This exhibit takes place at IKBLC from April 1 to 28, 2017, as a collaboration between the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre’s Community Engagement & Programs Division and the Roedde House Museum.  A re-mounting of an earlier three-part exhibit on three families called Victorian Vancouver: Family Portraits, this exhibit illustrates how migrant families in early 20th century Vancouver fostered their own sites of commerce, community, and culture.   The exhibit tells the stories of the Roedde’s and their printing business and the Lam family of Ho Sun Hing printers, the city’s first Chinese-English print shop.  This exhibit is a side-by-side story of these two early migrant family printers in Vancouver.  Ho Sun Hing Printers was Vancouver’s first Chinese-English print shop, founded by Lam family patriarch, Lam Lat Tong.


Image credit: The Lam Family

The shop was one of the oldest operating print businesses, with its final location in Vancouver’s historical Chinatown, closing recently in 2013 after being in business for more than a hundred years.  Although the Roedde House Museum does not house any of the Ho Sun Hing materials that were on display in 2014, this exhibit’s items are lent to the Museum by third-generation printer, Norman Lam.  Norman also graciously took the time to share his family’s story of migration to Canada, working in the print shop, and growing up in Chinatown.

The Roedde House Museum is a fully-restored and refurnished Victorian home in the West End.  Now a local hub for concerts, lectures, readings, and all sorts of community art, historical, and cultural events, the Roedde House is a “living museum” inviting guests to interact with the home and its artefacts to imagine what life was life for an upper-class migrant family at the turn of the 20th century.

Who were the Roedde’s?

Image credit: the Roedde House Museum

Gustav Roedde was one of the city’s first bookbinders and urban settlers. He was born in 1860 in Thuringen, Germany. He trained as a printer and bookbinder in Leipzig, Germany’s famed “City of Books”. In 1882 he emigrated to Ohio USA. There he met and married Matilda Cassebohm. In 1886 the couple moved to Canada and started a family and bookbinding and printing business. The house on 1415 Barclay Street was built for them in the year 1893. The Roedde home remains an important part of Vancouver History as one of the few Heritage Houses remaining and restored from a pivotal time in the beginnings in modern Vancouver.

With the growth of fast digital technology and communication today, we often take print for granted. But back in Gustav’s time, books and print were a major mode of communication. Vancouver as a settler city and colony, was able to develop businesses, industry, journalism, travel and of course, a government. It is arguable that print and book production by pioneers like Gustav, were solely responsible for the type of communication needed to grow these very sectors of the city we live in today. A new city was for migrants like Gustav, new opportunity. There was a common saying at the time to “Take it to the Roedde’s” whenever locals had printing or bookbinding needs.

This exhibit takes place April 1 to 28th, at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (2nd level)

For questions, please contact the Community Engagement Librarian (Allan Cho) or Program Services Assistant (Kristen Wong)


Culinary historian Robert Sung will be giving a talk in which foodies will take delight.  As part of the current exhibition in the Chung Collection room, highlighting historical food menus from the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), Sung’s talk highlights the historical period of the menus in Canadian history.  The menus feature mountains, lakes, forests, Mounties and even some CPR advertising for travel packages to destinations in Canada and around the world.

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections teamed up with local historian Larry Wong to create the exhibit. Wong, author of Dim Sum Stories, curated a series of menus for the exhibition, “Bon Voyage / Bon Appétit: Menus from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s Ships, Trains, Planes, and Hotels.”

UBC Library’s Chung Collection contains more than 1,000 menus, ranging from the 1890s to 1980s.  The majority of the menus are in English, but there are a few unique menus in Chinese, Japanese, French and even German. Featuring unique historical delicacies, these menus offer a glimpse of “the elegance of dining” in the early days, says Wong.

The exhibition features CPR menus exclusively, but local foodies can also enjoy a few digitized menus from Vancouver’s Chinatown. Six menus are currently online and there are plans to add more over the summer.  The exhibition is currently on display in the Chung Collection exhibition room until the end of 2014.

About the Speaker
Bobby Hot Pot color 2-1Robert (Bob) Sung is currently the President of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia.  A Fourth-­Generation Canadian, Bob has a passion for culinary arts & history. He was educated at the University of Hawaii for Business Administration and at the Dubrulle Culinary Institute for Professional Culinary Training. For over twenty-­‐five years, his personal & business life have revolved around the Food & Hospitality Industry. Bob’s purpose is to educate and entertain from a culinary & cultural approach. In terms of outreach, he is a member of both the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee, and serves as an advisor to the Asian Heritage Month Society.

Wednesday November 19, 2014, 12.00PM to 1.00PM, Dodson Room (Rm 302), at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Since 2008, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has collaborated with UBC Library, the History Department, researchers, interested individuals and community organizations across Canada on this program.   As a community engagement initiative, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has collaborated with twenty-seven community organizations funded by the CHRP in promoting the Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past web portal.

Summer Workshop (10 Aug 2010 & 12 Aug 2010)

January 8, 2011 – Oral History Workshop, Chinatown

January 15, 2011 - CHRP Community Workshop at IKBLC

June 11, 2011 – Chinatown Workshop

July 12-14, 2011 – CHRP Digitization Workshop

On June 28, 2013 at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, a historic summit of two groups of WWII veterans that faced discrimination: the Tuskegee Airmen and Chinese-Canadian soldiers was held. Meeting for the first time ever, these aging veterans will share their stories with the public on how they overcame prejudice to serve their countries with courage and distinction. The Tuskegee Airmen are African-American pilots who fought in World War II. Formally, they formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Corps (United States Army Air Forces after 20 June 1941).

While most of their ranks have passed away, a few remaining veterans, now mostly in their late 80s and 90s, will meet to share their stories.  During WWII, the Tuskegee airmen were the first group of African-American aviators to fly in combat for the US armed forces. At the time, the American military was still racially segregated. Many felt African-Americans lacked the intelligence and skill to perform anything beyond basic, menial tasks in military duty. Despite this segregation and prejudice, the Tuskegee Airmen went on to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups in the war. They were dubbed “the Red Tails” after one fighter group painted their P47s and later P51s with a red tail.  Please join us for this historic occasion.  This UBC opening symposium took place on June 28, 2013, 2013 at the Victoria Learning Theatre (Room 182), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre as part of the Chapman Discussion Series.

Panelists include:  Col. Charles McGee, Lt. Robert Ashby, Bill Norwood, Col. Dick Tolliver (Tuskegee Airmen); Col. Howe Lee, George Chow, Neil Chen, Frank Wong (Chinese-Canadian Veterans); Moderated by Don Chapman

Select Books and Articles Available at UBC for more research

Horn, B. (2008). Show No Fear: Daring Actions in Canadian Military History. Dundurn. [Link]

Moye, J. T. (2010). Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. OUP USA. [Link]

Percy, W. A. (2003). Jim Crow and Uncle Sam: The Tuskegee Flying Units and the US Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II. The Journal of Military History67(3), 773-810. [Link]

Select UBC Library Research Guides on this topic

Political Science

Canadian Studies

Tuskeegee Airmen and Chinese-Canadian war vets

Hear the unique and historical stories from two distinguished war-time veterans’ groups from the US and Canada. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces and faced discrimination within the military and as civilians. In Canada, Chinese-Canadian war vets faced similar societal problems of non-acceptance. Representatives from both groups will come together for this opening symposium to share their personal stories of dedication, courage and acceptance. Note: this is the first of five community events leading into the Canada Day long weekend. Learn more about this event and find out about other events in this historic summit.

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by Richmond Public Library as part of the “The Joy Of Reading: Chinese Literature Appreciation” lecture series. This talk focuses on living and writing between two cultures, Chinese and Canadian. Racial hybridity has informed most of Professor Wah’s writing and that of many Chinese-Canadian writers. Wah will read and discuss his own book Diamond Grill (about growing up in a small town Chinese-Canadian restaurant), as well as writings by poets Rita Wong, Larissa Lai, Weyman Chan, and others. He will situate this writing within the recent historical context in North America of “writing through race.” Presented by Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Professor Emeritus Fred Wah.


Canadian Parlimentary Poet Laureate and Emeritus Professor Fred Wah has been writing poetry for over 50 years. Among his list of impressive achievements, Wah has been the recipient of the Governor General’s Award (Waiting in Saskatchewan), Alberta’s Stephanson Award (So Far), the Dorothy Livesay prize for poetry (is a door), Alberta’s Howard O’Hagan Award for short fiction (Diamond Grill), and the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Literary Criticism in English Canada (Faking it: Poetics and Hybridity).

Select Books Available at UBC Library

Wah, Fred. (2009). is a door. Vancouver, BC: Talonbooks. Link:

Wah, Fred. (2008). Sentenced to Light. Vancouver, BC: Talonbooks. Link:

Wah, Fred. (2006). Diamond Grill. Edmonton, AB: NeWest. Link:

UBC Library Research Guides

Literature Review

Chinese Canadians

Asian Canadian Studies

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





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