Northern BC, at the beginning of the 20th century, was a land that had already known economic development, ethnic diversification, resource exploitation and socio-religious evolution: the gold rush and the work of the missionaries having effectively introduced these realities in the 19th century. What the early decades of the 20th century brought to Northern BC was a concerted push towards integrated economic and political development and mass re-settlement by immigrants. Dreamers, adventurers, entrepreneurs and politicians alike revelled in the endless possibilities they believed the North could provide. Luckily, this dynamic period in Northern BC history was often captured in photographs – a legacy which now offers the rest of us, a glimpse into this exciting past! Funding for this digitization project was generously provided by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre’s BC History Digitization Program.
The David Davies Railway Collection encompasses all facets of railway history in BC and includes an extensive photograph collection that documents the evolution of BC railways between 1957 and 2013. These photographs depict the transportation history of BC; most BC railways are represented, as well as a selection of ships, bridges, and vehicles.
Kent Sedgwick (1941-2011) was a Prince George historian, geographer, and city planner who created an extensive slide collection of 6000+ photographs taken in the Northern BC region from the 1970s to the 2000s.
The Honourable Iona Campagnolo was a politician and cabinet member in the Liberal government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau from 1974 to 1979. As Member of Parliament for Skeena and Minister of Fitness and Amateur Sport, her duties brought her into contact with many of her Skeena constituents in Northern British Columbia, Canadian politicians and athletes, and persons involved in sport internationally. Over 1,600 images document the development of Canadian sport, the politics of the Trudeau era, First Nations peoples, and northern British Columbia.
The Thomas Crosby III and IV (the vessels believed to be featured in this particular photograph collection) operated between Lowe Inlet in the north and Smith Inlet in the south, with headquarters at Ocean Falls. She called at lighthouses, canneries, logging camps and isolated settlements. In addition to serving as a church and mission, she delivered the mail, served as a library and movie theatre, and functioned as a hospital and mortuary. A visit from a Thomas Crosby was considered the highlight of the season for many isolated communities along the north coast.
James Joseph Claxton was born in Ireland on August 22, 1910 and immigrated to Canada as a teenager. In 1941, he joined the Irish Fusiliers of Canada (Vancouver Regiment) where he was able to serve the British Commonwealth along side his many Irish-Canadian compatriots. The following year, his regiment was deployed for active overseas combat in North Africa, Italy and North Western Europe. At the end of World War II, Claxton returned to British Columbia where he explored this province by settling for a time in Kamloops, Kelowna, Salmon Arm and finally Burnaby. Claxton was an active leader for the Salmon Arm Boys Scouts of Canada group, and was a member of both the Irish Fusiliers Association and the Toc H (an international charity and membership movement that emerged from a soldiers' club in Belgium during World War I). He also served aboard the M.S. Columbia III (ca. 1960) – one of the last ships then maintained by the Anglican Church’s Columbia Coast Mission.
This collection consists of 140 photographs taken over the course of sixty years. Subject areas include:
Quartz and placer mining in the Cariboo
Royal Irish Contabulary
Roderick's Jewelers, New Westminster
"M.S. Columbia III"
Kwakiutl petrographs in Fort Rupert
Totem poles at Alert Bay
Salmon Arm Boy Scouts of Canada
Image: 2007.17.4.25 - Five First Nations children on the deck of the M.S. Columbia
This collection consists of photographs documenting early development of the Central Interior depicting: homesteading, railway construction, packing & freighting, modes and routes of transportation, schools, mercantile development, leisurely activities, sports, natural resource development, political movements, town-site developmen, and policing. This collection also provides a glimpse at the history of the Taylor-Baxter Family – a long time pioneering family of this region.
Fred Jeffery worked as a steam engineer during the winters at both the original Hotel Vancouver and occasionally at the Rogers building; in the summers he traveled north to the Nass Valley where he worked as a steam engineer at a Prince Rupert salmon cannery. Upon his retirement he built a boat named the Algoma, and sailed around the Gulf Islands looking for the perfect spot to build a home – a spot he eventually found in Maple Bay (Duncan).
The Fred Jeffery Collection 303 b&w photographs all dating from ca.1924-1933. The subject matter of these images consist primarily of the fishing industry, river & landscapes, salmon cannery images (housing, people, workers, machinery, boats) on the Nass River and North Pacific Coast.
W.H. Collison (1847-1922) was the longest serving Church Missionary College (CMS) missionary in the North British Columbia Mission serving areas including Metlakatla, Kincolith, and Haida Gwaii. His memoirs can be read in his autobiography, “In the Wake of the War Canoe” (1915) through which one can see that his interaction with the First Nations peoples to which he ministered was complex.
The Archdeacon W.H. Collison fonds (Accession No. 2009.7) consists of 245+ b&w photographs; 4 maps; 76cm of textual material and publications (books) all dating from ca. 1870 - ca.1986.
Image: 2009.7.1.104 - Chief's lodge and totem, Nass River, BC
In 1952 the Cassiar Asbestos Mining Corp. (CAMC) constructed an asbestos mine and mill and created a town site for its workers in Northern British Columbia. As owner of the mill and town site, it provided and maintained municipal services required: sewer, water, electricity, as well as medical, educational, community & retail services. This one-industry resource town of 1200+ people existed for 40 years, yet today nothing remains in the region to mark its industrial, economic or social past. To view the photographs and their descriptions, visit the Cassiar Asbestos Corporation Ltd. fonds.