Showing 16114 results

People and organizations

Vancouver (B.C.). Street Decoration Committee

  • Corporate body
  • 1958-

The Vancouver Street Decoration Committee is a voluntary committee of citizens which reports to City Council. It is responsible for overseeing the artistic development of the Vancouver Summer Street Banners which festoon city streets from May to October. The Committee works closely with the Electrical Design Branch of Engineering Services (formerly referred to as the Engineering Department), which administers the technical side of the Summer Street Banner Program and looks after the installation of banners.

The banners have provided a palette of unique scope and scale for artists. Many of these artists are well known, and include Bill Reid, Robert Davidson, Rudy Kovach, Jack Shadbolt, Barbara Shelly, Gordon Smith, Takao Tanabe, Len Norris, Tony Onley, and Sam Black.

The Councils of the City have funded the program every year since 1958, when the banners were an element of a comprehensive, widespread decoration theme as part of Vancouver’s participation in the celebration of British Columbia’s Centenary.

Vancouver (B.C.). Town Planning Commission

  • Corporate body

The Vancouver Town Planning Commission was established by City Council on 1 Feb. 1926 (by-law no. 1771), following the passing of the Province's Town Planning Act (statutes, 1925, Ch. 55), according to federal leadership and, by that time, the precedent of all other provinces. The Town Planning Act had given Councils the authority to prepare official town plans (as well as harbour, railway, rapid-transit, and street-railway plans to coordinate with them), to designate land use districts and enforce the regulations (i.e. zoning regulations), and to consider any matters dealing with the physical development of a municipality. The City's by-law gave the Vancouver Town Planning Commission the authority to prepare and maintain a town plan (including harbour, etc., as indicated in the statute) and to carry out the land use designations and regulations called for in the plan (its recommendations went to City Council). Involvement in land use (i.e. zoning) matters decreased as of November 1952, when the City's Planning Department was established (which worked closely on land use matters with a committee of staff and officials, the Technical Planning Board). On 16 June 1960 (by-law no. 3850) the Vancouver Town Planning Commission formally became a City Council advisory body only, taking the broad view on land use issues and constituting an expression of public opinion on matters submitted to Council by the Director of Planning and Technical Planning Board. The 1926-1952 functions of the Vancouver Town Planning Commission were carried out as follows.
(1) City planning ("Town planning"). The first comprehensive town plan was prepared for the Town Planning Commission by the American consultants Harland Bartholomew and Associates in 1928, then revised in 1929 to include the newly added municipalities of South Vancouver and Point Grey. Followup reports were called for between 1944 and 1948. In consultation with the Town Planning Commission and Harland Bartholomew and Associates, City Council decided in 1950 that city planning was becoming increasingly complex, and required a dedicated Planning Department, which was in place by 1952.
(2) Zoning designation and regulation advisory. The earliest zoning or land use priority was preventing apartment houses from intruding into single family dwelling districts. The Zoning Committee was established in 1925, working toward the first Zoning By-law (no. 1830) which was passed on February 5, 1927. After amalgamation with South Vancouver and Point Grey, the Town Planning Commission contracted Harland Bartholomew and Associates to draft a subsequent Zoning By-law (passed 1930).
The functional predecessors of the Town Planning Commission were City Council, the Board of Works, and the City Engineer. The Commission was succeeded in the technical aspects of planning on 1 Oct. 1952 by the Planning Department, which worked in conjunction with the newly created Technical Planning Board. The Town Planning Commission was succeeded, in its advisory capacity, by the Vancouver City Planning Commission, established on January 18, 1972 (by-law no. 4599).
The Town Planning Commission reported to the City Council committee responsible for town planning (committee names changed frequently, e.g. the Building and Town Planning Committee).
From the beginning the Commission consisted of 9 members appointed by City Council and 5 or 6 who served as representatives of their bodies, e.g. the Mayor, the heads of the School Board and Park Board, the head of the National Harbours Board, etc. The appointed members elected a chair from among them. The position of Secretary was head of the paid staff and took responsibility for the recordkeeping, according to the by-law.
The Vancouver Town Planning Commission was renamed the Vancouver City Planning Commission on 18 Jan. 1972 (by-law no. 4599), some years after the Commission had become a lay advisory body.
The following individuals have served as chairmen of the Vancouver Town Planning Commission: Arthur G. Smith, 1926-1933; Frank E. Buck, 1934; G. L. Thornton Sharp, 1935; B. George Hansuld, 1936; Harry V. Jackson, 1937; J. C. McPherson, 1938; G. C. Miller, 1939; Frank E. Buck, 1939; W. R. Owen, 1940; F. N. Hamilton, 1941; E. M. Bennett, 1942; Charles T. Hamilton, 1943-1945; Harry V. Jackson, 1946-1947; Joseph Briggs, 1948-1949; C. Brakenbridge, 1950-1954; A. J. Harrison, 1955. The executive director was J. Alexander Walker, Secretary (known as the "Engineer-Secretary") , who had served in this position from the beginning until his retirement on 31 Oct. 1952 (6 Nov. 1952 Commission minutes).

Related Resources:
For the records of the successor body see the Planning Department fonds. (The Archives has not yet received Vancouver City Planning Commission records.) See the Zoning Appeal Board fonds for its records (1927-1980, series 493). Also related are the basic records of the City kept as part of the City Council and Office of the City Clerk fonds, e.g. "Council minutes" (series 31), "Subject files - including Council supporting documents" (series 20); "Public hearings - Council zoning supporting documents" (series 42); etc. The Corporation of Point Grey, which amalgamated with the City of Vancouver in 1929 also had a Town Planning Commission (1926-1928 Commission minutes are at 6-C-14; the 1922 Town Planning by-law is part of PD 1142; the official Point Grey plan is at 77-A-6 file 4).

Vancouver (B.C.). Transportation Division

  • Corporate body
  • [1935-]

As automobiles became increasingly prevalent in the City of Vancouver, there was greater planning and attention required to ensure their safe and efficient movement throughout the city. The first instance of this responsibility falling to the Engineering Department is documented as 1935, when Traffic Engineering is listed as one of the functions which was to be reported to the Board of Works. Functions included analyzing the nature and causes of accidents (including assessing any contributing condition of roadways), the movement of traffic (including speed studies), and traffic congestion; in later years, parking enforcement, transit, downtown and neighbourhood traffic planning, traffic electrical operations, and special events traffic were added to the division’s manifold functional responsibilities.

Vancouver Park Board. Office of the Comptroller

  • Corporate body

The Comptroller (also knowns as the controller) directed and coordinated Park Board office procedures and financial transactions. The responsibilities included:

  • office management,
  • accounting,
  • personnel,
  • purchasing, and
  • cash control.

In the mid-sixties, the Chief Cashier and the Supervisor of Purchasing reported to the Comptroller. The Comptroller in turn reported to the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation. By 1965, the Park Board commissioners appointed an accountant to assist the controller due to an increasing workload. In 1970, the Comptroller was responsible for accounting, purchasing, personnel and office management. The next year, records duties, secretarial supervision and budgeting for the Board were added. By 1972, accounting and financial work in directing and coordinating all systems and procedures throughout the Park Board's jurisdiction pertaining to financial, accounting, inventory, and clerical or office matters were performed. All other supervisory personnel and staff were subject to the instructions of the Comptroller in matters affecting his area of responsibility. His performance is reviewed by the Superintendent and the Park Board. He was able to deal directly with the Park Board commissioners on financial matters.

Vancouver Public Library

  • Corporate body

The Act of Incorporation of 1886 empowered City Council to pass, alter, and repeal by- laws for "purchasing, acquiring, holding, managing, and maintaining real property and buildings for the purpose of a free public library or a partial free library in the city, and any branches thereof, and for the maintenance and upkeep of any such library or libraries; and for appointing a Library Board for the management and control of such library or libraries." The Vancouver Public Library was established in December 1887 by a citizen's Board. From 1887 to 1890, the City Librarian acted on a voluntary basis. In 1890, Council voted money to support the library and began to appoint members to the Library Board. The library operates under the Library Act
([RSBC 1996] c. 264). The duties of the Council-appointed Board include: the power to make rules and regulations for its own guidance and for the government of the library; the preparation of budget estimates to meet the expenses of maintaining and managing the library; control over expenditure of all monies levied or provided by Council for library purposes and all moneys granted, donated or bequeathed to the Board; the power to appoint a librarian and assistants, prescribe rules for their conduct and fix their compensation and the power to remove such appointees; the keeping of distinct accounts; the preparation of an annual report and; the power to negotiate and enter into agreements for group insurance for the benefit of members of the Board and of its employees. In 1982, the Vancouver Public Library Board consisted of one Council member and ten other persons appointed for two-year terms. The library is funded with grants from the civic and provincial governments. Directors of the Vancouver Public Library have included: Aileen Tufts (? - 1987), Madeleine Aalto (Apr. 1988 - ).

Stevenson, Ada May

  • Person
  • ? - 1944

Ada Stevenson (nee Corlett) was born in Chicago, Illinois, and came to Vancouver in 1893. She opened the first kindergarten in Vancouver in 1898. She married A. E. Stevenson 1910. After his death in 1915, Ada returned to teaching at Alexandra Orphanage. She was also active in the Vancouver Manx Society. Stevenson donated Callister Park to the City in 1942.

Lever, Alan

  • Person
  • 1930-2016

Alan Lever was born May 2, 1930. Alan Lever was a member of the Vancouver Civic Museum Board and other boards concerned with the development of a city museum. He ran a business in downtown Vancouver called "Lever Antiques and Toys for Men". He died February 21, 2016

Vancouver Maritime Museum

  • Corporate body

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is responsible for collecting, documenting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the maritime history of the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. The Museum was constructed in 1958 as a project for British Columbia's centennial year, opening in 1960. In 1959 the City of Vancouver created a Civic Museum Board to administer the Maritime Museum. The Board was later also given responsibility for the Vancouver Museum and Planetarium; however, in 1972 responsibility for these institutions was transferred to the Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association (previously the Vancouver Art, Historical and Scientific Association). In 1988 the Maritime Museum was separated from the Association and has since functioned independently.

Black, Alex

  • Person

The McGibbon family were the ancestors in New Brunswick of Mrs. Alex Black.

Stephen, Alexander Maitland

  • Person
  • 1882-1942

Alexander Maitland Stephen was born and educated near Paisley, Grey Co., Ontario. In his teens he went to British Columbia where he worked on ranches and in mines before becoming a rural schoolteacher. He gained more experience in ranching and prospecting in Alberta and Mexico and then went to Chicago University where he earned a B.Sc. in architecture. He practiced his profession until the first World War, when he was sent overseas and was wounded in France. After the war, Stephen settled in Vancouver, where he took an active part in social and labour movements. He was first vice-president of the Child Welfare Association of B.C. and later served as president. He taught literature and history in the city school system. His writing and political activities occupied him until his death in July 1942. In the later 1920s he was associate editor of a weekly newspaper, "The Western Tribune". Stephen was also president of the Vancouver Poetry Society. He joined the CCF because of his advocacy of a "popular front" with the Communists. He was president of the League Against War and Fascism. In the later 1930s, Stephen organized various groups which raised funds for the people of Spain and China, as well as protesting against fascism: Spanish Defence Fund, China Aid Council, Medical Aid for China Committee, and the Embargo Council. A.M. Stephen became ill with pneumonia in March 1942 and died on 1 July 1942. Most of his works were published by J.M. Dent and Sons, a Vancouver firm whose vice-president was William Gordon Stephen, brother of A.M. Stephen. His most significant works are: The Rosary of Pan, 1923, poetry; The Voice of Canada, 1926, anthology of verse; Golden Treasury of Canadian Verse, 1927; Land of Singing Waters, 1927, poetry; The Kingdom of the Sun, 1927, novel; The Gleaming Archway, 1929, novel; Classroom Plays from Canadian History, 1929; Brown Earth and Bunch Grass, 1931, poetry; Canadian Industrial Plays, 1931; Verendrye: A Poem of the New World, 1935; Lords of the Air: Poems of the Present War, 1941.

Philip, Alexander

  • Person

Alexander Philip was a real estate agent, barrister and notary public who worked in Vancouver at the turn of the century. He had come from Glasgow, Scotland. Philip had several real estate companies between 1898 and 1904. He also served as the Clerk of the Municipality of North Vancouver from 1902, the Business manager of the B.C. Presbyterian and the B.C. Trade Budget and was Secretary for the Richmond Farmers' Institute.

Alexandra Neighbourhood House

  • Person

In 1892 the Women's Christian Temperance Union opened a home for motherless children in Vancouver. The organization was incorporated as "The Alexandra Non-Sectarian Orphanage and Home for Children" and moved to Alexandra House in Kitsilano. The orphanage was closed in 1938 and the building became Vancouver's first neighbourhood house offering a variety of recreational and social services activities for the Kitsilano area. In 1944, the Alexandra Non-Sectarian Orphanage was re-incorporated as Alexandra Community Activities to include Alexandra House, Gordon House, and Alexandra Fresh Air Camp. With the establishment of the Community Chest and Councils of the Greater Vancouver Area in 1944, these agencies became members. In 1955, the Joint Family Services Project was initiated from Alexandra House and Gordon House. In 1966, Alexandra Community Activities was reorganized as the Alexandra Neighbourhood Services Association, which then became Neighbourhood Services Association of Greater Vancouver in 1969. In the summer of 1971 and 1972 Alexandra House was used as a hostel for travelling youth. Shortly thereafter, Alexandra House was destroyed in a fire.

Purdie, Anna Grosvenor

  • Person

Anna Grosvenor Purdie taught in Vancouver schools from 1908 to 1947.

Winkelmans, Anne

  • Person

Anne (also known as Annie) Winkelmans, her husband Leopold, and their four children were long-time residents of B.C.'s lower mainland area. After W.W.II the family moved from West Vancouver to Richmond and, after spending a year in Europe in 1958, they purchased and ran a store in Lynn Valley Canyon, North Vancouver. The Winkelmans' youngest daughter, Dadye, eventually became a professional ballet dancer. Mrs. Winkelmans corresponded regularly with her daughter as she studied at the Royal Ballet School in London, and then went on to tour in Europe and the States.
In July 1961, during a visit with her parents, Dadye was killed in a hiking accident in Lynn Canyon. The Winkelmans sold the store and moved into an apartment in Vancouver. In 1981, after the death of her husband, Anne Winkelmans completed her B.A. at the University of British Columbia. In 1989, after taking a course in creative writing, she wrote her daughter's biography.

Chiffence, Annie

  • Person
  • 1898-1978

Annie Chiffence was born in Vancouver. She served in the Salvation Army 1928-1944, attaining the rank of Captain. She was a Centenary Crusader, 1928-1929 and again in 1944. In 1945 she married Neil Kirkbride. They were active members of the Alliance Tabernacle in Vancouver. Mrs. Kirkbride was also a member of the Canadian British Israel Association.

McDiarmid, Archie

  • Person
  • 1881-1957

Archibald McDiarmid was an amateur athlete who represented Canada at the 1920 summer Olympic Games. He later served as chief of Vancouver's Fire Department (1932-1941).

Grice, Art

  • Person

Art (Arthur) Grice was a professional photographer who worked under the name Art Grice; he was based in North Vancouver. Art Grice's company was named F 11 Photographics, but he signed his work with his name rather than the company name.

Smith, Arthur Gordon

  • Person
  • 1865-1944

Arthur Gordon Smith was born in Cape Town, South Africa. His father, Marcus, came to British Columbia in 1868 as engineer in charge of surveys for the CPR. Arthur Smith was educated at Upper Canada College and in 1891 he opened the first law office in Nelson, B.C. He moved to Victoria in 1892 and was appointed acting deputy attorney-general, a position he held until 1898 when he went to the Yukon to practice law. In 1905, he returned to Vancouver and in 1910 he was appointed District Registrar of Titles. Smith drafted a new Land Registry Act which was passed in 1921 and was chairman of the Town Planning Commission from 1926 to 1933. Smith retired in 1934 and died in 1944.


  • Corporate body

The ARTS Club was a young men's service and social club founded in 1930 in Vancouver, B.C. The club was founded by a group of boys that attended Sunday school at St. Mark's church (2485 West 2nd Ave). The acronym ARTS was derived from the motto "always ready to serve." According to the its constitution, the purpose of the club was to "develop [members'] education through a programme of speakers and forum discussions; to foster athletics and good sportsmanship; to be morally straight, clean and loyal; to hold social activities; to render social service." The club sponsored numerous dances to raise money to support club activities. The community services the club performed included operating the "Send a Boy to Camp" programme that raised money for Alexander Neighbourhood House to send Vancouver boys to summer camps in Howe Sound, the "A Ride to Servicemen" campaign to provide car rides for soldiers stationed in the region during World War II, and a programme to send comfort goods to soldiers serving overseas. After the end of the war the club's active membership declined; regular club meetings ceased by 1950, although several reunions were organized from the 1960's through to the 1990's.

British Columbia Marine Shipbuilders

  • Corporate body

B.C. Marine Engineers and Shipbuilders Limited is one of the oldest Vancouver shipyards, its name first appearing in the city directory in 1901. In 1913, it became the British Columbia Marine Railways Company Limited. In 1921, the company was known as B.C. Marine Engineers and Shipbuilders Limited. The company became B.C. Marine Shipbuilders in 1965. In the 1970s, the company was purchased by Rivtow Towing. The facility was then used primarily as a repair yard for the Rivtow fleet.

Morley, Ben A.R.

  • Person

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured Canada in 1939.

Johnson, Bernard Dodds Leitch

  • Person
  • 1904-1977

Born in Vancouver, Bernard (Barney) Leitch Johnson was the son of Captain Barney Leitch Johnson. He began serving on deep sea vessels at age 18. He obtained his foreign going masters certificate in 1928. For the next ten years, he worked for several B.C. maritime companies as a Master and Manager, primarily with Standard Oil of B.C. In 1939, Johnson joined the Royal Canadian Navy, serving on a variety of armed ships doing convoy duty. He was discharged in 1945 as a Commander. Following his discharge, he acted as Marine Superintendent for Johnson Walton Steamships and Westward Shipping. In 1955 he was appointed Manager for the Port of Vancouver and he remained in that capacity until his retirement in 1969.

Blomfield, James

  • Person
  • 1872-1951

James Blomfield, born James Alfred Bloomfield, was born in 1872 in Maidenhead, England. He studied architecture and worked as a junior draftsman before emigrating to Canada with his family in 1887 where they owned and operated the first stained glass business in British Columbia. Around 1900, James changed his surname from Bloomfield to Blomfield. He married Mary Diamond in 1902. They moved to Toronto in 1920 where he sketched and painted local scenes. James dies in 1951 at the age of 79.

Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association

  • Corporate body

In 1958, as part of celebrations for British Columbia's Centennial, construction began on the Vancouver Maritime Museum, which formally opened in 1960. In 1959, the City of Vancouver created the Civic Museums Board to oversee the operations of the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the City Museum. The Art, Historical, and Scientific Association was represented on this Board, and otherwise served as the City's official museum membership organization.
In 1967, as part of celebrations for Canada's Centennial, construction began on a new museum building in Vanier Park. At this time, the name of the City Museum was changed to the Centennial Museum. The new building was completed in October of 1968, and housed the Centennial Museum, as well as the H.R. MacMillan Planetarium (now the Pacific Space Centre).
In 1972, the City relinquished its direct management over the Museums. At this time, the Art, Historical, and Scientific Association changed its name to the Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association, and took over the management of the Centennial Museum, the H.R. MacMillan Planetarium, and the Maritime Museum. Previously, the short form name also used was the Vancouver Museums Association. By 1979, the Association began experimenting with having some degree of autonomy for the institutions it administered on behalf of the City. In 1987, a resolution was passed to have all the operations of the Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association evolve into three separate legal entities. Later that year, the Vancouver Museum Board of Trustees chose to retain the Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association as its operating society, with a change in name and constitution. The Vancouver Museum also undertook to be responsible for transacting all matters relating to the timely and orderly conclusion of the affairs of the Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association in 1988.


  • Corporate body

The British Columbia Insurance Underwriters' Association was founded in Victoria in 1880 for "the purpose of Public Service in accident prevention, fire prevention and the establishment of equitable insurance premium rates". Since its establishment, the association has collected statistical information and has made recommendations to public bodies and clients on the basis of the information collected so as to reduce the risk involved in insurance.

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