UVic Reveals BC's Past And City's History

For the first time ever, people can easily read firsthand and online about daily life in Fort Victoria in the mid 1850s. On May 2—coinciding with this year’s milestones of the University of Victoria’s 50th anniversary and the City of Victoria's 150th—UVic Libraries, Faculty of Humanities and Department of History will launch two new online additions to our history: the Fort Victoria Journals (1846-1850) and a digital collection of BC’s earliest maps.

“It is like we are opening a time capsule and a treasure chest at the same time,” says history professor Dr. John Lutz, whose class helped prepare the Fort Victoria Journals. “The riches in these hundreds of maps and over a thousand daily journal entries give us brilliant glimpses into our past and will keep the historians, anthropologists, First Nations, heritage planners, and genealogists busy for years as they explore these sources that have never before been available in BC."

The Fort Victoria Journals (http://fortvictoriajournal.ca)

  • This is the first time this resource has been available to the public. The originals reside in the Hudson's Bay Archives in Winnipeg and are the only surviving daily record of the activities of Fort Victoria and its interactions with First Nations.

The Historical Cartographic Collection (http://library.uvic.ca/dig/carto.html)

  • This collection contains three rare gems. The first is a selection of 250 maps from the National Archives of England (1775-1870) showing the development of the BC territory from the early Spanish and English explorers onward. These maps were collected to complement the Colonial Despatches project: http://bit.ly/aa2TLo.
  • Another selection includes primarily hand-drawn coloured maps, many created by the first colonial surveyor Joseph Despard Pemberton, with some very detailed maps from the 1840s to 60s showing the development of Victoria and the lower Island.
  • The Victoria Fire Insurance Plans map collection is undoubtedly the best of Victoria including Oak Bay, Saanich and Esquimalt from 1891 to 1916. Created to assist insurance underwriters in determining fire insurance risk, there was not much about the city and its buildings that missed their eyes. The information is all here for historians, geographers, land use and land claim researchers, genealogists, and the just plain curious.

Visit www.uvic.ca/anniversary for more info on UVic's 50th anniversary. For more on the city's anniversary, visit http://bit.ly/y3eL3B.

These projects are made possible through the Canadian Council of Archives, Archival Community Digitization Program, the Ike Barber BC History Digitization Project and UVic Libraries as well as through the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives/Manitoba Provincial Archives, the National Archives of England and the Royal BC Museum/Provincial Archives of BC.

Photo opportunity: The launch event takes place in the early evening, by invitation only. Materials will be made available in advance to media at 1:30 p.m. on May 2, including the paper copy of Pemberton’s map of the southeastern districts of Vancouver Island, published in 1855. (Pemberton’s surveys had a lasting influence on the character of the earliest settlements in the colony.) Dr. Lutz as well as several students and community collaborator Graham Brazier will also be available to answer questions about the projects and their historical significance. Contact Susan Henderson at 250-853-3612 or shenders@uvic.ca for location details.

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Media contacts

John Lutz (History) at 250-217-4207 or jlutz@uvic.ca

Chris Petter (McPherson Library) at 250-721-8247 or cpetter@uvic.ca

Susan Henderson (UVic Libraries) at 250-853-3612 or shenders@uvic.ca

Tara Sharpe (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6248 or tksharpe@uvic.ca

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Keywords: history, anniversary

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