Vancouver History Photo Prints


Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 — 10:14am PST
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Yesterday I posted my latest (and probably my only) home decor tip on Instagram by sharing a Vancouver history photo that I downloaded and printed from the Vancouver Archives. It was a hit there so I thought I would share the tip here as well.

The Big Idea

The other day I set out to spruce up the bright white walls in our apartment which currently host a rotating gallery of my sister-in-law’s art, art by Grant Wood, sketches and graphics made by friends, heirloom maps, and in the office I have a few Miss604 awards and certificates on display. There was just something missing and it felt like Vancouver itself needed more representation inside our home, but in a unique way.

Vancouver History Photo Prints

Four years ago I began featuring daily and weekly Vancouver History Photos in the “Archives Photo” section of Miss604, which was populated by finds from the City of Vancouver Archives and the Vancouver Public Library Archives. I’ve featured photographers and themes like taxis, beaches, maps, cats, moustaches, street fashions, aerials and many more in over 200 posts. I had never thought of pulling some of my favourite snapshots from these collections before but it seemed like the perfect fit for my home art project. It’s so incredibly simple too, here’s the process:

  1. Search the Vancouver Archives online for your desired image. Type in keywords and be sure to check on the copyright of the photo you have selected, this is clearly noted on the photo description page. Look for “Copyright Status: Public Domain” or if it belongs to the City of Vancouver. This means you are free to download and use the work, and the Vancouver Archives also encourages this.

    If your search is outside of this scope, you can purchase copies of a digital record via the archives. Just stop by in person (at 1150 Chestnut Street), make a phone call (604-736-8561), or inquire online.

  2. Click on the image to get the largest resolution possible, then download that file to your computer.
  3. For printing, I used the London Drugs Photo Lab. There are a number of printing styles and options to choose from — including canvas gallery wraps — but I simply selected a glossy, no border, 11×14 print for pick-up. Within an hour, and $11.99 (plus tax) later, I had my print. All it needs now is a frame.

The Vancouver Archives has always been a fantastic resource and it feels good to have taken my little photo searches from the online realm right into my home.

Getting Started

To get you started, I searched around to find a few Public Domain (usable) photos that you can click, download, and print just like I did.


1948: Archives# LP 153.2. Copyright: Public Domain. Click Here for Full Photo.


1947: Archives# Air P34. Copyright: Public Domain. Click Here for Full Photo.


1903: Carnegie Library. Archives# Bu P116.3. Copyright: Public Domain. Click Here for Full Photo.


1917: Archives# CVA 677-155. Photographer: F. Gowan. Copyright: Public Domain. Click Here for Full Photo.


1946: Hastings. Archives# CVA 586-4394. Photographer: Coltman. Copyright: Public Domain. Click Here for Full Photo.


1936: Hastings. Archives# Str P57. Leonard Frank Photo. Copyright: Public Domain. Click Here for Full Photo.


1969: Archives# CVA 780-220. Rights Holder: City of Vancouver. Click Here for Full Photo.


1966: Downtown Vancouver. Archives# CVA 780-4. Rights Holder: City of Vancouver. Click Here for Full Photo.


1931: Brockton Point Lighthouse. Archives# Van Sc P14. Rights Holder: Public Domain. Click Here for Full Photo.

The City of Vancouver Archives were founded by Major J.S. Matthews in 1933. Today, you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about their collections, the reading room, and special events.

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