Friends of the Vancouver City Archives

Supporting the work of the City of Vancouver Archives


Since 1993 the Friends have worked to promote and improve public awareness of the Vancouver City Archives, its services and projects. We promote the use of the resources and services of the Archives by the general public and professionals, and support the development of archival services and facilities of the City of Vancouver.

We encourage the  appreciation of the history of this amazing city and help individuals, businesses, clubs, and other groups to value their important documents and photographic images, including their donation and preservation by the City of Vancouver Archives. From family photo albums to corporate records, these resources become important to future generations of researchers, writers, genealogists and news reporters.

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Just What Do the Friends Do?

Glad You Asked… With donations and grants we have accomplished a lot over the years. Here are a few of the things we’ve funded and presented


  • Web publisher software for Archives web site (enables researchers to search database on the Web)
  • Dye-sublimation printer (allows photo prints from scanned images)
  • Scanning photographic images into database
  • Combined index for 7 volumes of J.S. Matthews’ Early Vancouver
  • Computer for research room
  • Lease of photocopier for public use
  • Reproduction of 1888 Vancouver directory
  • Bookcase
  • Contribution to memorial to J.S. Matthews – Mt. Pleasant
  • Establishment of Elizabeth O’Kiely book tribute
  • Photographic cold storage facility (for preservation of deteriorating photographic negatives)
  • Reproduction of damaged Vancouver directories
  • Re-describing Major Matthews photograph collection
  • City directories project
  • Scanning and description grant for Walker E. Frost fonds, Ship’s series 2 photographs


  • Last Gang in Town Aaron Chapman
  • Vaudeville and Vancouver’s Great White Way Tom Carter and John Atkin
  • Vancouver Before the Railways Dr. Robert A.J. McDonald
  • Behind the Scenes – History of Theatre in Vancouver Norman Young
  • Captain Vancouver’s Voyage Dr. Robin Fisher
  • Vancouver Book Project Chuck Davis
  • Empress Ships of the C.P.R. Leonard McCann
  • W.J. Moore Panorama Exhibit Archives Staff 
  • Early Vancouver Postcards Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion
  • Vancouver’s Forgotten Entrepreneurs Dr. Jean Barman
  • Greenhill Park Disaster Leonard McCann
  • Archives Roadshow – Preservation of Family Treasures Archives Staff
  • History of Vancouver Aquarium Dr.  Murray Newman
  • Heritage Trees of Vancouver Clive Justice
  • Vancouver General Hospital and School of Nursing Marguerite Ford & Peggy Etchell
  • Heraldry in B.C. Robert Watt
  • Lion’s Gate Bridge Don Luxton
  • Pioneer Shipping on Burrard Inlet Robert Turner, Ken MacKenzie & Leonard McCann
  • Sports in Vancouver Jim Kearney
  • Streetcars & Transit in Vancouver Henry Ewert
  • Stanley Park’s Secret  Jean Barman
  • History of Burrard Inlet Doreen Armitage
  • Short Pants to Striped Trousers; The Life and Times of a Judge   Wallace Gilby Craig
    In Skid Road Vancouver


  • Bowen Island Museum and Archives
  •  Duke of Connaught’s Beatty Street Drill Hall and Regimental Museum
  • Marine Building; Architecture and Art Deco Design


  • 2 Fun/Fund-raising Auction Nights
  • Historical Trivia Night and fund-raiser
  • Sunday Tea and Ivan Sayers Historical Fashion Show
  • The Antique Road Show
  • Sunday Lunch and Presentation–Artists of Pre-WW II Vancouver, with Uno Langmann
  • A Victorian Tea and Talk (John Kennlyside) fund-raiser

What Did You Miss?


Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 9.34.09 AMFriends of the Vancouver City Archives hosted the Hugh Pickett Gala October 16, 2017, at the Sylvia Hotel – one of Hugh Pickett’s favourite Vancouver hang-outs. An evening of live music, bubbly, hors d’oeuvres and many guests from the local entertainment industry – ‘a good time to be had by all’ and ‘a good bang for your buck’- gala a la Hugh.

Proceeds from ticket sales went directly towards the processing and digitization Hugh Pickett’s records – recently donated to the City of Vancouver Archives by Gordon Boyd, Hugh’s life partner.


An evening of entertainment emceed by Howard Blank, co-hosted by Bill Allman of Famous Artists, live music by Bryant Olender, former accompanist and band leader for Michael Bublé, and augmented by illustrated presentations of Hugh’s life and career.

The Hugh Pickett records, donated to the Vancouver Archives, are vast and colourful, filled with theatre programmes, scrapbooks, event files and photographs emanating from Vancouver impresario Hugh Pickett’s long and rich career in the entertainment industry.


Aaron Chapman and the Last Gang in Town!

Author/historian Aaron Chapman presented his latest best-selling book The Last Gang in Town which covers a fascinating period of Vancouver crime history in the early 1970s.

If you missed this presentation why not join the Friends! Membership is only $20 and  are now 100% tax deductible. Sign up today by following the “Membership” link.

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-13-06-pmVaudeville and Vancouver! 

Civic historian John Atkin and artist Tom Carter presented an illustrated look at this uproarious era of traveling performers and elaborate theatres for the annual October fundraising event.

Watch for future events from the Friends


atom-digital-object-count-1The Vancouver Archives reached a significant milestone in mid-October with over 100,000 digital objects available online for your use and re-use!




Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 3.41.16 PMSupport the Friends of the Vancouver Archives by buying one of our exclusive t-shirts featuring a selection of carefully curated photographs drawn from the City of Vancouver Archives collection.

Shop on-line at Redbubble


courthouse post card2Help support the work of the Friends. Become a member or, consider renewing if you have let your membership lapse. It’s easy, just follow the link.

You may also wish to show your support and donate through Canada Helps


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