Like many of you, we are spending a lot more time on virtual meetings here at the Digitization Centre. For this post, we’ve compiled a bunch of backgrounds from Open Collections that will refresh your space and make your next video call, online lecture, or virtual party more fun.

From the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we found images that bring the spectacular BC scenery to your home office.

The Lions, [1919]

Suspension Bridge, Capilano Canyon,1917

Sunset, English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., 1927

If you are looking for something artistic, make sure to check out prints from the Chung Collection and Meiji at 150.

Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s Steamship Fleets, [1910]

Mount Eisenhower, [not before 1940]

Tōkyō nishikie seizō no zu, 東京錦繪製造之図, [1877]

The following images can probably beat most million-dollar-view offices in downtown.

The U.B.C. and Vancouver, [between 1940 and 1950?]

Aerial view showing Brockton Point & city, Vancouver, B.C., [not before 1937]

[View of downtown Vancouver B. C.], 1957

Is your room messy? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out the following images of interiors from hotels and a Canadian Pacific steamship.

Interior of Grouse Mountain Chalet, [between 1920 and 1930?]

Palm Garden, The Empress, Victoria, B.C., [between 1908 and 1910?]

Cabin dining saloon, [Canadian Pacific S.S. Melita], [1918?]

And finally, you can host your meeting here from UBC.

Main Library concourse, 1929

Cows grazing in front of Library, May 31, 1937

This is a composite photograph created from two separate images.

View of Main Library from Koerner Library, 2002

In this post, we have compiled a few historical images of healthcare workers from the Open Collections. We wanted to take this opportunity to send out our thanks to the tireless nurses, doctors, and all the other healthcare workers who are working hard and saving lives—today and every day.

The following images from the World War I British Press Photograph Collection portray medics working during wartime.

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front in France: At a base hospital – Attending a wounded Tommy, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front in France: At a base hospital – These wounded Tommies were very anxious to show their little mascot, a small black kitten, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front: A sister has been given a souvenir by one of her patients on a hospital barge, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front: Sandbags instead of handbags – Lady ambulance drivers in France, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front in France: In a laboratory of a base hospital, [between 1914 and 1918?]

Official photographs taken on the British Western Front in France: In the laboratory of a base hospital, [between 1914 and 1918?]

This photograph from the Chung Collection shows the interior view of the Chinatown clinic with Dr. Yip Kew Ghim and nursing sisters. Dr. Yip Kew Ghim was the first Chinese Canadian doctor (source: Explore Open Collections: Yip Sang Collection).

[Chinese hospital clinic], 1935

These photographs below are from the UBC Archives Photograph Collection.

Senior nurse and nursing student at nursing station at Vancouver General Hospital, ca. early 1900s

Nursing staff on lawn in front of Vancouver City Hospital, 1902

Operating room, Vancouver General Hospital, 1906

Vancouver General Hospital students, VGH Class of 1908

Nurses in anatomy class being taught at Vancouver General Hospital, [1935]

Patient in oxygen tent at Vancouver General Hospital with a student nurse, ca. 1950s

Nursing student Arlene Aish with young patient at Vancouver General Hospital, 1957

Two unidentified UBC Nursing students during extended care experience in UBC Hospital Purdy Pavilion with an elderly female patient, [between 1980 and 1989]

One nice thing about working with Open Collections is that we can learn from our patrons. In a previous tweet, we shared a serigraph print in original frame with a plaque reading Lake Superior, Ontario, Canadian Pacific from the Chung Collection. A patron pointed out that it looks like a painting by the Group of Seven.

Lake Superior, Ontario Canadian Pacific, [1950?]

After librarians in UBC Rare Book and Special Collections removed the frame and consulted with several people, we realized that the original design was likely by Alfred Joseph Casson, part of the Group of Seven.

The Canadian Pacific Railway commissioned a series of serigraphs for display which were produced in small runs. The print above was one of them. These images, designed by Canadian artists and photographers, such as Alfred Crocker Leighton, Peter Ewart, and Alfred Joseph Casson, were distributed to Canadian Pacific Railway agents’ offices to showcase the emerging Canadian national aesthetic and promote the opportunities for tourism and travel within the country.

The Chung Collection includes more than 200 posters, as well as other C.P.R. artwork and supplemental material. In this post, we select a few prints of landscape paintings from this collection. You can click on each image to jump to the page in Open Collections, where you can enlarge the image and read the full descriptions.

Banff Springs Hotel and Bow River Valley, [between 1920 and 1929?]

Cathedral Mountain, [between 1930 and 1939?]

West Coast, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canadian Pacific, [not before 1940]

Mount Eisenhower, [not before 1940]

Moraine Lake, Canadian Rockies, [not before 1940]

Winter in the Laurentians, [1950]

Foothills of Alberta, Canadian Pacific, [1950?]

Lynn Canal, Alaska, [1950?]

The Three Sisters Canadian Rockies, [1955?]

We hope you enjoyed this post! To view the full collection of Artwork and Images of the C.P.R., please click here.

In this two-part series, we compile images of winter activities and attractions from Open Collections. You can view Part I here.

Winter destinations

Banff National Park is a signature travel destination both in summer and winter. This menu from the Canadian Pacific Railway in the Chung Collection advertises winter sports in Banff on the cover.

Winter sports at Banff, Jun 29, 1928

Be sure to check out Lake Louise. This scenic lake is especially nice in the snow.

[Lake Louise], [between 1925 and 1935?]

Lake Louise, [between 1910 and 1919?]

Home of the Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City is known for its European feel. This pamphlet from the Chung Collection profiles the picturesque city in summer and winter.

Quebec: summer and winter, 1924

Quebec: summer and winter, 1897, p. 19

This Canadian Pacific Railway Company pamphlet promotes winter sports in Quebec City:

Chateau Frontenac: the wintersport capital of wintersport land, 1924

Located to the north-east of Quebec City, Montmorency Falls are also a must-see.

Canadian pictures: drawn with pen and pencil, 1884, p. 144

These two illustrations depict Niagara Falls in winter:

Our own country, Canada: scenic and descriptive, 1889, p. 8

Our own country, Canada: scenic and descriptive, 1889, p. 349

Montreal also had winter carnivals in the 1880s (Source: Wikipedia). These carnivals featured Ice Palaces, which were described in an illustrated book:

In the evening of the inauguration of the Ice Palace, everybody came to Dominion Square, where there was every sort of light but sunlight. The Ice Palace looked like glass; and I never saw anything so beautiful as when they burned blue, green, crimson and purple fires inside.

Our own country, Canada: scenic and descriptive, 1889, p.253

Our own country, Canada: scenic and descriptive, 1889, p. 246

Canada: a memorial volume. General reference book on Canada; describing the dominion at large, and its various provinces and territories; with statistics relating to its commerce and the development of its resources. Maps and illustrations, 1889, p. 222

We hope you have a warm and wonderful holiday season!

In a previous blog post, we discussed John Gerard’s The herball, or, Generall historie of plants (1597), a book that features lists of plants with accompanying descriptions of their properties. For this blog, we will introduce more illustrations of plants in our Open Collections.

Botanical and ethnological appendix to Menzies’ journal of Vancouver’s voyage, April to October, 1792

Archibald Menzies was a Scottish surgeon, botanist and naturalist. He joined Captain George Vancouver’s voyage around the world in 1790 and kept a journal (source: Wikipedia). In 1923, part of Menzies’ journal that related to Vancouver Island and Puget Sound was published in Victoria, BC.

British botanist and ethnographic researcher Charles F. Newcombe made this appendix, introducing plants collected by Menzies on the north-west coast of America. It contains 5 illustrations, 3 of which were drawn by Menzies.

Alpine flora of the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Written by American botanist Stewardson Brown, this book is a guide to the rich and interesting flora of the Canadian Rockies and Selkirks. It is illustrated with plenty of water-colour drawings and photographs – here are some of our favorites.

What’s up buttercup?

These orchids have a funny name, lady’s slipper.

Here are more orchids in Canadian Rockies.Here are some berries from the rose family.

Finally, here are some anemone flowers:


The Chung Collection has thousands of photographs and related material on CPR steamships with a particular emphasis on the Empress class ships. Some of the related material includes pamphlets, menus, world cruise photograph albums, clippings, diaries, and correspondence from both passengers and employees of these vessels.

In this two-part series, we will explore some advertisements issued by CPR steamships. To view the first part, please click here.

Here is a letter card featuring images of the SS Duchess of Richmond’s interiors. A letter card consists of a folded card with a prepaid imprinted stamp. The letter is written on the inside, and the card is then folded and sealed.

S.S. Duchess of Richmond letter card, [1937?]

Unlike a postcard, a letter card can contain multiple photographs. The unfolded letter card of the SS Duchess of Richmond contains photos of the dining saloon, the observation lounge and drawing room, the smoking room, the shop and promenade deck entrance, and a two-berth room with bathroom adjoining.

S.S. Duchess of Richmond letter card, [1937?]

SS Duchess of Richmond was an ocean liner built in 1928 for Canadian Pacific. In 1947 she was renamed as SS Empress of Canada (source: Great Ships).

Canadian Pacific to Canada Duchess of Richmond, 1929

This is a booklet promoting the S.S. Melita, Minnedosa and Metagama steamships.

The three M’s : S.S. Minnedosa, Melita, Metagama, [1919?]

The three Ms were steamships carrying one-class cabin and third class. Many passengers who couldn’t afford the first class also didn’t like the second class because of the difference of service between the first and second classes, such as the dividing line on the decks and different food. By combining first and second classes, the three Ms provided one-class-cabin service at a more affordable price.

The three M’s : S.S. Minnedosa, Melita, Metagama, [1919?], p. 14-15

This pamphlet was issued to passengers on the Montroyal‘s 7 Sept. 1929 sailing from Southampton and Cherbourg to Quebec.

Steamship Montroyal, 1929

Along with railway, steamships, and hotels, the CPR also had telegraph operations and trucking operations as part of its travel system. This pamphlet provides Montroyal’s passengers detailed information about where to buy railway tickets, where to get money orders and travelers’ cheques, and where to stay, all through the CPR’s services.

Steamship Montroyal, 1929, p. 27

Here is an interesting comparison between the CPR steamships and buildings. The Royal York, Toronto, is a luxuy hotel built by the CPR. After its completion in 1929, it was the tallest building in Canada and the British Empire (source: Wikipedia). When the pamphlet was published in 1929, the RMS Empress of Britain was still under construction. She was launched in 1930 and became the largest, fastest, and most luxurious ship between England and Canada in her time (source: Wikipedia).

We hope you enjoyed the post. To find out more about the CPR steamships, please explore the Chung Collection!

In 1887, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) started a Trans-Pacific service from Vancouver to Asia. With the success of this new venture, the CPR adopted a new name for the steamship services, calling it the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company (CPSC). In 1915, the CPR decided to make the division into a separate entity, the Canadian Pacific Steamships Ocean Services Ltd. It became a major international cargo carrier, also known globally for providing luxurious around-the-world tours.

The Chung Collection has thousands of photographs and related material on CPR steamships with a particular emphasis on the Empress class ships. Some of the related material includes pamphlets, menus, world cruise photograph albums, clippings, diaries, and correspondence from both passengers and employees of these vessels. In this two-part series, we will explore some advertisements issued by CPR steamships.

Canadian Pacific spans the world, [between 1930 and 1939?].

Here is a poster advertising Canadian Pacific Steamships with a starboard-bow view of the Empress of Australia (1921).

“Canadian Pacific spans the world” was one of CP’s advertising slogans. It is written on posters, maps, souvenirs, and even laundry bags.

Here is a laundry bag with a print of a globe with routes of Canadian Pacific Ocean routes marked in red ink, and a print of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s steamship fleets on the other side, printed in brown ink.

Canadian Pacific Railway spans the world, [between 1910 and 1919?].

Canadian Pacific Railway’s business ranged from railways to steamships to hotels. To promote its business, CPR issued a variety of pamphlets. Some pamphlets are in very interesting forms, such as diaries.

There are a series of pamphlets entitled “Diary of my voyage to Canada” issued by Canadian Pacific Steamships Company in the Chung collection. With one blank page for the diary entries at the beginning, these pamphlets feature brief articles and illustrations relating to places and life in Canada, with an emphasis on CPR services, such as trains, hotels, and summer camps.

Diary of my voyage to Canada: Friday, 1916.

This is a pamphlet about a Canadian trip issued to passengers of the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Missanabie. Missanabie was an ocean liner built in 1914. It sailed between England and North America. On Sep. 9, 1918, it was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine with the loss of 45 lives.

[R.M.S. Missanabie at sail], [1915?].

This page is from “Diary of my voyage to Canada: Tuesday” issued on the Empress of Britain. It promotes trips in the Canadian Rockies.

Diary of my voyage to Canada: Tuesday, June 18, 1912, p.9-10.

The two central pages of each pamphlet are “Marconigrams”, Marconi Company’s wireless press of global news.

Diary of my voyage to Canada: Tuesday, June 18, 1912, p. 8.

There are 13 pamphlets of this kind in the Chung collection. Click here to explore more.

This pamphlet has a very descriptive name, “A package of post cards and a ‘wireless’: a bride’s story.” It was published in 1907 by Canadian Pacific Steamships to promote sister ships RMS Empress of Ireland and RMS Empress of Britain.

A package of post cards and a “wireless”: a bride’s story, 1907.

The story is told in the forms of postcards and a wireless message sent by the bride Kate to her mother during her honeymoon. The first postcard was sent from Place Viger Hotel, a combination of a hotel and railway station built by the CPR in Montreal.

A package of post cards and a “wireless”: a bride’s story, 1907, p. 3.

After staying three days at the Chateau Frontenac, which was built and operated by the CPR, the couple took the RMS Empress of Ireland to Liverpool.

A package of post cards and a “wireless”: a bride’s story, 1907, p. 4-5.

The RMS Empress of Ireland was an ocean liner that sank near the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River following a collision in thick fog on May 29, 1914. It took 1,012 lives and was the worst peacetime marine disaster in Canadian history.

Empress of Ireland, [1910?].

The Chung collection also contains some objects salvaged from the wreckage of the Empress of Ireland. Click here to explore these objects.


SS Missanabie (The wreck site)

RMS Empress of Ireland (Wikipedia)

Autumn is the spawning season in B.C. when salmon fight their way upstream as they complete their final journey. On Campbell River in Vancouver Island or Capilano River in North Vancouver, you’ll be sure to spot salmon leaping their way back home. For this post, we gathered historical images related to salmon in B.C. from our Open Collections, hoping to provide you a taste of these incredible creatures.

The Chung Collection contains books, archival documents, artifacts and photographs about the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, early British Columbian history, and immigration and settlement in BC. This picture in the book By track and trail: a journey through Canada from the Chung Collection illustrates a run of salmon in the Fraser River at North Bend, B.C.

By track and trail: a journey through Canada, 1891, p. 392

As the author and illustrator Edward Roper explained:

The illustration of this scene is not an atom exaggerated, except that I have made the fish more visible, but they were even closer packed in the water than I have shown.

Let’s take a close look. This photo from Fisherman Publishing Society Collection shows how packed they can be!

Salmon run, 1977

This postcard from Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs captures salmon jumping over water.

Salmon leaping the falls, [between 1900 and 1930?]

Salmon watching and fishing are fun activities in many places in B.C. A lot of pamphlets in the Chung Collection list it as one of the best things to do in B.C. This photo is from a pamphlet related to trips to Vancouver Island aboard Princess ships. Look how big the fish can be!

Vancouver Island, an island of enchantment, 1922, p. 27

Another pamphlet that promotes salmon fishing in Victoria, B.C.

Victoria, 1930, p. 19

This photo, from a Canadian Pacific Railway pamphlet, shows fish ladders on the Fraser River. The ladders permit salmon to make their way upstream to spawn in the fresh waters where they were born.

By train… through the Canadian Rockies, [1950?], p. 21

In this map of Vancouver Island, you can even find an “S” in the legend which stands for salmon fishing.

Map of Vancouver Island, [between 1940 and 1951?], p. 8

Finally, here’s a photo depicting Chinese workers unloading salmon at Butterfield and Mackie Cannery, New Westminster, B.C.

Unloading salmon at a cannery, [between 1910 and 1919?]

The Canada Memory of the World Register highlights exceptional works and documents that reflect the wealth and diversity of Canada’s documentary heritage.

Portrait of Chinese men and women, Vancouver. Between 1900- 1909. Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, UBC Library.

BC Library’s Chung Collection has been added to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Canada Memory of the World Register in recognition of its historical value.

Showcasing the most significant documents of our heritage, UNESCO’s Memory of the World program is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and wilful and deliberate destruction. It calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library collections and private individual compendia all over the world for posterity, the reconstitution of dispersed or displaced documentary heritage, and the increased accessibility to and dissemination of these items. The Canada Memory of the World Register highlights exceptional works and documents that reflect the wealth and diversity of Canada’s documentary heritage.

In being added to the Canadian register, the Chung Collection joins a short list of Canadian works and documentary collections including the Canadian Pacific Railway Company Fonds, The Vancouver Island Treaties and Witnesses of Founding Cultures: Early Books in Aboriginal Languages (1556-1900).

About the collection

The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection was donated to UBC Library by the Chung Family in 1999. The family added a second significant donation to the collection in 2014 and has continued to donate items over the years. Inspired to start collecting by an illustrated poster of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s steamship R.M.S. Empress of Asia in his father’s tailor shop in Victoria, Dr. Wallace B. Chung amassed more than 25,000 items over sixty years. The collection consists of textual records, maps, artefacts, books and other materials and focuses on three main themes: early British Columbia history and exploration, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and early immigration and settlement, with a particular focus on the Chinese experience.

“UBC Library is proud to be the home of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection and I am thrilled to see it receive this well-deserved national recognition,” says Susan E. Parker, University Librarian, “This collection is stewarded by the library and actively engaged with by our faculty, students, and staff and by the broader community. We are honoured that Dr. Chung has entrusted UBC Library to ensure this history is preserved and available for research and learning.”

“One of our core mandates at Rare Books and Special Collections is to collect and preserve materials that directly relate to the history of British Columbia and its place in the world,” says Krisztina Laszlo, Archivist.  “The Chung Collection is critical in understanding this history; it documents a story that is relevant not only to the people of Canada, but is of global importance.  For example, in preserving materials related to the Chinese diaspora and their struggles and triumphs in the New World, they teach us all lessons of resilience and triumph in the face of adversity.”    

The Chung Collection is housed in Rare Book and Special Collections in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC Library and is available to scholars and members of the public in British Columbia and beyond. Weekly drop-in tours are held every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Read the announcement from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

Learn more about the Chung Collection.

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