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Northern Exploration and Surveying in Northern BC

Northern BC Archives has extensive collections on northern expeditions and surveys from 1907 to the 1930s.

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Northern BC Archives & Special Collections

Hours of Service:
Monday to Friday: 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
Closed 12:30 PM-1:00 PM daily
Closed Weekends & Statutory Holidays
Appointments Recommended

Location: UNBC Prince George
Geoffrey R. Weller Library
4th Floor (Room 5-423)


The Northern BC Archives has extensive collections on northern expeditions and surveys from 1907 to the 1930s. Most of these collections largely consist of photographs with some textual records and maps. 

Research Significance: Many of these collections such as the Prentiss Gray Collection and the Phipps-Mackenzie Collection provide visual documentation of natural landscapes of Northern BC and Alberta including flora and fauna. Such photographs and cartographic materials may generate and provide opportunities for comparative analyses of previous landscape conditions with contemporary environments, creating a benchmark for documenting natural habitat and changing environments or industry practices.

Bibliography & Research Guide

Surveyors, Guides, and Explorers of Northern British Columbia

The Bibliography and Research Guide: Surveyors, Guides, and Explorers of Northern British Columbia was created to provide information about what sources may exist and where to look for further information. Many of these records of surveyors, guides, and explorers are not held at the Northern BC Archives, but descriptions of content and links to holdings are provided whenever possible.

This is a bibliography relating to the surveyors, geological explorers, and guides of Northern British Columbia. The majority of these sources relate to the early twentieth century, when much of the geography of Northern British Columbia was only vaguely recorded.

The work of these men and women influenced the development of many town sites in Northern British Columbia, and their records often contain information on the history of early settlement of these regions. Their cartographic records also contain a great amount of information on the industrial development and mineral exploration of the area.

Included in this bibliography are sources relating to the 1934 Bedaux Sub-Arctic Expedition. The trip was an elaborate and potentially record-breaking track from Edmonton to Fort Saint John, with the planned destination Telegraph Creek and the Pacific. Sources are included that pertain to individuals who were involved with surveying or packing on either Charles Bedaux’s SubArctic expedition or his 1932 hunting trip to Central British Columbia.

The Northern BC Archives Graduate Research Scholarship

The Office of Graduate Research, with the generous assistance of an anonymous donation, is pleased to announce the creation of The Northern BC Archives Graduate Research Scholarship. Up to two awards per year with a value of $2,500 each will be awarded to full-time UNBC graduate students in any discipline who are pursuing archival research at the Northern BC Archives for their graduate thesis or project.

Check out our scholarship page or brochure for more information:

Applications accepted: October 15, 2019 to March 1, 2020

Application Instructions: Applicants must apply online through their "myUNBC" portal. Applicants must provide a detailed description of their research proposal including an in-depth explanation as to which archival materials from the NBCA they are interested in researching.

For additional information and criteria, please see the UNBC Scholarship, Bursary, and Awards Guide for the scholarship.

Apply now!