British Columbia

These digital collections feature materials about British Columbia held by UVic Libraries and our community partners.


British Columbia Historical Textbooks
Royal Atlas for Canadian Schools

British Columbia Historical Textbooks

This historical textbooks collection includes books on a variety of school subjects including science, math, health, English and language arts, foreign languages, history, and social studies, used in British Columbia’s public schools since the province joined confederation in 1871.


Chinese Canadian Collection
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.

See also: Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association fonds


Colonial Despatches
Despatch document detail

Colonial Despatches

The Colonial Despatches were the original correspondence between the British Colonial Office and the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. This project aims to digitize and publish online a complete archive of the correspondence covering the period from 1846 up to the incorporation of B.C. into the Canadian Federation in 1871.


Early British Columbia Maps
Early map of Vancouver Island, detail

Early British Columbia Maps

These maps primarily span the dates 1846-1876. They show the development of the territory from the two founding colonies until after the province joined confederation. The collection also includes a few earlier maps collected by the Colonial Office in response to the San Juan dispute.


Else Lübcke Seel Digital Collection
Else Lübcke Seel Digital Collection

Else Lübcke Seel Digital Collection

This collection contains writings and photograph albums reflecting the personal and professional life of German-Canadian author Else Lübcke Seel.

See also: Else Lübcke Seel fonds


Greater Victoria Public Library Local History Collection
Map from Victoria Water Supply report, 1872

Greater Victoria Public Library Local History Collection

This collection was drawn from the local history holdings of the Greater Victoria Public Libraries (GVPL). Among the works included are a transcript of a talk given by Emily Carr about modern art, the Reminiscences of Bishop Cridge, a volume on Vancouver Island farming, and a report on the Victoria water supply from 1872.


HBC Maps
HBC map of Victoria BC, detail

HBC Maps

The Hudson's Bay Company had the exclusive right to trade with First Nations in what is now British Columbia throughout most of the 19th century.

These 100 maps provide a graphic view of the development of the province from 1842 until the 1860s when the company’s trading in its two BC colonies declined. Most maps included are manuscripts which are hand drawn and coloured.


Ian McTaggart Cowan
Ian McTaggart Cowan on horseback

Ian McTaggart Cowan

The Cowan Collection at the University of Victoria Special Collections includes Cowan’s field journals, photographs, CBC footage and correspondence from his 75-year long multi-faceted career, alternating between high-profile campaigns, such as ending the Canadian bounty system, and cutting-edge field research into species and ecosystems from the Arctic to Haida Gwaii.


Official Gazettes of the Province of British Columbia
Gazette front page detail

Official Gazettes of the Province of British Columbia

Gazettes are official publications that disseminate government proclamations, notices, and regulations as required by colonial, and later provincial legislation. The collection will ultimately include the first ten volumes of the Gazette, 1863 to 1871.