archive being used to enhance projects like this one.”

Evans’ first book is expected to be released in 2018.

Explore the B.C. Historical newspaper archive and access 129 years of B.C.’s news.

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Historical photo

Cover of the 1969 annual report of the Okanagan Historical Society

The history of the Okanagan Valley since 1926 is now available to researchers and genealogists, thanks to UBC’s Okanagan Library and UBC Library’s Digital Initiatives unit.

Nearly 70 volumes of the Okanagan Historical Society’s annual reports were recently digitized – featuring stories and pictures of families, individuals, businesses and events that define life in the Okanagan Valley.

The Okanagan History is one of the longest, continually published historical periodicals in British Columbia. The annual 240-page publication covers a large geographic area and includes input from branch members including Armstrong-Enderby, Kelowna, Oliver-Osoyoos, Penticton, Salmon Arm, the Similkameen, Summerland and Vernon.

The reports have been used for teaching and learning for decades, from physical geography to cultural studies. The digital collection features 15,600 pages, dating from 1926 to the present (the most recent years of issues are embargoed).

“The content that has been made publicly available through this joint initiative between the Okanagan Historical Society and UBC Library will be a tremendous benefit to not only our UBC students, but to all researchers who take an interest in the fascinating history of the Okanagan Valley,” says Heather Berringer, Deputy Chief Librarian at UBC’s Okanagan Library. “We are incredibly pleased to have been able to support digitization efforts that bring our community to the world.”

The collection is now available online in UBC Library’s digital collections, but an official launch celebrating the digitization of the OHS Reports will be held on Saturday, September 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Kelowna Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. For more information on the launch, contact

For questions about the project, contact Bronwen Sprout, Digital Initiatives Coordinator, at

For more information on the Okanagan Historical Society, please visit its website.

Photo courtesy of the Chung Collection

Photo courtesy of the Chung Collection

UBC Library is proud to unveil a documentary film and a book looking at the fascinating stories behind the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection – a designated national treasure that was donated to the Library in 1999.

The book, Golden Inheritance: The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection at UBC Library, provides an overview of UBC alumnus Dr. Chung and his family, profiles the dedication and dynamics behind the Chung Collection, and offers an in-depth examination of its three themes: early B.C. history, immigration and settlement, and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Passage of Dreams: The Chung Collection is a documentary that features the stories of Dr. Chung’s childhood love of collecting Canadian Pacific artifacts and memorabilia.

The Chung Collection is housed in the Rare Books and Special Collections on Level 1 of UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and is open to the public.

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