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Local History & Interest

Resources Requiring Login (Library card and password)

Canadian Newsstream – Newspaper and magazine articles (for the last 10 to 20 years). Includes the Times-Colonist and Vancouver Island’s Black Press newspapers.

ProQuest Digital Microfilm – Access the Times-Colonist newspaper on-line from 2011-2013.  All text, photos, graphs, and tables.  Navigate by year, month, day, and page number. Print, email, and save images in PDF format. Note: this resource is browsable, not searchable.


Open Resources (no login required)

In the Library

Heritage Room – A special collection focusing on the history and peoples of Vancouver Island.

Historic City Directories – An inventory of our city directories from 1860 – 2001.


Other Resources

5th (BC) Regiment RCA Museum – History of the 5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment RCA, its antecedent and descendant units.

Anglican Diocese of British Columbia Archives – Records of the Diocese including its bishops, officers, clergy, parishes, and related organizations, as laid down in the canons of the Diocese.

BC Land Titles & Survey Authority – BC’s official legal record of private property ownership.

Beacon Hill Park History 1842-2009 – A detailed history of the Park by local resident Janis Ringuette.

British Colonist Digital Database – The British Colonist digitization project is a gift from the Times Colonist newspaper, the University of Victoria Libraries, and a consortium of British Columbia libraries to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the British Colonist newspaper. Every page of every issue, from the first one on December 11, 1858 until December, 1950, has been scanned and made searchable.

British Columbia Archives – The archives of the Government of BC provides research access to records of enduring value to the province for both the provincial government and public researchers.

Canadiana Discovery Portal – This portal site enables users to search across the valuable and diverse digital collections of Canada’s libraries, museums and archives. It provides Canadians with access to a wealth of digital material such as books, journals, newspapers, government documents, photographs, maps, post cards, sheet music, audio and video files about our nation’s heritage.

CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum – The history and heritage of the naval presence on Canada’s West Coast and of the military on Southern Vancouver Island.

A City Goes to War – This site documents the experiences of Canadians in select cities during the First World War, including Victoria. Published through the University of Victoria.

City Of Victoria Archives – Civic and private records documenting the history and governance of the City of Victoria and its community.

The Colonial Despatches – The colonial despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871. This digital archive contains 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 leading to the founding of Vancouver Island in 1849, the founding of British Columbia in 1858, the annexation of Vancouver Island by British Columbia in 1866, and up to the incorporation of B.C. into the Canadian Federation in 1871.

CRD Document Library – Capital Regional District agendas, bylaws, minutes and reports.

District Of Oak Bay Archives – Repository for original documents, records, photographs and ephemera relevant to the District of Oak Bay.

Esquimalt Township Archives – Esquimalt family papers, business and club records, and municipal records of historical and legal value.

The Fort Victoria Journal – The Fort Victoria Post Journal is a daily account of occurrences at the fort in the critical time between May 1846 and May 1850.

Greater Victoria Public Library Digitized Local History Collection – Published in partnership with the University of Victoria, this collection was drawn from the local history holdings of GVPL, including 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.

The Hallmark Society – The oldest heritage preservation in the Capital Regional District. Advocate the preservation, conservation, and restoration of heritage assets and work towards a greater public awareness and understanding of heritage.

The History of Oak Bay Website – An Online Celebration of Oak Bay’s Early Years.

Maritime Museum Of British Columbia – Maritime history and the maritime culture of Canada’s West Coast.

Memory BC – A portal where you can access descriptions of archival materials preserved in repositories throughout the province.

Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria – Dedicated to researching, preserving and encouraging the appreciation of Victoria’s Heritage Cemeteries.

Paul Kane Image Collection – Kane was an artist who had the support of the Hudson’s Bay Company. He visited Victoria in 1847 and made dozens of pencil sketches of the Indigenous people who lived near or visited the fort, their houses and material culture; he also sketched Fort Victoria and the adjacent Songhees village.

Royal Roads University Archives – Original research materials concerning Roy Roads University and its predecessors on the Hatley Park site, as well as the Dunsmuir family at Hatley Park (1907 – 1937) and First Nations settlement in the area.

Saanich Municipal Archives – The documentary heritage of The District of Saanich.

Saanich Pioneer Society Museum And Archives – Historical records of the Saanich Peninsula.

Sisters Of St. Ann Archives – Records of the Sisters of St. Ann in the west; their community, their institutions, their art, as well as the records of related entities.

Township Of View Royal Archives – Public archival material relating to View Royal from the earliest times, from settlement by the Hudson’s Bay Company during Vancouver Island’s colonial period to the present.

University Of Victoria Special Collections – Rare books, manuscripts, architectural plans, photographs, and oral history interviews.

Unknown Victoria

Victoria and Vancouver Island – Digitized historical documents which highlight the local history of the City of Victoria and Vancouver Island. Published through the University of Victoria.

Victoria Fire Insurance Maps – A collection of maps covering the period 1885-1916, these are the best maps of Victoria from this period. Published through the University of Victoria.

viHistory – A website examining the 19th and 20th century history of Vancouver Island, through the History Department of the University of Victoria and in conjunction with Vancouver Island University.

Victoria Historical Society

Victoria Newspapers 1858 – 1921 – Access to four indexes of tens of thousands of summarized transcripts of articles from newspapers published on Vancouver Island between 1859 and 1921.

Victoria’s Early History – Digitized historical documents from UVic Libraries’ collection.

Victoria Street Name Changes, 1900-1914 – An inventory showing current street names and previous or archaic names.

Victoria’s Victoria – A UVic website focusing on the history and genealogy of Victoria during the reign of Queen Victoria. It includes people, places, images and themes.

The West Beyond The West – Provides free and open access to British Columbia’s digitized historical collections. Search the collections of libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, heritage and community groups, and government agencies in British Columbia and across Canada.


Recommended Reading

Above stairs : social life in upper-class Victoria, 1843-1918 / Valerie Green.
(Victoria, B.C. : Sono Nis Press, c1995.)
Call number: 971.128 GRE

Arts beat: the arts in Victoria / by Audrey St. Denys Johnson ; edited by R. Dale McIntosh.
(c1994.)
Call number: 700.971128 JOH

Beyond the island: an illustrated history of Victoria / [text] by Peter A. Baskerville.
(Burlington, Ont. : Windsor Publications, c1986.)
Call number: 971.134 BAS

Cadboro: a ship, a bay, a sea-monster, 1842-1958 / Ursula Jupp.
(Victoria, B.C. : Jay Editions c1988.)
Call number: 971.134 JUP

Camas chronicles of James Bay, Victoria, British Columbia / [Historical Committee, James Bay New Horizons Society].
([s.l. : s.n.], c1978.)
Call number: 971.134 CAM

Esquimalt streets and roads: a history / researched and written by Sherri Robinson.
([Victoria, B.C. : s.n.], c1995.)
Call number: 917.1128 ROB

The Fernwood files / John J. Ellis with Charles Lillard.
(Victoria, B.C. : Orca Book Publishers, c1989.)
Call number: 971.128 ELL

The forbidden city within Victoria / David Chuen-yan Lai.
(Victoria, B.C. : Orca Book Publishers, c1991.)
Call number: 971.1 LAI.

The French presence in Victoria, B.C., 1843-1991 / John Greene, et al.
(Victoria, B.C. : L’Association Historique Francophone de Victoria; Sidney, B.C. : LaPlante-Agnew Editions, c1991.)
Call number: 971.128004114 FRE

A history of Victoria, 1842-1970 / Harry Gregson.
(Victoria, B.C. : The Victoria Observer Publ. Co., c1970.)
Call number: 971.134 GRE

More English than the English: a very social history of Victoria / Terry Reksten.
(Victoria, B.C. : Orca Book Publishers, c1986.)
Call number: 971.128 REK

Only in Oak Bay: Oak Bay Municipality: 1906-1981 / editor, Fred C. Barnes.
(Oak Bay, B.C. : Corporation of the Districk of Oak Bay, c1981.)
Call number: 917.1134 ONL

Success story: the history of Oak Bay / Ron Baird ; [illustrations by John Michener].
(Victoria, B.C. : Daniel Heffernan, James Borsman, c1979.)
Call number: 971.128 BAI

The story of the University of Victoria and its origin in Victoria College / [Text, Rosemary Neering ; editor, Robie Liscomb].
([Victoria, B.C.] : University of Victoria, c1988.)
Call number: 378.71134 NEE

Victoria: a history in photographs / Peter Grant.
(Cammore, Alberta : Altitude Publishing Canada, c1995.)
Call number: 971.128 GRA

Victoria the way it was / Michael Kluckner.
(North Vancouver, B.C. : Whitecap Books, c1986.)
Call number: 971.134 KLU

Victoria’s streetcar era / Henry Ewert.
(Victoria, B.C. : Sono Nis Press, c1992.)
Call number: 388.46 EWE