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Fonds AM1495 - Vancouver Jubilee Time Capsule Collection

[Group portrait of four men] upon the 15th anniversary of the arrival of the first transcontinent... [Portrait of Captain William James Twiss] [Portrait of Charles Henry Wilson] [Portrait of John W. Coburn] [Tree] blaze Executive Vancouver Pioneers Association Fred H. Smith Member of the Executive of the Vancouver Pioneers Association John H. Cocking Judge Forin President Vancouver Pioneers Association [Float in Spencer's parade] Cabaret Birthday Cake [Aerial view of C.P.R. Pier D at foot of Granville Street and part of Pier B-C] [Aerial view of downtown Vancouver showing showing C.P.R Pier D and Pier B-C looking west to Stan... [Aerial view of piers on waterfront looking north east from downtown Vancouver] [Aerial view of Vancouver looking south from Burrard Inlet] [Autographed portrait of Mayor Gerald G. McGeer] [David Spencer Ltd. employees known as The Remnants] [David Spencer's Department Store building on Hastings Street] [Mannequin of Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London us... [Portrait of nurse] [Portrait of woman] [Spencer's Department Store ] arcade [window display] [Spencer's Department Store building] [Spencer's Department Store cafeteria] [Spencer's Department Store delicatessen] [Spencer's Department Store Dinette] [Spencer's Department Store furniture display] [Spencer's Department Store hair salon] [Spencer's Department Store interior] [Spencer's Department Store interiors] [Spencer's Department Store merchandise showroom] [Spencer's Department Store table setting and chinaware displays] [Spencer's Department Store window display for Spencer's Beauty Salon] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store window display] [Spencer's Department Store] 3 wise men Christmas [window] [Spencer's Home Maker's Bungalow] [Spencer] Golden Wedding Group Oldest members of David Spencer Limited staff - Taken on occassion of Store's Diamond Jubilee Vancouver South Junior Band Official Golden Jubilee Band What We Have We'll Hold! [David Spencer's Ltd. employees and unidentified man during gasoline str...

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Vancouver Jubilee Time Capsule Collection

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on material in collection.

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  • 1936 (Creation)
    David Spencer Limited

Physical description area

Physical description

  • 0.18 m of textual records
  • 49 photographs
  • 4 maps

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Administrative history

David Spencer Limited (commonly known as Spencer's) operated during the late 19th and first half of the 20th century and was part of a larger department store chain operated in the province of British Columbia. The store began operations in Victoria in 1873, it opened its first Vancouver store in 1907. By December 1926, after purchasing the greater part of a block in the 500 block Hastings Street, it was able to open a nine storey elegant art deco flagship store. The building had five stories below street level and 320,000 square feet of shopping space. As well as having many amenities, it boasted a toyland and its trademark chairs beside the elevators. During the first half of the 20th century Spencer's Department Store was an important retail institution in Vancouver as it not only supported many civic events but also employed many people in Vancouver. In 1936, true to its character, it celebrated Vancouver's Golden Jubilee by creating a time capsule to be opened in 1986. In 1948, David Spencer Limited sold all its stores in British Columbia, including its Hastings Street location to the T. Eaton Company of Toronto. (research done by the Vancouver Historical Society)

Custodial history

In 1936 David Spencer's Department store decided to celebrate Vancouver's Jubilee by putting together a time capsule in a cedar chest, four feet square and wide. May 27, 1939 the cedar chest was opened and newspapers celebrating the visit of King George and Queen Elizabeth were added. In 1948 Spencer's Stores were purchased by the Toronto-based T. Eaton Company and because of the new owner's efforts to make visible their new corporate presence the exact whereabouts of the capsule became a mystery. On April 17, 1951 the chest was opened by Pearson McAllister who apologized in a note that he is not able to wait for he feared he may be dead by 1986. By 1973 Eaton's sold its Hastings Street store and at the site put all the contents that could not be moved to the new location on the auction block. While on a visit to Vancouver from Ontario and in an attempt to buy a desk for a friend, Jim Breckenridge purchased the contents of the cedar chest, then in boxes. He didn't purchase the desk nor did he see the famed cedar chest, which was likely auctioned separately. Missing from the original cedar chest were samples of 1936 clothing, and a statue of George Vancouver. The boxes were left in Surrey with a friend Carlo Giovanella for whom the desk was to have been purchased. A couple of years later, Mr. Giovanella drove the boxes to Ontario where they sat for the next several decades. In 1986, an article appeared in the Vancouver Sun about the lost Spencer Time Capsule which was nowhere to be found. Jim Breckenridge offered the contents to the Vancouver Museum which expressed interest in it even though it had many of the items already, but distances and logistics prevented a follow up. In October 2006, Jim Breckenridge offered the contents of the Spencer's Cedar Chest to the Vancouver Historical Society. It was on November 5, 2006 that Jim Breckenridge on a visit to Vancouver, handed over the contents of the boxes, minus some generic magazines and newspapers of the time (left in Ontario) to the Vacouver Historical Society with the understanding that the material will be passed along to an archives. On November 23, 2006 the Vancouver Historical Society donated the contents of the Spencer's Cedar Chest to the City of Vancouver Archives. (research done by the Vancouver Historical Society)

Scope and content

Collection consists of correspondence, souvenirs, journals, catalogues, newspapers, various photographs and other textual materials donated to David Spencer's Department store for the Vancouver's Jubilee time capsule. Arranged into the following files:
Correspondence to Russell Cumming
Spencer's Journals and Catalogues
The Opening of City Hall
Vancouver Golden Jubilee Souveirs
Vancouver Pioneers Association
Women's Division, Vancouver Jubilee Committee
Mixed Items

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Collection arranged by archivist. Photographic images in this fonds have been assigned catalogue numbers with the prefix CVA 1495.

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