UBC Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections has acquired the first item ever printed in the city of Vancouver. The first edition of The Vancouver Weekly Herald and North Pacific News was published on Friday, January 15, 1886.

Printed in seven columns, the front page of the newspaper contains many local advertisements, histories of the Granville and Vancouver townsites, reportage of the meeting of locals to draft a request for incorporation and a column entitled “The Chinese Question”. According to research to date, it is the only surviving copy.

Its publisher, Richard H. Alexander, was an Overlander who came to British Columbia in 1862 and was active in various enterprises, including working at and managing Hastings Mill in the 1870s. He later occupied many influential positions in Vancouver business and politics.

“We’re thrilled to be acquiring this item,” says Katherine Kalsbeek, Head, Rare Books & Special Collections, “One of our core mandates is to collect and preserve materials that directly relate to the history of British Columbia. We are committed to developing this core component of our collection.”

The item was acquired through a private seller and will be added to the Library’s Chung Collection, a collection of archival documents, photographs, books and artifacts related to three broad themes: British Columbia History, Immigration and Settlement and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.  “Because of the content in some of the articles, this item would be a welcome addition to our Chung Collection” adds Kalsbeek.

The newspaper, which is just beginning to separate along its edges and has slight mottling and staining, can be viewed in person by booking a tour of UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections. 

 View the digitized newspaper in our Open Collections.



The Chung Collection within Open Collections is known for its variety of photos and subjects. Recently, we took a journey through the menus within the collection- here are a few for your enjoyment:



Does anyone know what the first a la carte menu item- “Chow Chow- 15” is? I’d be willing to try it for fifteen cents.


The “Degree of Sweetness” for the wines in this roomservice menu raise more questions than they answer–why only sweetness? Why is the scale 0-3?


This type-written menu went to press a bit too early, and Chocolate Jelly had to be removed. (I would have rather had the Cheese Cakes, myself)


The steamship service menu in 1930 seems amazing! Not to besmirch the White Spot restaurants on the BC Ferries, but….


We hope you enjoy the long weekend, good food, and this tour through parties and Thanksgivings past in our collections:

in 1888, the Regina Lodge in Vancouver was charging $4 to attend a Social Ball and Supper:

Turkey was the thing by 1913, as Women’s Words of Western Canada encourages a poultry raising cottage industry:


Enthusiastic conversation at an unidentified dinner party in the 1940’s:

Excellent fashions at a similar party:


A visually impressive Masonic Dinner:

And those who make it all happen, the cooks (from a 1959 Faculty Club dinner):


Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year? What are your favourite traditions?

UBC Library's Chung Collection is cited by Lonely Planet as one of the top attractions to visit in Vancouver.

The Pacific Canada Heritage Centre (PCHC) is offering an exclusive event–a guided tour of UBC’s Chung Collection with the collector himself Dr. Wallace Chung–for active Volunteers and Members!

If you are an active volunteer or member and haven’t received an email invite, please update your contact with Eleanor at pchcmom.intern@gmail.com. Pre-register soon, as spots are limited!

Date and Time: Friday, August 26, 2016 (10:30am-12:00pm)

Meeting Spot: Outside Rare Books and Special Collections Department (bottom floor of Irving K Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC)
Pre-Registration and inquiries: pchcmom.intern@gmail.comCome join PCHC-MoM for a tour of UBC’s treasured Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, guided by Dr. Wallace Chung, the collector himself. The Chung Collection, housed in the Rare Books and Special Collections department in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, is a beautiful and extensive research collection made up of more than 25, 000 rare and unique items relating to Chinese-Canadian history. The collection includes documents, books, maps, posters, paintings, photographs, silver, glass, ceramic ware, and more, and is a window into the lives of early Chinese-Canadian migrants. Come listen to Dr. Chung recount stories about these items and learn more about the details and anecdotes behind his extensive collection.

As the collection contains many precious and historically significant items, bags are not permitted inside. Please expect to have your bags and belongings put aside in lockers before entering the room. If you are taking notes, please use pencil only, as accidental ink marks can ruin artefacts. Thanks for your consideration!

Each May, Canadians commemorate Asian Heritage Month by recognizing and celebrating Asian Canadians’ rich contributions to our country. The public is invited to the Library at UBC’s Vancouver campus to experience multiple exhibitions and to explore our collections online and in-person!

Attend an exhibition:




The Changing Landscape: Views of Asian Settlement in British Columbia
May 9 – June 24, 2016

Level 2 foyer by Room 241, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
1961 East Mall, Vancouver, B.C.

It’s About Time: A Retrospective of Asian Presence at UBC – an exhibit by UBC’s Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program

May 2 – 31, 2016

Level 2 foyer, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
1961 East Mall, Vancouver, B.C.

MEM: memory • memorial no. 7 scriptorium – a book art installation by Naomi Kasumi

March 15 – May 31, 2016

Asian Centre
1871 West Mall, Vancouver, B.C.

Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection – a permanent exhibition with highlights from more than 25,000 rare and unique items on early BC history and Chinese immigration and settlement

Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Room 110, Rare Books and Special Collection
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, Vancouver, B.C.

Search the collection online


Portrait of Chinese family, ca. 1920 (CC_PH_00330)

Portrait of Chinese family, ca. 1920 (CC_PH_00330)

Explore some of our collections: 

View of the Chung Collection

View of the Chung Collection, a permanent exhibition free and open to the public.

Great Reads at Asian Library
Borrow a new book from our leisure reading collection at Asian Library that includes Japanese manga comics and Chinese cookbooks.

Enjoy movies? Check out our great collection of Canadian and foreign-language films related to the experiences of the Asian diaspora around the world.

Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era
Our Rare Books and Special Collections department holds one of the world’s largest collections of maps and guidebooks of the Japanese Tokugawa period, ca. 1600-1867. The entire collection has been digitized for easy online exploration.

Yip Sang Collection
This collection, located at the City of Vancouver Archives, was digitized by UBC Library. Yip Sang established the import and export firm of Wing Sang Company in Vancouver in 1888. A key figure in the Chinese and business communities, he was a driving force in the establishment of the Chinese Benevolent Association in the city.

In celebration of Family Day we are sharing some of our favorite family portraits found within our digital collections. Want to see more? Simply type in “family” in on our digital collections page! Refine your search to only find images within specific collections. Click on the images to see them enlarged.

What are your plans for the long weekend?




 Which one was your favorite? 

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