Case 6, Item 4

In 1871, Minister of Public Works of Canada Hector Langevin was sent by the Federal Cabinet to visit British Columbia with the mission to acquire knowledge of the new province and propose a site for the terminus for the Candian Pacific Railway. Langevin’s journey took him from central Canada to Chicago, then by the American Pacific Railway to San Francisco, where he embarked on the steamer Prince Alfred travelling to Victoria on Vancouver Island, and then to the mainland. Langevin’s diary documents how he came to recommend Vancouver as the site for the terminus, which had an enormous effect on the development of the city. This is an important document to the history of British Columbia and to the Canadian Pacific Railway company, and it was almost lost to the Canadian public. It was won it at auction by a Vancouver man, but he almost lost it to an American collector who wanted it for Langevin’s description of Mormon communities in Utah.

Case 8, Item 5

The Yip family history is an inspirational “rags to riches” story, in which the patriarch of the family, Yip Sang, evolves from a door-to-door coal peddler to the most successful Chinese business person of his time in Vancouver, and the “unofficial mayor” of Chinatown. This family photograph collage was prepared in celebration of Yip Sang’s eightieth birthday in 1925, prepared by well-known Chinese-Canadian photographer Cecil B. Wand. The photographs are arranged in the shape of the traditional Chinese character meaning “longevity,” with Yip Sang at the top.

Case 18, Item 10

This 1903 log book of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Company is open on display to May 15, 1903, which was the first day that the ships of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Company sailed under the C.P.R. flag. It is noted by a small sketch of the C.P.R. flag, an example of which is displayed next to the log book.

Case 12, Item 10

This carrying basket was used by an early Chinese immigrant, Chow Kwong Ho, who used it to carry his belongings to Canada on a C.P.R. steamer from Hong Kong circa 1920. It is on display in contrast to a chest carried by a European settler who came across the Atlantic on the Empress of Ireland.

Case 4.1, Item 1
Head tax certificates were required by Chinese-Canadians to prove they had paid the government-enforced head tax, or in some cases to prove they had been exempt from the tax. The Canadian government has since apologized for the racist policy, but head tax certificates remain a powerful symbol of the struggles of early Chinese-Canadians. This certificate, for Lee Chew Bin, is one of five certificates held in the Chung Collection.

The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, one of our most well-known and beloved special collections, contains material related to three broad and interrelated themes: early British Columbia history, immigration and settlement and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The collection contains a wide variety of documents, photographs, books, artifacts and maps related to each of these themes.

Selections from the collection are on display in RBSC, organized to show some of the most compelling stories of Canada’s past.

Early B.C. history:

Related to early B.C. history are rare editions of the narratives of many Pacific voyages of discovery including Valdes, Galiano, Malaspina, Cook and Vancouver. The exhibition also features charts recording the exploration of the Pacific Northwest.

Immigration and settlement:

The Fraser River gold rush that sparked Chinese immigration to British Columbia is highlighted through books and government documents relating to the restriction of such immigration. Chinese-Canadian cultural, social and economic life is displayed through archival documents, photographs and artifacts.

European immigration to Canada is illustrated with promotional brochures and posters encouraging settlers to the West, and archival material from the Clandonald colony in Alberta, a community of immigrants from the Scottish Hebrides.

Canadian Pacific Railway:

Documents, maps and publications show how the Canadian Pacific Railway was built, and how Vancouver was chosen as the western terminus. Photographs and accounts of the building of the railway are presented, along with vibrant posters promoting travel and tourism via C.P.R. rail and steamships. Beautiful examples of cruise ship memorabilia provide a glimpse of the style of the times.

The exhibition is open to the public, free of charge during Rare Books and Special Collections opening hours (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Also, there is a drop-in tour of the Chung Collection room available every Thursday at 10 a.m. We hope to welcome you for a visit soon!


a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet