East Asian and Asian-Canadian collections

These collections highlight materials from East Asia and Asian-Canadians from the UVic Libraries Special Collections and Archives and community partners.


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Manuscript detail

Chinese-Canadian Collection

This collection contains documents drawn from the fonds of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association held in the University of Victoria Archives.

Most items are handwritten in traditional Chinese script with English translations but there are also documents in English. The Chinese Canadian Benevolent Association papers are also part of the Multicultural Canada collection.


Life in Japan image detail
Life in Japan image, detail

Herbert Geddes, Life in Japan, ca. 1910

The collection consists of photographic glass-plate transparencies depicting life in Japan, including scenery, street scenes, workers, farming, fishing, silk production, stone carvers, wood carvers, metal workers, potters, and artists. The photographs were collected by Herbert Geddes, a manager for G.R. Gregg and Company, importers and exporters. He was sent to Japan and was based in Yokohama between 1908 and 1918.


Mathew Ko Colour Films
Scrap iron protest, 1939

The Mathew Ko Colour Films: Victoria's Chinatown and Region, c.1939-c.1950

The amateur films of Mathew Ko date from the late 1930s to early 1950s and are examples of the popular home movie genre. As historical documents, Ko’s films are exceptional: in their record of family and community life in Victoria and the region during this time, for the number of events represented in each film, and for the use of colour film stock. Though they contain no sound tracks, his films vividly document significant social, cultural and political events in Chinatown and other areas of downtown Victoria and surrounding neighborhoods, Vancouver Island, the City of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.


Image courtesy City of Victoria Archives M00422
Chinatown gate. Image courtesy of City of Victoria Archives M00422

Victoria's Chinatown, a gateway to the past and present of Chinese Canadians

This digital exhibit originates with a website, Victoria’s Chinatown: A Gateway to the Past and Present of Chinese Canadians, a partnership project between the Asian Canadian Working Group at UVic and community partners including the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, the Chinese Public School, and the McPherson Library.