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Series S597 - Engineering Department photograph collection

Looking south on Oak Street at West Broadway View looking north on Oak Street at West 15th Avenue Looking north on Oak Street at West 16th Avenue James McAllister "Jim" Leitch William Francis "Bill" Huck Thomas "Tom" Dillon, South Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent 1912-1929 Arthur Ernest Ulmer, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent  1974-1979 Gordon Alexander Dickson, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent 1979-1986 David Adlam, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent  1953-1993 Bernie Cryderman, 1993-1998 William Francis "Bill" Huck, Vancouver Waterworks Assistant Superintendent 1957-1964 William Frederick "Harry" Dodd, Vancouver Waterworks Assistant Superintendent 1964-1968 Arthur Ernest "Art" Ulmer, Vancouver Waterworks Assistant Superintendent 1968-1974 Gordon Alexander Dickson, Vancouver Waterworks Assistant Superintendent 1979-1986 "Steve" William Sywulych, Vancouver Waterworks Assistant Superintendent 1979-? Alexander "Sandy" Houston, 1951-1960 Gordon Alexander "Gordie" Dickson, 1968-1974 "Lorn" Edmund Olm Thomas "Tom" Finlay James M.L. "Jim" Martin Unidentified Waterworks Foreman Robert G. "Bob" Paul, Vancouver Waterworks Assistant Superintendent Stephen "Steve" Maddison, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent 1908-1913 John Joseph Nickson, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent 1888-1907 Henry Lawrie "Henry" Lewis, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent 1913-1927 Andrew "Andy" Johnston, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent 1927-1929 James "Jimmy" Whyte, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent 1929-1944 Rothwell Galt "Bink" McCrady, Vancouver Waterworks Superintendent 1944-1957 Thomas "Tom" Dillon, South Vancouver General Foreman 1929-36 1000 block Nelson Street, Burrard-Thurlow, north side, view northwest 1200 block Nelson Street,  Bute-Jervis, view west 1300 block Nelson Street, Jervis-Broughton, view southeast 1600 block Nelson Street, Cardero-Bidwell, view west 1700 block Nelson Street, Bidwell-Denman, view east 1800 block Nelson Street, Denman-Gilford, view west

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Engineering Department photograph collection

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  • Photograph

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents.

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  • 1929, 1973 (Creation)
    Vancouver (B.C.). Engineering Services

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Physical description

54 photographs

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Administrative history

Since its foundation, Engineering Services (or, as it was referred to until 1995, the Engineering Department) has been the largest department in the City administration, providing many of the City's mandated functions for developing and maintaining the City's infrastructure of roads and bridges, waterworks, sewers and sanitation.

The Vancouver Incorporation Act required the appointment of an engineer, and the City did so under Bylaw #1 (1886). Despite technological changes, the department has remained remarkably consistent in functional responsibilities: over the years, the Engineering Department/Engineering Services has been responsible for the construction and maintenance of streets, lanes, sewers, water works, and bridges, as well as for traffic management, sanitation, garbage collection, and parking. With the rapid growth of the city, the Department’s role changed from a supervisory role (overseeing and inspecting the work of contractors) to having full-scale operations divisions.

The City Engineer first reported to the Board of Works (1886-1956), then to the Board of Administration (1956-1974), and subsequently to the City Manager (1974-).

There were a few instances of major reorganization in the history of the Engineering Department. Following a departmental review by external consultants in 1954, the department underwent a major restructuring of its organizational framework. Formerly, divisions had been based on the type of operation each performed. The review called for three basic divisions. One major division was for administration and design and the other for operations. Each of these divisions would oversee the different functions as they related to design or operation. A third division for traffic management continued to exist in the same fashion as before the rearrangement. This structure remained in place for only a few years.
Another major reorganization occurred in 1966 when the Electrical Department was incorporated as a division within the Engineering Department (impetus for this change came from the formation of the Permits and Licenses Department which took over inspection activities while Engineering took over engineering and works aspects.)

The following individuals have served as City Engineer (from 1995, the City Engineer was also referred to as “General Manager” of the then renamed Engineering Services):
• John P. Lawson, 1886-1890;
• Henry B. Warren, 1890-1891;
• Thomas H. Tracy, 1891-1905;
• William A. Clement, 1905-1911;
• Frederick L. Fellowes, 1911-1924;
• Charles Brakenridge, 1924-1946;
• Charles A. Battershill, 1946-1949;
• John C. Oliver, 1949-1956;
• Randolph M. Martin, 1956-1971;
• Gordon H. Lawson, 1971-1974;
• William H. Curtis, 1974-1991;
• David Rudberg, 1991-[2004]
• Tom Timm, [2004] – 2010
• Peter Judd 2010 –

Functions, occupations and activities:

The broad range of functions of the Department has included:

  1. Streets and bridges design and maintenance, including snow/ice removal and sanding;
  2. Sewerage and drainage planning and maintenance,
  3. Water supply and distribution,
  4. Refuse collection and disposal,
  5. Transportation planning and traffic management, including accommodating for special events,
  6. Street lighting and utilities,
  7. Inspection responsibilities (until the creation of the Permits and Licenses Department),
  8. City planning responsibilities (under the direction of the Town Planning Commission) until the creation of the Planning Department in 1954,
  9. Street Decoration (in conjunction with the Street Decoration Committee) since 1954.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Series consists of photographs from various divisions of the Engineering Department. Consists of 2 subseries: Miscellaneous photographs and Aerial survey photographs.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

"CVA 453" transferred from Engineering Department in 1985 and 2006.
"CVA 219" transferred from the COV Records Department in 1970.


Photographs in this public records series have been assigned item numbers with the prefixes "CVA 453" and "CVA 219"

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Item list available for Miscellaneous subseries.

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General note

Negative record books containing details of dates, locations, roll numbers and negative numbers of photographs taken (ca. 1969-1987) is located at 178-C-5.

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