Join us from the comfort of home to enjoy fascinating pieces of Vancouver’s history with a selection of speakers. These illustrated lectures take a look at the history of Vancouver, covering the events, movements and people that have shaped our city from a diverse range of perspectives.
Recordings from past VHF virtual evening lectures are available. A link will be sent for each virtual evening lecture following your purchase and the video will be available for viewing on YouTube up to a month after your purchase.
November 17, 2020 - Vancouver After Dark: Stories of the City’s Historical Nightspots
Vancouver is a city with a history of transformation. In its long history of entertainment venues, some favourite nightspots have been lost, yet are storied places locals are still talking about years after they closed, burned down, or were bulldozed in the face of new trends, rising rents, gentrification, and other vagaries. In this virtual lecture, author Aaron Chapman explored stories he discovered while writing his book, Vancouver After Dark, from the city's earliest saloons to the Chinatown cabarets, punk palaces, East End dives, goth hideaways, discotheques, and taverns. He shared archival posters and photos on screen, many published for the first time, that chronicle how the city's nightlife changed with the times, and how some nightspots themselves ushered in changes to Vancouver. As the city’s entertainment venues face unprecedented challenges due to coronavirus, Aaron questioned what will the future will look like for Vancouver nightspots and if the great days of Vancouver's nightlife are behind us?
March 2, 2021 - Vancouver’s Stained-Glass Heritage: Artists & Studios, 1889-1940
Whether it was a church, saloon, mansion, bungalow or apartment building, art glass installations were often an integral architectural feature that became a ubiquitous component of a building’s design. Architectural historian Jim Wolf traced the legacy contributed by Vancouver’s historic stained-glass artisans to Vancouver’s built heritage in this online lecture. The city developed a significant art glass industry that was among the largest in Canada and this lecture will focus primarily on windows made here. Local studios staffed with talented glass artists and craftspeople created beautifully composed art pieces in styles that ranged from Art Nouveau to Art Deco. Often overlooked and unheralded, every stained-glass window has a unique story to tell and is to be cherished as part of the city’s unique heritage and history.
April 6, 2021 - Race, Regulation and Resistance: Understanding Vancouver’s South Asian community history
1866 West 2nd Avenue in Kitsilano marks the historic site of the first Gurdwara in North America. Established by the Khalsa Diwan Society in 1908, the Gurdwara was the centre of spiritual, political, social, and cultural activity for the small, but growing Sikh and South Asian community in Vancouver for 60 years. From this location, members of the community started printing presses to circulate information about the fight for India’s independence against British colonial rule, discuss topics such as the admission of South Asian women to Canada and advocate for their rights by challenging discriminatory policies in Canada such as the Continuous Journey regulation – a racist immigration restriction carefully designed to keep people from India out.
Using historical images, government documents, and print media, Naveen Girn, Paneet Singh and Milan Singh shared stories of the South Asian community’s activism and resilience and delved into the history of the community and connections to local places. They also detailed the formation of the Continuous Journey regulation and its insidious effects, including its impact on ships like the Panama Maru and Komagata Maru.
September 28, 2021 - BC's Black Pioneers: Economic, Political and Social Influences
The original Black settlers in BC represented a wide spectrum of backgrounds, skills, and interests, each contributing substantially to the settlement and development of the Colony of Vancouver Island and the province. Fran Morrison, Director with the BCBHAS, delved into the history of BC’s Black pioneers from 1858 to 1870, from their migration to the province to their experiences settling on Vancouver Island. She shared stories of the opportunities, struggles and achievements of these pioneering men and women, like Peter and Nancy Lester and Mifflin Gibbs, as well as highlighted how they are being remembered today.
October 26, 2021 - Lower Mount Pleasant: Immigrants, Industry and Institutions
Lower Mount Pleasant, the light industrial, commercial, & residential area (north of Broadway, bounded by Cambie Street and Clark Drive), is often omitted when Mount Pleasant's heritage is discussed. Join us to learn about some of the families, workers, industries, legacy businesses, and social groups that once called this unique part of Mount Pleasant home. Supplemented by photographs, clippings, and historical plans, historical researcher and writer Christine Hagemoen illustrated forgotten stories of the area and shared some of the fascinating pockets of history that still persevere.
November 30, 2021 - All Aboard! A virtual tour of Vancouver’s neon past and present
Climb aboard and join Angus McIntyre and John Atkin for an evening of neon and vintage buses! "City Lights: Neon in Vancouver," the Museum of Vancouver’s landmark exhibition on the history of neon opened in 1999, displaying some of the 19,000 neon signs that once illuminated Vancouver’s commercial streets. Using a vintage bus from the Transit Museum Society, Angus and John created a bus tour to explore the city’s neon legacy. With an obligatory stop at the legendary Wally’s Burgers on Kingsway, the tour wound its way across Vancouver and Burnaby, showing off the city’s nighttime ambience. In this evening lecture, John and Angus take a drive down memory lane to reminisce about the tours, neon history, old buses and reflect on how Vancouver’s neon legacy has evolved.
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