Now that the rainy season is finally ending, we’re ready to enjoy British Columbia’s beautiful beaches. For this post, we gathered together historic photos of B.C. beaches, from right here in the Lower Mainland to Powell River.

Starting locally, we found several photos of beaches at and near UBC in the UBC Archives Photograph collection. This photo of Wreck Beach from the 1980s shows the erosion of the Point Grey cliffs:

UBC 1.1/16555-8. Point Grey cliff erosion, aerial view, showing WWII searchlight tower and close-up of cliff-face, July 1983.

 

This photo of Jericho Beach from 1962 also shows the surrounding area, including West Point Grey and Kitsilano:

Holborne, Peter. UBC 1.1/3303. Aerial view of Jericho beach area, September 6, 1962.

 

Although the exact location of this photo within Vancouver is unknown, we love this beach attire from around 1900:

[Woman on a beach], [1900?].

 

These postcards show Kitsilano Beach in the early 20th century – check out the men’s suits in the first photo!

The Beach, Kitsilano, [between 1905 and 1915?].

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, Canada, [between 1910 and 1935?].

Kitsilano Beach and Swimming Pool, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, [between 1920 and 1930?].

 

We found several photos of English Bay and Second Beach, over by Stanley Park:

Timms, Philip T. A warm day at the beach, Vancouver B.C., [1906].

English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1930 and 1939?].

Bullen, Harry Elder. Stanley Park, Second Beach, [between 1910 and 1920?].

Second Beach, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1920 and 1927?].

 

This photo shows several 1920s businesses near Crescent Beach in Surrey, including an ice cream parlor and a shop selling fish and chips:

Crescent Beach, B.C., [between 1920 and 1930?].

 

This postcard shows a bustling day at Boundary Bay, close to the Canada/U.S. border:

Boundary Bay, [between 1905 and 1915?].

 

In this postcard, swimmers and boaters enjoy the beach at Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver:

Whytecliff, B.C., [between 1920 and 1935?].

 

In Powell River, Willingdon Beach is a serene location for enjoying the beach and camping:

Powell River Studios. Willingdon Beach, 1947.

 

We hope you get the chance this season to visit the nearby beaches and other vacation spots around the province to enjoy what B.C. has to offer.

Today is World Book and Copyright Day, an international event in support of books, reading, and literacy. This year, the focus is on protecting and supporting Indigenous languages, in conjunction with the International Year of Indigenous Languages. You can read more about World Book and Copyright Day on the United Nations and UNESCO websites.

In recognition of World Book and Copyright Day, we’ve gathered together items from our collections that showcase reading over the past century. We hope you can spend some time with a great book today!

 

UBC 1.1/16567. View of Library reading room at Fairview campus, 1919.

 

[Passenger reading on the outer deck of the first C.P. R.M.S. Empress of Scotland], [1927?].

 

UBC 1.1/5852-3. Students studying in Main Library concourse, 1949.

 

UBC 3.1/844-2. People undergoing a reading efficiency test, [1953].

 

Law Library, [between 1960 and 1969].

 

UBC 93.1/809. Judith C. Thiele with braille book and reading equipment in Crane Library, 1970.

 

UBC 44.1/1231. Ker, Charles. Frances Woodward, Library, peers over three miniature books from Special Collections, 1995.

 

UBC 44.1/821. Wilson, Gavin. Graduate student Shirley Sterling reading to grandchild, 1997.

The Digitization Centre has digitized several collections of maps, as well as several collections that contain maps among other materials. This post provides a summary of those collections, showcasing some of our favourite maps from Open Collections!


Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department Land Use Maps

This collection contains more than 1,800 maps of the greater Vancouver area from 1965, 1980, and 1983. There are two index maps that help to navigate the collection:

Index – Land Use Series: The numbers on this map correspond to the “Identifier” field for each map. For example, you can search within the collection for Identifier:(V92) to find maps showing the north side of UBC campus.

Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department. Index – Land Use Series.

 

Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department. Land Use : U.E.L., 1979.

 

Index Map: Subdivision and Land Use Maps: This index map includes the Lower Mainland outside of Vancouver. Similarly, you can search by “Identifier” to locate the maps referenced by this index.

For more information on this collection, check out our previous blog post about it!


Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era

This collection contains Japanese maps from the Edo period, or Tokugawa period (1603-1868). The majority of the maps are rare or even unique.

Many of the maps show all or part of Japan:

Okamoto, Chikusō, active 19th century. Shinkoku Dai Nihon zenzu [Newly engraved map of Great Japan], 1865.

Utagawa, Sadahide, 1807-1873. Dai Nihon Fujisan zetchō no zu [Panoramic view of the summit of Mt. Fuji], 1857.

There are also some Japanese world maps included in the collection:

Bankoku enzu [Round map of all nations], 1675.

For a more detailed overview of this collection, see our previous blog post: Explore Open Collections: Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era.


Andrew McCormick Maps and Prints

This collection contains world maps dating from 1503 to 1910, with a focus on European maps and maritime exploration. Here is a selection of maps from the collection:

Moll, Herman, -1732. A map of the North Pole with all the territories that lye near it, known to us &c. according to the latest discoveries, and most exact observations, Agreeable to modern history, [1732].

Pond, Peter, 1740-1807. A map shewing the communication of the lakes and the rivers between Lake Superior and Slave Lake in North America, 1790.

 

You can read more about the collection and view other highlights in this previous blog post: Explore Open Collections: Andrew McCormick Maps and Prints.


Maps in other collections

In addition to the above three collections, there are many digital collections that contain maps along with other items.

The Chung Collection contains several maps of Canada released by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. This “sportsman’s map” of Canada shows the terrain and wildlife for different regions:

Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Sportsman’s map of the Dominion of Canada, 1898.

 

This map from 1943 shows the air routes serviced by Canadian Pacific Air Lines at the time:

Canadian Pacific Air Lines. Map of Canada showing air routes, 1943.

 

In the UBC Library Digitization Centre Special Projects collection, there are over 60 maps that do not belong to other collections, including this map of southeastern Vancouver Island from 1860:

D’Heureuse, Rudolph. Map of the south-eastern districts of Vancouver Island, 1860.

 

The BC Historical Books collection is an excellent source of early British Columbia maps, like this map of the Lower Mainland:

Hill, Albert James, 1836-1918. Map of the municipalities of New Westminster city and district, British Columbia, 1889.

 

Finally, the Western Manuscripts and Early Printed Books collection contains several 16th century maps, like this beautiful map of the Americas from 1588:

Ortelius, Abraham, 1527-1598. Americae sive novi orbis, nova descriptio, [1588].

You can find more maps by searching for the keyword “map” in a given collection, or by perusing the Maps genre in Open Collections.

References

Have you ever wondered about what library catalogues used to look like – or what books were in your local library’s collection many decades ago?

We’ve come across a handful of historical library catalogues in Open Collections, which we’ve gathered here for your perusal. You can click on the title or cover of any of the catalogues below to explore the full list of titles from each library.

Catalogue of books in the Free Public Library of Victoria City (Victoria, B.C., 1890)

 

The Free Public Library of Victoria City library catalogue demonstrates the library’s unique classification system. The library had the following classifications:

  • Arts and Science – Class A
  • Travels and Voyages – Class B
  • Biography – Class M
  • Religious – Class R
  • Poetry – Class P
  • Juveniles – Class J
  • History – Class H
  • English Literature – Class L
  • Cassell’s National Library
  • Magazines in Volumes – Class G
  • Miscellaneous – Class Z
  • Books for References – Class D
  • Parliamentary Books
  • Curios and Fine Arts – Class C
  • Novels – Class B

 

Within each classification, books were listed alphabetically by title. To supplement this, there were two additional indices listing titles alphabetically by author in the back of the catalogue. Each entry had a shelf number and an accession number.

 

Catalogue of library books : Royal York Hotel (Toronto, [between 1920 and 1929?])

The Royal York Hotel catalogue also features a unique classification system. The classifications are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Adventure
  • Amusements
  • Art, Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
  • Business, etc.
  • Books for Young People
  • Biographies and Memoirs
  • Drama
  • Fiction
  • Foreign Fiction in English
  • General Literature, Essays, etc.
  • General Extra Suggestions
  • History
  • Makers of Canada, The (12 Vols.)
  • Poetry
  • Popular Science
  • Reference Books
  • Religion
  • Travel and Description
  • Travel (General)
  • Authors Indexed Alphabetically

 

The “General Extra Suggestions” category appears to list the equivalent of today’s self-help or how-to books. It includes titles such as “Dame Courtsey’s Art of Entertaining,” “Eating and Health” and “Inside the House Beautiful”:

Each book has a unique item number, starting from one at the beginning of the catalogue and ending with 1418. Because books are listed alphabetically by title within each category, this catalogue also includes an index in alphabetical order by author. However, the index still separates out books by classification, so you have to know generally where to look!

 

Library catalogue from Canadian Pacific Steamships, Empress of Japan [1919?]

This catalogue is shorter than the previous two; with only five pages of listings, this perhaps reflects limited shelf space within the steamship library.

 

The catalogue contains one listing in alphabetical order by author (as in, “Dickens’ Dombrey and son”) unless only the title was listed (e.g., “Cream of Leicestershire”):

Can you find any interesting titles in these library catalogues? Let us know in the comments!

Many images in Open Collections show places that, while once centers of railway or mining activity, are no longer as populous as they once were. This post explores historic towns in British Columbia. Some resources describe these as “ghost towns” – towns that were abandoned, have a very small population today, and/or primarily exist as tourist attractions.


Field, BC

Located within Yoho National Park, the town of Field was founded in the 1880s, with construction workers for the Canadian Pacific Railway as its first inhabitants. The town was named after Cyrus West Field, an American businessman. Soon after the railway was completed in 1885, Field became a popular tourist destination for hiking.

Cochrane, Fredrick E. C.P.R. railroad locomotive, The Dominion at Field, BC, September 1954.

The CPR selected Field as the site of Mount Stephen House, their first hotel in British Columbia:

[Field, BC and Mount Stephen], [1888?].

Today, Field has fewer than 200 inhabitants; according to the Field website, they are “people from all corners of Canada, many of whom arrived in the area with skis in tow and couldn’t bring themselves to leave.”


Craigellachie, BC

Craigellachie is best known as the location of the “last spike” of the CPR. The name has a fascinating origin story. According to the BC Geographical Names database:

Craigellachie is the name of a high rock in the valley of the Spey, in Morayshire, Scotland. In the days of the clansmen, a sentinel kept watch here against all enemies; the lighting of a beaconfire summoned the Clan Grant to battle. The battle cry of the Grants’ was “Stand fast, Craigellachie”. Elsewhere, Craigellachie, from the Gaelic creag-eagalach, can be translated as “rock of dread/terror/alarm.”

The story goes that George Stephen, the CPR’s first president, sent a telegraph message quoting “Stand fast, Craigellachie” when he successfully secured additional funding for the railway in 1884.

One year later, on November 7, 1885, the last spike of the CPR was driven into the ground by Donald Smith. This completed the CPR from the east coast to the west coast of Canada:

[Donald Smith drives the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway], Nov 7, 1885

Today, this marker is located at the site of the last spike in Craigellachie:

[Last Spike marker at Craigellachie, BC], 1985


North Bend, BC 

Located just across the Fraser River from Boston Bar, North Bend was founded in the early 1880s as a CPR town. In addition to being a stop on the railway, North Bend was known as the location of Fraser Canyon House, another early CPR hotel.

Fraser River near North Bend, BC, [not after 1909].

North Bend, [between 1930 and 1950?]. From Clara Wilson’s photo album, [Ten Annual Cycling Trips, 1938-1947].

[North Bend Roundhouse C.P.R. railroad roundhouse], [1955?].

Today, there are still fewer than 100 residents of North Bend. According to the Boston Bar-North Bend website, “Affordable housing prices and close proximity to stunning nature have resulted in an influx of retirees and summer residents” in recent years.


Bennett, BC

In the late 1890s, Bennett was founded during the Klondike Gold Rush. Bennett is located along the Chilkoot Trail, close to the Alaska and Yukon borders. During the town’s boom years, Fred Trump and Ernest Levin opened the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel, which became a popular destination for prospectors.

Scene at Bennett, En Route to Klondyke Gold Fields, 1898, From the photo album, [En Route to the Klondike 1898-1901].

Craig, M.H. Scene from Lake Bennett during rush of 1898, En Route to Klondyke Gold Fields, 1898. From the photo album, [En Route to the Klondike 1898-1901].

Currently, there are no roads leading to Bennett. If you want to visit, you must arrive by train, taking a boat from Carcross, a charter floatplane, or hiking the Chilkoot Trail. However, there has been recent interest in renewing the town as a tourist destination; the Carcross Tagish First Nation and Parks Canada are collaborating to offer “high end camping trips” in Bennett during summers.


Britannia Beach, BC 

Several years after copper ore was discovered in Britannia Beach in 1888, the Britannia Mining and Smelting Company began mining operations there. Located just south of Squamish, the Britannia Mines were one of the largest mining operations in Canada in the 1920s and 1930s.

Timms, Philip T. Britannia Beach, B.C., Sec.1, [1907].

Timms, Philip T. Britannia Mines, B.C., [1908].

In 1923, the iconic concentrator shown below was built. After the mines closed in 1974, the Britannia Mines Concentrator was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1987, due to its technological innovations.

Britannia Beach, October 1936.

Today, you can visit the Britannia Mine Museum at Britannia Beach, and learn more about the mine on the museum website.


Barkerville, BC

Barkerville is British Columbia’s best-known Cariboo Gold Rush town. Named after William ‘Billy’ Barker, who struck gold there in 1862, the town’s population was as large as 5,800 at its peak.

Tait, Preston L. Barkerville, B.C., [between 1920 and 1930?].

Barkerville B.C., [not after 1950].

[View of storefronts in Barkerville]

Barkerville was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924 for two reasons: its role as “centre of the Cariboo gold fields which were the catalyst for the economic and political development in British Colombia”, and as “the terminus of the great wagon road from Yale, completed in 1865.”

Today, Barkerville is home to a living-history museum; you can learn more about the town on their website.


References

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.

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.

 

References

 

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.

 

References

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!

References

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