The first photographic technologies were invented and developed during the 1830s and 1840s. Among more than 56,000 available photographs in UBC Open Collections, many of our oldest photographs were taken in the early periods of photographic history.

 

1835: View of the Beaver (grounded) in Burrard Inlet, B. C.

You can find the oldest photographs we have in the UBC Library Framed Works Collection, which include two pictures of the Beaver, the first wooden paddle steamer on the Northwest Coast. The steamship started its sailing on May 2, 1835, near London, England and arrived at Vancouver on April 10, 1836. In 1888, the steamer was wrecked in the First Narrows in Vancouver Harbour.

 

[View of the Beaver (grounded) in Burrard Inlet, B. C.], [1835].

[View of the Beaver in Burrard Inlet, B.C.], [1835].

 

1854: Early timber cruisers beside their makeshift accommodation

MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds contain the records of the MacMillan Bloedel Ltd and are housed in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. The collection has more than 2,500 images documenting the history of the forestry company and its predecessors. The oldest pictures of the timber cruisers and makeshift accommodations were known to be taken in 1854, prior to when the original company, Powell River Power Company, was launched in 1909 by two entrepreneurs.

 

Early timber cruisers beside their makeshift accommodation, [1854?].

Early timber cruisers beside their makeshift accommodation, [1854?].

 

1859: Florence Nightingale

In the Florence Nightingale Letters Collection, you can find 188 letters written from and to Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) and 15 photographs relevant to her. Our oldest photographic portrait of her was taken in 1850s, before she started the first professional nurses training school, the Nightingale Training School (Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery at Kins College London) in 1860.

 

Florence Nightingale, [between 1850 to 1859].


How can you find our oldest photographs in Open Collections?

If you would like to explore more vintage photographs, you can search them in Open Collections as follows:

1. Go to Open Collections (https://open.library.ubc.ca) and click a search button without any keywords.

2. Select “Photographs” in Genre.

3. Select “Sort oldest to newest”.

4. Filter by “Date Range” from 1835. (If you don’t set the date range, you will see the materials whose dates are unknown.)

 

References

See also

 

 

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.

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