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Postmedia donates historic photographs to City Archives

January 11 2018 Collection includes over two million photographs from the 1940s to 1995

"This is a significant addition to the City Archives' holdings, and certainly the largest donation of photographic images in the Archives' history," says Heather Gordon, City of Vancouver Archivist.

Detail from AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.161

The City of Vancouver Archives is set to gain more than two million 20th century photographic negatives thanks to Postmedia Network Inc. ("Postmedia").

The newspaper group, who own the Vancouver Sun and Province, has donated the negatives which date from the mid-1940s to 1995, when both newspapers transitioned to digital photography.

Largest donation in Archives' history

"This is a significant addition to the City Archives' holdings, and certainly the largest donation of photographic images in the Archives' history," says Heather Gordon, City of Vancouver Archivist. "We're thrilled that Postmedia has entrusted this treasure trove of Vancouver's history to the City Archives."

"The Vancouver Sun and Province have a rich history of photo-journalism that continues to this day," says Harold Munro, Editor for the Sun and Province. "Many of the iconic images of Vancouver were captured by our amazingly talented photographers. I'm proud that our gift to the Vancouver Archives will make these treasured photos more easily accessible to the public.

The collection includes the work of the newspapers' photographers and photojournalists, and offers a snapshot of the events, people and places covered by the papers.

Several decades ago, the City Archives acquired about 9,500 Vancouver Sun photographs. This latest donation, which features shots mainly from the 1970s onwards, will grow the collection significantly.

Negatives to be converted to digital form

The City Archives acquires a variety of records that document the city's history. City archivists ensure that these records are preserved so that future researchers, historians, and anyone interested in the story of Vancouver and its citizens can access them.

Prior to this latest collection being accessible to the public, the card index that accompanies the negatives needs to be converted to digital form and uploaded to the Archives database. Staff will begin this process in 2018 and the first batch of photos will be made available in 2019.

Conservators will also assess the collection to determine its long term preservation needs and package the most at-risk negatives for storage in the Archive's frozen storage vault.

As funding is made available, the photographic negatives will be digitized. In the meantime, once the card index is completed and descriptions are online, researchers and the public can request to view the negatives in the Archives' Reading Room.

View and search through the archives holdings