|Getting There |||The 22 Macdonald (westbound) and 22 Knight (eastbound) buses stop along Cornwall Avenue, a four-block walk from the archives.|
|Cross Street |||Whyte Avenue|
|Reading room: Mon to Fri 9AM to 5PM; Staff assistance: Mon to Fri 10AM to 4:45PM Closed statutory and civic holidays.|
Profile Last Updated: February 05, 2009
The archives building is home to public records dating back to Vancouver’s incorporation in 1886, and private records documenting the social, political, economic, cultural and community life in the city. Various maps and documentary art pieces, such as portraits, cartoons and paintings, provide a visual record of history. A collection of 5,000 books on B.C. and Vancouver history, as well as newspaper clippings dating back to the 1920s, are testament to the politics, events and issues that shaped our history.
History in Pictures
A photography collection, comprised of more than one million images, depicts Vancouver’s history and culture from the 1860s to today. Themed photography exhibits are often on display in the gallery and have included: “Ghosts of Vancouver” (a look at several well-known buildings in Vancouver that are said to be haunted), “Camping at Seaside” (a glimpse at summer camping, from 1894 and 1908, when it was considered a fashionable family holiday) and various seasonal collections.
Help is Here
Archivists and reference experts are available to discuss projects, assist with research and teach you how to search the archives. If you prefer to work solo, various tools are at your disposal to ensure that you find what you’re looking for. Requests for information are accepted by e-mail, fax or mail. Staff receive a heavy volume of inquiries, but do their best to respond in a timely manner. The archivists can also recommend a freelance researcher for major projects.
The Man Behind the History
Vancouver City Council appointed its first archivist, Major J.S. Matthews, in 1932. Until his death in 1970, Major Matthews — after whom the archives building is named —collected thousands of documents and photographs, recorded his conversations with pioneers, interviewed First Nations people and produced over 40 publications on the city’s history. Inspired by the efforts of Vancouverites like Major Matthews, the city opened the archives building to commemorate the centennial of British Columbia’s entry into Confederation in 1972. The City of Vancouver Archives was the first municipal archives building constructed in Canada.
Ride and Read: Free parking available.
Wheelchairs Welcomed: The building is wheelchair accessible.