History of the Vancouver Historical Society
On October 2, 1936, an organizational meeting was held
to create a Vancouver Section of the British Columbia Historical
Association, which up until that time had been located only
in Victoria. This Section ultimately became what we know
today as the Vancouver Historical Society.
The new Section had as its prime objectives to stimulate
public interest in history in general, and in Vancouver
history in particular, and to promote and encourage historical
research and publication. Another objective was the promotion
and designation of heritage sites and buildings, and their
preservation. This function has since been assumed to a
great extent by Heritage Vancouver.
The new Section also encouraged the publication of works
on local history topics. In addition, opportunities to publish
were provided through the establishment of the new periodical,
the British Columbia Historical Quarterly. Ultimately
the BCHQ was succeeded by the British Columbia
Historical News, which, in 2005, was renamed British
Columbia History. VHS members are still active contributors
to this publication today.
Since 1936, meetings have been held in a number of locations,
including the Hastings Mill Store, the Grosvenor Hotel,
the Georgia Medical Dental Building and the Vancouver Maritime
Museum. Since 1970, with some exceptions, most of its monthly
public meetings have been held in the Museum of Vancouver (formerly Vancouver Museum).
On February 1, 1977, the VHS was incorporated as a separate
society under the Vancouver Historical Society
name, but still maintained a relationship with the BCHA.
In 1983, the BCHA was itself renamed as the British Columbia
Historical Federation to more accurately represent its organization
as a federation of individual societies.
Over the years, and in accordance with its objectives, the
VHS has promoted interest in Vancouver's history through
the holding of monthly meetings with speakers, presenting
annual awards for achievements relating to local history
and research and hosting field trips to destinations of
local historical importance. In addition, the VHS had been
pro-active in promoting Vancouver heritage and history by
publishing books on its own and supporting financially the
publication of other works. It has also supported special
projects such as the Oral History Project which produced
over 40 taped interviews relating to the Fairview Slopes
and the business history of Granville Island. More recently,
it has lent direct support to the Historica project of the
Vancouver School Board. The VHS also publishes its own monthly
Run entirely by volunteers, the Vancouver Historical Society
has, for over seven decades, continued to remain a voice
in the city's history. During this time, its history related
projects and its support to local publishing have enhanced
the role of the Society and confirmed its effectiveness.