Selections from the collection are on display in Rare Books and Special Collections, organized to show some of the most compelling stories of Canada’s past. The three major themes of the exhibition follow those of the collection as a whole: early British Columbia history, immigration and settlement, and the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Early B.C. history:
Related to early B.C. history are rare editions of the narratives of many Pacific voyages of discovery including Valdes, Galiano, Malaspina, Cook and Vancouver. The exhibition also features charts recording the exploration of the Pacific Northwest.
Immigration and settlement:
The Fraser River gold rush that sparked Chinese immigration to British Columbia is highlighted through books and government documents relating to the restriction of such immigration. Chinese-Canadian cultural, social and economic life is displayed through archival documents, photographs and artifacts.
European immigration to Canada is illustrated with promotional brochures and posters encouraging settlers to the West, and archival material from the Clandonald colony in Alberta, a community of immigrants from the Scottish Hebrides.
Canadian Pacific Railway:
Documents, maps and publications show how the Canadian Pacific Railway was built, and how Vancouver was chosen as the western terminus. Photographs and accounts of the building of the railway are presented, along with vibrant posters promoting travel and tourism via C.P.R. rail and steamships. Beautiful examples of cruise ship memorabilia provide a glimpse of the style of the times.
The exhibition is open to the public, free of charge during Rare Books and Special Collections opening hours (Monday through Friday 9-5 year round, Saturday 12 - 5 during the fall and winter semesters).