First Vancouver City Council Meeting after the fire - photograph by H. T. Devine
The Vancouver Public Library has extensive primary and secondary resources on the history of Vancouver. This guide is designed to help you begin your research on this topic and use library resources effectively. The guide focuses on political and social history. Most materials are located in the Special Collections Department (Level 7) and the main collection at the Central Library.
The story of how Vancouver grew from a ramshackle tumble of stumps, brush and crude wooden buildings to today's urban metropolis turns out to be interesting, complicated, frequently rancorous and occasionally even funny. And the book is, as the late author hoped, "fun, fat and filled with facts."
More than 370 original maps chart the region's development beginning with the years of discovery and exploration. They depict its days as a fledgling colonial outpost, its appearance on the world scene after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway, through to its emergence as a postwar Pacific metropolis.
On the morning of June 13, 1886, a rogue wind fanned the flames of a small clearing fire-and within five hours, the newly incorporated city of Vancouver, British Columbia, had been reduced to smoldering ash.
Vanishing Vancouver explores the origins of our landmark buildings and public spaces, working harbour, shops, houses, apartments, urban farms and gardens, and bears witness to the recent dramatic changes that have taken place in them.
Find historical photographs of Vancouver and BC; research names and city streets; listen to reminiscences about the West End; find articles and stories on BC history; learn about the history of the Vancouver Public Library; or dip into a lively, short-lived weekly newspaper from the early twentieth century.