During this challenging time, we’d like to share a bit of comfort with you, so we’ve compiled a list of leisure readings from the Open Collection. Enjoy!


For the time being, most of us should stay at home and help to keep our communities safe. But this is also a good time to gather some travel inspiration. The BC Historical Books Collection features a lot of intricately illustrated travel books, with a focus on Canada and especially British Columbia.

Canadian pictures: drawn with pen and pencil, 1884

With numerous engraving illustrations and several maps, this book covers geography, history, and industry across Canada.

Canadian pictures: drawn with pen and pencil, pp. 118-119

Canadian cities of romance, 1922

Written by Katherine Hale and illustrated by Dorothy Stevens, this book includes descriptions and illustrations of major Canadian cities.

Canadian cities of romance, 1922, pp.40-41

Canadian houses of romance, 1926

This book is a companion volume to Canadian Cities of Romance, describing historic houses across Canada.

Canadian houses of romance, 1926, pp. 160-161


For those who enjoy angling and fly-fishing, the Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection is a treasure trove of rare and valuable books. The following are just two examples from more than 2,200 books.

The Fly maker’s hand-book, [1886?]

Containing nine coloured illustrations, this book presents 50 artificial flies for trout and grayling fishing.

The Fly maker’s hand-book, pp. 62-63

Salmon flies, [between 1890 and 1899?]

This is a fly-fishing book written by Geo. M. Kelson. With plenty of coloured illustrations, it provides details on the components of each fly, as well as the author’s comments.

Salmon flies, [between 1890 and 1899?], pp. 47-48

Children’s books

It can be challenging to work from home with kids. The Historical Children’s Literature Collection may help to distract your kids, so that you can focus on your work for awhile. Below are some chapbooks from the collection.

The two wealthy farmers; or, the history of Mr. Bragwell. Part I, [1795]

The history of Simple Simon, [1820?]

The butterfly’s ball, and the grasshopper’s feast, 1807

With all the stress and uncertainty around us, take the opportunity to dive into one of these books and relax!

BP MUR SL P B696, [date unknown]

The Open Collections cover a wide range of topics and disciplines where you can find materials to support your research, teaching, and even hobbies. In this post, we select some of our collections that are related to Canadian literature.


BC Historical Books

The goal of the BC Historical Books project is to build a single searchable database of the bibliography of British Columbia based on full-text searchable versions of the books contained therein. The result will allow scholars, students and the public unparalleled access to knowledge about our province.

The following is useful subject headings related to Canadian literature:

Pastoral literature

Juvenile literature

Canadian poetry


Related genres include:


Travel literature


Rural rhymes and the sheep thief, 1896

Snap: a legend of the lone mountain: with thirteen illustrations, 1890

Snap: a legend of the lone mountain: with thirteen illustrations, 1890, pp.94-95


UBC Library has a significant collection of small press literary magazines, most of which are held in Rare Books and Special Collections. These magazines published experimental and non-mainstream writings produced by relatively unknown authors. Some of these materials have been digitized and are available in the Open Collections.

PRISM international

PRISM international (1959 -) is a quarterly magazine out of Vancouver, British Columbia, whose mandate is to publish the best in contemporary writing and translation from Canada and around the world. Writing from PRISM has been featured in Best American Stories, Best American Essays and The Journey Prize Stories, amongst other noted publications.

Through a partnership with the UBC Creative Writing Department, UBC Library digitized all back-issues of PRISM in 2015. The full archive is available in Open Collections. To learn more about this collection, please check out this previous post.

PRISM also published a Cumulative Index Volume at their 25th anniversary, which lists all writings (through 1984) in alphabetical order by author.

Prism international, Oct 31, 1960

Prism international Cumulative Index Volume, 1 – 22, 1959 – 1984

The resources mentioned above all support full-text search. You may also be interested in this research guide: Special Collections: Canadian Literature.

The Digitization Centre is currently closed. We are continuing to work remotely, and you can reach us by emailing digitization.centre@ubc.ca.

Watch this site for more information and for upcoming blog posts. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @DigitizeUBC.

Keep Your Distance, 1904, from Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection

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.

It’s World Wildlife Day today! In this blog post, we’re going to take a look into the former environmental TV series, Westland.

The Westland TV series was broadcasted on the Knowledge Network in British Columbia from 1984 to 2007, hosted by Mike Halleran. The content of the show covers a broad range of environmental issues such as forestry practices, freshwater fisheries, endangered species, natural resource management and ecosystem restoration in British Columbia.

In 2011, both the broadcast tapes and the raw production footage were donated to the UBC Library. We have digitized 195 of the programs broadcasted as part of the Westland series. Here are some episodes about wildlife. Enjoy!

Wild in the City, 1986

Gordon Fish was a cameraman who shot films in some of the most rugged parts of BC. In this episode, he finds and photographs wildlife living in the city, including coyotes, raccoons, and deer.

Bears and Man, 1989

The International Conference on Wild Bears was held in 1989 in Victoria. In this episode, scientists from around the world discuss trade in bear parts, bear habitat, and human/bear interaction problems. Note that the man in the screenshot above is a trained scientist doing research in remote areas where such activity is safe for both the bear and himself. Please do not touch or feed wild animals.

Bear Attacks, Jan 17, 1991

In areas where bear habitat and human settlement overlap, bear attacks on people are on the rise. What to do? Watch the episode below to find out!

Wildlife and Fisheries Inventory, Feb 3, 1997

Good inventory is key to achieving resource sustainability. This episode introduces the biggest fish and wildlife inventory program ever done at that time in Canada with big horn sheep, bald eagles, and fish.

Sustaining BC’s Wildlife Heritage, May 8, 2006

British Columbia is internationally known as having huge wildlife numbers and species diversity. How do we count our wildlife species? This episode looks at the wildlife numbers in BC.

We hope you enjoyed this post. There are more fun episodes in the Westland collection. Click here and explore!

With the support of CUPE 2950 – Clerical, Library and Theatre Workers at the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia History Digitization Program, the Association of University and College Employees (AUCE) fonds is now accessible in the Open Collections.

In 1973, library and clerical workers on university and college campuses across British Columbia began organizing as a union in order to represent their collective interests. Workers at University of British Columbia (Local 1), Simon Fraser University (Local 2), Notre Dame University of Nelson (Local 3), Capilano College (Local 4), College of New Caledonia (Local 5), and the Teaching Support Staff at SFU (Local 6) organized over the next two years to collectively form the provincial wide and independent union, the Association of University and College Employees (AUCE).

The AUCE fonds consists of records related to AUCE’s provincial and local chapters activities, efforts, publications, and ephemera. Records span the Provincial and local unions’ initial accreditation in 1973, to the Provincial union disbanding in 1985, and then follow the Local 1 (UBC) chapter to its merger with CUPE in 1985 and forward into the late 2000’s.

When the union first formed, over 90% of its members were women, and one of their top concerns was equal pay for what was at the time considered “women’s work”. In 1974, AUCE Local 1 (now CUPE 2950, representing library, clerical and theatre workers at UBC) obtained the first fully funded maternity leave in Canada through their union contract. Over the next decade, they fought for wages to match the rising cost of living, transparent job classifications, childcare, and other employee benefits. They also demanded a discrimination free workplace for people of all genders, sexualities, races, and ethnicities.

[Local 1 union contracts, handbook for university staff, and provincial constitution], 1976, the 2nd item

“Workers’ voices are often not reflected in academia. By investing in our local’s history, the voices of our founding members will be preserved and honoured. Our union was organized in the library and now it will live on in the library,” said CUPE 2950 President Karen Ranalletta. (Source: the Winter 2020 issue of CUPE National’s Counterpoint Magazine).

You can explore the collection through the following series:

Executive: contains records relating to the executive functioning of the provincial union and Local 1 union chapters.

Advocacy and Bargaining: comprised of records relating to the unions’ efforts to advocate on behalf of their members and bargain as a collective unit.

Committees: contains records related to the Local 1 and AUCE committees.

AUCE Local Chapters: consists of records related to chapters 2 through 6 of the AUCE.

Correspondence and related material: consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence of AUCE Local 1, as well as related materials interfiled with correspondence.

Publications and Ephemera: features photographs, slides, third party publications, news clippings, scrapbooks, pins, posters, and other ephemera documenting current events, legislation affecting the union and its members, as well as provincial and local union strikes, protests and rallies.

We have compiled some images from the collection. Please visit the AUCE fonds to explore more!

Below you will find a poster and a photocopied diagram of the strike structure from the file [News clippings and other materials 1992 strike] in the Publication and Ephemera series, which reflects the history of the 1992 strike at UBC.

[News clippings and other materials 1992 strike], 1992, the 2nd item

[News clippings and other materials 1992 strike], 1992, the 10th item

In the Committees series, there are AUCE Local 1 newsletters dated from 1973 to 1984, and the newsletters of Canadian University Employees dated from 1986 to 1992.

Here is the AUCE Local 1 newsletter “On Campus”, the April 1981 issue.

[Local 1 Newsletters and minutes of membership meetings], 1981, the 4th element

The following comic strip is from AUCE Local 1 newsletter “Across Campus”, the August 1975 issue.

Communications, 1975, the 7th element

This one is from AUCE Local 1 newsletter “Across Campus”, the March 1980 issue.

Across Campus, March 1980


Due to copyright and privacy concerns, some items have been redacted and others have not been digitized. Please visit the RBSC finding aid to explore the fonds in full. To explore the history of the British Columbia labour movement, please check out the research guide Labour History and Archives.

The third Monday of February is Family Day in British Columbia. We hope you enjoyed quality time with your loved ones. In celebration of Family Day, we are sharing some of our favourite family albums from the Open Collections.

The MacLachlan Clan – By Bob, [1865-1945?]

This is a family album put together by Bob MacLachlan. The family moved from Edinburgh, Scotland to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and then finally to Vancouver, BC. The photos encompass all of these locations. It is predominantly photos of the family, but there are also drawings, cards, news clippings, as well as other ephemera pasted in.

The Maclachlan Clan, [between 1935 and 1945?]

This is the cover page for the album. Small clippings of portrait photos of the family members are attached onto the hand-drawn monkeys.

[Family photo], [between 1920 and 1940?]

[Tom Maclachlan with baby], [between 1935 and 1945?]


[Possible Murray Family Photo Album #2], [1890?]-1959

This is an album of family portraits, possibly from the Murray family of Vancouver. There are also some photos tucked in the back from a much later date. There are also 8 negatives in an envelope addressed to “Mr. Unger.”

[Family portrait], [between 1920 and 1930?]

[Group portrait], [between 1920 and 1930?]

[Robert Sinclair’s Photo Album], [1900-1923?]

The album is from a man named Robert Sinclair. The photos are predominantly of family snapshots, and images from around their rural home in BC. There are also some of farming and logging, and a few of different cities and locales throughout BC. Some of the photos are captioned, but none are dated. The album is secured with a metal clasp and is in quite good condition, as are the photos.

[Older man playing with baby], [between 1910 and 1920?]

[Family picnicking], [between 1910 and 1920?]

Adam and Eve, also Flossy, [between 1910 and 1920?]


[Unknown Family Photo Album], [1900-1925?]

This family photo album, possibly from a Vancouver family, has an emphasis on children and dogs. Many photos have others tucked in behind them. The photos and the album are still in fairly good shape.

[Small child with dog], [between 1900 and 1910?]

[Man and infant playing with puppies], [between 1915 and 1925?]

[Two children sitting in grass], [between 1900 and 1910?]


[Possible Murray Family Photo Album], [1920-1930?]

This is an album of predominantly landscape photographs from throughout BC, as well as a few in Vancouver, including some of ships in the harbour. In the back after a number of blank pages are also some family snapshots. Many of the photos are captioned in fading pencil. The album may have belonged to a member of Kathleen Murray’s family.

[Portrait of group of women and children], [between 1920 and 1930?]

[Couple on zip line swing], [between 1920 and 1930?]


[Vancouver Family Photo Album], [1925-1950?]

This album is from a Vancouver family, documenting their travels throughout BC and the United States as well as life in Vancouver, including the royal visit of 1939. The pages are beginning to tear out of the album, but the photos are still in relatively good shape (with some fading).

[Woman helping a baby walk], 1933

[Portrait of two small children], 1933


We hope you enjoyed this post! To view more family photographs from the 1850s to the 1950s, please check out the Chung Collection and the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs.

Historical newspapers are a useful source of information for understanding social and cultural trends during specific times. In the BC Historical Newspapers collection, we have digitized more than 53,000 newspaper issues from around the province, dating from 1859 to 1995. In this post, we compile a few advertisements from the collection dating from the First World War.

The Wrigley’s company placed several advertisements for its gum in The Daily News and The Cranbrook Herald. These ads encourage people to have gum after every meal, and to also buy some for the soldiers on the frontline.

These Wrigley ads are from The Daily News (Nelson), originally titled “The Nelson Daily Miner”, and The Cranbrook Herald. Renamed when it was purchased by F.J. Deane in April 1902, The Daily News changed hands again in May 1908 when it began to be printed by the News Publishing Co., managed by W.G. McMorris. The Cranbrook Herald was a weekly newspaper published in Cranbrook, BC, from 1898 to 1927.

The Daily News, Feb 2, 1916

The Daily News, Jan 17, 1917

The Daily News, Oct 10, 1917

Cranbrook Herald, Mar 15, 1917

Razor manufacturers also made similar suggestions. This advertisement from The Daily News by Autostrop Safety Razor depicts a soldier writing a letter asking his friend or family to send him an Autostrop razor.

The Daily News, Nov 2, 1917


This advertisement from Gillette in The Review, a weekly newspaper published in Courtenay, BC, from 1912 to 1918, also encourages customers to send its safety razors in Christmas boxes to the front.

The Review, Dec 21, 1916

The Cowan Company put advertisements on The Daily News and Creston Review, boasting that its chocolate was nourishing and economical, good for both the trench and home. Creston Review was a weekly newspaper published in Creston, BC, from 1909 to 1983.

The Daily News, Nov 2, 1917

The Daily News, Nov 9, 1917

Creston Review, Nov 9, 1917

To explore more newspapers, please visit our Open Collections and search in our newspaper collections.

In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we have historic photographs depicting street scenes in Vancouver in the early 1900s. In this post, we will introduce some of our favourite photographs, showing the heritage buildings in Downtown Vancouver. We hope you can identify these buildings and how they have changed since then!

Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?]

The building is located on the corner of Main Street and Hastings Streets and is now the Vancouver Public Library, Carnegie Branch.

Holy Rosary Cathedral

The Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?]

Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1901 and 1910?]

The Holy Rosary Cathedral is located at the intersection of Richards and Dunsmuir streets. It opened on December 8, 1900. It is listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register and is a legally protected building (source: Wikipedia). Here is a photo of the altar in the Holy Rosary Cathedral.

Sanctuary of R.C. Cathedral, Vancouver, B.C., [1906]

Hotel Europe

Hotel Europe, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1905 and 1915?]

The caption on the postcard reads, “The only ABSOLUTELY fireproof hotel in the Dominion – when in Vancouver, visit us”.

The building was constructed in 1908-1909. Situated on a triangular area formed by Powell Street and Alexander Street, beside the Maple Tree Square in Gastown, it is designed in the “flatiron” style. The name “flatiron” derives from the building’s resemblance to a cloth iron. (Source: Wikipedia).

Dominion Trust Building

Another flatiron-style heritage building is the Dominion Trust Building at the corner of West Hastings and Cambie Streets, across the street from Victory Square. There are a few postcards in the Uno Langmann collection depicting the building in different times.

A Busy Corner in Vancouver, B.C., [not after 1909]

Dominion Trust Block, [not after 1910]

Dominion Trust Building, Vancouver, B.C., [1910]

The Dominion Trust Building, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1920 and 1930?]

Vancouver Block

The Vancouver Block sits near the intersection of Granville and Georgia Streets. Constructed between 1910 and 1912, it was one of the grandest skyscrapers at that time (source: Canada’s Historic Places).

The Vancouver Block, one of the newest skyscrapers

Here is a double postcard with the second connected card depicting a typical floor plan for the building.

Vancouver Block, [between 1912 and 1915?]

The building features a large clock tower on the top. Let’s have a close look at how big the clock is!

Clock on the observation deck of the Vancouver Block building, [1921]

Post Office Building and Winch Building

New Post Office, Vancouver, B.C., [1910]

Post office, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1920 and 1935?]

Winch Building, Vancouver, B.C., [not before 1911]

Completed in 1910, the old Post Office Building is located at the corner of Granville and Hastings Streets. Vancouver’s main post office was housed here from 1910 to 1958. Adjoining the old Post Office Building is the Winch Building, completed in 1911. The two buildings are now part of the Sinclair Centre. (Source: Wikipedia).

We hope you enjoyed this post! In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs we also have photographs from other cities and towns in BC, such as Victoria, New Westminster, Penticton, and Fernie. To view more historic photographs, please visit Open Collections.


From 1951 to 1957, British Columbia made the first-ever systematic inventory of the province’s forests. In 1958, the Interim Forest Cover Series Maps were produced using a combination of aerial photographs (40 chain photos) and ground sampling plots. Each map is accompanied by an envelope, providing a forest inventory summary of the region within the map sheet.

These maps are printed on high-quality paper and contain colour-coded representations of various classifications of forest cover. Physical copies of the map series are held in the UBC Library’s Map and Atlas Collection in Koerner Library, as well as at the Rare Books and Special Collections Library, within the MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds. The entire series comprises 149 index maps and summaries and is now available in the Open Collections.

For many years after their completion, the Interim Forest Cover Series Maps were a much-used source of general information on timber resources, roads and other details throughout BC (Source: A History of the British Columbia Provincial Forest Inventory Program). According to this tweet, the earliest digital forest cover map series covering all BC became available in 1995. Landsat offers insight back to 1984. These maps extend our forest cover change record by more than 35 years, to the 1950s. It will help us reconstruct the historical changes in BC’s environment and forests.

This map shows the forest cover of part of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

Index to the interim forest cover series and the forest inventory area reference system; Canada sheet 92 G/NW, G/SW

And here is the forest inventory summary on the envelope of the map:

Index to the interim forest cover series and the forest inventory area reference system; Canada sheet 92 G/NW, G/SW

In the lower-left corner of each map, there is a legend showing the meaning of different colours on the map. In the lower-right corner is an inset map indicating the location of the main map in a broader frame of reference.

Below is a glossary of forest covers extracted from the 1967 forest inventory that can help us understand the 1958 map series, but viewers should note that the definitions used in this map series may differ and that this glossary should be interpreted cautiously.

Mature Forest – Forest land in mature condition, defined as stands containing an acceptable number of trees per acre: 81 years and over for broad-leaved, Lodgepole pine, and Whitebark pine stands; 121 years and over for conifers. Note that pre-1963, mature broad-leaved stands were defined as 41 years and over.

Immature Forest – Forest land in immature condition, defined as stands containing an acceptable number of trees per acre: 1-80 years for broad-leaved, Lodgepole pine, and Whitebark pine stands; 1-121 years for conifers. Note that pre-1963, mature broad-leaved stands were defined as 1-40 years.

Not satisfactorily stocked areas – Forest land in not satisfactorily restocked (NSR) condition, defined as stands that have been disturbed over 75% by fire, logging, wind, insect, disease or other disturbances, and have not restocked with sufficient numbers of commercial species.

Non-productive forests and non-forested lands – Includes all non-merchantable stands which are occupying productive forest land (i.e., non-productive). Non-forest land is land best suited for the growing of crops other than forest trees or which is incapable of supporting a commercial forest.

To view more maps and discover what BC forests were like in the 1950s, please visit Interim Forest Cover Series Maps! For those who are interested, here’s a narrative history of the forest inventory program on the Forest History Association of B.C. website: https://fhabc.org/documents/BCFS-Inventory-history-part-2.pdf.

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