Welcome

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.

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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.

Events

Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom turns 91 years old on December 3rd.

We celebrate with author/historian Aaron Chapman with this online fundraising event for the Friends of the City of Vancouver Archives

Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom turns 91 years old on December 3rd. To celebrate, the Friends of the Vancouver Archives invite you to join Live at The Commodore Ballroom author/historian Aaron Chapman for a special virtual presentation of the history of the Commodore. 

The Commodore has seen generations of Vancouverites pass through its doors since it opened in 1930. In its time it has seen just about everything, with its legendary floor seeing everything from waltzing to slam-dancing. In this Zoom presentation, Chapman will take you through a visual tour of the history of the Commodore, present many previously unpublished photographs, and talk about the trends in history that have made the Commodore come to be. He’ll talk about how, while so many other nightclubs have come and gone, The Commodore has survived and come to be perhaps the one of most valued and beloved venues not only in Vancouver but across the continent—named by Billboard Magazine one of the top ten most influential venues in North America. Chapman will also speak to the comprehensive “800 Granville” development project recently presented by developers Bonnis Properties that perhaps suggests the future of where the Commodore and that part of Granville Street is headed.

Fri, December 3, 2021 | 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM PST

Tickets on Eventbrite

This event will take place on Zoom, with links sent out to ticket holders just before the event.

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

PROJECTS AND EQUIPMENT FUNDED BY “FRIENDS”

  • 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

LECTURES AND PRESENTATIONS

  • 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

FIELD TRIPS

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

SPECIAL EVENTS

  • 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