Since 1936, membership in the Vancouver Historical Society has been open to everyone who has an interest in the sharing and preservation of local history.

Next Event

NOV 22 2018

In the Metropolitan Shadow: Bowen Island

  • 7:30 PM
  • MoV
Speaker: Jack Little, Professor Emeritus
Michael Kluckner

Jack Little, Professor Emeritus

The phrase “no island is an island,” as historian Carlo Ginzberg applied to England, is particularly apt for Bowen Island. Part of the traditional territory of the Squamish people, Bowen is the Gulf Island nearest Vancouver. In the early twentieth century some of Vancouver’s wealthiest families established summer retreats on the island; and for over half a century each summer weekend hundreds of families boarded steamships in Coal Harbour for day trips to the picnic grounds of Snug Cove. In the 1950s a car ferry introduced commuters to Bowen, making city ties tighter than ever, but in 1969 a developer’s plan to convert the Snug Cove area into a densely settled suburb opened a protracted debate that revealed conflicting visions of the island’s future. The tension between preserving Bowen Island as a retreat from the city and giving in to metropolitan development pressures persists to the present day.

Jack Little is a Professor Emeritus in the History Department at Simon Fraser University. His most recent book is Fashioning the Canadian Landscape: Essays on Travel Writing, Tourism, and National Identity in the Pre-Automobile Era.


Upcoming Events

JAN 24 2019

People of the Inlet: A Look at Tsleil-Waututh History in Burrard Inlet

  • 7:30 PM
  • MoV
Speaker: Carleen Thomas, Special Projects Manager

Carleen ThomasLocated on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, the Tsleil-Wauth Nation (TWN) are Coast Salish people who speak a dialect of the Halkomelem language and are closely related to but politically separate from the nearby nations of the Squamish and Musqueum. Carleen Thomas, a member of the TWN, will tell the history of her people through the experiences of one family as revealed in photos, maps, and personal family stories. The importance of stewardship, culture, and relationships between communities in the history of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation will be noted.

Carleen Thomas is a Special Projects Manager, Treaty Lands & Resources Department of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.  A member of the TWN, she is a proud wife, mother, and grandmother of 5 amazing grandchildren. 

FEB 28 2019

Dreams and Designs:  The Making of West Vancouver 

  • 7:30 PM
  • MoV
Speaker: Francis Mansbridge, author

Francis MansbridgeIn the past century West Vancouver has developed from a low-cost vacation destination for visiting Vancouverites to a highly desirable and expensive community.  This history shows how the British Properties, the Squamish Nation, and other groups have worked to imprint their different visions on the land, often in uneasy concert with the municipal government and vocal citizens’ groups.   The result has been a dynamic community that is now confronting the problems arising from being on the edge of urban development. 

Francis Mansbridge is the author of Cottages to Community, the centennial history of West Vancouver, and Launching History, on Burrard Dry Dock. His most recent book, Dreamers and Designers:  The Shaping of West Vancouver, looks at some of the land issues that have shaped this community.

MAR 28 2019

The Untold Story of Sam Greer’s Battle for Kitsilano

  • 7:30 PM
  • MoV
Speaker: Laura Ishiguro, Assistant Professor of History

Laura IshiguroIn September 1891, Samuel Greer either accidentally or intentionally shot Deputy Sheriff Tom Armstrong through the door of his family’s small house near what’s now called Kitsilano Beach. This was the dramatic climax of a much longer war between Greer and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Both claiming the same land on English Bay, Greer and the CPR had for years engaged a range of tactics to undermine each other’s position, including court cases, provincial investigations, newspaper editorials, and industrial sabotage. The broad contours of their conflict – with its culmination in the shooting of Armstrong, who had come to evict the Greers on behalf of the company – has become legendary in the history of Vancouver. However, much more remains to be understood about it. This talk will explain the “Battle for Kitsilano” by connecting it to the larger untold story of Greer’s life in British Columbia. In so doing it will reveal the significant underlying history of land, law, corruption, and colonialism in the making of Vancouver.

Laura Ishiguro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of British Columbia. Her book, Nothing to Write Home About: British Family Correspondence and the Settler Colonial Everyday in British Columbia, is forthcoming with UBC Press.