Vancouver Books

A lot of books have been written about Vancouver and its environs. This file, started in March 2007, is intended to describe many of them. Our thanks and gratitude to Karen Cannon of the Friends of the Vancouver Public Library for her terrific (and ongoing) work on this project.

In 1999 the Vancouver Public Library produced a poster titled Vancouver in Print: 100 Books from a Century Past. These books—intended to give a broad view of the many kinds of books published about the city—are indicated below with the legend: VIP. It was this list of titles that began this feature.

Many hundreds of other books will be added to this page as time goes on. Inquiries about any of them can be made at any branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

Not all these titles are available at VPL. Some are in the UBC Library system, and some at Vancouver City Archives.

And for a superb and thorough listing of all books about British Columbia and by British Columbians, we recommend a visit to:

An asterisk * indicates the book was a winner of
the City of Vancouver Book Award.

1910 - 1919


Bindloss, Harold. Thurston of Orchard Valley.
More adventure fiction with some action taking place in Vancouver.

British Columbia Electric Railway Company. A short account of the plant and operations of the British Columbia Electric Railway Co. Ltd. and the Vancouver Power Company and the Vancouver Island Power Co.
Illustrated with photographs, plans and a map.

Educational institutions of Vancouver: their progress from incorporation up to the present time.
Issued with the authority, co-operation and endorsement of the Board of School Trustees of the City of Vancouver.

Mildmay, Aubrey N. St. John. Sea-room: a Vancouver empire song.
A poem illustrated with photographs. "Second edition revised from the original edition, published by the Vancouver ‘Evening Province’".

Smith, Arthur James. Siwash Rock: a legend.
How the young warrior Quatlatka and his lover Miwasa run away together, are pursued by her father, and die on Siwash Rock.

Vancouver Exhibition Association. Official catalogue and programme of Vancouver’s First Exhibition, Vancouver, B.C., August 15th to 20th, 1910.

Held at Hastings Park, the Exhibition was designed to display agricultural, horticultural, industrial, arts and crafts interests in Vancouver. In 1946, it was renamed Pacific National Exhibition.


British Columbia Political Equality League. Vancouver Branch. Points in the laws of British Columbia regarding the legal status of women.
Enfranchisement issues at the provincial and municipal levels along with a report of the first women's suffrage convention held in Vancouver on May 5, 1911.

Commercial Printing & Publishing Company. Vancouver progress. Greater Vancouver Edition.
A tabloid primarily devoted to the residential and industrial area of South Vancouver.

Harris, F.T. Official historical review Vancouver Council, no.284 United Commercial Travellers.
Along with the history, is a guide to and for local traveling salesmen with advertising, information and photographs of the commercial and industrial buildings in Vancouver.

Holden, William T. Holden Building, Vancouver, B.C. 1911.
Plans and prospectus of the new 10 story steel frame building at 16 Hastings Street, East.

Johnson, E. Pauline (Tekahionwake). Legends of Vancouver.
These legends were told to Pauline Johnson over time, by her friend Chief Joe Capilano of Vancouver. They were first published in the “Vancouver Daily Province.” VIP

Modern architecture, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1911.
Photographs and advertisements of and for Vancouver buildings and forms.

Newspaper Cartoonists Association of British Columbia. British Columbians as we see 'em, 1910 and 1911.
Over 200 caricatures and cartoons of politicians and businessmen, many of whom were Vancouverites.

Vancouver Information and Tourist Association. Vancouver in tabloid.
Compiled to celebrate the 25th year of Vancouver's incorporation. Like previous issues offered recreational, residential, harbour, and transportation information.

Who's who in western Canada. Volume 1, 1911
“...designed by the publishers to provide a record of the men and women who, in one capacity or another, are contributing to the building up of Western Canada.”


Boam, Henry J. British Columbia: its history, people, commerce, industries and resources.
This sizable volume was published "to provide an accurate guide to the character and resources of the important territory with which it details." An invaluable resource for short descriptions of prominent businesses throughout the province, especially for Vancouver and environs.

British Columbia Electric Railway Company. Tips for tourists: interurban trips over B.C. Electric Railway system, in vicinity of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Guide to traveling on the interurban with a map showing the rail lines, parks, sporting areas, bathing beaches and significant buildings.

Chas. E. Goad Co. Goad's atlas of the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and surrounding municipalities in 4 volumes.
A large-scale atlas for fire insurance plans identifying types of public and private buildings which would show the distribution and character of risks. Insurance plan of Vancouver series; surveyed July 1912; volume 4 was never published.

Johnson, E. Pauline (Tekahionwake). Flint and Feather.
Collected verse.

Loyal Order of Moose. Lodge no. 288 (Vancouver, B.C.) Moose in burnt cork, annual minstrel.
The Vancouver Lodge no. 288 had its first meeting in February, 1912. This programme for the first minstrel (held later in 1912) lists the names of all local members.

Palmer, H.S. Our men of affairs.
Wonderful caricatures of Vancouver businessmen. The author regarded all men and estates as equally eligible for satirical attention.

Ricketts, Taschereau & Co. Ricketts,Taschereau & Co.'s atlas of City of Vancouver, and cities of North Vancouver and New Westminster and the adjoining municipalities including South Vancouver, North Vancouver, Point Grey, Burnaby, Hastings Townsite, Richmond, Coquitlam.

Ross and Howard Iron Works. Vancouver home industries.
Photographs and brief descriptions of various local businesses and industries.

Social vice in Vancouver.
Issued by the Moral and Social Reform Council of British Columbia; members of which were appointed representatives of the churches of the province. A call against social vices in its commercialized form, especially that of prostitution.

Vancouver Tourist Association. Vancouver, British Columbia: “the Liverpool of the Pacific”, facts and figures.
Information for prospective investors from around the world; with an emphasis, even then, on real estate.


Brandow, Geo. A. The Real home-keeper: A perpetual honeymoon for the Vancouver bride.
Household and beauty hints, recipes and business directory are in this early local home economics book.

British Columbia Mountaineering Club. The Northern Cordilleran.
Reports on exploration of the Garibaldi region, Vancouver or Burrard range and Coast range. Includes a history of the Vancouver-based club.

Burwell, H.M. The Vancouver water supply.
Description and cost analysis of Vancouver's water supply from Capilano and Seymour Creeks. Includes tables.

Hotel Vancouver.
Booklet describing the building of the new Hotel Vancouver with notes and photos of other Canadian Pacific Railway hotels.

Methodist Church of Canada. Board of Temperance and Moral Reform. Vancouver, British Columbia: the report of a brief investigation of social conditions in the city which indicate the need of an intensive social survey, the lines of which are herein suggested.
The Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church combined to propose that local government do a survey covering housing, crime, public health and social service issues.

Vancouver and Districts Joint Sewerage and Drainage Board. Vancouver and Districts Joint Sewerage and Drainage Board: report on the Burrard Peninsula Joint Sewerage Scheme.
Proposals for sewage treatment and disposal for Burrard Inlet, False Creek, English Bay, Fraser River and Burnaby Lake.

Ward, Lionel. Impressions from the Printshop of Ward, Ellwood & Pound, Limited. 318 Homer St., Vancouver…
Published for prospective customers, this brochure explained the printing services and techniques of the shop, using views of Vancouver as examples.


Butler, A.P. Ye pageant of Vancouver: a pictorial record of ye summer festival.
Photographs of parade floats and other participants in the festival. (See also Vancouver Summer Festival Association. 1914)

Hamilton, J.H. Vancouver's contribution to the Empire: a souvenir of the first overseas contingent who volunteered for foreign service from the regiments of Vancouver and District.
Names of individual soldiers are listed by regiment.

Vancouver social register and club directory.
“We do not assume to pass upon the social status of the residents of Vancouver, but merely to publish the names of families and persons who are or have been active in the social life of the city.” VIP

Vancouver Summer Festival Association. Book of the pageant of Vancouver: June 1914.
Souvenir book for the first summer festival held from June 11-14, 1914.


Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver. The Museum.
A very much expanded version of the catalogue originally published in 1908.

Canadian Pacific Railway Company. News Service. Vancouver, B.C., the terminal city.
Photographs of early Vancouver produced in the style of a photo-album, with tipped-in plates. VIP

Capt. Vancouver invites you to the Pacific Coast: and presents a reliable guide to his own city and surrounding beauty spots.
Published by the Commissioner of Industries, this guide includes North Vancouver, New Westminster and Bowen Island.

Robinson, Noel. Blazing the trail through the Rockies: the story of Walter Moberly and his share in the making of Vancouver.
Civil engineer, Walter Moberly, helped to lay out New Westminster, explored Burrard Inlet, and was involved in building the Dewdney Trail.


Davison, J. Reginald Visit Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: base for short trips by land and sea: seaport for Alaska and the Yukon
Guide for one and two hour trips, half-day trips, half-day excursions, day trips and short sea trips out of Vancouver. Illustrated.

Galloway, C.F.J. The call of the west: letters from British Columbia
In the chapter titled: “The Terminal City”, Galloway proposes to “try and give you some sort of impression of what kind of a place it is to live in” (i.e., Vancouver).

Sinclair, Bertrand Big timber: a story of the Northwest
The author observed logging operations at Harrison Lake before writing this novel of the forest industry, parts of which take place in Vancouver. Released as a movie in 1917.

Thomas, Elizabeth Stray leaves
Poems, anthems and an agreement between the author and the 23rd Infantry Brigade, Canadian Militia, Vancouver to create the “Willing Workers’ Aid” to raise funds for the relief of local sick and wounded soldiers returning from Europe.


British Columbia Commercial Travellers Association Souvenir programme for the British Columbia Commercial Traveller’s war dance
The dance was held in aid of Red Cross Material Fund, returned soldiers, Canadian Patriotic Fund, Royal Navy Service Fund. Various essays and articles on local manufacturing, fisheries, shipping, mineral resources, transportation and tourism.

Canadian Army, Overseas Battalion, C.E.F. 231st Souvenir, 231st Overseas Battalion C.E.F.: 3rd Battalion, 72nd Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
Small book of regimental history covering World War I sprinkled with poems, humourous anecdotes and quips from soldiers.

Rentoul, J. Laurence At Vancouver’s well: and other poems of south and north
Vancouver, the city, was an inspiration for some poems, as well as George Vancouver, whose history is included as it relates to the poems.


Vancouver: eighteen superb views of the terminal city, printed in real photogravure. VIP

Bell, Archie Sunset Canada, British Columbia and beyond: an account of its settlement, its progress from the early days to the present…an analysis of what it offers in opportunity to the home seeker, the agriculturalist, the business man, the sportsman and the traveler
Book relates primarily to British Columbia, with chapters on Vancouver, New Westminster and surrounding areas.

British Columbia. Commission on the Economic Conditions and Operations of the British Columbia Electric Railway Company and Subsidiary Companies. Report of Commissioner
Commissioner Adam Shortt investigated the question of public transportation in Vancouver and surrounding areas to decide the possibility of street car service being maintained in competition with jitneys.

Burwash, Edward Moore Jackson The geology of Vancouver and vicinity
Covers the area north of Burrard Inlet to the southern portion of the Coast Range and south of the Inlet to the United States border. Originally the author’s Ph.D. dissertation.

Hood, Robert Allison The chivalry of Keith Leicester: a romance of British Columbia
Rancher, Keith Leicester (while in Vancouver), speaks up for the heroine, Marjorie, who is mistaken for a thief. While together in the city, they explore points in Stanley Park.

Joint Committee of the Boards of Trade of South Vancouver, Richmond and Point Grey
The North Arm of the Fraser: its industries, its possibilities, a plea for its further development
Request by the Committee, with letters of support from various companies, for the dredging of the North Arm of the Fraser River.

MacDonald, Wilson Song of the prairie land and other poems
Canadian poet MacDonald also wrote under the name of Frederick MacLean. Many of the poems in this volume were written about and in Vancouver.

Manufacturers’ Association of British Columbia The industries of British Columbia
First issued in 1915 by the Association, the directory had a classified section, general articles on various industries and short descriptions of businesses, many of which were headquartered in Vancouver.

Penne, Felix The Gold stripe: a tribute to the British Columbia men, who have been killed, crippled and wounded in the Great War
Net profits from the three issues published went to the Amputation Club of British Columbia, Vancouver. Each issue is full of essays, tributes, poems, songs and stories.

Tweedale, Aitken Ship building and shipbuilders of British Columbia, with allied industries
Intended to be an annual overview of the local shipbuilding industry, no further issues have been located since this first one. Includes references to many Vancouver firms.

University of British Columbia. Student’s Council Students’ song book of the University of British Columbia
Published “not as a permanent collection or as a model of good taste, but as a war-time effort to make their comrades sing”.


Canada. Department of Marine and Fisheries Report on Vancouver Harbour, B.C. to the Hon. C.C. Ballantyne, Minister of Marine and Fisheries
Forty page report covering various aspects of the harbour facilities and bridges in Burrard Inlet, False Creek, North Vancouver, Port Moody and other locales.

Seventy-three specially selected views of Vancouver: the gateway of the Lions
“A holiday centre and industrial area, one of the most attractive cities in the continent.”
A large album with views of downtown, residential and industrial areas.

Vancouver Citizen’s League Report of the activities of the Vancouver Citizen’s League: including a brief history of conditions and events connected with the June strikes in western Canada
The League was formed on June 11, 1919 to support the city government during the general strike. Their mandate was to maintain law and order; operate essential services; prevent suffering, inconvenience and loss to the general public. It disbanded at the end of the strike.

Vancouver Firemen’s Benefit Association Fire prevention and first aid manual
“Especially prepared with the hope of decreasing the appalling waste occasioned by fire.”