The birth of British Columbia in photos

Want to see what B.C. looked like in the 19th and early 20th century?

March 17, 2016

By Eliot Escalona / Photo: Frederick Dally/Freshwater Photo

Beginning March 30, take a step back in time. The Presentation House Gallery will be hosting a collection of historic photographs from B.C.’s past, spanning between the 1860s to the mid 1900s. The exhibit is part of the Uno Langmann Collection that was donated to the UBC Library, which decided to showcase the photographs in NANITCH: Early Photographs of British Columbia from the Langmann Collection. According to Helga Pakasaar, curator of NANITCH, “this exhibit emphasizes how photography was proliferating at that time, especially when exploration was at the centre of people’s lives, as in B.C.” The exhibit looks to show the daily aspects of life in B.C. at the time and to highlight the type of lives people endured to build the province. “Photography played a big part in bringing people here. It was a key promotional tool and it captured the popular imagination of the gold rush feel in B.C.” As the exhibit moves forward in time, Helga says, “different landmarks of B.C. and Vancouver begin to appear, like Stanley Park or the Burrard Street Bridge. The exhibit is really full of surprises and incredible windows into British Columbia’s past.” Here’s a sneak peak:

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from Ben W. Leeson album, Alice Lake Timber, c. 1890, hand-tinted photograph (UL #1079). Courtesy University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collection, Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs

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Frederick Dally, Colonial Hotel from “Views of British Columbia” album, albumen print (UL # 1001). Courtesy University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collection, Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs

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Freshwater Photo, Cutting Wood, Bowen Island, postcard. Courtesy University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collection, Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs

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from Carlo Gentile album, Near Cariboo Wagon Road, c. 1865, albumen print (UL# 1019). Courtesy University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collection, Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs

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Vancouver After the Fire, c. 1886, albumen print (UL #1452). Courtesy University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collection, Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs

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The Burial of John Smith, Spences Bridge, April 23, 1905, silver print (UL #1023). Courtesy University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collection, Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs

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