Local History

Using the Heritage Room

Located on the first floor of our Central Branch, the Heritage Room is a special collection focusing on the history and peoples of Vancouver Island. There are approximately 2,500 volumes in this collection.

The Heritage Room is available for use during Central Branch opening hours. Material from the Heritage Room may not be borrowed from the library.

Local History eResources

The door to the Room is normally locked. To use the collection you must sign in at the first floor librarians’ desk. Your library card must be left with the librarian, who will then let you into the room. When you are finished, sign out at the librarians’ desk. Your card will be returned to you.

We encourage those who wish to copy materials in this Room to use digital cameras or hand scanners. If you need to use a photocopier, the librarian can check if the item is fit for copying and if so, the librarian can help you with the copying. Otherwise, no material is to leave the Room.
Due to their fragility, directories may not be photocopied. Copies may be made from the microfilm versions found in the Magazines & Newspapers Department on the second floor.

Packs and bags are allowed in the Room. No food or drink is allowed in the Room.

What We Have

City directories for Victoria and BC going back to 1860. You can view our list of Historic City Directories online.
Local histories of many towns and communities on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
Church histories of many local churches.
Provincial voters lists of BC before WWI.
Numerous volumes of who’s whos and volumes of collected short biographies of early prominent British Columbians.
Many works on the early exploration of British Columbia.
Many works on the first nations of our region.
Many planning documents on local areas of the Victoria region.

Clipping File

As well as books, we have a major reference clipping file, compiled over the last several decades by library staff. As with books it focuses on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and is extremely wide ranging in its coverage. Included in this is a biography clipping file, covering hundreds of local individuals. On many of these individuals there would be no other easy source of information.

Tales from the Vault

Our look at local history. Discover the stories you’ll find in our local history books and newspaper clippings . . . if you dare!
Enter the Vault.