Local history

These digital collections feature local historical materials held by UVic Libraries and our community partners.


Abkhazi Archives
Detail from a watercolour

Abkhazi Archives

This digital exhibit includes selections from the records of Peggy and Nicholas Abkhazi held in the University of Victoria Archives.

It includes material relating to the interwar period, World War II and the design and creation of the Abkhazis' internationally renowned rhododendron garden on Fairfield Road in Victoria, now owned by The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC). The material digitized includes diaries, postcards, photographs, objects and watercolours.

See also: Peggy Abkhazi fonds


Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

This collection contains exhibit catalogues published by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. The gallery possesses notable works by artists such as Emily Carr, and has one of Canada's most significant collections of Asian art.


The British Colonist 1858-1920
British Colonist detail

The British Colonist 1858-1920

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the British Colonist newspaper, every page of every issue, from December 11, 1858 until the end of December, 1920 -- a total of 170,000 pages, have been made available.


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.


Community Mapping Project
Detail from the Victoria Community Green Map

Community Mapping Project

This collection consists of digital versions of several print community maps produced through a collaborative process between various community groups and the Common Ground Community Mapping Project and later with the Community Mapping Collaboratory (CMC) at the University of Victoria.

These maps are part of the Green Map movement which began in 1995. Since then, 900 communities in 65 countries have mapped their home places. Green Maps use standard icons to identify community-minded sites and activities.


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.


Mathew Ko Colour Films, Victoria's Chinatown and Region, c.1939-c.1950
Japanese scrap iron protest, 1939

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

This collection contains amateur films of Mathew Ko from the late 1930s to early 1950s and are a record of family and community life in Victoria and the region during that time.


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.


Samuel Maclure Architectural Drawings
Drawing detail

Samuel Maclure Architectural Drawings

Architectural drawings and plans by Samuel Maclure (1860-1929) for homes in Victoria, and other British Columbia locations.

Maclure received commissions from many prominent Victoria and British Columbia businessmen and politicians.

See also: Samuel Maclure fonds


UVic Archives' Historical Photograph Collection
Detail, aerial view of Campus Services under construction, 1965

UVic Archives' Historical Photograph Collection

The UVic historical photograph collection consists of photographs acquired by the University of Victoria Archives of the University of Victoria and its predecessors, the Provincial Normal School and Victoria College.


Victoria Fire Insurance Plans
Victoria fire insurance plan detail

Victoria Fire Insurance Plans

The fire insurance plans (FIPs) from 1885 to 1916 were created by Charles E. Goad and Company to assist insurance underwriters in determining fire insurance risk. 

This digital collection, drawn from the BC Archives collection, contains all of the 1891 plans, the full set of 1903 plans (with revisions to 1909 indicated), and the surviving plans from 1911 (revised to 1913). The number of plans required expanded to cover the city grew from 31 in 1891 to over 170 in 1913.


Victoria Police Department Charge Books
Detail of Victoria Police Department chargebook

Victoria Police Department Charge Books

Nineteenth Century "charge books" from the Victoria Police Department. The handwritten charge books are a record of the arrests made in Victoria, British Columbia, and surrounding areas between 1873-1876.


Victoria to Vimy
Victoria to Vimy

Victoria to Vimy: The First World War Collections at the University of Victoria Libraries

Victoria to Vimy, sponsored by a World War Commemorations Community Fund grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage, is a digital collection of First World War materials held at the University of Victoria Libraries. For this exhibit, the University of Victoria Libraries has selected a range of archival and historical items from our Special Collections and University Archives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada that provide diverse perspectives on the lives of ordinary Canadians during the First World War.

See also: Victoria to Vimy: The First World War Collections at the University of Victoria Libraries


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


Victoria's Early History
Government Street, ca. 1910

Victoria's Early History

A selection of early Victoria and Vancouver Island maps, books, pamphlets and ephemera, together with archival material drawn from the Frank and Cecilia Sylvester family fonds.

Frank Sylvester was an early Jewish settler to Victoria, involved in the fire department and the negotiation of labour contracts.