BC Historical Photographs Online

British Columbia Historical Photographs Online contains annotated links to photograph databases and virtual galleries developed by our member institions and hosted on various archival web sites throughout the province. We hope you enjoy viewing some of these amazing collections and learning more about British Columbia!


Revised: April 2020

Online Photograph Databases

Alberni Valley Museum Historic Photograph Collection
Provides an online photograph database for historical images of the Alberni Valley.

Bella Coola Museum: B.C. Central Coast Archives Photograph Collection
Provides an online photograph database for historical images of the Bella Coola Valley.

British Columbia Archives (Royal BC Museum) -- Visual Records Online
Database contains textual descriptions of photographs, paintings, drawings and prints from the British Columbia Archives' visual records collection. Of these over 110,000 items have images on-line for viewing.

BC Institute of Technology Archives - Historical Photograph Repository
The BCIT Archives holds approximately 250,000 photographic images on film, dating from the founding of the Institute to the present day. They present a visual record of BCIT's growth and development, our relationships with industry and the community, images of student life, and campus events since our founding in 1964.

City of Richmond Archives -- Historical Photographs
Out of the City Archives photograph collection of 100,000+ images from 1880 to 2005, more than 7,000 have been scanned and published online. Among the many topics are: farming and fishing, Richmond's bridges, schools, aerial photographs, and citizens from 1880 to the present.

City of Surrey Archives
The City of Surrey Archives' SAMOA (Surrey Archives & Museum Online Access) database provides access to over 30,000 digitized photographs.

City of Vancouver Archives Historical Photographs
The Archives photograph holdings are comprised of more than one million images from private-sector and public-sector records. Approximately 80,000 images described at the item level are available for public reference in the Archives' Reference Room. Roughly 72,000 item-level descriptions are available in the database and of these, about 58,000 have scanned images linked to the description. Photographs depict subjects relating to Vancouver's history, government and culture from the 1860s to the 2000s.

Courtenay and District Museum
The Courtenay and District Museum features many photographs on their website.

Delta Museum and Archives
The Archives Collection database includes over 3,600 digitized historical photographs integrated with the catalog record.

Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Online Photograph Database
Provides an online photograph database for historical images of Vernon and area in the holdings of the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.

Heritage Burnaby
Online database of the City of Burnaby's collections of photographs, artifacts, textual records and heritage landmarks.

Langley Centennial Museum Photograph Collection
Provides an online database of nearly 7,000 historical photographs in the holdings of the Langley Centennial Museum and National Exhibition Centre.

New Westminster Public Library Historical Photo Database
Provides an online database of the Library's historical photograph collection.

North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Integrated database of archival holdings includes descriptions and scanned images from the 45,000 historic photographs of North Vancouver and area preserved in the Archives Collection.

R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum (Salmon Arm)
The Photo Archives is a database searchable by keyword and date ranges between 1900 and 2012.

UBC Library Digital Collections and Services
This site provides an overview of digital collections created and maintained by the University of British Columbia Library, including the holdings of UBC Library's Rare Books and Special Collections and the University Archives, as well as various other branches of UBC Library.

University of Victoria Archives Historical Photograph Collection
The database provides access to images from the University of Victoria Archives historical photograph collection, most depicting persons, events and facilities at the University of Victoria and its predecessor body, Victoria College.

Vancouver Public Library Historical Photographs Collection
The collection was established by Ron D'Altroy in the early 1960s. Over time, the number of photographs housed in the Special Collections Division has increased through the acquisition of a number of major collections, some of which have been digitized and made available through an online Historical Photographs database.

Wells Archives Photograph Collection
This online database contains 200 historical images from the Wells Archives (Wells Historical Society) depicting people, activity, industry and scenes around Wells and Barkerville.

West Vancouver Archives
Searchable database includes more than 2,000 scanned historic photographs and documents.

Online Photograph Galleries

Bowen Island Museum and Archives
Photo gallery provides a selection of historical images of people and activities on Bowen Island.

Campbell River Museum and Archives
"'A Moment in Time', A Collection of Henry Twidle's Photographs"
is a virtual exhibit incorporating photographs from the archival holdings of the Museum at Campbell River taken by Henry Twidle at the beginning of the 20th century. Photographs include logging camps, commercial fishing boats and canneries, and pioneer settlements and settlers. Pacific Coast Salmon Fisheries was an earlier online gallery of historical photographs depicting fishing technology and techniques from First Nations to the present day.

Chilliwack Museum and Archives
The Online Exhibits section of the Museum includes historical photographs of Chilliwack and area.

City of Victoria Archives
The City of Victoria Archives provides rotating online photograph gallieries, such as the Victoria 150 Archival Photos tribute to Victoria's 150th anniversary in 2012.

Comox Archives and Museum
 Archival photographs of Comox and area are featured in topical pages about the community's history.

Enderby and District Museum and Archives
Online exhibit ("Snapshots from the Past") of historical photographs organized by theme documenting the history of Enderby and surrounding areas.

The Exploration Place Museum & Science Centre (Fraser-Fort George Regional Museum)
Several Online Exhibits document the history of Prince George and the surrounding region, including two exhibits that examine the lives and work of two photoraphers: the J. Simonson Photographic Collection presents images taken by Jacob Simonson, depicting scenes, activities and people in the Fort George (Prince George) area of Central British Columbia in the early part of the 20th century; the Wally West Collection features the work of Prince George commercial photographer W.D. West who established his studio in 1946.

First Metropolitan United Church Archives
Thanks to a digitization project completed in 2016, The First Met Archives (Victoria, BC) now has over 550 historic photographs available via Flickr.

Galiano Museum & Archives
Several examples of collections include historical photographs.

Kitimat Museum & Archives
The Project History is an illustrated history of the development of the smelter and town of Kitimat and of the Kitimat-Kemano Project.

Powell River Historical Museum and Archives
The LeMay Lane Photos exhibit features over 2500 of early photos of Powell River taken by Rod LeMay and Maud Lane.

Prince Rupert City and Regional Archives Photograph Gallery
Gallery provides sample images of historical photographs from the archives' holdings depicting scenes of Prince Rupert and area.

Revelstoke Museum and Archives Historical Photographs
Gallery provides samples of historical images from the archives' photograph holdings.

Salt Spring Island Archives
The Our Collections sections contains links to many examples of historical photographs of Salt Spring Island from a variety of collections in the archives' holdings.

Touchstones Nelson
Some of Touchstones Nelson's digitization activities relating to its photographs holdings include

Trail City Archives
The Photo Gallery features images grouped into 27 themed collections depicting scenes of Trail from ca. 1896 to the early 1990s. The gallery is also searchable by keyword and topic.

United Church of Canada British Columbia Conference Archives
The Virtual Exhibit (Photogallery) features images depicting the history of the United Church of Canada's Marine Missions on the Central Coast of British Columbia and Japanese Missions in BC.

Virtual Museum of Canada
The Community Memories section contains over 50 online exhibits from British Columbia, most of which utilize historical photographs from archival collections. The Image Gallery section showcases thousands of artefacts, photos, paintings and objects from Canadian museums.

Whistler Museum and Archives
The Photo Gallery contains several thematic collections offering a variety of historical photographs documenting the development of the Whistler community and surrounding region. Two online exhibits are devoted to the Pioneer Photographs from the Myrtle Phillip Collection and The History of Olympic Bids.


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