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Meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month (except in June, July, August and December).

The society sponsors presentations by guest speakers on subjects generally relating to the history of Vancouver.

These gatherings take place in the Museum of Vancouver, located at 1100 Chestnut Street at 7.30 pm. Enquire at the Museum desk for directions to the room.

All meetings and events (unless otherwise noted *) are FREE and open to the public and visitors are welcome.

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Meetings, Special Events and Field Trips

Please note: All events (unless otherwise noted *) are free and open to the public.

Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
Civic Politics over the Past Half Century
Speaker: Gordon Price, former City Councilor

Gordon PriceVancouver politics from the city’s 1886 inception have shown pockets of brilliance; other times, not so. Nonetheless, by the time of its post-WWII emergence, the city was perceived by some to be a “dirty, grimy backwater”. Remarkably, the city has evolved with forward looking policies and is now deemed to be one of the most livable cities in the world. How did this happen? The half century from the late 1960s to the late 2010s, political groups brandishing such ideological initials at NPA, TEAM, COPE and Vision, have helped move this process along. Some were more transformative than others. To help steer us through the complexities of this will be Gordon Price, an NPA councilor for 15 years during that time.


Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
Early Vancouver Artists: surviving while being creative
Speaker: Gary Sim, author and architectural technologist

Gary SimFrom the time that Vancouver was carved out of old growth forest little more than one hundred and twenty years ago, artists, both native-born and new arrivals sought to nourish their souls while sustaining a livelihood within the new city and growing province. Those who put down roots in the raw city creatively sought ways to make a living, by becoming teachers and illustrators, founding galleries and fine arts groups and organizing to exhibit and sell their work. Artists like Sam Maclure, Sophie Pemberton and Emily Carr are just a few of these creative souls. Vancouver-born artist, author, researcher, and architectural technologist Gary Sim will examine some of the artwork and accomplishments of Vancouver’s earliest resilient artists.


Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
The Ferries of Indian Arm
Speaker: Ralph Drew, Mayor of Belcarra

Ralph DrewAs prosperous times before the First World War created a local surge in immigration and a building boom in Vancouver, affluent Vancouverites began looking for scenic summer retreats close to the city. However, without roads or bridges to access the North Arm of Burrard Inlet (Indian Arm), reliable ferries became essential to developing these new recreational properties. As a result, during 70 years of the 20th century scheduled ferry runs from Vancouver to steamer landings on the fjord, travelling post offices a floating grocery stores became unique and critical services to the many small communities scattered along Indian Arm. This unique service has been key to shaping the history and psyche of Indian Arm residents of today.


Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
Historic Clan and Association Buildings of Vancouver’s Chinatown
Speaker: John Atkin and City Planning staff involved in Chinatown

John AtkinChinatown’s historic clan and associations buildings are a unique heritage resource in the city of Vancouver. As Chinatown evolves these structures provide the continuous thread of history in the community.

Built in an era when mutual support was a necessary and needed part of life for the city’s Chinese immigrants, the buildings reflected the architecture of southern China. Balconies recall both the ancestor hall of the clan areas and the residential buildings of Guangdong province.

For this presentation join civic historian John Atkin and city staff for a look at the history and what the future holds for these important cultural spaces.


Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
Morag Maclachan’s legacy: The untold story of Noel Annance
Speaker: Jean Barman, historian

Jean BarmanVHS member Morag Maclachan left a legacy of an important publication, The Fort Langley Journals (UBC Press), along with extensive research on Noel Annance, an Abenaki from just outside of Montreal who was among the post’s founders in 1824 and after whom Annacis Island in New Westminster is named.  Just before her death in 2011 and unable to complete his story, Morag asked Jean Barman to do so. The result is Abenaki Daring: The Life and Writings of Noel Annance, 1792-1869 (McGill-Queen’s University Press), which tells the story of an Indigenous man who by virtue of having attended Dartmouth College, due to his maternal descent from child captives, was all his life caught between two ways of being.  He was too indigenous to be accepted in the fur trade, too highly educated to fit in on returning home in 1834.  Noel Annance did not crumple, but rather used his pen to detail to the government Indigenous people’s plight in a Canada in the making.  The exclusionary policies generally considered to have originated with the Indian Act of 1876 were long in place.


Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
Where Mountains Meet the Sea
Speaker: Daniel Francis, historian

Daniel FrancisOriginally part of the territories of the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations, the community of North Vancouver predates Vancouver as the earliest European settlement on Burrard Inlet.

In this well-illustrated talk based on his book Where Mountains Meet the Sea commemorating the 125th anniversary of North Vancouver District, historian Daniel Francis describes how the community evolved from a frontier sawmill village into a modern urban centre marked by its location midway between the mountain wilderness and the third largest city in Canada.


Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
The Death and Life of the Single Family House
Speaker: Nathan Lauster, Associate Professor of Sociology at UBC

Nathan LausterIn his 2016 book, The Death and Life of the Single-Family House, Sociologist Nathan Lauster explains how residents in Vancouver – recognized as one of the most “livable” cities in the world - have attempted to make themselves at home without a house. Building on historical and interview data, Lauster has painstakingly studied the city's dramatic transformation to curb sprawl. He tracks the history of housing and interviews residents about the cultural importance of the house as well as the urban problems it once appeared to solve. Although Vancouver's built environment is unique, Lauster argues that it was never predestined by geography or demography. Instead, regulatory transformations enabled the city to renovate, build over, and build around the house.


Thursday, March 23, 2018 – 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
Blood, Sweat, and Fear: the Story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver’s First Forensic Investigator
Speaker: Eve Lazarus, author

Eve LazarusHeralded internationally as the Sherlock Holmes of Canada, John F.C.B. Vance was Vancouver’s first forensic investigator. During his 40-year career (1907-1949) Vance was constantly called upon to use his skills in serology, toxicology, firearms, trace evidence and autopsy to solve hit-and-run, robberies, and some of the most sensational murder cases of the twentieth century. His skills and analytic abilities were so effective that there were seven attempts on his life, and for a time, he and his family were under constant police guard. Vance was on the forefront of forensics, often inventing his own equipment when none was available.

In 1932 he was given the honorary title of Inspector and put in charge of the newly formed Police Bureau of Science.

Eve is the author of several books on Vancouver history, her latest being the subject of this talk.


Thursday, April 27, 2018 - 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
The Gardens of Vancouver
Speaker: Christine Allen, Master Gardener

Christine AllenIs there a typical Vancouver garden? Was there one at any time in the past? Author Christine Allen looks back through the photographic record to analyze the gardening preferences of the city's residents, explaining fashions in landscaping, plantings of orchards and vegetable gardens, and trends such as English Cottage and Asian. The talk mentions avid gardeners including "sugar king" B.T. Rogers and influential landscapers such as Raoul Robillard.

Christine Allen is the author of "Gardens of Vancouver" (Raincoast, 1999) as well as books on roses, climbers, and the large garden she created on a farm in South Langley. She is a Master Gardener and a long-time volunteer at VanDusen Garden.

History Related Events Calendar

This calendar shows upcoming history-related events sponsored by other organizations. Click to view »

Please note: This information is provided only as a public service by the VHS which is not responsible for the content.


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