Vancouver Historical Society
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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 notated *) are FREE and open to the public and visitors are welcome.

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VHS Projects & Publications

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I. Publications and Projects of the Society


The Story of Vancouver
The VHS produced for its website The Story of Vancouver, a six chapter overview of the city’s history. Meant for city, provincial, national and international readers, it covers a six chapter historical overview of its earliest years, transportation, neighbourhoods, population hierarchies, social attitudes, aesthetic, social and cultural development of the city.

Click here to read The Story of Vancouver.


Victory Square
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In 2010 the VHS erected an historical sign at Victory Square outlining how the park, once the centre of the city, evolved into a space commemorating and celebrating the veterans of wars in which Canada participated.  The sign was installed shortly after the Remembrance Day Ceremonies in November.


Vancouver Street Scene from 1907 Harbeck filmCity Reflections: 1907-Vancouver-2007 (DVD)
A Vancouver Historical Society re-shoot of Vancouver street scenes film recorded by William Harbeck from the front of a streetcar in 1907 His six-minute film, the earliest known surviving film of Vancouver, was research and re-filmed resulting in a 53 minute DVD production showing scenes from both years. Additionally, there are several chapters comprising an interview, the story of the life of the film maker (who went down with the Titanic), some chapters on the re-shooting of the film, etc. The DVD is being sold through various outlets in the city. Read more »


The Devonian Park SignHistorical Markers in Vancouver Parks
In 2008 the Vancouver Historical Society erected two historical interpretation signs, one at Hallelujah Point in Stanley Park (near the totem poles) and the other at Devonian Park (at the foot of Denman Street). Each marks the historical significance of the area. Read more »


George Day Celebrations
Birthday parties can be noisy affairs — and this one was especially loud. But then again, the person being feted was the city’s namesake. And it was a special birthday! It was horns, a cake, entertainment and a special stamp. Read more »


Chris Spencer, president of Spencer's, holding a copy of the Sun which was to be deposited into the chestSpencer’s Cedar Chest Vancouver Time Capsule
In 1936, David Spencer's Department store decided to celebrate Vancouver's Jubilee by putting together a time capsule in a cedar chest, “four feet square and wide”. Contributions were open to the public and a variety of people contributed letters, photographs and various other items. Read more »


Walker, Elizabeth. Street Names of Vancouver. Vancouver Historical Society, c1999. A complete list and location of the original and renamed streets of Vancouver accompanied by historical background.


Vancouver Historical Society. Wall Chart Project. Teacher's Guide: late intermediate social studies… development of the west… industrialization … exploration and conquest. 1990. Celia Haig-Brown.


Vancouver Historical Society. Wall Chart Project. Teacher's Guide: early intermediate social studies … the first peoples of Vancouver. 1990. Geraldine Bob and Bruce Macdonald.


Vancouver in the 1880's. [Created by Bruce Macdonald.] Wall chart and accompanying teacher guide were produced by the Vancouver Historical Society through the financial assistance of the B.C. Gaming Commission. 1990.


The First Peoples “Vancouver” in the 1850's. [Created by Bruce Macdonald.] Wall chart and accompanying teacher guide were produced by the Vancouver Historical Society through the financial assistance of the B.C. Gaming Commission. 1990.


Vancouver centennial bibliography: a project of the Vancouver Historical Society. Compiled by Linda L. Hale; with cartobibliography by Frances M. Woodward. 1986. 4 volumes.


A Very Practical Guide to the Pursuit and Enjoyment of Oral History. Vancouver Historical Society, The Oral History Committee. 1986. A step-by-step procedure on how to conduct and document an interview on oral history. [PDF Version]


Voices of False Creek and the Fairview Slopes. Oral History Project of False Creek. 1981-86. This project resulted in the creation of over 40 sound recordings of interviews with individuals connected to and involved with Granville Island. (University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collections).


Vancouver History. 1979-80. Preceded and superceded by the Vancouver Historical Society Newsletter.


Focus on Vancouver: bulletin of research in progress concerning the Vancouver area. Published by the Vancouver Historical Society, no. 1, December 1970 to no. 8, June 1974.


Roberts, Sheila. Shakespeare in Vancouver, 1889-1918. 1971. (Occasional paper no. 3.) A background to and venues of the 192 productions of Shakespeare plays performed in Vancouver 1889-1971.


Sandison, James. M, ed. Schools of Old Vancouver. 1971. (Occasional paper no. 2.) A collection of early articles and editorials on Vancouver schools, secondary education and an incipient university of British Columbia.


Howard, Irene. Vancouver's Svenskar; a history of the Swedish community in Vancouver. 1970. (Occasional paper no. 1.) Chronicles the lives of Swedes in Vancouver from the 1880s.


The Hastings Mill Monument commissioned by the Vancouver Historical Society and created by sculptor Gerhard ClassHastings Mill Monument
In 1965, the Vancouver Historical Society commissioned sculptor Gerhard Class to create a three piece sculpture almost three meters high to mark the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Hastings Mill, around which grew the settlement that ultimately became the nucleus of Vancouver.  The mill was built by Captain Edward Stamp and went through a variety of owners until it closed in the 1920s. Read more »

II. Publications or projects which received financial or other support from the VHS

Ship off of Stanley ParkImages of Vancouver, 1914-1926, from the Dominion Photograph Company. A grant was given to the Vancouver Public Library, Special Collections in 2009 to digitize photographs from the Dominion Photograph Company. See:

Major MatthewsEarly Vancouver, volumes 1-7, Major James Skitt Matthews (left). A grant was given to the city of Vancouver Archives in 2009 for the digitization of the transcriptions of volumes 1-7 of Major Matthews’ opus. See The project was completed in 2011. 


Empire  of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Hockey Association, 1911-1926Bowlsby, Craig. Empire of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Hockey Association, 1911-1926. Vancouver: Knights of Winter, 2012


The  Story of South Vancouver and John Oliver High SchoolMacLeod, Ken. The Story of South Vancouver and John Oliver High School. Victoria, BC: First Choice Books, 2012


Women on Ice: The Early Years of Women's Hockey in Western CanadaNorton, Wayne. Women on Ice: The Early Years of Women's Hockey in Western Canada. Vancouver, Ronsdale Press, 2009


Story of DunbarSchofield, Peggy, editor, The Story of Dunbar: Voices of a Vancouver Neighbourhood. Vancouver, Ronsdale Press, 2007.


Women Lead the WayMann, Jean; New, Beverley; Barford, Cathy. Women Lead the way: A History of the University Women's Club of Vancouver. 1907-2007, Vancouver, University Women's Club, 2007.

History of Metropolitan Vancouver WebsiteDavis, Chuck. The History of Metropolitan Vancouver (website: 2004-2006)


Knickerbocker, Nancy. No plaster saint; the life of Mildred Osterhout Fahmi. Vancouver. Talonbooks, 2001.


Circumnavigation of “Quadra and Vancouver's Island” 1790-1792…portfolio…and chart description. John Spittle…John Kendrick…Robin Inglis. 1992.

Vancouver: A Visual HistoryMacdonald, Bruce. Vancouver: a visual history. 1992. Vancouver, Talonbooks, 1992.

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